José Herrera, director de Relaciones Internacionales de FAES
Before his death, one year ago now, Fidel Castro planned the continuity of the communist regime choosing his brother Raul as his successor. Most of the leaders of the western world believed to have seen in that process a sign of openness worthy of diplomatic gestures and debt forgiveness. Barack Obama promoted the restoration of diplomatic relations between the USA with the island. In the case of Spain, the Government quantified this good will in 1.492 million euros, a figure both symbolic and excessive. Moreover, Spain committed to promote in the European Union the repeal of the Common Position that since 1996 had placed in the first line the Cuban pacific democratic dissent and at the same time required to advance in the field of human rights.
Unfortunately, a year after the death of the tyrant there has not been any improvement, quite the contrary. As it is shown in many reports, the repression is at its highest in the last years. The spokeswoman of the Department of State, Heather Nauert, recently stated that she knew more than 450 “arbitrary political detentions”, with the sole objective of overshadowing the “brave effort” of possible candidates to participate in the simulation of election of delegates to the municipal assemblies of the People’s Power celebrated last week.
The restoration of diplomatic relations with the US as well as the derogation of the Common Position of the EU has only served, thus, to consolidate an omnipresent regime in the island that has managed to almost destroy the opposition, either by condemning it to exile or by using the internal mechanisms of repression. Last week, while the White House announced the return of North Korea to the list of countries collaborating with terrorism, Raul Castro organized a five days agenda for the North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Neither the debt forgiven by Spain, nor the gestures of good will of the EU or the US have had any impact in terms of democratic consolidation or progress in the field of human rights. The recent “elections”, exclusively with candidates connected to the regime, without the presence of the opposition and with the mandatory and identifiable vote, are a mere excuse to win time. In addition, it is only the prelude of the celebration of the 60 years of Castroism in a Congress of the Communist Party called to reaffirm with the complacency of not much occidental leaders, the indissolubility of Cuban Communism.
Some, in the height of good will, consider the regime has reacted with more repression out of the fear that a normalization of relations will be bad for Castroism. If it is this way, it is then possible to ask the following: if according to its promoters, the gestures of goodwill are only useful for the regime to close even more… why doing them? Is it not more logical to maintain an approach of democratic solidarity and elevate the exigency in the field of democracy and human rights, as it was done with the Common Position?
In this context, it need to be perceived with relief the postponement of the visit of His Majesty King Felipe VI announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. In the current conditions, it would be a huge mistake only useful for Castroism which only interest is to remain eternally in power.
Translation by María Maseda