The reform Cuba needs

For all his crudity and devotion to his power and that of the dictatorship he heads, raúl castro has demonstated a mastery of public relations in his short tenure as “president.” It’s all words really, these pronouncements allowing Cubans to have cell phones and stay at tourist hotels — only a small percentage of Cubans will be able to enjoy these “reforms” — but they are words that stand to earn him prestige in circles of people who don’t understand what the Cuban people have been missing for almost 50 years.
I do not begrudge the creature comforts these recent pronouncements might provide Cubans who can afford them. They are due whatever diversion they can find. But what the Cuban people lack is not cell phones or other electronic device — although it will be intriguing to see what Cubans armed with cell phone cameras and computers might be able to accomplish in their struggle against the dictatorship. (One small potential benefit of lifting the hotel ban is that Cubans will be able to access cybercafes there now reserved for tourists.)
What Cubans are missing, thanks to the dictatorship, is liberty, the freedom that left unfetttered, in both the economic and political arenas, would not only let Cubans buy what they want to buy, but also choose their leaders and their destiny for Cuba. A few consumer goods will not begin to pay for what the dictatorship has taken.
A disposal of tyranny and a restoration of freedom is the reform Cuba needs most.
Until then, castro’s “reforms” are only words.