Several days before May Day, I received a letter from the US Interest Section (the de facto American embassy here in Havana). I wasn’t the only one who received one; copies were also sent to a colleague of mine and to the members of the Critical Observatory network.
A person at the US Interest Section (USINT) had taken an interest in our blogs and proposed meeting with us during the second week of May.
I would have roared with laughter if the situation weren’t so sad.
The Observatory and those of us who are members are markedly alternative worldists – meaning that we believe that another world is possible. Each colleague acts on this principle in their own way, but we share a consensus in that we don’t care for authoritarianism, violence or aggression. Nor do we care for economic systems that generate alienation, inequalities or consumerism.
These principles have nothing to do with the politics of the people at USINT.
Really, the only memory I have of any direct contact with that agency goes back to a few years ago when I went to request a visa to allow me to travel to an interesting conference in Connecticut and New York on the (post) Soviet diaspora in Cuba.
Of the various delegates from our island, I was the only one approved for a visa, but they granted it to me after the conference had already concluded. They politely reminded me of that blunder but told me that now I could go travel to the US without problems…
Those of us with the Observatory don’t feel there is anything to talk with the people of USINT concerning our projects. Our purposes and ideologies are quite different from theirs – opposed or to the contrary, one could say.
But even still, we don’t reject dialogue. We told them that we would go there with supreme pleasure, but only after they’ve lifted the blockade of Cuba, paid compensation for the human and material damage, returned the Cuban Five prisoners in the USA and stopped the NATO bombings in Libya.