For the most part, wealthy businessman and Pedro Pan child Carlos Saladrigas is portrayed by the media as a sensible Cuban exile. While the historic Cuban exile community is described as “ancient” and “out of touch” for holding firm to its dignity and commitment to justice, Saladrigas is lauded by the media for his pragmatic approach to the Castro regime. His submissive overtures to the tyrannical dictatorship in Havana and his deferential attitude towards the Castro brothers is presented as an example of a true Cuban patriot seeking the long denied freedom of his people. The reality of who and what Carlos Saladrigas really is, however, could not be any further from that characterization.
Carlos Saladrigas is not interested in freedom for the Cuban people. He is not interested in eliminating the yoke of tyranny placed upon the Cuban people for over five decades. Carlos Saladrigas has no interest whatsoever in justice, freedom, or democracy in Cuba. Instead, Carlos Saladrigas is interested only in advocating for the the dictatorship of Fidel and Raul Castro and helping them maintain their stranglehold on power.
What are his reasons for doing this? Only he can answer that question. But one thing we know for certain is that Saladrigas has no concern for the human rights violations in Cuba. We also know he has no interest in helping the Cuban people free themselves from the tyranny of the Castro regime. Freedom, democracy, justice, and respect for human rights have no place in Carlos Saladrigas’ vision for Cuba. The survival of the Castro dictatorship is his only concern, and he is doing everything he can to accomplish this.
But you do not have to take my word on this, you can listen to Carlos Saladrigas himself describe his vision for Cuba. The following short video of a statement by Saladrigas regarding Cuba was filmed in Mexico at an international conference in March of 2011. In this statement, Saladrigas lays out his vision for Cuba’s future, which does not include freedom, respect for human rights, or democracy. Instead, Saladrigas calls on Latin American countries to help ensure the survival of the Cuban dictatorship and the Castro revolution.
Here is an English translation of his statement (my translation):
The Cuban revolution finds itself at a key moment. It is a very critical moment in which it has to change its economic system as recognized by its own president, Raul Castro, who has said it is necessary to find structural changes that create productivity — something that is lacking in Cuba — and an increase in economic growth necessary to support the country. At this juncture, there is an international panorama present that can be an enormous facilitator of the changes in Cuba, or, it can help hinder or place obstacles in front of these changes that are so important to Cuba. However these changes take place, whatever success these changes may have, will in great part determine the future of Cuba.
If the changes fail to be successful, we could see in Cuba a collapse of Cuban society, which will have enormous and harmful consequences not only for Cuba, but also for its people as well as the entire region. A collapsed system in Cuba, a societal collapse, is not a pleasant scenario for any of Cuba’s neighbors, not even for the future of the Cuban people themselves. Therefore, I believe that Cuba’s neighboring international community should have a great interest that these reforms turnout to be successful.
But a large part of this success depends on the Cuban government itself, and to what point they will allow them and liberalize them sufficiently so they can function. The measures that have been taken up until now, which have been slow, few, and insufficient, I do not believe will have the success necessary for these changes. More is needed. The Cuban economy needs to perhaps be liberalized by sector. The sectors that the government wants to leave in State control they should do so, but the others need to be liberalized in a more complete fashion.It is necessary for Cuba to create riches that can sustain its education system, public health system, etc., which have been so important during the last fifty years of the Cuban revolution. It is very important that the Cuban government understand and learn from these models of change that have been successful, such as the Chinese model, Vietnam, and Singapore, as well as other economic models that have had success and have been able to also achieve the preservation of certain social policies that can be important to the Cuban people.
It is from there that stems the key to success, and the importance this has for Cuba’s neighbors in Latin America and the surrounding area.
A full transcript of Saladrigas’ statement in Spanish is available below the fold.
La revolución cubana esta en un momento clave, un momento muy critico, en que tiene que cambiar su sistema económico, como lo ha reconocido el propio presidente Raúl Castro, que ha dicho que es necesario buscar cambios estructurales, donde se cree productividad, cosa que carece en Cuba y hay un crecimiento económico necesario para sostener al país. Antes esta coyuntura, se enfrenta un panorama internacional que puede ser enormemente facilitador a los cambios en Cuba o puede ayudar entorpecer u obstaculizar estos cambios que son tan importantes para Cuba. Como sucedan estos cambios, que éxito tengan estos cambios va tener gran determinación sobre el futuro de Cuba. Si los cambios no logran tener éxito, pudiéramos ver en Cuba el colapso de la sociedad cubana con enormes consecuencias dañina tanto para Cuba, para su propio pueblo, como para toda la región. Un sistema colapsado en Cuba, un colapso social no es un escenario agradable para ninguno de los vecinos de Cuba, ni siquiera para el mismo futuro del pueblo de Cuba. Por lo tanto, yo creo que toda la comunidad internacional, vecina de Cuba, debe tener un gran interés en que estas reformas tengan éxito, pero gran parte de ese éxito depende del mismo Gobierno cubano y hasta que punto las dejen, las liberen lo suficiente para que funcionen. Medidas como las que se han tomado hasta ahora, que son tardías, pocas, insuficientes, no creo que logren el éxito necesario de estos cambios. Hace falta más. Hace falta quizás liberalizar la economía cubana por sector, los sectores que el Gobierno quiera dejar en el sentido en el control estatal, que así lo haga, pero los otros tienen que liberarse de una forma mas completa. Es necesario para Cuba crear riqueza para lograr sostener su sistema de educación, de salud publica, etc. que tan importante han sido en los últimos cincuenta años de revolución cubana. Es muy importante que el Gobierno cubano entienda y aprenda de aquellos modelos de cambio que han tenido éxito, como el mismo modelo chino, Vietnam, Singapur, en fin otros modelos económicos que han tenido éxito y pueden haber logrado también el mantenimiento de ciertas políticas sociales que puedan ser importantes para el pueblo cubano. De ahí radica la clave del éxito, y la importancia que esto tiene para los vecinos de Cuba en el entorno latino-americano y su alrededor.