Cuba’s Dissident Leader on Cuba After Fidel Castro

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[/et_pb_fullwidth_post_title][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] The people of Cuba have hardly heard the news of the death of Fidel Castro on the day when he died. It was very early in the morning, and the streets of Santiago de Cuba were completely deserted. Life in Cuba is difficult. Due to the exhaustion occasioned by other hardships many Cubans go to bed early, and it was possible that many learnt about the death of Castro next day.

The dictator had been considered to be dead many times before, so the news was not surprising at all. In Santiago de Cuba, the government has been repairing the Patria Avenue for some time. This avenue leads to Saint Iphigenia Cemetery, where they say that Fidel Castro will have his pantheon. Amongst the people of Santiago, it was a matter of constant conversation that whilst so many families affected by Hurricane Sandy — which happened more than four years ago — had no home, and no protection, the government was spending a lot of resources on the preparation of funeral for the dictator.

We are expecting strong police presence. We believe that the increase in the repression of recent days, as well as the permanent display of military and police forces, especially in Santiago de Cuba, has been related to the death of the dictator. The government has done everything possible to control the situation. That is why we think that the first regime’s reaction will be to mobilise its repressive forces and make them very visible, especially in the areas where many opponents live. The government fears any manifestation and any behaviour not regarded as appropriate.

We will now see whether Raúl Castro was not implementing his so-called reforms due to Fidel Castro’s opposition, or whether it was Raúl himself who thwarted any profound change in the economy, or any political reform.

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I am pessimistic about the future course of actions that Raúl Castro will take. He may maintain the current repression levels, which now exceed in intensity that of the year 2003. At that time, more than 75 activists from all over the country were imprisoned in just three days.

Nowadays, in a single month, there are one or two waves of repression like in 2003. This is why I think that the regime will continue repressions.

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“We would like the stance of the new US administration and that of European governments to be strong and firm against the Cuban dictatorship, whilst at the same time supportive to suffering people like ours.”

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We all know that the dictator was not mentally well. We have witnessed the nonsense and the absurd things he said. For example, I remember that, by 2009, he was saying that there would be a nuclear war and that the world was going to be destroyed. During the last world football championship, he even stated that the US would not be able to reach the quarterfinals because the world was already on the verge of a nuclear debacle. Although his mind was much deteriorated, it seems reasonable to suppose that he still exerted a strong influence on his younger brother. Raúl Castro is a bad follower of his brother, but he did his best to imitate him. And Raúl is not going to change because his brother is dead.

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“We in the UNPACU are not happy that someone dies, even if that person has caused the greatest damage to the Cuban nation in the last half century.”

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Raúl has always needed to be directed and told what to do. Some say that Raúl’s son, Alejandro Castro Espín, is the real strong man of the country and that his son-in-law Luís Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas also has got great power. Likewise, they say that Raúl is very ill and that he has not been seen much in work, because he spends most of the time in private matters in his house.

We would like the stance of the new US administration and that of European governments to be strong and firm against the Cuban dictatorship, whilst at the same time supportive to suffering people like ours. If Raúl takes positive steps towards real reforms, which I doubt, and does not keep the patches and palliatives that he has been applying, those governments should give him a hand to carry out these reforms in the fastest and most effective way.

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I hope that some voices in the structures of power in Cuba be raised to initiate some reform. However, it is quite possible that those who do it will end up in prison or dismissed. There is a lot of struggle to be fought by the Cuban people to change the unfortunate situation in which we live.

Soon, the regime will be on the hunt for hate speech of individuals who have lost their relatives by the dictatorship, either shot or killed in prison, or also drown in the Straits of Florida. These understandable demonstrations will serve the regime to say that the “Miami’s Mafia cave people” rejoice at the death of a man.

Now, we will be witnessing all the paraphernalia of funerals. Those who suffer the most from the misery imposed by the regime will mourn the tyrant with greater sincerity than the regime officials, who do not believe in the system at all. For instance, we know that the high official Carlos Balenciaga was dismissed for mocking the dictator’s illness in private.

We in the UNPACU are not happy that someone dies, even if that person has caused the greatest damage to the Cuban nation in the last half century, have provoked the death of many people in the world, and even put the planet on the verge of a nuclear hecatomb. As Christians, we are not glad of anyone’s death. What we are looking for is the disappearance of the system implemented by Fidel Castro in our country.

 

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Jose Daniel Ferrer, Cuban dissident, a prisoner of conscience, human rights defender. Founder and General Coordinator of the UNPACU, the Cuban Patriotic Union, the largest opposition movement of Cubans in Cuba. In 2009 he was awarded with the Democracy Award of the US National Endowment for Democracy

A member of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) founded by Oswaldo Payá. From 2003 to 2011 he was imprisoned by the Castro regime for his involvement in the dissident movement. His wife is a member of Damas de Blanco, Ladies in White, a group of wives of political prisoners protesting every Sunday for their release.

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