Reinaldo Arenas and the 1989 plebescite

On last night’s Babalu Radio Hour I mentioned that I had purchased a book titled Un Plebiscito a [f]idel [c]astro authored by Reinaldo Arenas and Jorge Camacho. This was an open letter published on January 1, 1989 that (politely) asked fidel to hold a national plebiscite in Cuba, in essence a yes/no vote, on whether the Cuban people wanted him, who on that date had ruled for thirty years, to remain as president.
The Acrobat® PDF file in the link (here) is a scan of the letter and the signatories to the open letter. My interest in presenting this is to illustrate the variety of the signer’s stated political beliefs, from Armando Valladares and Carlos Alberto Montaner on one end, to Susan Sontag, Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, Jack Nicholson, and Yves Montand on the other.
And what has happened in the intervening 18 years since that open letter was published to improve human rights in Cuba? Not a damn thing.

2 thoughts on “Reinaldo Arenas and the 1989 plebescite”

  1. Well, at least the letter gave Castro one more document to wipe his butt with, just like all those high-sounding “agreements” his government has signed at one summit or another and then totally ignored. I certainly hope the signatories knew there wasn’t the slightest chance Castro would respond any other way.

  2. Reinaldo Arenas said that he knew perfectly well that Fidel Castro would NOT abide by this open letter. He spearheaded this campaign to illustrate to the world the kind of tryant that Castro is, because by comparison the much maligned Pinochet had only a short time before the publishing of this letter, abided by a plebicite. Reinaldo was a brilliant author and strategist. He knew how to fight the beast and how to pull the rug from under this conniving filthy, smelly feet.

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