Friday, March 5, 2010

All these years, where has Canada been?

The immolation for the freedom of Cuba by the prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata reveals, once again, the intrinsic evil of the Castro dictatorship. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children have encountered their deaths at the hands of the regime’s repressive apparatus throughout 5 decades of communist nightmare. Several generations of Cubans have never enjoyed the most basic rights and freedoms. Nevertheless, the utter contempt toward human life by the Castro brothers has not been able to silence the voices of those who, like Orlando, prefer the physical death to the spiritual death.

The world must know that the expressions of affliction by Raúl Castro are false. In fact, the only thing that he may laments is that the tragic outcome of Orlando’s hunger strike arrived while he hosted Brazilian president Lula. So he had no choice but to face the entourage of journalists that normally accompany democratically elected presidents during foreign trips. Equally ridiculous was the image of this power usurper, mingling and shaking hands with legitimate presidents at the Summit of the Grupo de Rio, held in Mexico. By representing Cuba, Castro mocked not only the entire Cuban nation, but also the good spirit and seriousness of a summit that is pleased to welcome a satrap as one of theirs.

What Cubans want, and the world must unequivocally support, is freedom. To what extent are condolences and demands of change by Canada’s head of foreign affairs of any practical use for the oppressed Cuban people? Actually, they do not serve much when our trade, investments, tourism and political ties are one of the main factors allowing the continuation of this prolonged tragedy. The rationale behind the principled stand against the military junta in Burma versus the complicity toward the Castro brothers tyranny in the heart of the Americas, points to a twisted sense of independence associated with the decision to oppose the American policy of embargo.

A false nationalism expressed in an anti-American foreign policy, undermined the good character of Canada when it decided to accept the Cuban revolution in the first place. Today, 51 years later, Cuba’s civil society and members of the opposition movement find it hard to look up to Canada as a friend. Admittedly, the reason why many Canadians enjoy vacationing on the island of Cuba is because “ there are no Americans down there”.

It’s high time for Canada to fulfill the protagonist role it is supposed to play. Our government and the politicians who represent to us, are in the obligation to ally themselves with the people of Cuba and to take distance from the oppressive dictatorship. What’s the point in having so many “experts” in Latin American studies and publicly funded institutions focused on hemispheric affairs, when our parliamentarians are not able to publicly mention the names (let alone expressing solidarity) of so many prisoners of conscience? At this very hour, brave men and women write pages of honour that inspire not only fellow Cubans, but also the best of humankind.

How much cynicism enclosed in associations such as Canada-Cuba Parliamentary Friendship Group! Will it be possible that those members of the Canadian parliament do not understand that, in their anti-Yankee paroxysm, they are calling themselves “friends” of a Cuba that cannot choose its representatives? They have to understand at once that their actions don’t make them friends, but enemies of Cuba. Because it is pure hallucination and self-deception to believe that a bunch of criminals who usurped power 51 years ago, could ever represent the aspirations of 11 million Cubans stranded in Cuba and over a million who managed to make it into exile.

The day will come in which, in a free Cuba, future generations will know of the dignity of the Czechs and the solidarity of the Poles when it was needed the most. In an event without precedents in recent parliamentary history, 90 Polish legislators, affiliated to the two main political parties, put their differences aside to adopt, symbolically, 90 Cuban political prisoners. Those are indeed the friends of Cuba and their gesture will not be forgotten.

Over a century ago, Cuban national hero José Martí, as Orlando Zapata now, gave his life for Cuba’s freedom at the age of 42. He very well expressed:
“There are men who live contented though they live without decorum. Others suffer as if in agony when they see around them people living without decorum. There must be a certain amount of decorum in the world, just as there must be a certain amount of light. When there are many men without decorum, there are always others who themselves possess the decorum of many men. These are the ones who rebel with terrible strength against those who rob nations of their liberty, which is to rob men of their decorum. Embodied in those men are thousands of men, a whole people, human dignity.”

Our eternal gratitude goes today to the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of Cuba.

Nelson Taylor Sol
March 3, 2010

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