A Future of Freedom for Cuba José Herrera es director del área Internacional de la Fundación FAES


“We don’t celebrate death, we celebrate freedom”, read a banner shown by a Cuban exile in Miami following the news of the death of Fidel Castro. The decease of a human being is always painful, even when it occurs in domestic peace or when it is expected for a long time. Not to mention when it happens under tragic circumstances or in the absence of freedom. Hence, it is indispensable, at this very moment, to keep in mind the feelings of millions of Cuban dissidents who were forced to live under a tyranny, suffered repression and penalties of imprisonment, or were forced to leave their country not even being able to say goodbye promptly to their loved ones.

Today, I bear many dear friends, forced to live away from their loved Cuba and their families, in mind. And also those who have devoted their lives and their most precious assets — their individual liberty, their time and their health — to the defense of the freedom of every Cuban citizen. I am referring, in fact, to Oswaldo Payá, Orlando Zapata, Laura Pollán, Héctor Cepero and so many other missed, admired and respected heroes of the freedom of Cuba, as many anonymous people who lost their lives or keep risking it on a daily basis.

For nothing less than 58 years, Cuban citizens from the island have been forced to live frozen in time and isolated from the world, giving up on their individual liberty by imposition of the retrograde, repressor communist regime. They have had to live, since they were kids, in a regime of opacity and indoctrination that has stunted their rights, amongst other things, by direct command of the dictator that has just passed away. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to run away, risking their lives looking for a better future. Castro has done so much harm to Cuban people as the other totalitarianisms of the XXth century to the inhabitants of their countries, but with a no minor difference. While fascisms ended by World War II; franquism, by the mid-70s; most part of communisms, after the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and the Latin American military dictatorships, in the 90s; castroism keeps being, as a bug in an amber drop, a historical exception only seconded by the aberration of a chavism that aims at replacing it in their nonsense and intensity.

Cuban people cannot, neither deserve to, keep pinned in this long and fatal chapter of their History any longer. After the mourning, they have to see a chance in this moment. Guillermo “Coco” Fariñas reflected the mechanisms of terror that constrain Cuban people in every layer of the Cuban society in an essential book — his Radiografía de los miedos en Cuba. Who does not have time to read the book or does not find it, can just dedicate a couple of hours to watch the amazing The Lives of Others, which reflects those mechanisms of the communist oppression so well, because the course of action of tyranny is universal and does not respond to cultural or national exceptions. The omnipresent figure of the dictator — nine days of mourning will stretch his shadow over the island- was the heart of all those mechanisms in Cuba, projected from the unanimous Congresses of the Party until the last and smallest circle of defense of the revolution. Raúl Castro will try to perpetuate the lead of the regime, but the Cuban people will be responsible for this to happen, or not.

Meanwhile, beyond Cuban waters, goodwill gestures have been offered toward the castroist regime, waiting for a reciprocal response. Of the restoration of the diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba — entered into by the Obama Administration, but which the new Trump Administration has to decide on- to which the UE and Cuba will subscribe next 12 December, in replacement of a new common position that placed the advances in matter of Human Rights and the dialogue with the dissidents beyond the pragmatic agreements that look for economic and trade profitability in an eventual opening of castroism.

We hope that, once the mourning has passed and in the absence of the dictator Fidel Castro, his own acolytes — even, his brother? — will be able to minimally respond to the expectations of change. There is a future knocking on the door of a dynamic and creative nation and accompanying the Cuban people to go out and meet them, should be a commitment of every democrat, and specially the Spanish ones.

Translated by Clara Ayuso

A Future of Freedom for Cuba