The Model is Changing A Little

Dariela Aquique

A scene from Santiago de Cuba.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s current president has referred more than once to the country’s interest in talks with the US government (clarifying that this must be on the basis of absolute respect for self-determination – which I agree with, by the way).

This is occurring at the same time that most of his Latin American counterparts are speaking to their northern neighbor in an increasingly hostile tone.

Something of significance for Cubans and news to the world took place at the late February meeting of Cuba’s National Assembly, where Raul Castro was re-elected president.

He announced constitutional changes whereby term limits would not exceed two five-year periods and a maximum age limit would be established. He also made it known that this would be his final term in office.

This contrasts to referendums in Venezuela and other countries in the region where unlimited presidential reelections are increasingly advocated. These are modeled on mandates centering on the current leaders.

Recently the Cuban president met with several US lawmakers (mostly Democrats, but among them was one Republican). This news was given without many details and very few photos. In fact, the reason for the meeting wasn’t made public in Cuba.

Despite all this, I have no reason to think the basic character of the Cuban government is changing. What I do believe, and what’s tangible, is that its foreign policy has been changing to a certain degree.

Independent of the US government having been historically interventionist — with colonial desires that have often been inhuman and genocidal for many peoples of the world — nothing can be built on a foundation of bitterness.

These are times when we must turn to dialogue (without conceding our dignity or determination).

Instead, we must embrace the principle of respect for different ideologies, political projects and social systems. It’s time that nations establish relations of respect.

At this point in the game, I don’t think a single citizen exists in Cuba advocating our annexation to the US (though this is a tacit element of the staunchest opposition).

Nor do I don’t think the Cuban government is acquiescing to our historic enemy. I think we’re going through a stage of maturation. Gone is the euphoria of the first decades of the revolution.

While still the same people, but without those hair-raising speeches, the model has changed a little.



Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.

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One thought on “The Model is Changing A Little

  • It’s more than a little hypocritical of Raul Castro to make a big point about “respecting Cuban sovereignty and self-determination” when for the past 55 years he & his brother have done all they can to suppress the right of the Cuban people to determine their own sovereign government.

    Respect for Cuban sovereignty and self-determination begins at home.

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