Trending

Newsletter

Cubans Freer than Puerto Ricans? Castro Must Think We’re Idiots

By: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo - @OLPL - Oct 9, 2015, 8:02 am
Castro says Puerto Ricans are "slaves" to US imperialism, without the slightest sense of irony.
Castro says Puerto Ricans are “slaves” to US imperialism, without the slightest sense of irony. (Tiempo)

EspañolOn September 28, Raúl Castro gave a lesson in foreign intervention at the UN General Assembly. They say he ended his speech on the verge of tears, overwhelmed by the applause. That was to be expected.

The show the former alcoholic put on symbolized the triumph of indecency as public policy, as well as the victory for the olive-green executioners at the United Nations, another useless international forum, similar to the Organization of American States, lacking any legitimacy.

The Cuban dictator, who inherited the post from his brother Fidel in July 2006, and will pass it on to his son Alejandro in February 2018, couldn’t have been more frank. Since 1959, the Cuban revolutionaries have been clear about one thing: everyone must give in to Havana’s divine will, by hook or by crook.

Before tearing up, the general reaffirmed the obscene pact between the Castros and Chavista tyranny in Venezuela, Rafael Correa’s oppressive regime in Ecuador, and the rest of the region’s authoritarian populist governments, including Brazil’s exceedingly corrupt Dilma Rousseff.

Let’s not forget the evil Cristina Kirchner has perpetrated in Argentina, an ally of Iran’s nuclear arms race, who hopes to extend her brand of ruin to several prosperous islands in the southern Atlantic ocean.

Raúl Castro also accused the European Union of extending NATO’s presence to contain Vladimir Putin’s imperialist Russia. While he was at it, he then blamed Europe for the increase in mass migration in the Middle East and North Africa. He also demanded compensation for black Caribbeans, victims of slave trafficking, centuries ago. At least in this case the Cuban dictators do actually have decades of experience. The Castros were always very generous when it came to squandering other people’s wealth.

Nevertheless, Raúl Castro’s most egregious insults were reserved for Puerto Ricas, whom he called slaves to US “colonial rule.” This was the height of his cynicism.

In the same way that Castroism is much stronger in Puerto Rico than it is in Cuba, the majority of Cubans envy Puerto Ricans’ freedoms. For example, Puerto Ricans can travel freely across the world without an entry permit, a “repatriation process,” or landing in jail in their own country.

Of course, boricuas have the freedom to associate freely, elect their leaders, and can even hold a plebiscite on the nation’s legal status. Independence in Puerto Rico remains the least popular view, since it would be the worst option for those on the island who care about liberty — a situation similar to that of Scotland and Catalonia.

Maurice Ferré, a Puerto Rican politico and former longtime mayor of Miami, once said that “Cuba is a sovereign nation where citizens don’t have individual liberties.” In other words, our sovereignty has been hijacked. Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, it seems to be the other way around. National sovereignty there has not done away with fundamental rights or human dignity.

Does the Cuban general have his own plans for a Puerto Rico separated from US democracy? How can he speak so arrogantly about a nation capable of removing Yankee military outposts from its territory, while in Cuba, the people have never come together to protest the legal limbo of Guantanamo?

Does Raúl Castro allow Cubans who are residents or citizens of the United States, or any other country, to reside permanently in their home country of Cuba? Of course not. On the other hand, Puerto Ricans have always been able to live in Puerto Rico.

Does Raúl Castro allow Cubans residing on the island to invest in the national economy? Once again, the answer is “no.” Meanwhile, Puerto Ricans have always been able to invest in their own country or wherever else they please.

How many political parties enjoy legal status in Cuba? How many media outlets are not state owned? How many Cuban schools teach something other than communism, the ideology of hate towards difference and dissent? Are Cubans able to use the internet freely, from their mobile devices or their homes?

[adrotate group=”8″]

Let’s ask “General” Castro — who, by the way, has never participated in any battle in his life — how soon after the communist regime gets its claws into an “independent” Puerto Rico will boricuas end up completely polarized, economically ruined, and left with a totalitarian society?

Come on, Raúl. As Fidel’s successor, what you lack in charisma, you certainly make up for in evil. I will concede that Cubans are still slaves to a backward regime that tries to pass off a centralized, crony-capitalist system as revolutionary. Granted, we have not been able to free ourselves after so many decades of leftist fascism imposed by thugs.

I will concede that we have lost our country forever. Your Castro elite have won. You should hurry up and celebrate before you die in your comfortable bed with the blessing of the Catholic Cardinal.

But insulting our intelligence before the United Nations is just unnecessarily cruel. What Cubans wouldn’t give to be part of Puerto Rico for even a minute, Raúl. Make the tiniest bit of effort to understand this, General Castro: Cubans may be an enslaved people, but we’re not idiots.

Translated by Vanessa Arita.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo is a Cuban writer and photographer, a visiting fellow of the International Writers Project, and an adjunct professor at Brown University. Follow @OLPL and his blog Lunes de Post-Revolución.