“El periódico ha de estar siempre como los correos antiguos, con el caballo enjaezado, la fusta en la mano y la espuela en el tacón.  Debe desobedecer los apetitos del bien personal y atender imparcialmente al bien público”.
José Martí
 

USA and Cuba, the Same Old Questions?

The dilemma between Cuba and the US has all the signs of prolonging itself in time. Miguel Diaz Canel, the candidate of the Communist Party for the Presidency, has just said that the future of relations depends on the attitude assumed by Washington.

After voting in last Sunday’s local elections, he explained that it will not be possible to normalize bilateral relations while the US maintains the economic blockade against Cuba, its subversive plans and the territory illegally occupied by the military base in Guantánamo.

His statements have aroused controversy among Cubans. There are those who believe that this policy has had too high an economic and social cost, while others maintain that no price is excessive when it comes to national sovereignty.

The debate comes from before being an independent country. Cuban politics has always been marked by two great visions, that of independence at the cost of any sacrifice, and the other accepting the “manifest destiny” of being a small country.

La “reconcentración” de Weyler tuvo un altísimo costo social y evidenció dos posiciones políticas cubanas contrapuestas.

The “reconcentration” of Weyler had a very high social cost and evidenced two opposing Cuban political positions.

The “reconcentration” ordered by General Weyler, [Spain’s top officer in Cuba during part of the pro-independence uprisings  led by Jose Marti and Maximo Gomez, who ordered the detaining of the rural population of western Cuba in reconcentration camps], at very high social cost, causing the death of 300,000 civilians and sank the island in misery. He did not manage to get the Mambis to stop the war but he caused other Cubans to give in to the power of Madrid.

A notorious example was that of Carlos Saladrigas, who headed a delegation of the Liberal Party that went to the Palace of the General Captains to offer their collaboration in “the prompt pacification of the island and the majestic rule of law”.

Today there are also those who believe that by yielding to the demands of the United States, “much more than honor and dignity can be achieved, let’s not deceive ourselves or conform. Or is it that you can breakfast with honor and lunch with dignity? “, wrote a commentator on my blog.

Another reader justified Washington’s animosity: “How do you expect the US to lower its flags if we receive their arch enemy from North Korea, which has little to contribute to the country (a little? I would say nothing), what do the gestures of neighborhood hustlers serve? ”

On the other hand, some wrote the opposite: “Trying to make peace with the bullies of the north did not work. Actually, I think that everyone who has their senses knew that with the brawlers it was difficult to reach a fair agreement. ”

They maintain a visceral distrust of Washington and Miami: “The Rubio and Diaz-Balart only want the millions that fall for making campaigns. It is better to be a friend of North Korea, than the double standard of the United States, or don’t we remember what he did to Gadaffi in Libya.”

Para el gobierno cubano actual, y al parecer para el próximo también, la normalización de las relaciones con EEUU debe pasar por el fin del Embargo. Foto: Raquel Pérez Díaz

For the current Cuban government, and apparently for the next one as well, the normalization of relations with the United States must pass through the end of the Embargo. Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz

The Cuban nation is immersed in a process of general and generational changes that affect the economy, society, technology, migration, communications, press and even penetrate traditions, which are beginning to feel the influence of a globalized world.

There are those who repeat that the problems between the US and Cuba began in 1959 but in reality they are older, they come from the time of the Spanish colony and lasted during the Republican era (1902-1959), with a control of the island that reached the military invasions.

From independence until 1959, Cuba was ruled by leaders who believed that the only way to survive was subordinated to US power. After the Revolution, the command passed into the hands of those who demand Washington a peer-to-peer relationship.

Should Cuba return to the kind of relations it had with the US before the Revolution? Is that what most Cubans really want? Are there possibilities to establish a relationship of equality between a small island and the greatest power in the world?

Would it be best to be “pragmatic” and accept Washington as the “big brother” who decides what is best for Cubans? Or is it preferable to be “idealists” and continue striving for national independence, even at the cost of postponing the long-awaited material prosperity?

The questions before the Cuban nation remain the same as those it has had for the past 150 years.

¿Aceptar el destino manifiesto de vivir a 90 millas de EEUU o exigir a la mayor potencia del mundo un trato de igualdad y respeto? Foto: Raquel Pérez Díaz

Should Cuba accept the manifest destiny of living 90 miles from the US or to demand from the world’s greatest power equal treatment and respect? Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz

Translation: Havana Times

About Fernando Ravsberg

Nacido en Uruguay, corresponsal de Público en Cuba y profesor del post grado de “Información internacional y países del Sur” de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Fue periodista de BBC Mundo, Telemundo de EEUU, Radio Nacional de Suecia y TV Azteca de México. Autor de 3 libros, El Rompecabezas Cubano, Reportajes de Guerra y Retratos.

 
 

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