By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez
HAVANA TIMES — On December 12th, the long-awaited Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Cuba was finally signed in Brussels. After 8 years of negotiations and launched forward by the sudden thawing of US relations with the island, the agreement revokes the Common Position which had been in vigor over the past two decades; which represented, to a great extent, Europe’s alignment with the US blockade and its laws as the main mechanism of putting pressure on the Cuban political system to establish a democracy.
Ever since the French President pro-tempore of the EU revived the path towards a new rapprochement: however, there’s no doubt about it, Obama’s decision to completely change the US’ strategy towards Cuba left Europe without support for its hard-line policy, which was clearly subject to the hard-line stance adopted by its US partner.
Some ideas mentioned by the European High-Representative Federica Mogherini as well as by our new ambassador Bruno Rodriguez are particularly shocking.
Mogherini said: “We believe that Cuba is changing and we want to be a part of this change” – she is completely mistaken, Cuba (or rather the Cuban system and its leaders, who are the ones calling all of the shots) still isn’t changing, they are just rearranging things so that they can survive as a political class and aim to use investment opportunities to create wealth which will then save them from the obvious failure of their government model.
She also claimed that this new rapprochement would lead to progress with regard to “democracy and human rights”. Here she is equally mistaken: nothing indicates that the ruling political class in Cuba wants to make progress in terms of human rights and democracy. On the contrary, they have always made it perfectly clear that “they have a different way” of viewing these subjects and demand that their ways be respected as the basis of mutual understanding.
Bruno for his part quoted Fidel to defend the Party’s same old ideas and emphasized the fact that “peace is a prerequisite for progress” and that “for there to be peace, multipolarity must be respected” regardless of the political-economic regime in each country. He added, “It’s urgent to build a democratic and multipolar system to save humanity.”
It seems that there is a mystic relationship between the solution for global threats and the conspiracy between democratic regimes and authoritarian dictatorships. Who can understand them?
This prerogative of international law is a foundation of Cuba’s foreign policy and has its roots in the Bolshevik Revolution, where the need for peace to survive forced them to encourage “pacific co-existence” which for the large part, rejects Marxism and its struggle without borders against the international bourgeoisie.
The new Bolsheviks in Cuba, in their readjustment, want to make sure that the rest of the world doesn’t care about the rights that have been taken away from millions of Cubans; nor the loss of our sovereignty to the Communist Party; nor the fact that 20% of Cubans are emigres fleeing from this system, for political or economic reasons, which is the same thing at the end of the day. They want mutual understanding and they are extremely skilled in getting this.
Alternative civil society in Cuba, which is the legitimate civil society if we want to go into concepts, doesn’t view these agreements favorably. They are also suspicious about Obama’s unconditional rapprochement. I believe that the way forward is this one, not the totally rigid line in the face of the superpowers’ hegemony; but not going from one extreme to the other.
A smart policy with minimal demands for respecting our people’s rights, without the need for interference, would be seen as an act of solidarity with the Cuban people who are fighting for a better Cuba. It would really help our dangerous and long struggle for a democratic process in this country which has been fated to suffer so much.
What do we see in the world’s current policies towards Cuba? Clearly, although the EU and the US haven’t abandoned their solidarity efforts with the Cuban cause to establish a democracy and protect human rights, the interests of great capital are taking command, which see fertile grounds for investment and making large profits on the island. What a mean conspiracy! However, it makes sense if we only conform to economic logic.
Capital is pressing behind-the-scene actors in high-level politics, as well as Obama’s wish to make a difference and leave behind a legacy; as well as the 8 years of negotiations to reach an agreement with Europe (because they really have raced to end them in the best way possible so as not to remain behind in the race to take advantage of Cuba sharing itself out to capital).
Welcome peace; welcome unlimited trade; welcome Europe with your good intentions: I hope that your trade agreements won’t leave us completely alone in our fight for a better, more prosperous and democratic Cuba. Today, we need your solidarity more than ever.