The Silence of the Popular Party

By Pablo Pacheco Avila

I clearly remember my arrival to Spain along with relatives and other ex political prisoners. We lived unforgettable moments which marked our lives. The media would constantly converse with us to report what we had lived through for more than 7 years of captivity due to political reasons under a system which attacks any who opposes it.

Spanish political leaders met with us and made us many promises to support the cause of freedom in our country. Two years later, I’ve noticed that the politics of Spain with the regime of Havana is full of hypocrisy and economic interests. Human rights and the prosperity of the Cuban people then becomes rhetoric of propaganda. But behind all of this, it is preferable to simply take a sip of a good diplomatic wine.

In one of the meetings we had with the then leader of the Popular Party, Mariano Rajoy, I asked him if his Party won the elections what he would do with the Spanish companies which, for years, have been accomplices of the Cuban dictatorship, upon paying a slave-level salary to the workers. As a response, Rajoy promised to keep his compromise with democracy.

Months later, Rajoy arrived to power and his minister of exterior relations, Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo, made declarations that he would not visit Cuba until they respect human rights there. This provoked much irritation among those in power on the island. The response was given by Ricardo Alarcon, president of the National Assembly. He threatened the Spanish companies on Cuban soil. And thus began the Spanish silence.

Two years later after our arrival to the Iberic country, many things have happened and none of them have been favorable for change in Cuba. The most lamentable case has been the death of the dissident leader Oswaldo Paya in a suspicious car accident in which there was a Swedish and Spanish citizen involved.

I understand and admire the fact that the Popular Party is doing the impossible to return Angel Carromero to Spain. It is a legitimate action to defend their citizens wherever they are having problems, but it is detestable to not know how the Cuban dictatorship acts and the Spanish politicians are thinking that silence will put their citizen in freedom.

Regardless, I think that Carromero will spend a long time in prison, at least until the spirits die down a bit. It will not be the first foreign captive in Cuba. Nor the last, although one of the only foreigners who will put behind the bars for a car accident. I am convinced that if Paya had been an everyday citizen, Carromero would be in a bar right now watching a soccer game between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

In this recent conflict between both nations, those who lose the most are those of us who want freedom for our country, those who long for all Cubans to have the right to have rights, those who want to return to reconstruct the ruins which this 53 year old communism has left us. Those of us who lose are the friends of Oswaldo Paya, his family and, more than anyone, the internal opposition movement. Carromero has also lost, though I am sure that his government’s silence will not take him out of the hell he must be living in, behind bars in a cell of any Cuban prison.

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