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Following what is being called the “Letter of the 74,” where we asked the United States Congress to consider the possibility of further relaxing its economic restrictions and recognizing its citizens’ right to travel to Cuba, a rich debate has been launched in which arguments new and old are surfacing.

Who is right? Life will tell. In my humble opinion, the most helpful part of this is that finally Cubans, who to varying degrees and with different nuances expressed their dissatisfaction with the political situation in the country, have publicly let go of the burden of their prejudices and have been encouraged to distance themselves from a false unanimity.

Even the Communists are now doing it, although timidly, in the pages of Granma, where they diverge from each other on the sensitive issue of the privatization of services (without going to the extreme of calling each other traitors to the cause, or insulting each other). And if they can do it, there is nothing detrimental in political opponents of different stripes offering to expose their differences, whether of principal or simply of methods, in a civilized way,

These should not be discussions undertaken to determine a winner, but to find pathways. As we are finding our way in these disputes, we will need to be patient with some passionate people who prefer to discredit the bearers of an idea rather than refute their arguments.

Someday we will have more difficult discussions, for example: there is the issue of the death penalty and the dilemma between justice and forgiveness, and what about the presumed returns and the debate between those who want to maintain and those who want to dissolve one conquest or another. Let us learn now, later there will not be time.


One of points of greatest friction when Cuban issues are debated is what is referred to as the restrictions imposed on the island by the United States government. Laying out every imaginable nuance with regards to loosening or tightening these restrictions, will usually be a sign to bring out the conflicting factions: of those in exile, of the internal opposition, and of the policy toward Cuba of most countries.

Among the arguments most heard from supporters of a hardline approach is the metaphorical, which challenges any sign of goodwill on the grounds that this would provide oxygen to the regime.

A few days ago a letter to the United States Congress was circulated, signed by a representative sample of Cuban civil society, supporting easing the sale of food to Cuba and allowing American tourists to visit our country.

As expected, the document irritated the hardliners. I don’t pretend to be impartial on this theme, among other reasons because I am one of the 74 signers and because my entire family lives in this country: my mother, my sister, my children, my wife, my granddaughters and a huge number of cousins, nephews and nieces.

However hard the situation, none of them will go into the street to lead a social exposition, much less if they lack the argument that governmental inefficiency is principally responsible for their scarcities. While there is a blockade to accuse, while the least public limitation on trade potential exists, the fault will be imperialism’s, particularly if not a single gringo appears in these parts to allow us to verify his nature is not satanic.

In this aquarium there is a lack of oxygen and those who oppose pumping it in don’t take into account that they seek to punish those carrying the tanks on their backs, or the snorkels in their mouths, nor are they aware that the privileged have a monopoly on anything that appears breathable, and they share it out in accordance with the merits among those who toe the line of the politically correct.

They seem unaware that our rights have been kidnapped precisely in the name of the threat of asphyxiation, and what’s worse, contrary to their own logic, they forget that an atmosphere rich in oxygen favors fires and explosions.

Link to Original Blog in Spanish

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Reinaldo Escobar (1947), an independent journalist since 1989, writes from Cuba where he was born and continues to live. He received his degree in Journalism from the University of Havana in 1971 and subsequently worked for different Cuban publications. His articles can be found in various European publications, and in the digital magazines "Cuba Encuentro" and "Contodos."

Desde Aquí/From Here is a personal undertaking born from the need to write about those topics that fill my head every day but that cannot find a space in the official Cuban media.

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