el maestro

el maestro
"Trincheras de ideas valen más que trincheras de piedra." José Martí

Friday, February 22, 2013

Yoani Sánchez - Blogger, mercenary or traitor?

Yoani Sánchez

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

And so the international tournée of the Cuban "blogger" Yoani Sánchez gets under way. Who? The 37-year-old who has made hundreds of thousands of dollars spreading bad will and muck-raking against her own Government in Cuba and who has said absolutely nothing about its very positive humanitarian record. 

Yoani Sánchez claims that she represents the Cuban people, yet earns from her foreign mentors the equivalent of 1,488 years of the Cuban mínimum salary. It's a bit like the village Priest claiming he should be the Pope, or the head of the local "I saw the Virgin Mary's Spaceship, twice" society claiming to be the President.

Let us be honest. Yoani Sánchez created her "blog" Generación Y in 2007 and has since then sent thousands of communications presenting a negative image of Cuba to her friends outside the country, who then post her comments onto the blogsite. The idea is to humiliate her country and tarnish its image in the international community.
No mention of the fact that the "system" in her country, Cuba, allowed her father enough social mobility to start his life as a labourer on the State railroad system and then move on to be an engineer. No mention of Cuba's healthcare programme overseas, in which Cuban medical expertise and medical facilities are made available for free in developing countries. No mention of Cuba's exportation of its education system and literacy programmes which have taught thousands upon thousands of people to read in tens of languages around the world.
No mention of Cuba's democratic system, which, were she to bother to explain it properly, would appear not to be anti-democratic but rather, the very paragon of democracy.
Brazilians threw fake dollars at Yoani
But why should Yoani Sánchez bother explaining anything as it is, when she can make a pretty penny writing sentences such as this: "Writing a travel log is as difficult as studying for a math test in a nightclub" in an article entitled Brazil... Ah! Brazil? But...but...but if Cuba is so oppressive, why did the authorities allow her to pass unhindered from José Marti airport, Havana, on her world tournée, knowing full well what she intended to do?
And let's be honest here. In the USA, she would have been imprisoned for doing the same thing, for 20 years (instigating the overthrow of the Government or established order), or 10 years (proffering declarations affecting the relationship of the country with others) or 3 years (maintaining correspondence with foreigners with the intention to influence regarding a conflict or controversy with the USA). In Italy her activities would have seen her incarcerated for between 3 and 10 years, in Spain, between 4 and 15.

So how can this Yoani Sánchez, who claims the Cubans are repressed but manages to go globe-trotting with income far and above higher than any average mortal, who claims that the Cuban people don't have access to the Internet but manages to make hundreds of thousands of dollars by slagging off her country, be taken seriously?
Maybe she should go back to the nightclub?
Tomado de EnglishPravda

Thursday, February 21, 2013

United States Cuba Relations - The Yoani Sanchez Triangle

Pro US blogger Yoani Sánchez in Brasil

Cuban "dissident" Yoani Sanchez is already making waves on her world tour after departing Cuba last week.  Depending on who you speak with about this Cuban woman, the blogger of Generacion Y, she is either a mercenary, a traitor, a freedom fighter, or a shining hope for Cuba's future.  She is more well known outside of Cuba than inside the island.   Whatever you think or believe about Ms. Sanchez, one thing is for sure.  She has uniquely positioned herself with her recent statements just made in her trip to Brazil.  She opposes the U.S. Cuban embargo.  On recent changes made in Cuba's economy and Raul Castro's reforms - she stated they were headed in the right direction but not happening fast enough.  On freedom for the Cuban Five, she supports their pardon/commutation and release from U.S. prisons, but for reasons different than other Cuban Five supporters.  I wonder what she will say about Alan Gross?

These are very clear sets of positions that beg more questions.  She triangulates herself between Havana and Miami/Washington DC.  Both sides are rattled by her comments.  If she is a paid mercenary by a foreign government as alleged by her detractors in Cuba, then why is she supporting the very things the Cuban government also wants - an end to the embargo, successful economic reforms, and freedom of the Cuban Five?  If it is the current law and policy of our government to support the Cuban embargo, why would we also be funding a foreigner who is so publicly outspoken against our policies towards her own country?  Similarly, because she takes those positions, what do you think her reception is going to be in Miami where embargo hardliners made the policy a religion through their delusional belief that the embargo gives leverage to them?  The truth we know is quite different.  Supporting the embargo is only a source of votes and steady campaign contributions.  The embargo is not leverage on Cuba.  It mutually assured destruction in both countries.  She also calls attention to the case of the Cuban Five, America's modern day Sacco and Vanzetti case where politics corrupted justice and fairness.  She reasons it should be resolved because of the impact the case has had on Cuban society and national resources.  Whatever the reasons, the case should be resolved as it is another spoke in the broken wheel of U.S. Cuba relations.  Perhaps the case will receive more attention now as it should given its unlikely source, a prominent Cuban dissident.

Sanchez is also critical of the Cuban government.  She asks pertinent questions in her blog, and clamors for free speech and press in Cuba.  She observed that she looked forward to the day that demonstrations like she experienced in Brazil and having a contrary public opinion can freely occur in her country. How will the pro-embargo/anti-engagement hardliners who agree with her on these issues also reconcile their differences with her?  This is important as both sides must recognize Ms. Sanchez carries a great deal of credibility in the eyes of the world at this moment.  How long it lasts remains to be seen. Whether she earned it, bought it, or was given it, is not as relevant as to what she is calling attention.

When she makes the rounds in the United States, hopefully the political leaders she meets will heed and implement her policy recommendations sooner than later.  Who actually understands the Cuban embargo better, Yoani Sanchez or Bob Menendez, Marco Rubio, Albio Sires, Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the rest of the hardliner cabal?  She and other Cubans live through it and suffer.  These politicians do not.

 "My position is that the blockade must end now, soon. It is not only my position now, it has always been this way, in every interview and every place in which I have been asked, I've always responded exactly the same. Why should it end in my opinion? There are other opinions that I respect also. Well, because it is an interventionist position, that you want to change the internal situation of a country through a foreign one.  Second, because it has not worked, if the original idea was to create popular unrest to launch people into the streets and change the totalitarian government.  That has failed. As a pressure method, it is a failure.  The third reason, and is not in order of importance, and why it must end as soon as possible is that today it is the fundamental reason given by the Cuban government to explain its economic failure,  and political and social repression." - Yoani Sanchez in Brazil

Politics makes strange bedfellows.   Ms. Sanchez's support for changes in U.S. Cuba policy, regardless of her reasons, makes her a potentially powerful ally in the effort to end the embargo, obtain freedom for the Cuban Five (hopefully we will hear her views on freedom for Alan Gross), and in essence reset the United States Cuba relationship.  Similarly, as much as the Cuban government and her detractors do not like her, asking questions as a citizen and having a contrarian opinion should not be seen as seditious libel in a free and open society.  Respecting Cuba's sovereignty, those are fair questions I would share with our neighbor through a respectful dialogue and friendly influence, but not through the hostility of an embargo and imposed humiliation.   If she is receiving funding from the United States or whomever else, transparency is called for and questions should be asked of, and answered by, her.  All who would detract her presence here in the United States will only look like hypocrites since she is pointing out the errors of our ways against her country.   We applaud her when applies the same tactic to her own country and yet curse her when she does it to us?   Whether Ms. Sanchez's strategy winds up being foolishly courageous, or courageously foolish, will only be known when her world tour ends and she returns to Cuba.  Through her triangulation though, she is testing all sides, forcing everyone to think about what really matters to each.  Thinking is actually a very healthy exercise.  For far too long in the U.S. Cuba relationship there has been more emotion, and not enough thinking.  Those may be the lessons and wisdom garnered from Yoani Sanchez's Triangle.

[EDITOR'S UPDATE AND CLARIFICATION - Since posting this, Ms. Sanchez has retracted or clarified her statements regarding freedom for the Cuban Five.  Her triangle appears to be isosceles on only one main issue, the embargo.  Regardless, she is going to be asked to explain her position regarding the Five in her public encounters. As reported in the Miami Herald this morning, Ms. Sanchez stated 
“At no moment in Brazil did I ask for the five members of the Cuban Interior Ministry to be free. I was using irony to express my views that if they’re free right now, the government would save millions of dollars that it is now paying in this campaign that has lasted for 15 years....If the irony didn’t work, if the words that I used weren’t the right ones, I apologize. My position is the same: They’re not innocent.”] 

Tomado de USCubaPolitics.com  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

North Korea, the US and western hypocrisy

North Korean Army
North Korea has just defied, for the third time, UN Security Council resolutions that advised the Koreans not to continue with its nuclear program. It is indeed a dangerous escalation, but as usual mainstream media silences the other side of the story.

Immediately the US and its satellites have condemned the detonation of a miniaturized nuclear device at an underground test site by the always defiant North Korean Government. As Washington tears off its clothing over the test, it makes desperate calls to China to appease the North Koreans, claiming the old argument that North Korea has violated an UN resolution.

Of course the US ignores the very many resolutions that Israel has violated and continues to violate, and needless to say, Washington's own violations. Just one example to remind the reader: The US has violated 21 UN resolutions asking them to lift the blockade against Cuba. So it is not so much the violations but rather the hypocrisy of the nuclear powers when dealing with other countries who do not fit the norm of Washington. They all have the sovereign right to develop this kind of energy, as in the case of Iran.

As long as these countries possess the nuclear capability, they are not in the position or have the moral authority to ban others from having it. The only solution to this scabrous dilemma is an honest destruction of every and all nuclear arsenal in every country involved, no exceptions. And that includes the United States of America, which, by the way, is the only power that has used a nuclear weapon against another country.