Carlos Saladrigas in Cuba: As one Cuban saw it

Cuban independent journalist Ivan Garcia attended the event in Cuba last Friday where Cuban American businessman Carlos Saladrigas gave a speech. In that speech, Saladrigas referred to those in exile and in Cuba who oppose his plan to save the Castro revolution and the dictatorship from itself as “hysterical individuals.”

Here is an excerpt of what Ivan Garcia saw and heard at that speech from his blog (my translation):

[…] After his speech, Saladrigas responded to a battery of questions. He let loose some observations that make it obvious that the Cuban American businessman is not playing a fair game and is well connected and informed. More than anyone can imagine.

He assured everyone that within 5 years the situation in Cuba will invariably change. And, of course, not to more socialism, contrary to what the Economy Czar Marino Murillo recently indicated in a press conference when he said that there would be no political reforms on the island.

With serenity and confidence, Saladrigas designed a fantastical future. A Cuba that was inclusive, tolerant, and rich. To achieve this, he said, the country depends on an enviable source of human capital. The astute businessman gave a wink to the regime when he offered a great merit to the brothers Castro for knowing how to manage poverty.

“There are nations that can generate riches, but they do not know how to manage poverty,” he pointed out. In an attempt to encourage those who are disheartened and are waiting for the most minimal opportunity to escape Cuba, he said: “If I was 25 years old, it would not cross my mind to leave the country.”

Carlos Saladrigas sees everything very clearly. Too clearly. I found it odd that he would not question the hundreds of dissidents detained because of the visit by the German pope or the spontaneous beating given to the man who yelled down with communism in the Plaza Antonion Maceo in Santiago de Cuba. No one asked him about that either.

And it is that these spaces opened by the Catholic Church generate distrust. And some, so as not to say almost all, attend to see and hear, not to investigate. It is a lack of habit borne of five decades of hearing only one discourse. And many still do not believe it.

6 thoughts on “Carlos Saladrigas in Cuba: As one Cuban saw it”

  1. This conference took place in a Catholic Church facility, the old Seminary of St. Charles and St. Ambrose located behind the Cathedral of Havana, which is rarely if ever open to the public. The people in attendance almost certainly had to be invited or otherwise authorized to be there. But note well: this event was clearly connected to the Cuban Catholic hierarchy, once again acting as intermediary or assistant to the regime, however discreetly or indirectly.

  2. It is entirely possible that a few reasonably independent voices, such as that of Ivan Garcia, were “let in” to make things look more “open” and “above board.” But remember, in Cuba, nothing like this happens without due calculation or is ever left to chance. NOTHING.

  3. I think those independent voices were precisely the audience the regime wanted. It was a sell-job. Saladrigas message was ultimately about patience, that their government masters were working on solutions to their grievances and that “reasonable” people in Miami were backing those solutions.

  4. Of course it was sell job. Do you think for a second that if Saladrigas was perceived as at all dangerous to the regime he’d be allowed to operate like this in Cuba? He’s being put to use, regardless of what he may think he’s doing or has in mind. And no, it’s not out the question that he may be yet another victim of that rather Cuban malady: wanting to be “el Jefe de los Caballitos,” i.e., president.

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