Inglés

EDITORIAL 71 CUBA: AT A JUNCTURE BETWEEN CONTINUITY OR CHANGE

17 octubre, 2019

Foto tomada de Internet.

Cuban authorities announced last September 11th the arrival of a “cyclical economic period” involving a “glitch” in the transportation of fuel due to increased  blocking measures by the United States government.

Administrative decisions have begun to be executed in order to decrease usage and also to restrict processes and activities that significantly affect the daily lives of Cubans. These decisions, so far, do not structurally change the economic and political model of the Country: they constitute survival measures.

It is true that there is a short-term situation, specific circumstances are present, but at the bottom of this specific problem there are internal and external causes that converge to make the situation in Cuba a structural issue. Obviously, this structure is formed by several conjunctural connections. When the entire structure becomes dysfunctional as it has for 60 years, it is at least simplistic to treat only one of several conjunctural issues. Symptomatology will be relieved or alleviated but the underlying problem persists. Therefore, short-term anomalies only serve to once again alert us to the fact that we need to provide structural solutions to structural problems, i.e., in the economic, political and social model. And we have to do this among all Cubans. It is our responsibility. We have to be purposeful, proactive; but above all inclusive. Let’s try to sketch, once again, some exit points:

The first thing would be to conduct an objective analysis of reality, serene, not ideologized or manipulated. In that analysis slogans and harangues are of no use. What is of value are the facts, figures, ongoing processes, citizen awareness, the correlation of internal and external forces, the degree of real and effective citizen participation, not just support. In this sense, we could list some of those factors that, interrelated to each other, make up our current reality:

Some internal factors:

  1. A structural economic crisis in place.
  2. Open increase in societal disagreements and criticisms, which even reach a certain degree of social violence.
  3. Decreased fear to speak out.
  4. Authorities that only talk about continuity and do not even discuss alternative projects, nor a strategic plan for true, consistent and gradual reforms.
  5. Greater communication, transparency and convocation in society due to access to the Internet and social networks, although still expensive and limited.
  6. Increase in the number and critical consciousness of different social groups diverse in organization but using peaceful methods, located within civil society, not only in the classical political opposition but also in: self-employed, artists, writers, journalists, teachers, university students, LGBTI groups, religious communities, youth, etc.
  7. Differentiation of roles in these groups, which signals the growth and gradual maturation of a civil society trying to unite in diversity.
  8. The repression of “broadband” increases exponentially, that is, it covers more sectors of society.
  9. Increasing violations of Human Rights, especially those that guarantee freedom of expression, assembly, movement and religion.
  10. The Catholic Church, as well as the different religious denominations in Cuba, grow, become aware of their evangelizing mission in all areas of society and seek to exercise religious freedom and the mission of their laity, beyond the single freedom of holding ceremonies and rites: education, media, use of social networks, application of social doctrine, being a factor of inclusion, unity and fraternal coexistence among all Cubans.

Some external factors:

  1. Greater isolation of Cuba in its international relations.
  2. Changes in the correlation of political forces in Latin America.
  3. Increasing pressures from the United States government.
  4. Increasing pressures from the Organization of American States (OAS), even though Cuba does not belong to this regional organization.
  5. Decisive impact of the situation in Venezuela and the non-appearance of other sponsors to support the Cuban economy outside the market, as did the USSR and Venezuela itself before.
  6. The possible mediation and negotiation role of Canada.
  7. The possible mediation service of the Holy See and the Catholic Church in Cuba.
  8. The current pressures to renegotiate the Agreement on Economic Cooperation and Political Dialogue between Cuba and the European Union (EU) without abandoning the dialogue. Position of the four EU countries that have not yet ratified the Agreement: Sweden, Holland, Ireland, Lithuania and the pressures of some sectors of the European Parliament arguing about the violation of Human Rights in Cuba and its regional role.
  9. Change of mandates and correlation of forces in the EU after parliamentary elections.
  10. Growing role of Human Rights NGOs and sectors of the Diaspora in different countries and international organizations, in relation to Cuba.

In summary:

– It can be considered that the conjunction of these internal and external factors, with their synergistic effects between them, has built a scenario  unprecedented in the last six decades, which impacts in a way that makes the current crisis not just a cyclical problem.

– High level negotiations and the goodwill of all parties is necessary to avoid a scenario that nobody wants for Cuba and its sister countries: neither internal disorder, nor regional destabilization, much less violent outcomes.

The Cuban people have a vocation for peace and desire for material and spiritual progress. Our noble and suffering people deserve an orderly, peaceful departure, with the participation of all, without unnecessary delays and with much intelligence and purposeful character. Thinking Cuba, which is the motto of our Centro de Estudios Convivencia, CEC, (Center for Coexistence Studies, COS), is not only a right of all Cubans but a sacred duty in these critical moments.

José Martí said: “Thinking is providence.” “In prevention one finds the art of salvation.” “To guide is to prevent.” “Looking ahead is the essential quality in the constitution and government of people”.1

For this reason, the CEC has wanted to carry out an “Itinerary of Thoughts and Proposals for the Future of Cuba” (www.centroconvivencia.org/proposals) in order to anticipate and propose for public debate a vision of the future we would like to reach among all, so as not to fall back into the improvisations and experiments of the past, and to be able to find the best inclusive, plural and peaceful paths that lead to a democratic, prosperous and happy future.

Let’s look for deep solutions, not short-term ones. Some of these backdrop changes could be:

  • Initiate an orderly and gradual process of economic and political reforms of great scale within the Country, so that all thinking, productive, and religious forces, without political, ideological or religious discrimination, are decriminalized, socially recognized and legally incorporated. This is one of the components of the Rule of Law.
  • Recognize that the Diaspora is a real, effective, legal and spiritual part of a single Cuban nation, with all the rights and duties that this implies. The law should guarantee the exercise of all of these rights and duties and not just some of them.
  • Start a process of opening the country to the world by modernizing our international relations. Promote a process of regional and international integration based on the inalienable respect and promotion of all human rights without ideological or political conditions.
  • In that opening to the world, if it is real and if it is preceded by internal reforms, one of the most significant steps could be the ratification and legal implementation of the International Covenants on Civil and Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as the labor law instruments of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

This should be the time for the opening of public spaces to all Cubans of goodwill who wish to participate in a real and effective process of structural and sustainable changes.

Then, and only then, could we say that: Cuba lives at a juncture between continuity and real change.

This is the real situation that Cuba urgently needs.

Pinar del Río, September 15, 2019