The 74 — The Plot Thickens

I knew I smelled a rat…

More evidence is turning up that the infamous letter from the 74 dissidents was a product of anti-embargo proponents here in the US and not the dissidents on the island.

Via Penultimos Dias, via Emilio Ichikawa, via Ninoska Perez-Castellon’s radio show yesterday, “Ninoska a las 3,” broadcast on Miami’s Radio Mambi, we learn that Cuban American businessman Carlos Saladrigas, co-chair of the pro-dialogue/anti-embargo Cuba Study Group, played a pivotal and leading role in convincing some of the dissidents to sign this letter. Martha Beatriz Roque, who was interviewed by Ninoska yesterday, stated that Dagoberto Valdes showed up at her house with the letter in hand for her to sign it. Martha refused, but not before Valdes explained to her that it was he who Carlos Saladrigas contacted and asked him to edit the missive, providing him with some points to consider.

Here is Emilio Ichikawa’s summary of one of the interesting revelations during the interview (In Spanish and translated into English [thanks to Claudia Fanelli for the help]):

Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello fue entrevistada en el día de ayer (junio 10 de 2010) por la periodista Ninoska Pérez Castellón en su programa “Ninoska a las 3”, que se transmite por la emisora de Miami “Radio Mambí”. La economista y opositora cubana relató que Dagoberto Valdés se había presentado en su casa con la carta en cuestión, contándole que la había redactado él mismo a petición del empresario cubanoamericano Carlos Saladrigas, quien le indicó los dos puntos a considerar. Roque Cabello afirmó a Pérez Castellón que no firmó la carta, y que tampoco la leyó. Agregando que recientemente había asistido a una reunión junto a Dagoberto Valdés, donde le había dicho que haría público estos hechos, y él estuvo de acuerdo.

* * *

Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello was interviewed yesterday (June 10, 2010) by journalist Ninoska Perez Castellon on her program “Ninoska at 3,” broadcast on the Miami radio station, “Radio Mambi.” The Cuban economist and opponent of the regime related that Dagoberto Valdes had introduced himself in her house with the letter in question, telling her that he had edited it himself at the request of the Cuban American businessman Carlos Saladrigas, who indicated two points to consider. Roque Cabello stated to Perez Castellon that she did not sign the letter, and neither did she read it. She added that recently, she had assisted a meeting along with Dagoberto Valdes, where she told him that she intended to make public his actions, and he was in agreement. [emphasis mine]

I have some calls in to get more information regarding this interview and as soon as I have more details, I will post them.

10 thoughts on “The 74 — The Plot Thickens”

  1. So… just some food for thought:
    1. The fact that Saladrigas offered his input is no crime/sin. It’s one thing for him to force someone to make an edit (not that he could). But it’s quite another, more understandable thing for him to make a suggestion or two, which is all Valdez apparently attributed to Saladrigas.
    2. Martha Beatriz Roque, as far as I can tell, was not one of the supposed signatories as listed on CSG’s site.

    So what part of the plot has really thickened?

    I don’t like the letter and I see the situation as worth looking into. But the blot has not thickened as far as I can tell. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and say that Saladrigas no tiene madre when anybody who reads this blog would gladly have offered his/her opinion if given the chance on the phone with a Cuban dissident.

  2. Nicolasa,

    Do you know everyone that reads this blog? How do you know that “anybody who reads this blog” is not in contact “if given the chance” with Cuba’s opposition? Because I know for a fact that many “who read this blog” do just that.

    As for Saladrigas, we have known for years that he’s an opportunist. He’s looking to make millions of dollars once the embargo is lifted. For years he’s acted like the wolf in sheep’s clothing, but we all know “de la pata que cojea.” I wish for him all the pain and missery he wants to bestow on 11 million people because of his avarice.

  3. So those who signed were convinced that it was in their interests? Or were they paid some money to do it? Why did they sign? Did they understand what they were signing?

  4. Honey:

    We’re still trying to figure out just how Saladrigas & Co. was able to “convince” these dissidents that helping their oppressor will somehow eliminate their oppression. Was it money? It is possible, but we have no proof of that at this moment.

    Eventually we will find out, and it is not going to be pretty.

  5. Firefly,
    I know that some who read this blog are in contact with opposition and dissidents. I’m one of them. And we exchange openly with those in Cuba. And part of those exchanges involve the expression of opinions.
    Or are you trying to say that some people who read this blog and talk to opposition in Cuba keep all their opinions to themselves? That would be a most un-Cuban conversation haha.
    All I’m saying is that there’s nothing wrong with expressing your ideas about what you think is best if you’re exchanging with Cubans on the island. One might not like Saladrigas’ point of view or think that his approach is a dangerous one, but it would be kind of silly to expect that he not express it when given the chance.
    I really don’t believe that Saladrigas and Co. are as evil as some of the things written here imply they are. Misguided? Incorrect? Naive? Maybe. But it seems like sometimes we’re quick to make assumptions about the intentions of people with differing views. It’s more productive, more healthy, and more important to just focus on the implications of those views — whatever you think they might be.

  6. Nicolas,

    Saladrigas has been around for a long, long, long, long… time, as has his interest for making $$$$ off Cuban sweat. No one that has made the amount of MILLIONS he has can be classified as “misguided, incorrect or naive.” He has made it his mission in life to end the embargo. The fact that it would help the Cuban government to keep oppressing the Cuban people is just “collateral damage.”

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