Guillermo Farinas says it’s time for U.S. to “MOVE-ON” (and allow tourism to Cuba)


Cuban officer Guillermo Farinas training in Soviet Union

And speaking of old fotos of Farinas:

From the fine folks at The Cuban Triangle: “He (Farinas) is of the opinion that the United States should seize the current moment “to move” and to authorize travel by American tourists. In his view, this would be the best help for changes in Cuba. “The visits of millions of United States citizens would without a doubt change this country, just as did the arrival of exiles in 1979.”

The world’s medical community, by the way, is marveling at Farinas rapid “bounce-back” from his hunger strike.

40 thoughts on “Guillermo Farinas says it’s time for U.S. to “MOVE-ON” (and allow tourism to Cuba)”

  1. Since I do not believe in a hands off criticism of anybody I am amazed that Farinas would be so naive. He is playing right into the hands of Castro. To drop the embargo is a massive political victory for Castro and would further repress the Cuban people. The millions of perverted sex tourists from Europe have not freed Cuba, why do they think American perverts would do any different? One look at Cuba’s tourism industry and tourists will not come back. So Cuba will then invest in their tourism further with the useful idiot’s money and it will snowball and all the degenerates can happily vacation in the Auschwitz of the Caribbean.

  2. Fariñas was a COLONEL in the armed forces of Castro, Inc. You don’t rise that high in a criminal organization, whether it’s Castro, Inc. or the Mafia, for being punctual and having good penmanship, if you get my drift. I have always felt that anyone who’s gotten high enough in the Castro system should always be seen as extremely suspect until and unless proven otherwise. Unfortunately, Fariñas smells fishy, progressively more so, and I’m hardly the only one who doubts him. And no, I will not listen to those who are fishy themselves telling me not to question him. That’s sort of like Jesse Jackson counseling Bill Clinton on infidelity and philandering issues. Anyone who is dubious should be questioned. Anyone.

  3. Pototo,

    I am convinced (and so should everyone else) that Embargo or no embargo – the Mafia will still be there oppressing Cuba. I feel that it is a complete waste of time and effort of this subject.

    My personal opinion is to have a complete BLOCKADE on Cuba. PERIOD!

    However, when you have 150 other countries that can trade with Cuba, including Canada and Mexico (which all USA products now go via Mexico to Cuba via Mex/Cuban third party traders) – it reduces the policy of the current ‘USA Embargo’ to pure fantasy as a “policy tool” of effective foreign policy.

    The ‘fantasy embargo’, graffiti, and gladiolas, will not get rid of this Cuban Mafia. They will only be eliminated and removed from power by the exertion of physical force. Until there are enough brave souls to undertake such an effort, we will continue with this Caribbean nightmare.

  4. Blockade? You mean a real one? Like what was done with South Africa? Don’t even begin to hold your breath. It’s NOT happening. It’s not like the world gives a shit. It never has.

  5. Am I crazy, or is this not the blog that, just a few months ago, was backing Farinas (posting “Solidarity Now” posters with his image, etc…) and showing support for him during his hunger strike? I have to call you on this one; this is very bad form. This is a man who nearly died for his beliefs. You do realize that at best, most of the dissidents in Cuba want “socialism-lite”. They aren’t sitting around reading Jefferson and Payne. They are slaves in a locked-down system, and do their best with what they have.

  6. Tell me, because it could be almost anything (I’m not up to speed on the latest). All I know is he recently (July of 2010) said this on a blog, “I want to die in my country right under the noses of the dictators who have the guns, rifles, cannons and bombs,” he wrote on an opposition blog. “I have the moral weight of the people from below, who have been deceived and repressed for 51 years by those who have the weapons, the violence and totalitarian laws they use to govern poorly from above.”

  7. Marquito:

    Yes, this is the same blog.

    This is also the same blog that has celebrated Yoani’s brave denouncements of the Castro regime, and also has called her out on her sometimes naive, other times misinformed, declarations.

    No one, absolutely no one, is untouchable. No one is infallible. And no one gets a free ride. If we see or learn about something we do not agree with, it is our obligation to point it out. No matter who it is. And if it is one of our own, it is even more important to do so because if we did not do that, we would be a bunch of hypocrites.

    We support the dissident and opposition movement in Cuba. We may not agree with what some of the members of the movement say or do, but we support their rights to express their beliefs. What we will not give them, however, is the title of “untouchable.”

    No one has earned that title, and no one deserves that title.

  8. True, but then you must bring into question ALL the disidents (most of whom again, have a perspective of what freedom looks like that is, at best, milder socialism). As soon as one of them says something “wrong”, using this criteria, will we be looking for photos of them with Castro dressed as pioneros, or with Che in Angola? Why wasn’t this photo posted earlier?

  9. Let me VERY clear. Anyone that opposes Castro I will stand with. Anyone that capitulates in the slightest I will oppose. Even if they are one and the same.
    Its called standing for principles. Its called having convictions. A foreign thought to many.

  10. Marquito:

    I will repeat what I said in my previous comment:

    We support the dissidents and the opposition movement in Cuba.

    As you correctly pointed out, most of them have either no concept or a very skewed perception of what freedom and democracy is. Nevertheless, they are fighting for it.

    Our job is not to vet each and every dissident to assess their level of knowledge regarding the tenets of freedom, our job is to support them in their struggle. If one of them moves in a direction which we believe will jeopardize the struggle for liberty, we will call them on it.

    Those of us in exile who do know how democracy works have a choice: either we sit idly by and let them sort it out on their own, or we actively assist them in not only their struggle, but in pointing out errors that can hurt our fight for freedom.

    We are all Cubans, both on and off the island.

  11. Marquito,

    I feel compelled to add a couple other important issues to what Alberto responded above.

    First and foremost, I respect Fariñas’ convictions, will, determination and sacrifices as, I believe, we all do. And this blog stands in support and solidarity for his rights and liberties.

    However, the US/Cuba travel ban isnt solely a Cuban issue. It is an issue of US Policy. And, quite frankly, I dont believe any of us here, along with the majority of Americans, want an America that colludes and is complicit with the abhorrent violations of human rights of the castro regime. Lifting of the travel ban sends a very specific message: The United States of America, land of the Free, has no issues with the tyranny forced upon the Cuban people by its government. That is not my America.

    Second, I believe Fariñas to be dead wrong in his statement quoted above. Not only has Cuba been visited by millions of tourists from free countries all over the world, but the island has been open to those countries for decades. And in those decades, nothing has changed for the positive. Quite the contrary. Tourism dollars has helped the tyranny not just financially but has been instrumental in the consolidation of its power.

    if there is one absolute truth to the issue of positive change in Cuba it is quite simple and has been proven, time and again, for half a century:

    Change in Cuba will not come from the outside. One Fariñas will not do it, either. It has to be many, many more.

    With respect to your “most opposition wants a sort of “socialism-lite” comment:

    Fist, there’s is no such thing as “socialism-lite”, despite all the punditry and “experts saying there is. Socialism, inherently, cannot exist without the absolute power of the state. Thus the “lite” is merely window dressing over the infrastructure of complete control.

    Moreover, freedom, like its antithesis, is also absolute. It cannot exist piece meal regardless of how many dissidents or opposition groups believe that it can.

  12. “They will only be eliminated and removed from power by the exertion of physical force.” La Conchita
    Estoy contigo cien por ciento en esto. Like the brave heroes of the Bay of Pigs invasion say, “castro came in with bullets and the only way out for him is with bullets.”

  13. Alberto and Val, I can agree on your points regarding freedom and how it can be achieved. The statement from Farinas that most sticks out for me is ““The visits of millions of United States citizens would without a doubt change this country, just as did the arrival of exiles in 1979.” To me, this is someone saying that anything is better than nothing. What kind of “change” that would bring, I have no idea. But there is desperation in that statement. His reference to the arrival of exiles in 1979 is pure emotion. I have heard from many who did return that their presence was like a salve on a wound; they lifted their spirits and gave them hope. The people on the island are slaves, alone and isolated. I think it’s one thing to say you disagree with Farinas. I think it’s something completely different to post a photo of him to portray him as some kind of red-commy soldier.

    And of course, there is no such thing as socialism-lite; that’s a joke term my cousin came up with. My uncle (her father) was assasinated here in Miami for being an outspoken critic of the Castro regime, and he was a Bay of Bigs prisoner as well. But my uncle wasn’t assasinated by the regime. He was assasinated by another opposition group, who decided that my uncle’s approach through “peaceful and diplomatic means” wasn’t hard-line enough. So they shot him in front of his daughters, because he was a danger to them. I only bring that up because we need to remember that we are ALL on the same side. We can criticize, but we should not entertain demonizing each other (and dare I say, enter into character assasination by digging up the past through old photos). We are all Cubans.

  14. One gentle reminder…..
    American tourists already go to Cuba and have had ZERO impact. They go under the guise of family visits and OFAC licenses.

  15. What a wonderful discussion we have rolling here.

    Mr. Prieto and Mr. Cruz:
    I could not have stated it any better.

    Kenko and La Conchita:
    In my opinion, you are both very accurate in your own respective opinions. If only there was an easier, less precarious way to run guns to the island nowadays. It is, after all, as history dictates, the most fathomable, pragmatic, and promising approach towards regaining/recapturing a King’s land; such a means of vanquishment veritably – desafortunadamente -applies to la cubita.

    Marquito,
    As you know, the war in and out of Cuban is still very, very much alive, and it is, without doubt, a very dangerous undertaking. The 70’s in Miami did see its share of violence, and then came the 80s, the former being primarily politically-induced bloodshed.

    You ask yourself what kind of change the loosening of trade/travel restrictions would bring forth to the island’s mental approach. You are uncertain of its potential results. Well, the certainty of the results are palpable to me: I bank on history, and history tells me that Amercans – seeing that Cuban-Americans presently travel to Cuba daily – will do absolutely nothing to mobilize the masses and incite a counter-revolution. I would rather put my money on Fidel reaching the age of 100 before any such results come to fruition.

    Concerning the topic of democracy in Cuba, and the island being one of 11-million slaves, I disagree. That’s right, though most of us – Cuban-Americans – espouse values committed towards producing democracy and freedom in Cuba, we do tend to disagree. That is only natural and imperative in the possibility of fomenting change in Cuba. That is democracy, is it not?

    Now, as I have mentioned prior to this discussion, Cuba is an island inhabited by a small and vigorous minority of political dissidents. I stand by these intrepid men and women. That is my duty. Perhaps one day they triple in number. Nonetheless, the majority of the Cuban masses – though enculturated to adhere to the false principles of the revolution – are not on my side. I repeat, I am Cuban and I do not stand by the majority of the Cuban masses, seeing as that too many of them find it their duty to spit-on and brutalize old women who march in white. And that is the lesser of their wrongdoings. It is not a matter of whether I believe they are inoculated with Fidel’s propaganda – they are, naturally – but it is more significant that they believe and understand this aberration. Yet, as far as the majority of them are concerned, Fidel es Dios.

    Democracy in Cuba will not come overnight, even after the Revolucion crumbles. Foreign-aid (Cuban-Americans) will not only be burdened with the task to destroy the current power and reclaim the land, but they will also have to serve as guides towards democracy in Cuba. If they fail to do this, Cuban will once again be plagued by a common Latin-American syndrome: another totalitarian replacement. The curse of the Carribean – history – tells me so. And as un-democratic as it will appear to an international audience, it will be the Cuban-Americans who will infiltrate and integrate a free-market economy in Cuba. And, in due time, the Cubans will assimilate. If not, as Marquito states, the majority of Cubans – generally seeing capitalism as an ugly word – will elect another demagogue as their King. But is that not THEIR vision of democracy? Because I say they are not free, that they fail to fit my vision of democracy and freedom, does that mean they will concur? Let us look critically at other countries and the history of the world/humanity.

  16. “No one is untouchable”. True words.

    My interpretation of Marquito’s issue with the post is that, by showing pictures of Fariñas in his old “officer” days, it gives the impression of equating the belief in a different approach to U.S./Cuba policy to some connection/collusion with the regime. In other words, “if you believe eliminating travel restrictions is the best way to promote freedom in Cuba, you must have some friendly ties to the regime. If not, then we’ll make sure to dig up some dirt to prove our point”.

    Assuming the above is the correct interpretation, I agree with Marquito. Let’s freely and fairly criticize, but without the demonizing by way of showing some cobwebbed old pictures that make tenuous assumptions. Fariñas may not be untouchable and he may have naive and/or wrong views on the best way forward, but the guy has also put his life on the line for what he stands for. THAT fact, in my mind, IS untouchable.

  17. Mr. Fontova, maybe you can find one of him sharing a cigar with Fidel; then you can really demonize him. I think Yoani posted one of herself dressed in pionero garb. Maybe you can find one of her standing in a classroom being forced to say “Che Companero!”, and use that against her… when she says something you disagree with of course.

  18. Robert (and to a certain extent, Marquito):

    I agree; people should not be demonized just because they disagree with us. But–and this is a big BUT–neither should we ignore the past of any individual when their actions and statements become questionable.

    Perhaps we are suffering from the innumerable amount of counter-intelligence operatives that for the past five decades have consistently infiltrated the opposition movements both in Cuba and in exile. They have wreaked havoc amongst the ranks and set the movement back too many times to count. Perhaps we are too sensitive to this, but based on this history, I believe that we have a good reason to be overly suspicious.

    Is every suspicion justified? No.

    Has every suspicion been unjustified? No.

    We have a horrible record of picking out the goats among the sheep, and some might say–with very good justification–that it is better to err on the side of caution. It is a narrow line to walk and one that will unfortunately hurt some that are innocent. But if we relax our vigilance even one bit, the damage can be extensive.

    We have already seen what the regime is capable of doing, and we have already seen what the regime has done. For me, personally, I’d rather be too careful than too trusting.

  19. It’s not a matter of blind trust, Alberto. And, yes, we must be vigilant. But this post goes a bit too far, IMO. If we’re going to be extra vigilant and cautious, then we must do so even when they’re on our side of an issue. We shouldn’t wait for someone to make a questionable statement (albeit one that’s far from damning, otherwise many of my dearest friends and relatives would fall under suspicion) to dig up some old pictures that make tenuous assumptions. Otherwise, I’m afraid posts like these give an impression that we’re overreacting and ready to throw Fariñas under the proverbial bus for having a different opinion. I know you guys well enough to know that’s not the case, but all I’m saying is that being cautious also means being EXTRA careful not to demonize, especially a prisoner of conscience.

  20. Robert:

    Perhaps you have a point that this post goes a bit too far. But don’t you think Fariñas statement that American tourists should be allowed to visit Cuba so that Cubans can sell them bootleg cigars and Cuban women can marry American citizens went a bit too far, also?

    This goes beyond a disagreement on the embargo issue.

  21. Alberto,

    I don’t agree with Fariñas’ statements, but I don’t think they warrant this type of post. One action doesn’t merit the other, unless there’s substantial proof. Perhaps I’m missing something.

    • Robert, I can count on one hand the dissidents and opposition on the island that I trust. Fariñas isn’t one of them. BTW, Humberto has every right to express his educated opinion on Fariñas, or any other topic for that matter, any way he damn well pleases. Just like you do.

  22. When one makes oneself the public voice of a cause or an issue, one also makes oneself subject to scrutiny from all sides.

    The editors of this blog do not edit the contributors for content. if Humberto believes it important to make a point that Fariñas was, in fact and indeed, a former member of castro’s forces and trained by the Soviets or Stasi, then it’s his prerogative to do so.

    Moreover, this fact also carries with it a certain weight, as Marquito noted above the dichotomy Fariñas statements just a couple of weeks apart.

  23. Robert:

    I wish all of this were as simple as a tit-for-tat, but it isn’t. Too much has happened in the past five decades and there have been too many betrayals.

    You can close the barn door if you like, but that horse got out a long time ago.

  24. Again, folks, when it comes to all things Cuban, we must always, ALWAYS, consider the source of the information. Please note that the source of the Fariñas quote is a quote at the Cuban Triangle – run by Phil peters and the Lexington Institute – from an El Pais article. However, while the El Pais article is strewn with direct farinas quotes, this particular quote we’re discussing is an interpretation by the El Pais journalist on Farinas’ thoughts about US/Cuba Travel. Although the sentiment expressed by the reporter may be exactly what Farinas believes, it is still not a direct quote.

    Moreover, all of this that we have been witnessing and discussing at length the past couple of weeks has been perfectly orchestrated by factions who benefit directly from the lifting of all US/Cuba travel and trade restrictions.

    Now, let’s all ask ourselves why all the big hullaballoo all of a sudden?

    Here’s your answer:

    because the 111th Congress of the United States of America, as it is, has a very short life span right now. Come November there will be major, major changes in both the House and the Senate. the entities and factions that stand to benefit from lifting all us/cuba restrictions – all of which have spent untold millions and millions of dollars and vested much time, effort and political capitol in same – realize right now that all of the work and all of the lobbying and all of the money spent may have all been for naught come November. We are witnessing and experiencing the full court press. Everything we’ve seen lately are nothing more and nothing less than proverbial hail mary passes. They are in panic mode.

    And these hail mary passes arent just meant to influence US policy makers directly, but the dissident movement itself indirectly, and thus hopefully achieving the former.

    Everything is planned here. Nothing is unexpected, whether its a reaction from the Cuban exile community to an EU member government to US Lawmakers.

    It’s fourth and long, folks, with little time left on the clock. watch for more “softening” from the regime as the clock ticks down and more Cuba language in more US legislation going for approval in Congress.

    you read it here first.

  25. BTW, Humberto has every right to express his educated opinion on Fariñas, or any other topic for that matter, any way he damn well pleases. Just like you do.

    Of course he does, George. Just as anyone else who posts and makes comments here has the right to have their opinions debated in a fair and respectful manner. Where did I state or insinuate that the post should be removed or edited?

    • “Fair” and “respectful” are in the eye of the beholder, Robert. I, for one, will not edit myself to sound nice and sweet. Fuck that. We should be sick and tired of bending over backwards to be “fair” and “respectful” and finally call evil and its tools what they are without mincing words. The time for “nice” is long over.

  26. Finally some pictures surfacing of Farinas past. I respect what he’s trying to do… but, people are forgetful that Farinas was part of the Castro regime.

  27. “hate him, criticize him but no one here has done more for Cuba than Farinas.”

    Please give me a break…

  28. Ditto George,

    I’m sure that Farinas has not gone through a fraction of the hell that D. Oscar Elias Biscet has…

  29. Every dissident who parrots Castro Inc should be suspect. They are either stooges or misguided.

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