Raul Castro Squandered His Last Chance / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez
14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 22 March 2017 — A year
ago Cuba had a once in a lifetime opportunity. US President Barack Obama
came to the island willing to turn the page on political
confrontation. The gesture transcended the diplomatic situation, but
Raul Castro – fearful of losing control – responded by putting the
brakes on economic reforms and raising the levels of ideological
discourse and repression.
Nations are not presented with opportunities every year, nor even every
century. The decision to entrench itself and not to undertake political
flexibilizations has been the Plaza of the Revolution's most egotistical
measure of recent times. Failure to know how to take advantage of the
end of public belligerence with our neighbor to the north will bring
this country lasting and unpredictable consequences.
These effects will not be suffered by the so-called "historic
generation" – those at the forefront of the 1950s Revolution – now
diminished by the rigors of biology and desertions. Rather than the
generals in olive-green, the ones who will pay the price will be those
who are still sleeping in their cradles or spinning their tops in the
streets of the island. They don't know it, but in the last twelve months
a short-sighted octogenarian tricked them out of a share of their future.
The greatest waste has been not exploiting the international moment, the
excitement about foreign investments, and the expectations everywhere in
Cuba of taking the first steps towards democratic change without
violence or chaos. It was not the job of the White House to encourage or
provoke such transformations, but its good mood was a propitious setting
for them to be less traumatic.
Instead, the white rose Obama extended to Castro in his historic speech
in Havana's Gran Teatro has faded, beset by hesitations and fears. Now,
it is our job to explain to these Cubans of tomorrow why we were at a
turning point in our history and we threw it away.
Source: Raul Castro Squandered His Last Chance / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez
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