Has D-Day Arrived?

Telephone conversation between Barack Obama and Raul Castro. (White House)

Telephone conversation between Barack Obama and Raul Castro. (White House)

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 17 December 2014 — Today has been one of those days we imagine a thousand ways, but never as it finally happened. You prepare for a date on which you can celebrate the end, hug your friends who return home, wave a flag in the middle of the street, but D-Day is late. Instead, events arrive in fragments, an advance here, a loss there. With no cries of “Long live free Cuba,” nor uncorked bottles. Life obscures from us this turning point that we would mark forever on our calendars.

The announcement by the governments of Cuba and the United States of the reestablishments of diplomatic relations surprises us in the midst of signs that pointed in the opposite direction, and also of exhausted hopes. Raúl Castro just postponed the third round of talks with the European Union, scheduled for next month, and this December 10 repression fell heavily on activists, as it does every International Human Rights Day.

The first surprise was that, in the midst of the official bluster, of a certain turn of the ideological screw expressed in calls to redouble our guard against the enemy, the Plaza of the Revolution and the White House had been in talks for 18 months. Clear evidence that all this discourse of intransigence was just for show. While they made the island’s citizens believe that even to cross the threshold of the United States Interest Section in Havana turned them into traitors to the homeland, the leaders in their olive-green were working out agreements with Uncle Sam. The deceits of politics!

On the other hand, both Obama’s statements, as well as Castro’s, had a hint of capitulation. The US president announced a long list of moderating measures to bring the two nations closer, before the coveted and greatly demanded steps of democratization and political opening in our country would be achieved. The dilemma of what should have come first, a gesture from Havana or flexibility from Washington, has just been answered. However, the fig leaf of the American embargo remains, so that no one can say the resignation as been complete.

Raul Castro, for his part, limited himself to announcing the new gestures from Obama and referring to the exchange of Alan Gross and other prisoners of interest of the American government. However, in his address before the national television cameras, he gave no evidence of any agreement or compromise from the Cuban side, aside from the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. The agenda on the far side of the Florida Straits we know in detail, but the internal one remains, as it so often does, hidden and secret.

Still, despite the absence of public commitments on the part of Cuba, today was a political defeat. Under the leadership of Fidel Castro we would have never even reached an outline of an agreement of this nature. Because the Cuban system is supported by – as one of its main pillars – the existence of a permanent rival. David can’t live without Goliath and the ideological apparatus has depended too long on this dispute.

Do I listen to speeches or buy fish?

In the central market of Carlos III, customers were surprised midday that the big TVs were not broadcasting football or videoclips, but a speech by Raúl Castro and later one by Obama through the Telesur network. The first allocution caused a certain astonishment, but the second was accompanied by kisses launched toward the face of the US president, particularly when he mentioned relaxations in the sending of remittances to Cuba and the delicate topic of telecommunications. Now and again the cry of “I LOVE…” (in English!) could be heard from around the corner.

It is important to also say that the news had fierce competition, like the arrival of fish to the rationed market, after years of disappearance. However, by mid-afternoon almost everyone was aware and the shared feelings were of joy, relief, hope.

This, however, is just the beginning. Lacking is a public timeline by which commits the Cuban government to a series of gestures in support of democratization and respect for differences. We must take advantage of the synergy of both announcements to extract a public promise, which must include, at a minimum, four consensus points that civil society has been developing in recent months.

The release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience; the end of political repression; the ratification of the United Nations covenants on Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the consequent adjustment of domestic laws; and the recognition of Cuban civil society within and outside the island. Extracting these commitments would begin the dismantling of totalitarianism.

As long as steps of this magnitude are not taken, many of us will continue to think that the day we have longed for is not close. So, we will keep the flags tucked away, keep the corks in the bottles, and continue to press for the final coming of D-Day.

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265 thoughts on “Has D-Day Arrived?

  1. THE ENGLISH VERSION STATEMENT BY CUBAN PERFORMANCE ARTIST TANIA BRUGUERA AND THE Yo Tambien Exijo EVENT PLATFORM!

    “THE WORK WILL BE PERFORMED” – 12.27.2014– The meeting today between artist Tania Bruguera, spokesperson for the #YoTambienExijo platform, and the President of the National Council of Arts (CNAP), Rubén del Valle, lasted over four hours. The #YoTambienExijo platform is calling for an artistic performance at the Revolution Square in Havana on Tuesday December 30th at 15 h.

    Discussions about the feasibility of the realization of the performance occupied most of the time. Del Valle made it clear that the Council does not support the organization, promotion or legal procedures for carrying out the performance of the work “Tatlin’s Whisper # 6”. On the same token Del Valle, head of the cultural institution, then proceeded to warn the artist that she could face “legal and personal consequences,” in his own words.

    Bruguera then affirmed: “the work will be performed as it was designed from the get go. This work is a contribution to the necessary discussion of ideas in Cuban society, confirming that she will continue on carrying on with the necessary legal formalities on Monday December 29 at the Directorate General of the National Revolutionary Police, State entity responsible for granting permits. Del Valle’s forecasted that the permissions “would not be granted.”

    The Chair of the CNAP pleaded with the artist not to go ahead with the planned performance on this occasion because in his opinion, “the action will negatively impact public opinion, at a moment that negotiations between the governments of Cuba and the United States to fully restore diplomatic and trade relations are at its initial stages. Del Valle then proposed to her a change of venues proposingries and schools for the future performance, on which the artist disagreed because the intention of her work is to give space to all the voices.

    The meeting was also useful to exchange their different points of views on political art and the role of art in society. Bruguera defended her concept of “Specific Political Moment,” which could be translated as work done for a particular context and a political situation. She also advocated for the right of citizens to free speech, respect the political and ideological diversity existing within Cuban society and taking ownership of their own destiny as a nation. “It was an honest and complex conversation at the same time, in which I defended my reasons for this is the right time to make the performance” said the artist.

    The meeting was also attended by Jorge Fernández, the Director of the Wilfredo Lam Center, where the artist performed the original and first version of “Tatlin’s Whisper # 6” with open microphone, during the 10th edition of Annual Biennial of Havana 2009. Finally, both sides agreed to keep an open channel of communications between the Board and the Artist.

    CONTACT:

    CLICK LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION!

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/yo-tambi%C3%A9n-exijo/the-work-will-be-performed/1383885851911927

  2. Cuba agricultural sector is in shambles. Cuba’s National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI), in the report title “Agricultural Sector, Selected Indicators”, include information from January to December of 2013.

    The agricultural production results of 2013 look very bleak with regard to the economic model adopted by the Castroit tyrannical regime. The drop in production mimic what happened 50 years ago. Below is a comparison between 2013 and 2012.

    Food production was 67,200 tons less than in 2012.

    Potato production dropped 4 %

    Production of other tuber crops decreased by 37 %.

    Banana production dropped 25.6 %, for a total of 181,700 tons less.

    Citric fruits dropped 18.8 %, for a total of 34,400 tons less.

    Cow milk production was 12.7 million liters less.

    Milk delivered to the population was 17 million liters less

    Milk delivered to the industry was 7.8 million liters less.

  3. THE LATEST ON THE TANIA BURGUERA PERFORMANCE ON DEC. 30! THE CASTRO GOVERNMENT HAS WARNED HER SHE CAN FACE “consecuencias legales y personales” (personal and legal concequences)! SORRY, SO FAR ONLY SPANISH BUT WILL LOOK FOR THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION! THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA IS BACK TO IT’S OLD TRICKS! PARTIAL GOOGLE TRANSLATION BELOW!
    UPDATE : “The work will be performed as it was designed ” – More than four hours long meeting of the President of the National Council of Arts ( CNAP ), Ruben del Valle, with artist Tania Bruguera , spokeswoman for the civil platform # YoTambienExijo promoting an artistic performance in Revolution Square in Havana on Tuesday December 30 at 15 h .

    Discuss the advisability of its realization occupied most of the time. Del Valle made ​​it clear that the Council does not support the organization , disclosure or legal procedures for carrying out the work ” Tatlin ‘s Whisper # 6″ . The holder of the state institution warned that the artist could face ” legal and personal consequences,” in his words .

    Bruguera then affirmed : “the work will be performed as it was designed from the beginning. This art is a contribution to the necessary discussion of ideas in Cuban society ” and confirmed that continue to make the necessary legal formalities on Monday December 29 at the Directorate General of the National Revolutionary Police , State entity responsible for granting permits. Del Valle predicted ” it would not be granted .”

    The Chair of the CNAP asked the artist does not make the performance on this occasion because in his opinion, ” the action negatively impact public opinion , at an initial stage of negotiations between the governments of Cuba and the United States to fully restore diplomatic and trade relations. ” He proposed to change a closed factories and schools future performance, on which the artist disagreed because the intention of his work is to give space to all the voices .

  4. So, Mario, what do you think about Fidel living like a king in private, while he presents a totally different, much more humble, public persona? I’d love to hear your answer to that one.

  5. Humberto has a talent to raise interesting points:
    MANY PEOPLE THINK THAT THE DOVE THAT PERCHED ON FIDEL CASTRO’S SHOULDER IN HIS 1959 SPEECH WERE TRAINED TO DO JUST THAT!

    I have not been there in 1959 but it is quite likely, although not proven, that Fidel used some kind of trick with the dove.

    Why would he do it?

    In 1959 only an avantgarde of Cubans were enlightened revolutionaries. Huge crowds were plain dumb, brainwashed by catholic and other religions. 30% could not read and write. They believed in immaculate conception by a virgin and the powers of maja (snake). White dove had sunpernatural powers for them. It would be quite logical to use some kind of a circus trick to gain their support. I would have done the same thing.

    Today, Cuba is an educated, enlighted nation and all tricks with doves and pigs just offend human reasoning, on top of breaking the revolutionary law.

  6. The Hidden Life of Fidel Castro, Cuba’s Hypocrite-in-Chief. His former bodyguard, who was at Fidel’s side for 17 years, has written a tell all book. Follow this link and you can see the bodyguard and Fidel standing side by side on Fidel’s yacht at 4:33. He claims that Fidel lives a very “capitalistic” life, while trying to present a totally different public image of himself. I’d say he deserves to have pigs with his name painted on them running around Cuba.

    http://www.france24.com/en/20140614-interview-juan-reinaldo-sanchez-fidel-castro-former-bodyguard-cuba-communism-secret-fortune/

  7. HEY Mario! WHY DONT YOU TALK TO YOUR MASTERS, THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA ABOUT ANIMAL CRUELTY AND HOW THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING! RATHER THAN REACHING INTO YOUR BARREL OF LAST REMAINING RESPONSES DEAR ABOUT THIS OBVIOUSLY TRAINED DOVE!! MANY PEOPLE THINK THAT THE DOVE THAT PERCHED ON FIDEL CASTRO’S SHOULDER IN HIS 1959 SPEECH WERE TRAINED TO DO JUST THAT! DUH!

    GLOBAL ISSUES NEWS: Cuba’s Stray Dogs Have Their Champions – by Ivet Gonzalez (havana) – Monday, September 02, 2013

    Nongovernmental organisations, community projects, and people with no particular affiliation are now part of a movement that helps animals in a country where no shelters exist to facilitate adoptions of stray cats and dogs.

    “A source of financing needs to be found for an animal shelter,” Nora García, president of the nongovernmental Cuban Association for the Protection of Animals and Plants (ANIPLANT), told IPS.

    “However, the solution needs to be more comprehensive and must include a programme of massive sterilisation of both male and female animals,” she added. “We advocate the prevention of undesired animal births, instead of killing dogs and cats that nobody wants.”

    Her group has championed and put into practice this idea since 1992.

    In 2012, ANIPLANT neutered more than 4,000 animals (both paid and free of charge), mostly in the capital and in the provinces of Holguín, Artemisa, Matanzas, Camagüey and the Isla de la Juventud island, where the group also has members. Other groups, such as the Cuban Association of Cat Lovers, also carry out free health campaigns.

    A sad fate awaits stray animals in Cuba.

    Government vehicles regularly pick up stray dogs and aggressive dogs to prevent the spread of diseases like rabies, which can be deadly for humans. The animal health authorities take them to dog pounds, where they are put to sleep if nobody claims them within a given period.

    Stray animals, especially puppies, are often used to train or simply entertain dogs used in dog fighting. Underground dog fights, which have fans in outlying urban and rural areas, are associated with illegal gambling, which is punishable by fines or two to three years in prison.

    Animals on the streets are also at risk of being hit by cars, and they often suffer from cruelty, as well as untreated diseases, which make them a public health threat.

    http://www.globalissues.org/news/2013/09/02/17390

    In January of 1959, Fidel Castro commenced his regime with his first televised speech to the Cuban nation. While on the podium, a white dove landed on his shoulder, another perched upon his rostrum; both stayed there throughout his two-hour oration. In Cuban Santería, a religion derived from the Yorùbá people brought to Cuba as slaves, a white dove represents the divinity Obatalá, a divine king who molds humans from clay in heaven. While the international press regarded the spectacle as a freak accident involving “doves of peace,” many Cubans read it as evidence of Castro’s selection by supernatural forces.

  8. That’s right, Omar

    Real job is cutting sugar cane. There are other jobs, like teaching, computing or managing hotels, but those who release pigs painted with president’s name don’t deserve them.

  9. So, the wild speculation here is that Bruguera doesn’t know what a “real job” is? Typical leftist, socialist BS.

    Perhaps she should get a job as an Environmental Safety Engineer, like, I don’t know, say…… this guy? http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/OMAR/FUNDORA

    What hypocrites you are. So, Mr. Fundora, I assume you like to collect some goodies ($$$$), after you do your job for “the man.” Corporate Manufacturing America. Right, only your type knows what a “real job” is.

  10. Mrs. Matulovic, who would release “a pig onto my street with “Obama” painted on it.

    If you did that, you would be just as primitive and decadent as those Cubans who call themselves “artists”.

    But more stupid.

    The cuban “dissidents” at least get paid well for their actions. They fly business class. And you?

  11. Well…la Safra just started…El Sexto is going to need help cutting sugar cane…Bruguera should be volunteered…her behavior art work needs to be applied to represent the bitongo… so that a bitongo like her find out what a real job is like…..

  12. humbertocapiro: What I like to know is where were the rights of that poor white pigeon in the video??…someone should have complained to the Animal Rights Commission about it…. :)

  13. Funny, but if I released a pig onto my street with “Obama” painted on it, no one would come and arrest me. Some might even cheer me on. WTF in Cuba?

  14. El Sexto released two pigs into the streets with “Fidel” and “Raul” painted on them? My kinda man. Viva El Sexto!!!

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