Monday, December 22, 2014
Miami, December 17th 2014
By chance I spent some hours in Miami airport with my family (in transit to Chile) just the day that Presidents Obama and Castro simultaneously announced an agreement to re-establish diplomatic relations, release prisoners and start a new era of dialogue. When I was at the airport, I understood that something was going on, but I failed to appreciate the historical dimension of the event. Local people watched TV screens, and airport workers from Cuban origin (most of them?) talked about the topic with a mixture of doubt and excitement. Subsequent polls have shown the division in the Cuban exiles in Florida about the agreement. In my modest opinion, there are reasons to be cautiously happy about it. Although I consider myself a left wing European, I believe that the European left has not done enough to criticize the Castro regime. No degree of equality justifies the lack of respect of human rights in the island. The left should be about social justice and freedom, both of them together. Today justice and freedom require action at the regional, continental and even global level, for which it does not make any sense to keep walls between peoples. The Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago, and it is about time that the Caribbean wall falls as well. Obama is right that the embargo has failed and has been counter productive. Perhaps trade and the Internet will do more for freedom than the embargo. I also hope that the Americans do not just wish to buy a Caribbean Island with their money, but that they act in coordination with other American countries to promote freedom and welfare in Cuba and elsewhere, and also that they facilitate a peaceful democratic transition that makes it possible to perpetuate the many good aspects of the Cuban society.