Fernando Ravsberg

Photo by Ihosvanny

HAVANA TIMES, Dec. 9— After the revelations by Wikileaks, I’ve come to realize that I live in one of the few regions of the planet where sincerity still predominates.  Here, the politicians from Cuba and the United States say what they think in public and face to face.

When I looked for those “revelations” concerning Havana, I found the same things that Washington has always accused it of: protecting terrorists, negatively influencing the rest of the continent and leading Hugo Chavez down the wrong path.

The official Cuban media complains that the Wikileaks cables have revealed a plan to sabotage the island’s international medical assistance program.  But who needs such a “revelation” when Washington has a program of fast-track visas to tempt Cuban doctors who work in third countries.

Perhaps the only news is that one of the women supposedly “sexually assaulted” by Julian Assange has a history of recognized anti-Castro activism – a coincidence that is now arousing the mistrust of some. (1) (2)

Apart from this, there is not anything as surprising as the questions about the mental health of the Argentinean president, suspicions that Putin works for the Russian mafia, Sarkozy’s difficult character, or those private “little parties” of Berlusconi.

It’s that American politicians are much more frank when it comes to Havana, so much so that their ambassador in Mexico, Carlos Pascual, openly said that it’s not necessary to worry about Cuba “because the environment will eliminate the problem for us.”(3)

What bigger scandal could be revealed by the WikiLeaks cables after an American diplomat said with complete sincerity that the solution to the bilateral dispute is that the island and its residents disappear under the sea?

Before 1959 there had indeed been “secret messages,” such as that of Ambassador Benjamin Welles’s in which he complained of fatigue because the Cuban president and his ministers consulted him “daily about decisions concerning all types of aspects of the Cuban government.” (4)

This relationship between the US ambassadors and the island’s political leaders was one of the causes that “Radio Bemba” (a form of oral transmission that preceded WikiLeaks) spread the rumor that Cuba had a certain level of dependence on its neighbor to the north.

But sincerity was mutual with Fidel Castro.  Once he was established in the Sierra Maestra, the comandante wrote a letter in which he asserted that his life’s destiny would be the war he would initiate against the US after defeating the Batista dictatorship.

We need not even mention his subsequent speeches following the revolutionary victory, those in Cuba as well as those around the rest of the world.  It would be difficult to find one that didn’t have at least one reference to “Yankee imperialism”, to which he attributes all the evils that humanity suffers.

Therefore, in the Cuba-US dispute, the secret cables can contribute little to what we all already know.  However, the Cuban leadership seems quite satisfied that the double talk of their “mortal enemy” is naked before the world.

They are so happy that they’re saying WikiLeaks deserves a monument.  Notwithstanding, instead of spending the money on statues, they might do better by investing in the creation of a “Cubaleaks” that would give some transparency to the country’s own political, economic and social life.

I believe this would work marvels.  I know journalists who would love to be able to write about those issues and many citizens willing to provide information about current-day cases that remain mysteriously in the shadows.

Care would of course be required in relation to any secrets having to do with national security, but we could speak about tons other issues (such as the gross inefficiency of some ministries, acts of corruption by one businessperson or another, or the strange voting by Cuba in the UN).

As a friend of mine who is conversant in the matter once said: Transparency is not a striptease in which everyone else gets undressed; the true commitment to transparency begins when we too are willing to take off our own clothes.




(4) “Tony Guiteras, un hombre guapo.”  Author: Paco Ignacio Taibo II

An authorized Havana Times translation of the BBC Mundo original post.

One thought on “Cubaleaks

  • WikiLeaks or “CubaLeaks” could or would exist only because of a criminal lack of transparency in government and business. And since socialism is *de facto* (by definition) a form of government with a high degree of transparency — i.e., democratic input — the fact that there really is a pressing need for such a means of expressing political dissent in Cuba today is a statement on the failure of the present cuban regime to live up to many of the goals and standards of socialist praxis at a, really, fundamental, basic level.

    Cubans shouldn’t really want to establish a “CubaLeaks” — but they *should* do it, if this government is not quickly forthcoming with REAL, substantial POLITICAL reform to accompany the now much ballyhooed economic ones which have been announced — and which are apparently being opened to official, [well-controlled and well-rehearsed] “debate” in government, Party and society.

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