Stop Excluding, and Stop the Deportation of the Political Prisoners
By Jose L. Garcia Paneque
This past October, the Foreign Relations Minister of the Castro regime, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, expressed in a speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City that:
“The European Union is dreaming if they think that they could normalize relations with Cuba if their common position is still in force.”
In my opinion, the only dreaming is coming from the totalitarian dictatorship itself if they think that by continuing to deport us, the political prisoners, they will “clean up” their international image. Times are changing, and it is no longer acceptable to continue handing out lies to everyone.
The institutional crisis and the collapse of the economy have forced the dictatorship to improve relations with the democratic world and with Europe in particular, as they seek subsidies to support the structures of the regime. We should be very clear about this—these reforms have been put in motion as a result of current circumstances, not for the sake of advancing the promotion and practice of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Totalitarian dictatorships, which are hermetic when it comes to change, only talk about reforms which are necessary for the preservation of their own systems. They exclude any real changes which would allow the people to at least come closer to the practice and respect of fundamental rights and freedoms which are innate to humankind.
Everyone tries to interpret the debate of whether the common position should be lifted or not in their own ways, but for the “Cuban being” it means to embrace an ideology. Support of the regime constructs first-class citizens, and those who refuse to do so automatically are considered to be insignificant. If the Foreign Minister does not suffer from bad memory, he should remember that, for many years, a very respectable sector of civil society has been asking the regime to sit at the negotiation table so that, among Cubans, a decent and dignified solution to can be drawn up in order to fix the situation which an entire country has been placed in for a very long time. But let it be clear that, without any exclusions, those within the island and those who, for many reasons (mostly not by choice) find ourselves in the Diaspora are all just as Cuban.
The regime is dreaming if they think that those diplomatic boasts against the EU could actually lead to negotiation and understanding with the international community and with those states which strive for democracy.
No one, much less those who are still in Cuba, believe in the “beneficent” government, which in the face of its imminent collapse has implemented the most neo-liberal measures of all the world governments – firing more than a million of my fellow countrymen, while trying to be “complacent” with them as they allow private initiatives, without any guarantees and drowned in tax, which is something that is necessary in a real economy, but not in the disastrous way our country has done it. What the regime has done has been to engage in rampant corruption. Besides, subduing an already impoverished people to something so grave is truly cynical.
The memory of all the hopes which were betrayed in the past facilitates us to be skeptics. We cannot forget that, right now, there are still tens of political prisoners behind the bars, out of which 11 are prisoners of conscience from the Black Spring of 2003. The harassment and repression against peaceful dissidents continues. Cuba is a huge prison with more than 120 thousand prisoners which languish in over 200 different penitentiaries throughout the island—a fact which is extremely shameful for a system which claims to be a true advocate of human rights.
My aim is not to continue stirring up the controversy. What I have to say is that, if they truly want to “change everything that should be changed for the well being of Cubans,” then they must stop excluding anyone, and stop deporting political prisoners in exchange of a good international image.