The Thaw Is Upsetting The Penguins / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 13 October 2016 — The thaw between
the US and Cuba, which has not yet risen to the level of normalized
relations, has been greeted with mixed reactions by the Cuban opposition
and independent civil society.
We cannot speak of an extreme polarization, because although the
dissenting side registers very sharp tones, with abounding arguments and
no lack of insults, the other side has never risen to explicit applause,
or at most reaching a pragmatic acceptance of the fait accompli and a
search for new strategies in the current scenario.
The recently concluded meeting of All for A Free Cuba gathered in Miami
some 30 exile organizations along with guests from the island, with the
express purpose of demanding “a real democratic change in Cuba.” The
majority of participants disapproved of rapprochement between Washington
and Havana, supported the US embargo and is committed to “overthrow the
dictatorship of the Castro brothers” through a social explosion.
Jorge Luis García Pérez, known as Antúnez, Berta Soler, on behalf of the
Ladies in White, and Antonio González Rodiles, from the Forum of Rights
and Freedoms, all promoters of initiatives based on direct confrontation
with the repressive forces of the regime, fraternized there with the
crème de la crème of the historical exile, including Cuban-American
politicians Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz Balart
and Miami mayor Tomas Regalado, all prominent members of the Republican
Party and militant opponents of Barack Obama’s policy toward Cuba.
Emphasizing the smallness of the timid reforms undertaken by the
government of Raul Castro, this group insists that the change must be
“real” and distances itself from the more moderate opposition sector
that doesn’t see Obama’s policy as a betrayal of the opponents and
aspires to solutions that don’t spill blood, including plebiscites or
the use of electoral resources and dialogue with the current government.
Among the arguments most reiterated by the enemies of the thaw is the
“increase in repression” that they attribute directly to the supposed
“blind eye” of the United States government and the European Union in
the face of the arbitrary detentions, beatings, confiscation of
resources, threats, police operations to prevent the holding of meetings
and other actions. This repression is carried about by troops from the
political police, the Communist Party and the “mass organizations.”
However, the apparent relationship of cause and effect between the thaw
and the undeniable increase in repression does not necessarily imply
fault on the side supporting the thaw. It is worth asking to what extent
the repressive temperature would rise if the United States agreed to the
demands of the hard-line opposition and strengthened the embargo,
promoted increased funding for the most energetic opposition groups and
returned to the times when they parachuted arms into the Escambray
mountains and promoted military initiatives such as the 2506 Brigade
that invaded the Bay of Pigs, through the Central Intelligence Agency.
The whole arsenal of measures implemented today by the government of
Raul Castro against opponents would then be seen as lukewarm and the
return of the old days of confrontation between the United States and
Cuba would bring back the executions, the long prison sentences, the
literal beheading of the political opposition and the loss of an
opportunity to change something in Cuba peacefully.
And would the US government also be blamed?
The All For A Free Cuba event had among its many merits appearances by
musicians and comedians. Among these was the excellent artist Alen
Lauzán, who showed some disturbing cartoons where we see penguins in
Havana protesting the thaw.
Like any artistic production the images are provocative and polysemic.
What is more appropriate in today’s Cuba: to thaw the environment or
behave like a penguin?
Source: The Thaw Is Upsetting The Penguins / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar
– Translating Cuba –