The United States does not discuss with Cuba the list of dissidents Mr. Obama will meet during his visit to the island, White House spokesman Josh Ernest told reporters on 18 in March. “The content of the list is not the subject of negotiations. The list of people is determined by the president and the White House ", - Ernest quotes RIA News".
“I would not be surprised if there are people on this list whose meetings the government of Cuba would not allow,” Ernest added wisely. “Although I don’t know if they raised this question, we’ll still do that.”
Obama's visit (he flew to the island aboard the Air Force 1) took place on March 21 and 22.
Liberty Island met the American president unfriendly. It was gloomy and cold weather, and even then it suddenly poured rain. Mr. Obama uttered words that the world media never tire of quoting: “In 1928, Calvin Coolidge spent three whole days to get to Cuba on a warship. It took me only three hours ... It historical visit and historic opportunity. ”
As for the last phrase, we must recognize it as correct. After decades of economic blockade of Cuba, the visit of the US President to the island really becomes historic.
Peter Kornbluch, senior analyst at the National Security Archive, said Voice of Americathat we are talking about the first visit of the US President to Havana after the Cuban revolution.
“For Cubans, this is to some extent a recognition of their revolution and the fact that the US is ready to live in peace with Cubans, and formally recognizes the local government,” he noted. “Countries have really begun to converge, and President Obama’s visit to Cuba is intended to speed up this process.”
Voice of America reminds us that in the last fifteen months of warming, much has changed in Cuba and the United States: there are embassies in both countries, formal diplomatic relations exist, the number of Americans traveling to Cuba is increasing, reforms have begun on the island, giving Cubans the opportunity to promote small businesses.
For the Cuban side, the main question is the complete lifting of the embargo. However, this is not what Obama decides, but the Congress. On the one hand, supporters of the “Cuban thaw” believe that the embargo has outlived itself. On the other hand, two potential US presidential candidates, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, have a negative attitude to this.
“We’ll see what happens with the Congress’s leadership in the November election of 2016: if control passes to the Democrats, I think that there will be a vote on this topic and the embargo will be lifted,” Kornblyuk told Voice of America. “Even many Republicans do not understand the meaning of this embargo: in fact, we isolate ourselves.”
By the way, in Cuba, the popularity of the current American leader is much higher than in the United States itself. 80% of Cubans, according to surveys, belong to B. H. Obama positively.
As we noted above, during the visit, Barack Obama has scheduled a meeting with Cuban dissidents. What kind of people are these? “Voice of America” for some reason did not bring their list. Russian Kommersant turned out to be much more agile.
The White House did not disclose the list of participants to the meeting, the newspaper notes. However, the newspaper still became aware of the names of most of those who received invitations. Details from Havana were given by Kommersant correspondent Pavel Tarasenko.
According to the correspondent, the invitations were sent to the following dissidents:
1. Dagoberto Valdez, writer and journalist, editor of the e-journal "Convivencias" ("Coexistence").
2. Manuel Cuesta Maurois, founder of the Progressive Party of Cuba, coordinator of the New Country platform, which unites part of the local opposition.
3. Miriam Leive, an independent journalist who publishes in a number of international media outlets, one of the founders of the human rights movement Women in White (the original goal is to release husbands, brothers and fathers of movement members arrested for subversive activities), A. Sakharov Prize laureate.
4. Antonio Rodilles, an activist who became known as the coordinator of SATS - a forum created in 2010 of the year and designed to intensify social, cultural and political debates in the country. In addition, Rodilles is the main coordinator of the “Civil Claim of Another Cuba” (the goal of this initiative is to achieve the ratification of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights by the country).
5. Yoani Sánchez, a journalist and blogger. She received several international awards for criticizing life in Cuba. The creator of a blog (“Generation Y”), available in 17 languages. This woman was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
6. Elizardo Sánchez, a former university professor and now a human rights activist, founder of the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation.
7. Berte Soler, head of the Women in White movement, winner of the Sakharov Prize.
8. Guillermo Fariñas, an independent journalist and the main coordinator of the United Antitotalitarian Forum (FANTU), a psychologist, winner of the Sakharov Prize, awarded by the European Parliament. He spent at least 23 hunger strikes in protest against the actions of the Cuban government and at least 11 spent half a year in prisons.
9. José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). Previously, he was a member of the Christian Liberation Movement and participated in collecting signatures in support of the “Varela project” in order to force the Cuban leadership to give citizens of the country guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly. In 2003, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison; He was in prison until 2011.
"Moscow Komsomol" reports that on the morning of the arrival of B.H. Obama’s island several dissidents were arrested.
“As for the arrested dissidents,” writes well-known international journalist Melor Sturua, “among them were ardent opponents of the United States. The government through its media made it clear that it will not tolerate any demonstrations against the United States and itself. Among many Cubans, these measures raise doubts about US-Cuban detente. ”
Is it so? Is there any details?
Pavel Tarasenko reports (Kommersant):
"..." Women in white "and the men who joined them (only a few dozen people) walked along Fifth Avenue - the main street of this district of Havana. On the way, shouting “Revolution - yes, this people with you!” Were met by pro-government demonstrators. As a result, the march ended in the same way as usual - mass arrests. Moreover, Bertha Soler and Antonio Rodilez, another opposition member invited to meet with Barack Obama, got into the padrocks. ”
So, it is clear that the meeting with Obama, planned by the White House, will not all invited.
By the way, Tarasenko’s report contains opinions on the situation in Cuba and “the other side of the barricades”. Director of the Institute of History of Cuba Rene González Barrios and historian Felipe Perez Cruz assured the journalist that the Cuban opposition did not enjoy popular support and received money from Washington. Oppositionist Berta Soler responded to this in a conversation with a correspondent: “Farce. Not a single American knocked on my door. ”
В "New York Times" with irony tells about the preparation of the authorities for the visit of Obama.
As pointed out by correspondents Damien Cave and Julie Davis, already a few hours before the landing of "Air Force One" at the International Airport. José Martí, in Havana, the problems that are inherent in the processes of "normalizing relations with the communist police state." Dozens of people were arrested on the weekly march of Women in White, a well-known dissident organization.
Journalists call their Sunday protest a test of the tolerance of Cuban authorities for dissent during the visit of the American president. And what? The arrests confirmed that Cuba remains loyal to "its long history of repressive tactics."
Therefore, for Mr. Obama, who was just about to meet with Berta Soler (detained on Sunday), the main task of the visit is the topic of human rights and freedom.
For Obama's visit, authorities put “order” in Havana: they painted the baseball stadium with “fresh blue paint”, and covered most of the Obama route with fresh asphalt. Now she "smacks of tar." Locals ridicule their government and thank Obama for patching holes on the roads.
“Everyone wants to know what we, the Cubans, are thinking about Obama's trip,” said 36-year-old J. Suarez, standing at the renovated road in the center of Havana. - I, frankly, just happy that this huge bump has finally been repaired. And if I have the opportunity to thank Obama for this, then I say: thank you, Obama! ”
Elizardo Sanchez, who spent the day in custody, but still communicated with foreign journalists, believes that the changes on the island will depend not at all on Mr. Obama, but on Fidel Castro, the architect of the 1959 revolution of the year, on Raul Castro, his brother, and from their family members.
"What the government gives, it can instantly select," - said the opposition.
“What we need is reform,” he added. - We need laws. Let it be for real change. ”
As transmits TASS, at a press conference held after the talks of Obama and Raul Castro, questions were raised by journalists about the "political prisoners". Raul Castro simply rejected the accusations of human rights defenders that there were allegedly political prisoners on the island, and then stated that no country in the world fully complies with “international standards in the field of human rights”.
Obama replied that the United States and Cuba "remain deeply divided over democracy and the human rights situation."
Despite disagreements over human rights and the arrests of various oppositionists in Havana, the main topics of rapprochement between Washington and the Island of Freedom are not at all dissident. Cuba is interested in American investments, as well as in the real lifting of the economic blockade.
Raul Castro thanked Obama for his appeals to Congress regarding the lifting of the embargo policy, but he immediately called all these measures insufficient: the blockade continues. "The blockade is the most important obstacle to our economic development and the welfare of the Cuban people," - quotes the Cuban leader of TASS. Its cancellation, the Cuban leader said, “is vital for the normalization of bilateral relations.”
In addition, Castro demanded "the return of the territory illegally occupied by the naval base at Guantanamo."
In this case, Comrade. Castro expressed Cuba’s readiness to move towards normalization of relations with the United States.
In turn, the American president expressed confidence that the embargo "will be finished." True, he, Obama, "does not know when this will happen."
Thus, we’ll add in conclusion that the Cuban authorities are unlikely to stand on ceremony with dissidents, fearing suggestions from Washington about the violation of "human rights". The embargo has not been removed, and Obama cannot give any guarantees of its withdrawal, and the base in Guantanamo still exists. In such conditions, there is no reason to be led by the White House to Comrade Castro. Without a complete lifting of the embargo, the Cuban system will, perforce, exist in the old regime.
It turns out that the fate of so-called Cuban socialism is now in the hands of American congressmen. The lifting of the embargo will inevitably lead to the collapse of the political system supported by the Castro family. If Mr. Rubio, a potential US presidential candidate, he would have understood that more intelligently. Apparently, while supporting the embargo, he is guided solely by his personal feelings about the “regime” of Castro, about which he once spoke a lot to the American press.
However, the latter looks like a thoughtful lie. Not so long ago, it turned out that, contrary to Rubio’s statements about his parents ’flight from Cuba in the 1959 year, in fact they immigrated in the US in 1956 year, that is, three years before the Cuban revolution. They were not political refugees, but ordinary economic migrants. And now it is quite difficult for Mr. Rubio to put himself in the role of a descendant of the victims of "political repression". But the withdrawal seems to go with great difficulty.
Observed and commented on Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for topwar.ru
- especially for topwar.ru