News and Facts about Cuba

Beyond the Flag

Beyond the Flag / Fernando Damaso
Posted on August 17, 2015µ

Fernando Damaso, 16 August 2105 — After hearing and reading the speech
by the US Secretary of State during the flag-raising ceremony on 14
August at the site of his embassy in Cuba, and the statements by him and
the Cuban Foreign Minister at the subsequent press conference, I think
it necessary to clarify some things.

The Secretary of State used, at all times, a conciliatory manner of
speech, cautious and respectful, focusing on the present and the future,
without forgetting the past, but without allowing it to dictate the
course of events.

The Cuban Foreign Minister, on the other hand, repeated some of the
absurd and already-routine demands, adding now a populist twist, with
the objective of gaining supporters: “…we consider it necessary to make
progress on the matter of compensations to the Cuban people, to Cuban
citizens, for the human and economic damages….”

Could it be that the Cuban authorities are going to hand over some of
these improbable compensations directly to Cubans? Or, as is their
custom, will they keep all or the greater part of them, as happens with
the doctors, athletes and other professionals who are rented out to
other countries?

As if this were not enough, he did not have the slightest compunction in
affirming that “Cuba feels very proud of its record of guaranteeing the
full exercise of — indivisible, interdependent, and
universal; of civil liberties and political, economic, social and
cultural rights, on an equal basis for every citizen.”

Does the Foreign Minister not know that in Cuba there are no political
rights, no right to form labor unions, nor of , nor
the right to demonstrate publicly and, even less, the right to strike?
Does he not know there is only one Party and only one ideology, and that
all the rest is deemed and is repressed?

Besides, he forgot to say that in Cuba there is repression and
racial discrimination. It would be good if he were to ask the citizens
about this, those who have suffered it first-hand, and who still suffer
it (which, of course, has never been a topic addressed by the official
media); similarly, the citizens of color, constantly required to display
their ID cards to the authorities and who, besides (not by choice),
constitute the greater percentage of the Cuban population. It
would help if he took a stroll through Centro Habana, Cerro, 10 de
Octubre, and other municipalities, so that he could know reality.

As is now routine, he recalled how much Cuba does for humanity in
and — without clarifying that those who do it are the
governments of those countries, which pay the Cuban authorities for
these services.

This is not primarily about some supposed humanitarian sentiment, but a
commercial one, too: with a dearth of agricultural and other products
for exportation, professionals are exported at below-market rates, in a
sort of “slave labor,” wherein the Cuban authorities appropriate the
greater percentage of the payment received. It should not be forgotten
that this and the remittances sent to Cubans from their family and
friends abroad are the authorities’ two principal sources of revenue.

In any case, despite the lies, omissions, distortions, obsolete slogans,
and stale repetitions, there is no escaping reality: as a matter of
survival, the Cuban authorities have need of relations with the
government of the United States of America. This is, ultimately, one of
the greatest guarantees of success for what has only just begun.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

Source: Beyond the Flag / Fernando Damaso | Translating Cuba –

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