Archive for June, 2010

First a wealth of opportunities to study, now more and more obstacles, something is clear, we don’t need more graduates. But, what about those who still haven’t finished their careers.  Who cares about them?

By Jesuhadín Pérez Valdés

It’s hard for each of us to be aware of how little we mean to our Political System. Through the media, or making a popint in official speeches, they make us believe we’re the center of gravity of the whole system, and they describe themselves as the most just and democratic government in the world. But it’s enough to cross the threshold of our realities to realize, based on the “sticks” that, in reality, we are less than nothing. What matters to the powers-that-be is an abstract perfection for which, we ourselves, are mere instruments. Power only cares about power. The rest are cards that move according to their interests and intentions.

Three years ago the official policy was that of graduating professionals, happy for those who for various reasons, including politics, had not been able to earlier. Something that signified a huge challenge, if we take into account that many of those who accepted the challenge were workers who had their job responsibilities.

It seems that three years ago they thought one way, and today they think differently, totally differently indeed.

Currently it turns out that Cuba doesn’t need so many graduates, then those who started their university studies some years ago and still haven’t completed them, have been stranded in the middle of a network of disappointment, because the new educational philosophy not only fails to support these students, but abandons them.

When the System needs, it delivers; but in the middle of the road it changes its mind and simply turns its back. The people? Playthings in the hands of a compulsive child, a lot of interest at first but later they end up abandoned in the farthest corner of the house. What is this absurd policy? Why not at least recognize in a transparent way that the students are insignificant to them. Why does our System use them in such an abhorrent and inhumane way?

Conditions for learning don’t exist. There are no books to study, not even in a digital format. There are no internet services, no intranet, no academic support in the schools. The professors — very badly paid for sure — go to the classes, when they go, very poorly prepared. To whom do the students matter now? Why are they despised in this way?

I recognize that there never have been optimal conditions for study in this country — along with the stupefying ideology — when one thing isn’t lacking another one is, but at least there was an interest in what they were doing; that, although it was political, it served to keep the academic mechanism functioning. They were available to help, but now it seems that they hinder in the classrooms the same students whom the whole country was proud of years ago. They kick the vase that — having almost nothing to do — they were filling with flowers.

What they want is for us to desert! To leave the classrooms! So some students think. Without a doubt they will get it. Without material support for study they will fail en masse, then their lack of success will be the scapegoat and justification to close the classes.

They will leave because they are instruments the System no longer needs. No one argues, no one represents them, the student organizations are the long fingers of the System itself. They have no voice, they can’t protest, no newspaper will publish their disappointments, no official will listen to their needs.

It has gone out of style to boast about these “elements” in official speeches. Now the rhetoric focuses on media campaigns and other news. What matters has been tossed in the trash.

Us, we are the context for an end.

Jesuhadín Pérez Valdés. (b. 1973)
Law student.
Founding member of the Editorial Board of the magazine Convivencia.
Living in Pinar del Rio.


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By Eduardo Mesa


I do not believe in the effectiveness of the embargo, or restrictions on sending money and travel to Cuba. However, those who defend the embargo and restrictions are not my enemy, they are Cubans who think differently, and therefore they adopt strategies and tactics different from mine in their fight against tyranny. take in their fight against tyranny tactics and strategies than mine.

I do not know if the time will come when we can discuss calmly, without the unhealthy habit of assigning labels, of extending aphorisms. I am confident that we will mature and not be surprised in our old age, with a grandson in power in the dynastic succession. It’s not funny, the time we spend in backbiting among ourselves, and those who order and command take advantage of it.

Now, with the Letter of the 74 dissidents mes has started again. Zoe Valdés calls us “traitors” and the Miami radio industry spared no epithets. Others argue that this is not a good time to express their reservations. Alejandro Armengol writes in the Herald to defend the rights of these Cubans and the validity of the demand to open and not close. Only the reporter, in his analysis, always suggests that the verb open belongs to the left and the art of closure to the right.

The Embargo is not a question of rights nor lefts, nor is it a question of patriotism nor “traitors,” it is simply the legal wording of someone else’s logic with which one can agree or not.

I don’t want to state outright that the embargo and restrictions are not working, because the openings have also been tested and the cadaver of the comandante has survived. Perhaps it has failed, in the implementation of both strategies, the forced rotation, the application of means. These are things that happen when one takes as their own, the reasons of a foreign nation.

I don’t want to bore you with this subject that assaults us on the radio, television and in the press, I just want to say that it’s not just, nor useful to our cause to measure the patriotism of Cubans on the yardstick of the embargo. Those who rule Cuba are happy when from the island or from exile, we discredit ourselves.

To live democracy is to assume that diversity exists, that opposites abound, that social and political agreements are a lot of work. What today seems like a weakness can become our strength, if we abstain from discrediting those who use other tactics or assume other strategies, if we manage to systematize respectful meetings of our groups, if we can share ideas and reach agreements that help us to overcome the polarization that today, in regards to the Letter of the 74, again becomes clear.

Although I think that the path of opening is best for ultimate freedom, I am not disposed to make this a fight; our nation suffers and waits for us, beyond strategies and tactics. Changing our destiny is no an impossible thing, just a question of choice and intention.

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Members of Cuban Civil Society
Havana, Cuba

May 30, 2010

Honorable Members of the United States House of Representatives
Honorable Members of the Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

Honorable Representatives:

We the members of Cuban civil society, who are signing this letter as individuals, have learned that you are currently considering the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act (H.R. 4645), to end travel restrictions on all Americans to Cuba and to remove obstacles to legal sales of United States agricultural commodities to Cuba.

We understand that this bill has the support of Republicans and Democrats in the Congress of the United States. We also know that for this bill to be considered by the full House of Representatives, it must first be passed through the House Committee on Agriculture.

We know that major non-governmental organizations support this bill, including, to name only a few: The United States Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau Federation, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Cuba Study Group and many other human rights organizations.

We share the opinion that the isolation of the people of Cuba benefits the most inflexible interests of its government, while any opening serves to inform and empower the Cuban people and helps to further strengthen our civil society.

We value the experience of all the western countries, including the United States, who favored opening and trade with all the countries of the former Eastern Europe. We are sure that isolation does not foster relationships of respect and support for people and groups around the world who are in favor of democratic changes in Cuba.

We would like to recall the memorable words of Pope John Paul II who, in his own life, had experienced a totalitarian and closed system: “Let Cuba open itself to the world and let the world open itself to Cuba.”

Over time we have seen that the Cuban regime does not open itself fully to the world, nor to its own citizens, because what it fears most is an opening, of free trade and of free enterprise, and the direct flow of information and communication between peoples.

Those who oppose H.R. 4645 argue that lifting these restrictions would be a concession to the Cuban regime and a source of foreign income that could be used to repress the Cuban people. They also argue that given the ongoing violations of human rights and the repeated acts of repression, lifting these prohibitions would be an abandonment of Cuban civil society.

It is true that repression and systematic violations of Human Rights have recently increased in a cruel and public way. It is true that these funds could also be used to support and even worsen repression.

We believe, however, that if the citizens of the United States, like those of the rest of the world, increased their presence on our streets, visited the families of the political prisoners and other members of the nascent Cuban civil society they could: first, serve as witnesses to the suffering of the Cuban people; second, be even more sensitized to the need for changes in Cuba; and third, offer solidarity and a bridge to facilitate the transition we Cubans so greatly desire.

The supportive presence of American citizens, their direct help, and the many opportunities for exchange, used effectively and in the desired direction, would not be an abandonment of Cuban civil society but rather a force to strengthen it.  Similarly, to further facilitate the sale of agricultural products would help alleviate the food shortages we now suffer.

Above all, we believe that defending each and every Human Right for all people must be an absolute priority, ahead of any political or economic consideration, and that no restriction of these rights can be justified on economic, political or social grounds. We believe that rights are protected with rights.

Because the ability to travel freely is the right of every human being, we support this bill. The current Cuban government has always violated this right and in recent years has justified its actions with the fact that the government of the United States also restricts its citizens’ freedom to travel. The passage of this bill would remove this spurious justification.

Finally, Honorable Representatives, we strongly believe that the problems of Cuba and its path to freedom and democracy are a responsibility and a labor that belongs to all Cubans, those of us who live on the Island as well as those who suffer in exile in the Diaspora, who also love this nation we all share.

In the world today, all peoples of the earth are interconnected, even when their decisions are their sovereign right. These principles – of responsibility for our beloved country and of universal fraternity – encourage us to respectfully communicate our views to you with regards to this bill, because although it is the responsibility of Americans, it affects the Cuban people.

Thank you for your attention and respect.

Juan Juan Almeida García
José Alberto Álvarez Bravo
Silvio Benítez Márquez
Juan Carmelo Bermúdez Rosabal
Servando Blanco Martínez
Félix Bonne Carcassés
Luis Cáceres Piñero
Claudia Cadelo de Nevis
Leonardo Calvo Cárdenas
Eleanor Calvo Martínez
Marcelo Cano Rodríguez
Cecilio Dimas Castellanos Martí
Miriam Celaya González
Francisco Chaviano González
Hortensia Cires Díaz
Martha Cortizas Jiménez
Manuel Cuesta Morúa
Roberto De Miranda Hernández
Gisela Delgado Sablón
Reinaldo Escobar Casas
Oscar Espinosa Chepe
Guillermo Fariñas Hernández
Guedy Carlos Fernández Morejón
Juan Carlos Fernández Hernández
Karina Gálvez Chiu
Livia Gálvez Chiu
Margarita Gálvez Martínez
Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez
Joisy García Martínez
José Luis García Paneque
Juan del Pilar Goberna
Ricardo González Alfonso
Iván Hernández Carrillo
Maikel Iglesias Rodríguez
Irene Jerez Castillo
Yusnaymi Jorge Soca
Eugenio Leal García
Miriam Leiva
Gloria Llopis Prendes
Olga Lidia López Lazo
Yasnay Losada Castañeda
Luis Ricardo Luaces
Juan A. Madrazo Luna
Ainí Martínez Valero
Katia Sonia Martínez Véliz
Ricardo Santiago Medina Salabarría, presbítero
Manuel Alberto Morejón Soler, presbítero
Félix Navarro Rodríguez
Jorge Olivera Castillo
Pablo Pacheco Ávila
Leonardo Padrón Comptiz
Héctor Palacios Ruíz
Gustavo Pardo Valdés
Yisel Peña Rodríguez
Ana Margarita Perdigón
Arturo Pérez de Alejo
Juana Yamilia Pérez Estrella
Tomás Ramos Rodríguez
Soledad Rivas Verdecia
José Conrado Rodríguez Alegre, presbítero
María Esperanza Rodríguez Bernal
Lázaro Rosales Rojas
Elena Rosito Yaruk
Yoani Sánchez Cordero
Fernando Sánchez López
Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz
Mayra Sánchez Soria
Pedro Antonio Scull
Sergio Abel Suárez García
Virgilio Toledo López
Dagoberto Valdés Hernández
Wilfredo Vallín Almeida
Alida Viso Bello
Liset Zamora

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