The most important event after the 1959 in Cuba

18 januari 2015 at 12:34 f m

dimas castellanosBy Dimas Castellanos, Havanna

The news about the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States is in fact of enormous significance to the Cuban society. The bad relations between the two governments has negatively impacted the destiny of the Cuban society for a very long time.

The confrontation between the governments of Cuba and the United States began in 1959. That year the Constitution was replaced by the Basic Law of the Cuban State, and power concentrated in the hands of the leader of the revolution. Between May 1959 and October 1960, nationalization of American property caused a conflict that caused the US decision to break relations with Cuba. The resulting dispute has for all these years been used by the Cuban government as an excuse for economic inefficiency and to escape commitments to human rights.

After more than half a century of confrontation, negotiations just started between the US and the Cuban governments. Why now – you may ask. Large part of the explanation lies in this:

On the Cuban side, the failure in the economy and the crisis in Venezuela with falling oil prices. This has led to a worsening of living conditions, widespread corruption, mass exodus, and discontent.

On the US side, the failure of the politics targeted to promote change within the island, the decrease in its influence over the countries of the region, the potential danger of a violent outcome in Cuba that would launch hundreds of thousands of Cubans to US shores.

In summary, the confrontation became harmful to all: the so called fidelism failed, and so did the sanctions.

This takes place against a weak and fragmented civil society, which explains that the Government, after 55 years in power, negotiates with the ”enemy” and disclaims any force within the country.

Obamas new approach
In this context, Barack Obama´s speech departs from the dilemma of what must be first: suspend the sanctions or democratize Cuba. The US President does not require democratization as a precondition for resuming relations. With that decision, the argument of the ”enemy”, used by Cuba to demobilize society, will be gradually replaced by the contradiction between people and government. And although the regime’s control over society will slow the changes, it will not be able to avoid them. In that sense, the White House´s set of actions is favorable for the revival of civil society. Once the relations get normalized, what happens will depend on the willingness and ability of Cubans to take advantage of the new scenario. The first sign is that thousands and thousands of Cubans are interested in the negotiations.

The Government´s declared purpose of achieving economic growth and maintaining power will not be possible. It could achieve slow changes, but only until the inclusion of Cuba in the global economy and that the citizen empowerment permits it. The transformations in the economy will move slowly but inexorably to other sectors of society. And in that process, an emerging middle class and recovering citizen status will emerge.

The most important event since 1959
The resurrection of relations between Cuba and the greatest economic and scientific power in the world, separated from Cuba by a few sea miles, opens a door to Raúl Castro to break the deadlock we have been in for a long time. He could take our country out of a deplorable condition and finish his term with a positive development that should be taken into account when placed in the scales of history what happened in these 55 years. And that gives this resurrection of relations – even if it is just the first step in a long and difficult way – a dimension that makes it the most important event since the first of January 1959.

Entry filed under: politik.

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