Friday, March 28, 2014

Can Cuba Follow in the Footsteps of the Brave Students and Opposition Forces in Venezuela?

 If Orestes Matacena has anything to say about it, the answer will be a resounding “YES!” The Hollywood actor and filmmaker has called for a national day of civil disobedience on April 1st in Cuba. Matacena’s uncle, Orestes Ferrara was a "mambí" colonel, hero of the Cuban War of Independence against Spain; a contemporary of José Martí, from whose poetry my novel derives its title. He was also one of the signers of the Cuban Constitution of 1940, the same constitution Castro promised his revolution would restore. Matacena hopes that Cubans will emulate Venezuelan students by going out on the streets in defiance of Raúl Castro's government and show that the people demand an end to the Communism that has brought the Cuban economy to a state of shambles. With wages among the lowest in Latin America, Cuba’s standard of living has steadily deteriorated under the communist yoke of the Castro brothers. The Castro régime is a cancer that is spreading throughout Latin America. One of those places is Venezuela.

Since February 12, demonstrations in Venezuela against the communist régime of Colombian Nicolás Maduro have intensified. Daniel Ceballos, the mayor of San Cristobal, Táchira State, and Enzo Scarano, the mayor of San Diego, Carabobo State, were both detained in Caracas on Thursday, when they arrived there to attend a meeting of opposition mayors, according to the local newspaper El Nacional. Their states have been the hardest hit with protests, where demonstrators have been able to disrupt the streets and everyday life, Arab Spring style. In a country with the highest crime rate, and where thousands of violent crimes go uninvestigated and untried, both mayors were tried, sentenced and imprisoned all in one day. Furthermore, both mayors, who were elected by popular vote, have been removed from office and new elections ordered. Their only crime was to respect the rights of people to protest. Meanwhile, Chavista governor of Táchira State, José Gregorio Vielma Mora, has not been able to put down the unrest or the barricades in his state, even though he has sent National Guards and recruited government-paid terrorists called "Colectivos" to attack protesters and murder them. In contrast, he has not been arrested or removed from office.

Maduro's régime is following an all too familiar pattern of injustice that has characterized Cuban "justice" since January 1, 1959. It should come as no surprise that the government of Venezuela, since Chávez became president, has been following orders from Cuba. It's no wonder that Alina Fernández Revuelta, Fidel Castro's daughter who lives in the US, said last February 21, in an interview in Miami's Diario las Américas that Venezuelans have taken too long to yell "Cubans Go Home." She also said, "Students who are protesting today, are paying for the confusion, the lack of interest or the ignorance of the preceding generations".

While April 1st in the U.S. is a time for practical jokes, there is nothing funny about the call for massive civil disobedience in Cuba. It is fitting that the demand for a popular uprising to demonstrate the desperate need for freedom should happen in the advent of the Jewish holiday of Passover, which commemorates the Jews’ exodus from the oppressive land of the Pharaohs. Many believe that until Cuba frees itself of the Castro family and their henchmen, there will never be peace south of the U.S. border. This is why it is important for Cubans in the island to take to the streets on April 1st and let the world know that they are no longer willing to live as slaves.

It is past time for the modern Pharaohs, Raúl and Fidel Castro, to depart the scene and let their people go!