“You Have to Wipe Out Your Enemies!”: Cuban Emigres Celebrate

By Tatiana Rodriguez (dpa)

President Donald Trump waves to supporters as he talks about his new Cuba policy at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami where he unveiled the changes he’s making to the Obama-era policies toward Cuba. Photo: Mike Stocker, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

HAVANA TIMES – “You have to wipe out your enemies!” said energetically Serafin Arvello, one of the Cuban emigres who congregated in Miami to anxiously await US president Donald Trump’s announcement that he will revoke the rapprochement process with Cuba which his predecessor, Barack Obama, had pushed forward during the last years of his presidency.

The Cubans who mostly left the Caribbean country decades ago on board rafts or small boats, received one of the most long-awaited pieces of news this Friday, especially those who supported the Republican magnate’s ideas in his presidential campaign.

“I was in a raft for five days, using the stars to guide me and leaving everything behind. The Castro regime is the worst and is destroys everything in its path. Let them blockade everything and continue on punishing Cuba until this family is removed from power,” the old man who reached Florida’s shores 30 years ago insisted in his conversation with dpa.

The celebration was paramount at “Versailles”, the famous Cuban restaurant which is a meeting point for thousands of Cubans who are living in the US and is located in the neighborhood which Cuban emigres have taken as their own, “Little Havana”.

Dozens of Cubans, both in and outside the restaurant having coffee and pastries, spoke about the freeze-over that the US president has once again ordered ending the thawing process that Obama began in 2015, when the democrat leader reestablished ties with Cuba after over 50 years of rupture.

According to the Cuban Democracy Movement leader Ramon Sanchez, what Trump did on Friday, to effectively stop US tourism to the island and to try and stop USD entering the hands of Raul Castro’s government, “is just the beginning.”

“They really need to crack down,” Sanchez pointed out, who understood the fact that Trump made this speech in Miami as a gesture of solidarity, but he also pointed out the fact that it is primarily the US government who will benefit from this policy change.

“What we need to achieve are democratic elections in order to overthrow this Castro regime and allow people to live as they wish,” he insisted.

It is estimated that almost three million Cubans have reached the US searching, mainly, for a better life while others have fled the regime which the late Fidel Castro began over five decades ago with the Cuban Revolution.

Sanchez further notes that Cubans are today hoping “to see a different Cuba.”  “Historic conditions which the regime is facing without its main leader and without the support of historically important powers, gives us a light at the end of the tunnel that we are close.”

20 thoughts on ““You Have to Wipe Out Your Enemies!”: Cuban Emigres Celebrate

  • With the exception of the local lady taken away and imprisoned by the MININT goons for selling paint, I don’t know of any serious crime. Pilferage from the State is I agree the norm – but then that is necessary for the mercado negra to function and it is a critical part of the economy. In my years in Cuba, I have yet to witness or know of a serious crime of violence – and we have almost zero tourists.
    But to have the fourth highest rate of incarceration in the world, has to reflect more than petty crime. ‘Disrespect’?

  • Carlyle, low level of crime perpetrated against foreigners in Cuba… yes. But Cuban on Cuban… that’s a completely different situation. The stories that I could tell you regarding the latter would blow your mind.

  • I am not entering the debate between Seanus Aurelius and Terry Downey, but posing a question.
    The relatively low level of crime in Cuba has been discussed and agreed in these pages.
    It is factual that Cuba has the fourth highest level of incarceration in the world.
    Who is in jail for what?

  • Yeah, really realist….releasing political prisoners? Impossible! There are none! And if there were, it’d be too dangerous to release them!

  • No, I’m a realist and I cut through the crap. I’m not apologizing for how things are in Cuba… I merely know what I know after living like a local there part time for the past 11 years. You’re still too mixed up in the drama to waste any more of my time with. I’m done with you too. You’re dismissed. Now go run some laps.

  • “Seanus, the Castro government DOES imprison people… yes. So does every
    other government in the world when their civil society is threatened by
    the potential for anarchy.”

    No, this is where you step away from normal argument to full on apologetics. Normal regimes don’t imprison people for political dissent. Cuba does. Not even acknowledging that makes you either:
    a) Too disingenuous to argue with
    b) A genuine fan of political repression.

  • Interesting comment Terry. Just a couple of observations.
    You state: “But there are free and fair elections at the grassroots level”
    I carefully checked the supposed qualifications of every candidate in our local municipal elections. Every single one was a member of the Communist Party of Cuba. How’s that for freedom of choice?
    Above all and continuously from Kindergarten to Pre-University, the Cuban educational system endeavors to instill and enforce ‘respect’. Respect for the authority of the regime and the PCC.
    Hence the popular charge made against Cubans by the State of: “disrespect” for which citizens are jailed. Everybody writing in these pages appears to agree that there is relatively little crime in Cuba, so how is it that Cuba has the fourth highest rate of incarceration in the world – who is in jail?
    In 1958 Cuba had six jails, by 1964 under Fidel Castro, the figure had risen to
    57 jails and 18 of the notorious concentration camps. Villa Marista is active and good at extacting confessions!
    You can find maps showing locations of the jails on the web!

  • Seanus, the Castro government DOES imprison people… yes. So does every other government in the world when their civil society is threatened by the potential for anarchy.

    The Cuban government today does not, as a rule, kill opponents. You’ve been watching too many movies, or again, you’ve been sipping too much of the Kool-Aid.

    The Cuban government has their own form of democracy, albeit, not the same as elsewhere as there is only one party at the top. But there are free and fair elections at the grassroots level.

    Eastern Europe inevitably moved to democracy when the USSR was driven to bankruptcy at the end of the cold-war due to the continuing arms race with the US and their financially draining war in Afghanistan (their Vietnam). Very little of that scenario resembles the relationship that Cuba possesses with the US, and visa versa.

    Why can’t Cuba now move to be a full democracy immediately? For the same reasons that I’ve already explained to you. You have to understand the full history of Cuba in relation to the US to appreciate why the Cuban government will never surrender to US “demands”. That stubborn determination is so ingrained within their revolution that as long as the US continues to “demand” that they change… no matter how much common sense those demanded changes might actually make to the outside world (or to the Cuban government as well privately)… the fact that the US is publicly DEMANDING anything of Cuba… that will always be met with refusal and contempt.

    The Cuban government will not allow the US government to “dictate” their terms of engagement. That is why I absolutely know without a doubt (as did Obama) that the only way to make progress with democracy in Cuba is to end all interventionist policies that attempt to undermine their government… policies that in reality, do nothing more than to make the average Cuban’s life on the island a continuing misery as a result. In effect, continuing US government policies of interventionism perpetuate the problem for the Cuban people, instead of helping to allow the Cuban government to evolve their political structure over time when unmolested. But of course, there are many who will continue to “demand” change from the Cuban government immediately. Real change takes time. Real change takes patience and subtle influence… and most importantly… real change requires respect. There lies the rub.

  • Which part was innacurate?
    Does the Castro regime not imprison people?
    Does the Castro regime not kill opponents?
    Does the Castro regime hold free and fair elections?
    Did Eastern Europe not manage to go to democracy, straight from the Cold War?
    So why can’t Cuba?

  • Your ignorance of Cuban history and your US propaganda Kool-Aid induced trip down memory lane are both inaccurate, and they proceed your oblivious and limited understanding of the Cuban revolution and the resolve of the Cuban people… similar to that of Trump and Rubio. Very juvenile in your mindset, but carry on deceiving yourself if that helps you to puff out your chest. But mark my word… nothing within Cuba’s political structure will change unless the US government removes all of their insane interventionist policies first… that’s the bottom line.

  • My puritanical attitude doesn’t demand that people be imprisoned or murdered to satisfy it. Castro’s does.

    As for they can’t contemplate democracy, yes they absolutely can – look at Eastern Europe. There was a Cold War there too remember? The USA didn’t have to fold and pretend their dictators were OK – they kept demanding democracy, and that’s what the people there got. The only place where the USA couldn’t exert heavy leverage – Russia itself – is where democracy failed to take root.

    And yes, if China or Saudi were a few 100 km from the USA mainland you can bet your mother that there’s be some heavy hitting foreign policy to deal with them. And rightly so.

  • More arrogance. It’s that holier-than-thou puritanical attitude that has always been the root of the problem for Cuba. What many don’t or refuse to understand is that Cuba cannot begin to contemplate embracing democracy while they remain under attack.

    It’s also ironic that no such interventionist policies and travel restrictions of the US government exist when discussing Saudi Arabia, China, and a host of other countries without free elections that also possess track records of human rights abuses that make the Castros look like choir boys. Things that make you go hmmmmmmm? The hypocrisy is so blatant and transparent that it’s almost laughable if it were not also so cruelly sad for the Cuban people and a stain on US credibility around the world.

  • Their revolution became illegitimate the day Castro refused to have elections; that’s when it ceased to be “their” revolution.
    Fair and free elections are what qualify countries to be accepted by the civilised world.

  • The Cuban government doesn’t “owe” the US government a thing. There’s no reason for Cuba to offer any concessions to the US. It’s the US government that owes the Cuban people everything, because for 5 1/2 decades the US government’s insane interventionist policies directed toward Cuba have had but only one purpose… to use the Cuban people and the misery that the US has created as cannon fodder to undermine their revolution. Trump is simply continuing that arrogant, misguided, and failed policy at the expense of the Cuban people, AND at the expense of American people too.

  • Those who have not learned from history, are doomed to repeat it. For 5 1/2 decades, US “demands” of the Cuban government have accomplished nothing other than to push Cuba away into the waiting arms of Russia, Venezuela, and China. Sadly, the blow-back will now undoubtedly accelerate that process once again. The Cuban government will never bend over and capitulate to US “demands”… history has made that clear. And yet, here we go again. As always, the only people being hurt by continuing US interventionism are the innocent and common people of Cuba… not their government. Trump and Rubio have learned nothing.

    Trump’s new interventionist policies will fail of course… just as all other US interventionist policies and US demands on Cuba have failed as well. Rubio doesn’t know it yet, but his career and his political aspirations to someday sit behind the desk in the oval office are now over too.

  • Have you now Rich Haney become a critic of Fidel Castro Ruz’s in -laws?

  • Not at all; the regime is still entirely undemocratic and still punishes people for dissent. Obama won no concessions except a vague promise of democratic reform, which didn’t happen.
    Here’s all it would take for Trump to open up to Cuba:
    Cuba holds a free and fair election.
    That’s it. All that’s needed. Maybe even just releasing their political prisoners and not locking any more up for speaking their minds would do.

  • Trump essentially put Little Havana’s Marco Rubio and Mario Diaz-Balart in charge of America’s Cuban policy, the policy that already is the recipient of the 191-to-0 condemnation in the UN and vastly opposed by the majority of all other segments, INCLUDING MOST CUBAN-AMERICANS IN MIAMI. In other words, installing Rubio and Diaz-Balart as the U.S. dictators of Cuba is quite reminiscent of 1952 when right-wing thugs in the Eisenhower administration supported Fulgencio Batista and Lucky Luciano as the dictators inside Cuba. In the 1950s Cuba resisted Batista & Luciano {the dictatorship that included Mario Diaz-Balart’s father Rafael} and I assume in 2017 Cuba will resist Rubio and Diaz-Balart.

  • Harming the Cuban people because you carry a grudge, and want revenge, makes no sense. If the government changes the Cubans who left are not getting their homes, or businesses back. My family left Europe after WWll. We made a life in Canada, History does not go backwards. Most of the Cubans alive now were not even born when Castro took power, they have nothing to do with the government, they are just trying to have enough to eat, jobs for their children. They would love to be able to go to a shop and buy toothpaste and toilet paper like the rest of the world.

  • ” was in a raft for five days, using the stars to guide me and leaving everything behind. The Castro regime is the worst and is destroys everything in its path. Let them blockade everything and continue on punishing Cuba until this family is removed from power,”

    Yeah lets hurt the Cuban people for revenge because I hate Castro. Total ignoramus. The US is the only one on this anti Cuba page. It exposes how much America has lost its way.

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