Obama Advisor Ben Rhodes Meets With Cuban Activists In Miami, During A
“Historic” Meeting / 14ymedio, Marion Penton
Posted on March 11, 2016
14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 11 March 2016 – President Obama’s top
advisor on US policy toward Cuba,… Continue reading
Uniting what Castro has divided
BY JORGE MAS SANTOS
The Cuban exile community used to be referenced by my father, Jorge Mas
Canosa, with a simple phrase, "We unite all that Castro has divided."
The truth of this statement must have resonated loud and clear a few
evenings ago in the ears of a young Cuban lady, fresh from the
pervading, ratcheting, command of "fatherland or death" of the Cuba run
by the Castro brothers.
The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba (FHRC), an independent,
non-partisan, service organization founded by my father with Clara and
Mario del Valle, and others in 1992, invited Yoani Sanchez to face the
scrutiny at the Coral Gables Country Club of a wide cross-section of
what, for much of her young life, had been referred to as the "
gusanera" (worms) or the "mafia" of Miami. Yoani, armed only with a
fine, cultured intellect and a sharp, precise vocal expression, accepted
the challenge of facing the questions of over 700 inquisitive Cubans in
Soon after the questions, many not easy; some answers not too pleasing,
it became obvious that what Mas Canosa used to say was taking hold. That
evening, in that hall, what Castro had been dividing for over five
decades — what forced hatred had separated — mutual understanding and
unimpeded love of country was uniting.
Exhausted from a prolonged isolation, Cubans on the island are clamoring
to be heard, to tell of the cruel reality of their lives. Cubans in
exile are equally exhausted of being defamed, caricatured and ostracized
by Castro's cruel propaganda. That evening both sides coincided and came
to understand each other.
We must congratulate FHRC, its past chairman Javier Soto, chairman Pedro
Rodriguez and Tony Costa for a successful experiment in mutual
understanding. In the coming weeks, if the door that opened is not shut,
there will be other Yoanis, male and female, activists or bloggers like
her coming to Miami. Berta Soler, another extraordinary personality,
leader of the brave Ladies in White, will be coming soon. Let us repeat
once and again that evening of understanding and mutual support, let us
embrace them, understand them and send them back with the firm
conviction that they are not alone.
We at FHRC will continue to provide substantial financial, material and
technological support to the brave men and women developing an
independent civil society. As they become more knowledgeable and
efficient in their strategic non-violent actions and follow others that
have broken the chains of oppression, their movement will continue growing.
"We are one people" (" somos un solo pueblo") has been the CANF mantra
for over two decades. Fear and a lack of communication among the exiles
and those on island have crippled us for much too long. Although we in
South Florida have witnessed these messages of Cuba's reality, the same
cannot be said for our compatriots on the island as Yoani and so many
others recognize their message is not known throughout the island.
Our challenge is: How do we break the monopoly of information the regime
has on its people?
Although technological advances and increased assistance has helped, it
is not enough. We must continue to support the growth of independent
journalists in Cuba. Support the mission of Radio Marti that through new
media initiatives is reaching an unprecedented number of the Cuban
people. We must seek innovative solutions so the Cuban people can seek
the truth and share without fear their aspirations for a better future.
We must challenge ourselves to communicate more frequently with our
compatriots on island and support policies and initiatives that open
Cuba to the world even with the virulent opposition of the Castro
regime. We must break the status quo for the benefit of the Cuban people.
Change in Cuba will not come out of the hands of Fidel or Raúl or their
heirs and minions. Change will only come from the decision of the Cuban
people to be free.
Yoani, Berta Soler, Jose Daniel Ferrer and many others have already made
that decision. Let us accompany them in their journey. Together we will
achieve Cuba's freedom.
Jorge Mas Santos is the chairman of the Cuban American National Foundation.
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