The Professor Speaks…or Writes…of Cuba

Seems Cubans have more than one friend at Yale. I knew about Professor Carlos Eire, author of the most moving memoir- Waiting for Snow in Havana– and staunch friend of Cuban freedom, as well as of this blog. But here is a commentary from another, Roberto González Echevarría, in which he indicates that Obama should ask for a bit of reciprocity from the regime. Most surprising of all is the venue here: CNN. My, is that a pig I see above me?

For me, the money quote:

My apprehension about enacting policies that will improve economic conditions on the island is that they will only serve to strengthen the white, male gerontocracy’s grip on power. In totalitarian regimes with no transparency or input by the people on the allotment of funds, history shows that the ruling class keeps the lion’s share. Cuba is no exception.

Read it for yourself here.

Cross-posted at Ninety miles

9 thoughts on “The Professor Speaks…or Writes…of Cuba”

  1. Background information on Yale Professor Roberto González Echevarría:
    Born in Sagua la Grande in 1943 and left Cuba in 1960.
    In the summer of 1975 and 1976 published articles in the pro-Castro magazine Areito.
    http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/dialogue/Areito-index.pdf
    In 1978 was a member of the COMITE CUBANO-AMERICANO PRO NORMALIZACION DE RELACIONES CON CUBA (Cuban-American Committee for Normalization of Relations with Cuba).
    His name appears in the “List of Colaborators” of the book “Contra Viento y Marea” of the Grupo Areito, published by Casa de las Americas in Havana in 1978. The book is a diatribe against the Cuban exile community and laudatory of Fidel Castro and his Communist regime.
    Roberto González Echevarría participated in the so-called “dialogue” with Fidel Castro and other Cuban officials on November 20-21 and December 8, 1978. His name and signature appear on the “dialogue” document:
    http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/dialogue/Dialogo-firmantes.pdf
    In 1979, along with Yale Professor Jose Juan Arrom, another “dialogue” participant, they organized at Yale University a visit by Cuban government official and writer Alejo Carpentier during March 25-31, 1979. See: “Carpentier en la Universidad de Yale,” AREITO, Vol. 5, Nos. 18-20, 1979, p.62.
    In 1980, Roberto González Echevarría was a member of the editorial board of Areito.
    He was the principal speaker and organizer of the Carpentier Memorial Symposium at Brooklyn College on April 15, 1981, in which a participating Cuban government delegation included writer Ambrosio Fornet.
    Roberto González Echevarría has never written about his motivations for this previous pro-Castro activism nor denounced its participants, as did the Rev. Manuel Espinosa.

  2. “Roberto González Echevarría has never written about his motivations for this previous pro-Castro activism nor denounced its participants.” Wow. Who ever said that hunger for public self-criticism was only for Stalinists?

  3. Very good article, but Professor Gonzales Echavarria forgot the most important concession that the Obama administration should have demanded in return for lifting our restrictions: that Castro rescind the 20% fee currently imposed on all remittances and currency exchanges.

  4. “Who ever said that hunger for public self-criticism was only for Stalinists?”
    To grant forgiveness, there first has to be repentance and atonement. That is a Christian tenent, not Stalinism. The only pro-Castro activist who ever recanted was the Rev. Manuel Espinosa. The son of Dr. Hilda Molina also publicly asked on an Argentine TV program for forgiveness from the Cuban exile community.
    Nations that have overcome totalitarianism and internal strife, such as South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, and others, established Truth Commissions when democracy triumphed. Someday, Cuba will also need to create a Truth Commission, and pro-Castro activists, especially those in academia, like Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, and accused spies Marifeli Perez-Stable, Lisandro Perez, Carlos Alvarez, and others, will have to come clean. Just like the Soviet KGB and Communist Party archives have been exposed, along with the East German Stasi archives, someday Cuban State Security Archives will reveal the true activities of pro-Castro activists and spies. Although Marifeli Perez-Stable claims that she no longer supported the Castro regime in the late 1980s, Cuban intelligence defector BP told U.S. intelligence that he was her handler when they secretly met in Ottawa in 1994. There is no evidence that Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria is still not being handled by Cuba, because he has refused to reveal his dealings with them.

  5. I prefer to leave matters of forgiveness, repentance and atonement to God. He’s a much better judge than we are. As for a Truth Commission, I agree that Cuba will have to go through this process but I would caution you against thinking that the former dialogistas and their friends are the only ones who will have to answer for their actions. Everyone, no matter how noble their intentions, will have to account for what they did over the last 50 years.

  6. You need to inform yourself on the work of Truth Commissions. They apply to those who aided and abetted crimes of the dictatorship, including espionage, not to “everyone.” A repentant apostate asks for forgiveness and makes atonement before God and mankind.

  7. I know of no meaningful Truth and Reconciliation process where both the oppressor and the oppressed weren’t forced to confront their deeds. El Salvador, Peru, Guatemala, South Africa…all held oppressive governments AND the people/groups that opposed them responsible for acts of violence. We are blind to this at our own peril.

  8. I would enjoy continuing this polemic, however, I refrain from doing so with someone who hides behind a pseudonym.

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