Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    One Step Forward, One Step Back / Ernesto Morales Licea

    One Step Forward, One Step Back / Ernesto Morales Licea
    Ernesto Morales Licea, Translator: Unstated

    The diplomacy of the absurd. A kind of indecipherable political cha cha
    cha, with steps lacking any harmony with each other, forming no coherent
    dance. The thinking of the top leadership in Cuba is an unfathomable
    mystery to me, every day more difficult to understand. I have come to
    think: Not even the powers-that-be are interested in reality. What
    interest them, as a delicious Creolism says, is to fuck.

    What's in the scales? On one side we have the release of 126 political
    prisoners, some to , others living today in their houses.
    How nice. And then, on the other side, we have the recent savage
    kickings of dissidents, the beating of women, the tear gas used on
    protesters who, from a doorway of Palma Soriana, demanded .

    Do the scales tip to either side, are they anything but horizontal?
    Decidedly not. Any effect desired from the release of the opponents, in
    the political chess game, is annulled under the weight of the
    of today. This, in diplomatic matters, is laughable insanity.

    Let us tip the scales once again: On one side we'll put the calls of
    who, either he is a major player, or he delivers his
    speeches under the influence of his beloved alcohol, or he really wants
    Cubans to begin to speak without fear, or to show their disagreements in
    public meetings and forums. I've heard it more times in the last five
    years than from his brother in 50. A show of openness? Could be. But
    why? Why do they need it, want it? Apparent democracy for whom?

    Any rational is left with no vitality when later, from the hand of this
    call for supposed sincerity, we put on the other side of the scales a
    cultural icon like Pable Milanes who, expressing his discontent, his
    urgent desires for social reforms, and a digital posse, soldiers,
    Silvios and Edmundos, knives between their teeth, launch their attack
    against him.

    Elementary conclusion for Cuban brains? If an untouchable like Pablo
    gets such a response on the part of the establishment, totally
    discrediting him (or is there anyone who doubts that when Silvio
    Rodriguez, Edmundo Garcia, or digital soldiers like Enrique Ubieta or
    Iroel Sanchez speak, they are simple transmitters of the official
    posture?); if this is what happens to an emblem like Pablo, what can
    common and hungry mortals expect?

    Last but not least: Let us set on the scales the recent words of Raul
    announcing changes in national immigration policy, stripping from
    the majority of exiles the unjust designation of enemies. We will add,
    also, the visible advances in tolerance for sexual and religious
    diversity, a point even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognized,
    on presenting her annual report on religious freedom in the world.
    (Clinton said that, although Cuban was still one of the countries most
    criticized in previous reports, with respect to religious freedom its
    practices had improved.)

    But then, rampant and dissonant, we rebalance the scales at a stalemate,
    with the rejection of former Gov. Bill Richardson who did not return
    home with the contractor Alan on his plane, nor was Richardson
    even able to visit Gross. In the past, Richardson has been an active
    advocate of normalizing certain points of diplomatic relations with
    Cuba, and he confesses that the release of extremely ill Gross, who has
    lost over 100 pounds, would have served to open large areas of
    negotiation. (More to the favor of the Cuban government: to free a man
    so affected as would not have been seen as a symptom of
    political weakness, but as a distinguished act of humanity.)

    What is the diplomatic move of the same establishment that cordially
    invited Richardson to the Island? Treating him to an ass-kicking.
    Absolutely refusing him an interview with Alan Gross. Managing that the
    former Democratic governor would say that too many people in the cabinet
    don't want to normalize any bilateral situation, and insinuating,
    frustratedly, that in these negotiations Cuba had lost a friend.

    And above all, the icing on the cake: the mummified leaders decided to
    send their fundamental backing to the politics of those such as Mario
    Díaz-Balart, David Rivera and company, in their effort to provide cement
    for the 35,000 schools Obama wants to reconstruct, to create more walls
    of estrangement between the two shores.

    Placing pieces on the board: Where is this deranged ship that is my
    country headed? I declare myself incapable of discerning it. I don't

    If the intention is to maintain a tight grip, if the intention is to die
    victims of biology (today Vilma Espin, tomorrow Juan Almeida, previously
    Julio Casas Regueiro) without changing anything in the landscape, why so
    much interest in reform? In decentralizing the ? In allowing the
    sale of cars and houses, announcing supposed immigration changes,
    emptying the jails of political prisoners, inviting Jimmy Carter and
    Bill Richardson?

    If the intention is to mount a backchannel lobbying, feigning rigidity
    in public while speaking candidly to the enemy in the shadows, why so
    many beatings, so many arrests, so much incendiary verbiage against
    Pablo Milanes, and now, so much unnecessary and prejudicial theater like
    that shown against the Democrat Richardson?

    I don't believe one step forward one step back that is staged every day
    in Cuban politics has much to do with the indecision of the fearful or
    the doubtful. What's more, I don't believe there is another politics in
    the world that exhibits more scandalously the incorrigible senility of
    its sponsors and executors.

    September 14 2011