I missed the diary earlier today by Marcus Junius Brutus on Fidel’s resignation. My only correction is to this initial statement the diarist makes:
Several news sites are now breaking the news that Fidel Castro will not seek re-election.To be more precise, Fidel was in fact reelected a couple of weeks ago. He is now refusing to accept his elected post.
This announcement was a surprise, but not a huge one, to those of us living in Cuba. He mentioned yesterday that there would be a big announcement. On Sunday, the newly-elected Cuban parliament will meet and confirm elections. There may be a shake-up on the horizon. It may be that Fidelista and parliamentary president Ricardo Alarcón loses his job in favor of someone who is on Raul’s side. If there is a power struggle this weekend, things ought to get pretty interesting. Not that we’ll find out about it until much later.
Had you heard about this?
A couple of weeks ago, a student stood up during a speech by Alarcón and started asking him difficult questions about the limits upon Cubans’ freedom. One wonders: how in the world could this have been videotaped if it was spontaneous? A theory circulating here is that it wasn’t spontaneous, but instead orchestrated by the secret services in order to get Alarcón in trouble, thus giving the nomenklatura a reason to dump him during the parliamentary elections.
Now, very few people in Cuba actually saw the video. The few who did saw it on American tv on their rigged satellites. Still, word spread like wildfire, until they had to do something on state tv. They found the student and interviewed him, who of course then stated that his opinions were personal ones and that he simply wanted to confirm the freedoms already enjoyed in Cuba. The questions he asked originally were never repeated on tv and were not discussed on the news.
I’m sorry that I’m short on discussion and on sources, but that’s how it is here. Already blogging about Cuba from here is something of a risk.
Anyway, things are going on quite as normal here. Cubans are watching and waiting. They do want real change. They’re desperate for real economic change. There’s been terrible inflation in the last year, while salaries remain stationary, at an average of about $17 per month.
Now is the time to end the embargo.
[Presto! Reportage turned candidate diary!]
The only candidate I see who is even close to ending the embargo is Barack Obama. He has stated that he favors a loosening of the travel ban so that Cuban Americans can visit family; he also wants fewer restrictions on remittances. Further, he is the only candidate who believes we should be in dialogue with governments that have been determined enemies.
Now is the time we should be in negotiation with the Cuban government. Raul has made overtures to the U.S. government several times in the last year and a half for negotiations. We should take him up on this, allowing him some way to save face while pushing for democratic reforms.
I’m not going to go negative on Hillary here. Oh wait, yes I am, but also on the Hillary Hub. Please see this page: http://facts.hillaryhub.com/...
This quote by Clinton in particular makes my blood boil:
I believe that this is not the time or place to consider wholesale or broad changes to our Cuba policy, including the embargo. The American people must let the Cuban people know that we are on their side in their struggle for freedom and democracy. We can do this by supporting brave voices for freedom like Oswaldo Paya and the Damas de Blanco. The Castro dictatorship has divided Cuban families for nearly half a century. I have voted to support flexibility to allow visits for immediate family members in humanitarian cases. Such ties give hope to the Cuban people and to their families in the diaspora. And they send a message that the American people recognize that the Cuban people, not their repressive government, represent the promise and possibility for a democratic future.How do we as Americans support dissidents in Cuba? Mostly by inviting them to parties at the Interests Section. How does Spain, on the other hand, support dissidents? By negotiating with the government and getting their asses out of prison.
Please, Hillary, you don’t impress me at all with your knowledge of the existence of the Damas de Blanco. I know them well. They’ve been to my house. I have hugged one as she cried, worried about her husband’s health in prison. For those of you who don’t know, the Damas de Blanco are the wives of journalists—75 in all—who were arrested and put in prison in 2003. The one thing I can tell you about them is that they are all unequivocally against the U.S. embargo. So if you want to help them, start by ENDING THE GODDAMN EMBARGO.
Thank you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go out and buy milk for my babysitter’s son. They’ve run out at the bodega and she can’t afford to spend the $5 it costs if you go to the grocery stores for foreigners.