Luis Miguel del Bahia
HAVANA TIMES — Ultimately, Barack Obama’s full speech was never rebroadcast on Cuba’s evening news, at a time of day when most Cubans could see it. The original, live broadcast was in the morning of a working day.
It was a moderate and intelligent speech, which one cannot help but consider, at the very least, pleasant. Obama was even courteous enough to acknowledge the opinions of his audience could differ from his.
The impression I went away with is that the Cuban government is afraid, afraid that the speech would appeal to and would be welcomed by Cubans.
Whatever one’s political affiliations – whether one is left or right-wing – one must acknowledge that democracy is the space of discussion, debate and exchange that makes co-existence possible. We’re not talking about a specific model of democracy, of European social-democracy or American liberal democracy. We are talking about a multicolor space where there’s room for nearly everyone.
What democracy has no room for are radicals, be these left, right or any wing, because no system can accommodate its own negation. But that’s as far as any system should go.
Our political system lacks any mechanisms for inclusion. At the National Assembly, for instance, we see nothing other than the Cuban Communist Party, even though there are many groups in Cuba with different ideologies, at both the left and the right.
In order to be able to call ourselves democratic, as our own ministers often do, tautologically, the government, which currently monopolizes all spaces for discussion, debate, reflection and, generally speaking, truth, must construct new places where we can gradually build the type of country we want.
Whether the free market or collective ownership of the means of production is to prevail is something that must potentially be subject to continuous debate. We know the truth is dialectical and cannot be fixed in time, not any kind of truth.
I would like to conclude saying that the government, and the country’s leaders in particular, must come to the realization that there is something bigger than they, I, capitalism and Obama, and that this is the right of the people to choose their own destiny, something that won’t happen until we have a truly plural, inclusive and participative assembly, one, why not, based on Jose Marti’s ideals.