HAVANA TIMES — A few weeks ago I was in the hospital accompanying my father, who was hospitalized for an operation. Suddenly my cell phone rang and an unfamiliar voice came into my world. “Hello Dmitri, this is NN, from Radio Marti,” it said.
NN was interested in hearing my opinion about a supposed call by the Critical Observatory Network (of which I’m a part) for people “not to vote in the Cuban elections.”
Puzzled, what I told NN (firstly) was that I didn’t know what he was talking about (the OC has never called for anything like that), and (secondly) that it was a bad time to talk because I was in a hospital, and (thirdly) that I didn’t want to make any statement through that media source.
Later I learned that Radio Marti was referring to a particular call by some OC members (not the network at large) who wanted to express their desire for democratic change in Cuba by asking people to write a “D” (for democracy) on their ballots.
Still, this wasn’t exactly “not voting” as claimed by Radio Marti.
In any case, I wasn’t interested in making comments on that station because it belongs to a government (the US) whose conduct with Cuba is inhumane, counterproductive, and dates back to the Cold War (something that rubs me the wrong way).
Hopefully its policy will change. I also hope, of course, that the changes we’re going through here in Cuba will lead to a society with more freedom, more solidarity, and more possibilities for human self-realization (personally and collectively).
But — and I’m saying this while interpreting several key moments in our joint history: 1898, 1933, 1959, 1960 to 1962 — the US government’s meddling in Cuban affairs has never contributed to the type of changes I want.
What I’m thinking of in particular is the interference that helped to abort the ultra-democratic project of Jose Marti (1892-1898), the 1933 revolution, as well as when the US helped to install the dictator Batista in power, and especially the conditions created by the US that compelled Cuba — after 1959 — to replicate the “Soviet” system.
This is why I don’t think that Radio Marti — basically a service of the US government — is the ideal way to promote any positive “change” in Cuba.
We’re in another era. Still, I ask those at Radio Marti not to spend the money of US taxpayers on trying to establish contact with me. The Cuban left has its own media for expressing itself and doesn’t need their “services.”
I should add that I don’t think the name of that station fits. Jose Marti was against imperialism and in favor of a system of democratic self-government rather than the system that helped to install a US-backed military administration in Cuba during the 1898-1902 occupation.