In light of the CAFC report last week, the reaction by many Cuban-Americans has been mostly of skepticism. Which makes me wonder, what’s the reaction from the dissidents in Cuba?
Yesterday, the Miami Herald published one such reaction from the founder of the Ladies in White, Mirian Leiva.
Her words are stingingly critical of U.S. policy towards Cuba.
The present cannot be postponed, not now when we hoe the road of change, transition and democracy. Certainly, we must prepare for the moment whose groundwork we lay today. To that end, it would be extraordinarily helpful to lift the restrictive U.S. measures adopted in 2004, which haven’t produced positive results.
What better way to help our current endeavor than to enable contact between the peoples? Millions of U.S. tourists could bring their ideas, and both our peoples would better know each other. American students, professionals and scientists would help divulge advances that are unknown here and describe the fair wages received for one’s labor elsewhere. Cuban Americans would have an opportunity to exchange experiences and financially help relatives and friends who lack the most basic necessities.
The borders would open before the Cuban people so that we may find out that this is not ”the best of all possible worlds” and that the land beyond the Straits of Florida is not “the worst of all possible worlds.”
I have never understood how a country that has accumulated so much wisdom and has been so flexible with former enemies has applied such counterproductive policies to Cuba for 47 years. Unquestionably, the sagacity of the Cuban Patriarch has steered an ”enemy” that he has studied and knows well. His provocative barbs and the agents he has sent to infiltrate the U.S. government (remember the Pentagon employee) and Florida’s Cuban-American community elicit the response he expects.
I was initally surprised by that reaction. Upon further reflection, however, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at all. She’s not the first dissident to be against many aspects of U.S/Cuba policy. There’s differing views from within the Cuban dissident community, which is likely one of the reasons why the movement hasn’t been able to gain significant steam in Cuba.
We here at Babalu have been extremely critical of groups such as ENCASA who have been critical of U.S. policy towards Cuba. So then, why should we pay attention to Leiva?
Well, for starters, she is a dissident. Her anti-castro credentials are solid. The same can’t be said about several high-profile members of ENCASA. We can question ENCASA’s motives. Leiva, however, can’t be questioned. She’s fighting the good fight from within Cuba, and as such knows the realities of the situation first hand.
I’m not saying we should blindingly agree with her opinions. There are many dissidents who disagree with her. But if real progress is to made within Cuba to foster real change, then views such as Leiva’s need to be heard and given thought to.
Here’s the entire column. Let us know what you think.