The U.S.-based Council of the Americas may think they know what is best for Cubans living under the yoke of tyranny in Cuba, but they will be surprised to learn that Cubans on the island actually have their own opinion of what is best for them as well. And they will likely be even more surprised to learn that dissident leaders in Cuba are completely at odds with their recent entreaty to President Obama to lift sanctions against the repressive apartheid Castro dictatorship.
“It’s not a very viable proposal for dealing directly with self-employment in Cuba. It shows ignorance about how it works here […] I also don’t see that this letter stands for a clear defense of human rights and freedoms, which makes it suspicious.”
— Manuel Cuesta Morua, Afro-Cuban dissident leader and President of the Partido Arco Progresista
“Fundamental rights have never derived from complacency with the oppressors. Those who are afraid that time is not on their side should be hearing straight talk, with the respect for freedoms and the rights of citizens as the priority […] Oxygen for the tyrants implies increased suffering for Cubans. If you give dictators a blank check, we can predict an unflattering ending, for the costs of becoming a democratic nation will become much higher.”
— Antonio Rodiles, young Cuban democracy leader and Director of the think-tank, Estado de SATS
“From where we stand today, [the proposal] would be unethical, politically unhelpful, for the regime is condemned to disappear. It’s not right for people or institutions, in search of economic benefits, to seek engagement at this time. Moreover, due to reality and the rule of the Castros, it would be impossible for ‘self-employed’ workers or other independent organizations to receive those credits or support.”
— José Daniel Ferrer, Executive Secretary of the Unión Patriótica de Cuba, the largest opposition group on the island