Ever since the announcement of the re-establishing Cuba – US diplomatic relationship last December, Cuban ex-leader Fidel Castro had not said a beep about the deal. After that, Cuban and U.S. diplomats had a chat about re-establishing embassies in Washington and Havana. During the talks, the longstanding enemies expressed they hoped to coexist despite their gigantic political differences. Which, is a really good outcome of being just the first round of negotiations. After that, Obama went as far as announcing the lifting of some economic sanctions and ease travel restrictions for U.S. citizens wishing to visit the island.
But last Monday (Jan 26, 2014) Fidel Castro spoke and the course of history changed. He shared with the world his lack of trust for his long standing enemy, the Americans. He also informed the world this befriending the US was all his brother’s doing, reiterating he had nothing to do with it. He also said he would not oppose a peaceful solution to conflicts or threats of war, as if Obama’s announcement for re-establishing relationships was actually a threat of war. Then, he finished by saying “he would fight in this position until his last breath”.
Four provocative conditions
Only two days after the ex-leader provocative words, Raul Castro raised -not just one but- four red flags that can be seen as ‘conditions’ for the diplomatic ties to actually happen.
At first glance, the conditions seem naive enough, but when you read them twice and actually understand what it means, your heart sinks knowing this will never actually work. This is why.
Fidel Castro said in order to be friends both countries needed to ‘learn the art of the civilized cohabiting”. For this to happen, he is asking for:
• Give Guantanamo back!
• Drop the embargo!
• Stop anti-Cuba American radio and TV! and,
• Compensate Cubans for half century of human and economic damage.
Then you wonder, how is that the art of the civilized cohabiting?
Those are ultimatums. Four more venom-filled bullets to add to the long standing Cold War between the two countries. Possibly the end of the exciting but short lived glimpse at chance to mend relationships with the northern enemy. Possibly the make-or-break that could end the misery for Cubans-in-Cuba who have to live under the auspices of two stuburn governments that just don’t want to get along.
After those four bullets, it should be Obama who should not trust Cuban politics.
Ruining the change at a relationship
I can’t promise you a perfect relationship, but I promise that as long as we are trying, I’m staying.
Not even in his wildest dreams, Obama will or should accept Raul’s immature and belligerent response.
First, the embargo was there in a hope to end a Communist system that’s been historically at fault for for colossal violations of human rights against its people. That includes deliberately snatching away people’s possessions when Fidel Castro entered in power in 1959 and ever-after.
Second, Guantanamo is a piece of land that, by treaty, used to belong to the States. Technically, they were supposed to give it back in 1999, but this is the country once threatened launch nuclear bombs over to the US during the Missile Crisis. It is highly unlikely the US is ready to give up such strategic piece of land back just so they can be friends. This is a their ‘insurance policy’ in case of a Misile-Crisis-like attack was ever to be initiated by Cuba again.
Third, it is beyond delusional to ask the US to shut down American radio and TV just because Raul doesn’t like it. No one should censor human beings’ freedom for expressing their anti-Castro, anti-Communist or any other views for that matter. And if he was really wanting to be civilized, he should have never asked for that.
Fourth, the US should compensate the Cuban people for exactly what? The first ones to impose half a century of human and economic misery in the island was the Communist system. Aside from schools and hospitals, they were the ones who deprived the Cuban people from every single right and dignity that’s known to mankind. That’s in fact, the system that has claimed the lives of millions of Cubans trying to escape through the 90 miles stretch of ocean to get to the US, in a hope for a dignifying life. If at all, it should be the Cuban government who should compensate those Cubans who left and their families for the damage done. Also for all the possessions the bluntly took from Cubans.
This is far away from civilized cohabiting. This is just another form of war.
All in all, Fidel spoke and Raul got cold feet. The four conditions were probably not even Raul’s idea. His almost 10 years in power have repeatedly demonstrated Raul’s will to make ends meet for Cuban by allowing reforms, openings and relationships his brother Fidel would have never conceived a remote possibility. This is just not Raul’s style.
This is, I am sure, the act of Fidel Castro ‘fighting to the last breath’.
By Jocy Medina