Tampa's Exercise in Shamelessness

Thursday, May 9, 2013
By Cuba-based blogger and democracy activist, Agustin Lopez:

Money is a Mighty Lord

Under the title, “Tampa seeks to do business with Cuba,” in The Miami Herald, I learned that Tampa City Council members Harry Cohen, Yvonne Yolie Capin, and Mary Mulhern, along with [Congresswoman] Kathy Castor, will soon be traveling to Cuba.

Castor traveled to Havana during the first week of April with a team of advisors and members of the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA), based in Washington D.C. The group promotes strategies and solutions to end the blockade and normalize relations with the people of Cuba.

Their program included meetings with officials from the Ministry of Tourism and members of the official National Association of Economists of Cuba, the Catholic Church and the Ministry of Energy and Mines. The current owners of the fiefdom of Cuba.

It is hard to watch how money buys consciences, rents ideologies and submits the dignity of people to the abhorrent perversity of the debasement of the soul. Money above values, above patriotism, above justice, above freedom.

Unfortunately, it is a worldwide epidemic strengthened by lust rather than by need. An insatiable ambition that devours feelings, butchering the sensitivity of humans for humans. He who calls himself a friend betrays you, lies to you, assaults you and even kills you for a few coins.

It is true that it takes money to do things, but it is wrong to believe that money is essential to preserve the human condition and its inherent values.

A few days ago I received a commentary about an article written to several U.S. businessmen and City Council members, among them Kathy Castor, a Democrat from Tampa, who unscrupulously leads business negotiations with the dictatorial regime of the Castros. A few years ago, they managed to establish direct flights, with an apparent sense of humanitarianism, but didn't question the policy of human rights violations of the communist regime. In the commentary, I was reproached for my negative attitude towards the eradication of the blockade and of the opening of travel by Cubans to the island.  They alleged that the [current] policy was ineffective and that the actions of the opposition had not accomplished much in 53 years. They seemed to feel that this gave them a right to nourish the totalitarian government.

One thing is true.  The opposition has not had the recognition it deserves, nor the strength to transform political power. Undoubtedly, the traitors, and the betrayal of some of the same people for whom we have been fighting, have been many. Reading the commentary didn't make me angry, but sad, ashamed, humiliated.

How is it possible? I asked myself. That there can be such little sense of dignity and justice among a group of entrepreneurs, Americans and Cubans, many expelled by the regime, which has destroyed their families and led their people to denigration.

How can it be possible? That in order to gain a few more coins, they are now willing to maintain that same dictatorship, with the same ideology that subjugated a whole nation to the cruelest larceny and inhumanity.

How can it be it possible that those who went to beg for alms from exile, for they were unable to claim and exercise their rights [here], can today support a policy doesn't take into account the rights of their brethren.

In fact, there is a frenzy of activities, forums and gestures of goodwill towards Cuba. They take place in Tampa, a city with historical and commercial ties that date back to the nineteenth century. Tampa has about 100,000 residents of Cuban origin, according to the article in The Miami Herald.

It is astounding and humiliating that in using the term “goodwill towards Cuba,” they continue to confuse Cuba with the totalitarian government. They continuing to confuse Cuba with the Communist Party and the dictatorial regime, without taking into account the will of the people, subjected by the power of force. Those who do business and make goodwill gestures towards the Castros’ government are not doing business or making goodwill gestures towards Cuba, but towards those who have destroyed it as a nation, people and homeland.

Cuba is changing and undertaking significant market reforms that deserve to be taken into account by the United States, said the Council members.

The dictatorship is disguising itself as a more open dictatorship -- it still has many tactics. It deprived the people of all of their rights and resources. Now it hands them some and makes them seem like change and reform; but the essence of control by power, of subjugating rights and freedoms to force, remains intact.

As Mauricio Claver-Carone comments at the end of the article: “It is an exercise in shamelessness. It is sad that with 34 democratic countries in the Western Hemisphere, these local Council members seek to be wined and dined by the only anomaly — a military dictatorship that violently represses men, women and children.”