By Vicente Morin Aguado
HAVANA TIMES — Granma, the Cuban Communist Party’s official newspaper, surprisingly broke its pattern of behavior when it comes to dealing with political dissidence by dedicating three detailed articles to the project of Rosa Maria Paya.
Paya is the leader of the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy, who has tried to get prominent politicians to Havana for the second year running so as to receive the 2017 Oswaldo Paya Freedom and Life Prize. This year the invitees were former Colombian and Bolivian presidents Andres Pastrana and Jorge Quiroga.
The first article came on Wednesday March 7th, when the former presidents of Colombia and Bolivia arrived at the Jose Marti international airport,
The kindness of Cuban authorities towards the young opposition leader is surprising as she has been publicly accused of “creating instability, damaging the country’s international image and affecting the course of Cuba’s diplomatic relations with other countries.”
While they derogatorily call the organization she leads “a small group”, they recognize the strange capacity she has to create instability just by planning the ceremony at her family home, the only place she can as no other venue would be allowed.
With regard to damaging Cuba’s international image, it’s about imposing the political synonym of government=Cuba, as the article continues by directly referring to the country’s diplomatic relations. She’s flying what would seem a simple kite, but the mere presence of which becomes a threatening object in the clear sky to the country’s leaders.
Given the close governmental ties between Cuba, Bolivia and Colombia, the extraordinary skill attributed to Paya’s daughter (who shares more of a surname with her father than a record, real actions or living and breathing followers) is unacceptable. The arrow could point towards Spain because the scheduled opposition event includes the Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas (IDEA) amongg its sponsors.
Former presidents who unite under IDEA include Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias (Costa Rica), Jose Maria Aznar (Spain), Felipe Calderon and Vicente Fox (Mexico), Sebastian Pinera (Chile) and Alvaro Uribe (Colombia).
Things aren’t going very well for the Castro government with the Spanish, in spite of long talks guided by the European Union months ago, which is willing to benefit the Cuban State with regard to its chronic financial crisis, the old continent’s negotiators ended by establishing that this will only be true if Cuba becomes more politically tolerant. This issue traveled through Zarzuela Palace, suspending a scheduled visit from the Spanish king and queen.
The article that followed the next day, a statement made by Cuba’s Foreign Relations Ministry, was more of the same, but there are some statements which seem to have been made so as to make the kite go even higher in its daring journey through the sky:
“The operation has been carried out (…) using a small, illegal anti-Cuban group as an instrument.” The so-called Latin American Youth Network for Democracy doesn’t legally reside in Havana, it travels and visits countries within our hemipshere and the large Caribbean island. Essentially, it resides wherever Rosa Maria Paya spends the night.
“This time, they tried to put on a show which would affect the normal course of Cuba’s general election process.” The deliberate statements, made by a system based on propaganda without any real arguments, whose only option is to invent them, was shocking. A motto of Goebbelian-style mass psychology says: “the more exaggerated the argument, the better.”
Lastly, they have accused those who tried to be the protagonists of the Paya Freedom and Life Prize awards ceremony of trying to “violate the constitutional order we have freely chosen.”
The sentence categorically states this but doesn’t contribute anything, they need to tell us what they justify an act of “violating constitutional order” to be.
For the highest civic act of voting, (never do I call them “elections” because the people don’t have the ability to freely choose candidates), the Sunday finally came on March 11th which was so “threatened” by the insignificant organization that Rosa Maria heads.
With Latin America’s political dangers gone, the CubaDecide project (which is also under the abovementioned opponent’s leadership), tried to take advantage of the constitutional right that every Cuban has to be present during the course of the so-called “elections”, especially when the polls are being closed and in counting the votes. A dozen activists were arrested as a result, along with others blocked from traveling to schools where the voting was taking place.
Using Granma’s own language, “the constitutional order was violated” this time.
However, even though Sakharov Prize winner Oswaldo Paya Sardinas’ daughter’s kite flew high, CubaDecide’s initiatives don’t have a great deal of support among the wide and well divided rainbow of Cuban opposition. They criticize her for belonging to the exile community while police batons hit those who march in Cuba’s streets defying the government.
Antonio Rodiles, leader of the Forum for Rights and Freedoms alongside Ailer Gonzalez, summarizes his thoughts: “We are paying all the price. We have all the moral authority to say what we believe might work.” Last but not least, Ailer grants a certain bravery to the actions led by Rosa Maria: “I applaud her work in the diplomatic arena, making Cuba’s situation visible.”
Talking about politics, Rodiles reaffirms what can’t be ignored, neither here nor there: “Cuba is the final battleground.”
Vicente Morin Aguado: Mardeleva287@gmail.com