Jose Ignacio Luis Miguel (Spain, AC 07-09)
Fidel Castro was, without a doubt, one of the most representative figures of the last century. Always controversial, he and his comrades created throughout nearly fifty years a regime which dreamt of communism. Cuba has been standing for years as a stronghold of socialism close to the heart of capitalism, the US. But, regardless all those –isms, his rule, in practice, transformed the island into a very particular State. Widely spread literacy, efficient professional preparation and internationally active presence had to coexist with a dramatic economic ruin (stressed after the fall of the Iron Curtain) and, what is worse, with political prosecution, lack of freedom of speech and clandestine emigration. After decades in power, Castro’s rule degenerated into something which was far away from the revolutionary spirit of Sierra Maestra.
One of his last moves, the imprisonment of around 75 political opponents in 2003, provoked the astonished look of the international community. In a world where most friends are gone and with various health problems (idols are not immortal) Castro passed his role to his brother Raul.
Now the international community wonders what the right position to hold in relation to Cuba is. With the distrust of the US and the expectancy of a European Union encouraged by the Spanish government to start talks, Raul Castro’s executive has started the first reforms against the restrictions established by his brother. Currently, Cubans can buy mobile phones, stay in the hotels of the island and soon will be able to travel more easily abroad and maybe receive wages above the top limit imposed by the regime. However, today, Monday the 21st of April 2008, we can still find in the press news about the repression of a pacific demonstration, this time held by “Las Damas de Blanco”(Ladies in White), who where requesting the release of their relatives, in prison from 2003. Raul’s government seems to suffer of the inertia of the past in the subject of Human Rights. Is not that one of the primary reforms that he should make well before respecting superficial economic freedoms?
We do not know which way Cuba is going to follow in the next weeks, months and years. The answer and how we should react is something that time will give us. Meanwhile we can just wait, always in commitment with freedom and our democratic values.
– United World College Student Magazine –