A Nobel for Castro while Obama Regains Prestige

Vicente Morín Aguado

Raul Castro. Photo/archive: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — The immediate threat facing Havana right now is that beer and rum supplies may run out, as people are celebrating wholeheartedly. Putting an end to half a century of political intransigence seemed impossible. Now, the end of this conflict may mean a Nobel Peace Prize for Raul Castro and restore Obama’s lost prestige in this connection.

People are very excited. Obama has just announced that the United States will re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, following talks with Raul Castro. Alan Gross was sent back to his country and the three Cuban spies that had been imprisoned in the US have returned home. The exchange of prisoners is a significant development, but the significance of yesterday, December 17th, is even greater.

I have always laid my bets on Raul Castro, the reformer. In one of his customarily short address, he spoke of loyalty to principles and the need for moderate exchange. I am positive that, as in Mao’s China, his predecessor would never have been capable of achieving this.

It is a historical imperative. Obama recognized we can’t continue to do the same things, while acknowledging we also can’t completely erase our history. An essential part of the US president’s address is his confidence that a new space for freedom of expression, trade union rights that have hitherto been denied Cubans and broader freedoms in general, will be opened up by this.

It is well worth stressing that, when Raul Castro entered office, he negotiated the release of political prisoners, most of them imprisoned during his brother’s mandate, with the mediation of the Catholic Church. Cuba’s new leader also released nearly three thousand common inmates whose crimes were of a financial nature.

Now, other prisoners of conscience have been released from prison. It is notable that, though political repression is far from over in Cuba, repressive measures decreased considerably during Raul Castro’s administration. Without a doubt, the new Cuban leader wants to stick to his promises, something difficult to achieve in a country that has experienced over fifty years of communist authoritarianism.

To conclude, Obama spoke of a hostility that leads nowhere. It is indeed excellent that this superpower should renounce its plans of stifling Cuba, of forcing it to its knees. The challenge facing Cuban revolutionaries now is to adapt to this new reality.

In his historical address, Raul Castro stated Cuba is making headway in the so-called “updating process” aimed at bringing authentic reforms to the country. Private capitalist property has returned to the island and foreign investment, once considered taboo, is being encouraged.

The road ahead of us is long and there is still much terrain to cover, but the step taken on December 17 will go down in history. I ask that Raul Castro be awarded the Nobel Prize that Fidel thought Obama unworthy of. Obama, in turn, should regain the prestige he lost as a peace-keeper.
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Vicente Morín Aguado: [email protected]


36 thoughts on “A Nobel for Castro while Obama Regains Prestige

  • January 7, 2015 at 9:16 pm
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    You’re very welcome, and thank you.

  • January 7, 2015 at 2:12 pm
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    Really ? Just who and how many were “murdered” by the Castros. And how does that compare to the victims of Obama’s drones?

  • December 24, 2014 at 11:15 am
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    Yes, but there is also a distinction between step-by-step political reforms vs. adopting a multiparty electoral system. The latter of course has not happened but the level of liberalization/openness, public debate, critique and honest dialogue are after a few years on a scale never seen under Fidel. The biggest political reform has been a halting and partial lifting of the Holy Inquisition.

  • December 24, 2014 at 11:09 am
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    I stand by my statement. If Cubans like something about the American system better than how things are done in their own country, I support their right to stay in Cuba and voice that opinion. And vice versa.

  • December 23, 2014 at 1:35 pm
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    Raul Castro is making economic reforms. That’s very clear. But he has specifically and repeatedly ruled out any political reforms. The Communist Party will maintain it’s 5 decade long monopoly on all political power in Cuba.

    Note the distinction: economic reforms vs political reforms.

  • December 23, 2014 at 1:33 pm
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    I did not say, “America, love it or leave it”. I did ask why somebody who claims to admire Cuba so much, and who declares his hatred of the political and economic system in America, choses to live in America and not in Cuba. It is a common hypocrisy among the Left: they praise the illusionary socialist paradise of Castro’s Cuba, and insist the Cuban people must continue to live under it, but they would never accept living under such a dictatorship for themselves.

  • December 22, 2014 at 10:47 am
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    both Robert and Griffin are talking nonsense. First, Cuba despite its accomplishments in health and education is obviously not a successful alternative to capitalism in 2014 (even though it might look a lot better once the embargo is gone), they are basically scrapping the economic model they’ve followed for 50-odd years… and just because Riversong thinks elements of the US are crappy doesn’t mean he needs to “move to Cuba” if the United States is his home (assuming it is.) What an archaic phrase to throw the critics of any system or government. “America: love it or leave it” “go to Russia” “vete a Miami, escoria”.. blah blah gimme a break. True citizenship and patriotism means the right to critique.

  • December 22, 2014 at 10:40 am
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    If you don’t think Raul Castro is reforming, then you have not been to Cuba before and after his assumption of power.

  • December 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm
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    That’s a much better idea! Heroes all of them.

  • December 19, 2014 at 1:38 pm
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    The Nobel prize this year should go to the medical workers in West Africa for their fight against Ebola. Especially the local ones who have no safety net to fall back upon, either for themselves or their families.

  • December 19, 2014 at 11:04 am
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    In case you haven’t noticed, the Castro regime practices state-corporate capitalism and the Cuban people have zero political power.

    But if you think America is so bad, why don’t you move to Cuba?

  • December 19, 2014 at 10:23 am
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    The ONLY reason the US has declared Cuba an enemy is because it has demonstrated a successful and egalitarian alternative to corporate capitalism and the false promise of democracy in an America that has the greatest discrepancy of wealth and political power of any nation on earth.

  • December 19, 2014 at 10:20 am
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    The Cuban-American Miami “little Havana” community should have been declared a terrorist group decades ago and embargoed by the US government, rather than Cuba, which is one of the most egalitarian nations on the planet with higher quality of life metrics than even the US.

  • December 19, 2014 at 3:06 am
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    So do Cheney, Bush, Rice, Bolton, Rumsfeld, etc. for all the horrid events and lies they told the World.

  • December 18, 2014 at 10:45 pm
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    The definition of insanity is keeping on doing the same failed thing for 50 years and expecting a different result.

    Mr Rubio seems to be doubling down on that.

  • December 18, 2014 at 10:43 pm
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    Nobel prize? Spare me.

  • December 18, 2014 at 10:40 pm
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    i am thrilled that FINALLY my country is waking up to reality ……
    i am happy to welcome the US and CUBAN nations into the brotherhood of peace

  • December 18, 2014 at 3:59 pm
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    Bravo for Obama!

  • December 18, 2014 at 3:48 pm
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    Pending? Right, Comrade……

  • December 18, 2014 at 3:45 pm
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    The stick hasn’t worked for the last 50+ years. Maybe it’s time to try the carrot.

  • December 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm
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    I doubt if Rick Perry knew any Cuban Americans in West Texas. I lived about ten miles from where he lived, and I sure didn’t know any. But now I have relatives in Miami who DO know Cubans – they’re thrilled with the negotiations.

  • December 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm
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    You have a reading comprehension problem. The article endorses giving the Nobel to Raul Castro, not Fidel.

    Nether of them deserve it, but then a rogues gallery of monsters have received it in the past. If they can give Yasser Arafat a Peace Prize for signing the Olso Accords when he had no intention of living up to it, then why not give one to Raul. He has not intention of respecting human rights in Cuba.

  • December 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm
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    The same one that gave Barack Obama the Peace Prize, although he had done absolutely nothing.

  • December 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm
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    Alan Gross was an obstacle, not the catalyst, for reopening relations with Cuba. Seriously, why is this embargo still in place. It has accomplished exactly nothing and we have no problem dealing with countries far worse in the human rights column.

    If you want to know what the US got back, it has nothing to do with Cuba and everything to do with prying a key ally out of Russia’s orbit when they can least afford it. Think outside the box my friend, even if that means watching or reading something other than FOX. Also, you drop about 50 credibility points when you quote Rick Perry to make a argument

  • December 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm
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    Thank you for your service….

  • December 18, 2014 at 3:08 pm
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    Interesting posts here. I was in high school when all this started and am well aware that America, yes, us, we set a lot of this in motion but that was a long time ago. We can bag on Cuba and it’s human rights but the UN just bagged on us as well about human rights. America is no saint in that department and maybe Castro wants to control the populace, but is that not the same desire of the Christian right here at home? Over fifty years…. time to move on and realize we all screwed up back then and now there is a chance for change. They say Fidel don’t want change, but that same Fidel mentality is mixed in with our own GOP. Hate is a four letter word that destroys. Move on… move forward and we would do well as a nation to get our own heads out of our arses and realize we are no saints either.
    I appreciate all the posts here and certainly respect the rights we have for today to post our views and let them be what they are. Just views. Oh, but shortly, some moron will get on here bitching about my own right to free speech…lol.

  • December 18, 2014 at 3:03 pm
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    While I support the actions of our President on Cuba I hardly think Raul deserves a prize, Nobel or otherwise. The man simply has too much baggage. Start with his political lineage, after all he is a prime example of nepotism. Mix in the behavior of his brother that he supported. To all that add his present status as a dictator. What you have isn’t exactly someone worthy of international notice as a shining example to other leaders. The Cuban people have lived in a peculiar hell for decades because of the policies of their own government as well as the USA and the Russians. Moving beyond that is reward enough, nothing else is necessary.

  • December 18, 2014 at 2:58 pm
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    Raul Castro for a Nobel Prize? OMG, are you kidding? This guy was murderer-in-chief for all those years he was head of the Army. He and his brother should be charged with war crimes. What a crazy thing to say.

  • December 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm
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    Giving the Nobel peace prize to Fidel Castro couldn’t be any worse than giving it to Obanana.

  • December 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm
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    Rick Perry said it best: ” …if a country wants something from Obama, capture an American, hold him for years, then negotiate a release giving up nothing but the person and taking lots from the US”

  • December 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm
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    A reformer also has to deal with an entrenched bureacracy and a political tradition inherited from the predecessor, (even one’s brother). Many a leader of all stripes has learned the hard way that things don’t change overnight, even though expectations sometimes follow headlines and elections.

    We will know in a couple of years if this is a watershed in Central American history, right now, we hope for the best.

  • December 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm
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    Regardless what ever the political status of Cuba , but it’s always have fun to visit the open up for travelers to enjoy the island and the foods with lots of other things for travelers – Good things for lots of people…….God blessed Cuba and peace to the people….IMHO

  • December 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm
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    Hah! of course Mr. Communist deleted my post. Nobel Peace prize? Really? On what planet?

  • December 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm
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    Who writes this pablum? Oh, right. State run press. As you were…

  • December 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm
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    rum will run out! how about toothpaste and toilet paper–that ran out long ago!50+ yrs same family DICTATOR RAUL like all dictators his end will not be good

  • December 18, 2014 at 1:59 pm
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    Raul Castro has repeatedly ruled out any political reforms. The Communist party will maintain its monopoly on all political power in Cuba. By what evidence can Raul Castro be called a reformer?

    Politcal arrets have increase this past year, over 8000 and counting. Only last week, the Castro regime police arrested 120 human rights protesters: and they did it on International Human Rights Day!

    Raul Castro does not deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for his continued repression of the Cuban people. He does deserve a dock at the Hague for his crimes.

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