A Letter to fidel
A letter to the Miami Herald written by Andy Gomez of the Institute of Cuba and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami and published in today's Herald:
After reading Fidel Castro's last ``reflection,'' I thought it was time that someone wrote him one and briefly analyze his revolution:
Since becoming ill in July 2006 and transferring power to your brother, Raúl, you have written more than 250 Reflections. They have varied from declarations, letters, eulogies or tirades, a clear demonstration that you cannot give up the power and influence you have had over 11.2 million Cubans for more than 50 years.
I was born in Cuba in 1954. I remember vividly your victorious entrance in Havana and how all the hopes and promises of changes you talked about excited the nation. However, it did not take long for many to realize that you were more interested in personal power and an alliance with communism. Given that Sunday is the anniversary of the attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago, my ``reflection'' is about why you and the Cuban Revolution have failed.
The people on the island mock you for your ridiculous and erratic behavior. Cuba's youth has now gone as far as contradicting the ideology with which you indoctrinated them from their early days in school. The economic conditions are as bad, or worse, than during the ``Special Period'' (1991-present). Even members of your inner circle such as Felipe Perez Roque and Carlos Lage were removed from their positions simply for criticizing you and your system of governing. Raúl has told you repeatedly that if your failed system is going to continue, basic economic reforms are needed. When will you realize that your days are quickly coming to an end and so is your power?
Winston Churchill described a practical test for the success of government: Does the government rest upon a free, constitutional basis? Is there a right to free expression of opinions, free advocacy and free criticism of the government? Are courts of justice free from interference by the executive branch and free from all association with political parties? Will the rights of individuals, subject to his or her duties to the state, be maintained, asserted and exalted? In short, does the government own the people or do the people own the government?
It is clear that your revolution has failed. More important, you have failed, as you are a prisoner in your own system. You have never established a ``dictatorship of the proletariat,'' as you have been Cuba's sole dictator. Cuba is far from a classless society, as rising inequalities strain any credibility that the revolution may have left. Your ``worker's paradise'' is far from a reality -- millions of Cubans have fled when given the opportunity.
The sun is beginning to shine again over Cuba. Change has begun to take place, and you will not be able to stop it. You have not succeeded in destroying Cubans' spirit and thirst for freedom.
Many innocent Cubans have died in your jails, and many remain in jails across the island because you see them as a threat to your power. Many have died in the ocean seeking freedom. All this has made the Cuban people stronger and has given them the will to end your tyranny.
Fidel, once you are gone everything will change. You once stated: ``History will absolve me.'' Let me assure you that once the last chapter of your failed revolution is written, history will not be kind to you. Your name shall not be uttered in the same sentence as Jose Marti and Father Felix Varela, who put our great country before themselves. You will simply be a dark asterisk in Cuba's history.
It is time for you and Raúl to admit your mistakes. Step aside so that, perhaps, history will be kinder to you. Let the Cuban people be free.
ANDY GOMEZ, senior fellow, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables