By Yusimi Rodriguez
HAVANA TIMES – After calling out Cuban artists who support the Cuban government and come to perform in Miami, promoting that a concert by Haila Maria Mompie be canceled and for the singer to be declared a persona non grata in Miami, presenter and influencer Alexander Otaola is going one step further and has promoted the end of remittances being sent to Cuba.
Of course, this is where things get tricky because it’s one thing to stick it to artists, but it’s a whole ‘nother thing to pick up a fight with blood ties, family left behind in Cuba. However, going beyond the controversy that this initiative has sparked among our fellow Cubans in Overseas Havana, that is to say, Miami, and other cities across the globe, I don’t believe it’s Otaola who needs to be pushing for the end of remittances being sent to Cuba.
No, my fellow Cubans and friends. This should be an initiative that comes from our very own revolutionary government, as a display of the consistency that defines them. If in 1980, the Eternal Leader of the Cuban Revolution cried out: “We don’t want them, we don’t need them” (referring to those who left the country), now the veterans following him should be shouting: “We don’t want them, we don’t need them” to remittances.
If they did, they wouldn’t only be taking a silent slap at Otaola and those who think that Cubans depend on remittances, they would also be acting in line with the new Constitution that was recently voted in by over 70% of Cubans, according to official statistics, which came into force in April.
According to the preamble of this Constitution, “it is only under socialism that a human being can achieve his or her full dignity…” You can’t be in line with this statement if you’re receiving remittances from capitalist countries, and as a result, where people can’t achieve his or her full dignity. Therefore, in keeping with what’s stipulated in the preamble of our Constitution, remittances are being sent by undignified people.
Only the 25% of Cubans who voted “NO” or didn’t go to the polls, were the ones who didn’t ratify the Constitution and should be receiving these undignified remittances, as they didn’t endorse that it is only under socialism that a human being can achieve his or her full dignity.
According to a report by The Havana Consulting Group, based in Miami, 29.948 billion USD have entered Cuba in the form of cash remittances in the past decade, and another 27.321 billion USD has been sent in goods by Cubans living abroad, mainly in the US. Are these sums of cash and goods only concentrated in 25% of the Cuban population’s hands? Are only those who voted “No” in the Referendum receiving remittances from abroad?
As the vote was direct and secret, we can find out who didn’t vote, but we can’t discover who voted “Yes” and who voted “No”. However, we can deduce that every member of the Cuban Communist Party and everyone in the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, voted “Yes”. These people shouldn’t be receiving remittances.
It isn’t a matter of dividing families. It’s a matter of keeping what was endorsed in the new Constitution and everyone who supports the Cuban government, in line with their way of thinking. If you believe that a human being can only reach his or her full dignity under socialism, prove it: live without remittances; live on the wage or pension the Socialist State pays you. Live without stealing from the Socialist State and having to turn to any of the illegal activities that have all fallen under the euphemistic term “the struggle”.
This is also an opportunity for Cubans on the island to prove that their love for their relatives living abroad isn’t based on the remittances they send, or phone top-ups or other things they lovingly sent.
But like I’ve said before, it isn’t just a question of a couple of artists or a singer who kissed Fidel Castro and wished him a long life. It’s a matter of blood and blood is thicker than water. It’s one thing to admit that remittances, phone top-ups and any other aid from relatives living outside of Cuba nourish the parasitic nature and double standards of Cubans and bring in revenue for the Cuban government, via taxes, and it’s a completely different thing to shut off the remittances tap all of a sudden.
It’s quite hard for the government to demand from their followers (over 70% of the population judging by the referendum) for them to abide by the Constitution they voted in. This double standard works out great for the government, being in God’s and the Devil’s company, which Cubans have become used to.
This is how fellow Cubans still live, quite calmly, on the island. Otaola is just a presenter, an influencer; he can suggest something, promote it, use every argument that comes to his mind to convince people, but he can’t force anyone. He doesn’t make the Law. He didn’t cancel Haila’s concert. He got a campaign going, got people together, collected signatures, enough for the Mayor to decide that it did reflect what the people wanted.
I can’t remember there ever being a campaign, petition, or us being asked for our opinion in Cuba, before deciding that we can’t listen to Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan and Willy Chirino on the island…