A False Version of Independent Entrepreneurs and Civil Society

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Diario de Cuba's editorial on the Council of the Americas' letter:

A group of former government officials, politicians and businessmen have asked the Obama Administration to enact a series of measures to ease the U.S. embargo. The initiative, coordinated by the Council of the Americas, rests on two concepts that deserve to be examined: "independent entrepreneurs" and "civil society."

Who assured the signatories of the existence of independent entrepreneurs on the island? Cuban laws prohibit the autonomous exercise of any professional activity. Even the authorized [self-employment] activities, mostly artisan and for survival, are not independent. The self-employed do no have the right to free association. Thus, they cannot be considered civil society.

Yet, it's towards these fictitious independent entrepreneurs that the letter refers to when it talks about "increasing support to civil society," while not considering other groups of citizens, religious groups, independent labor unions, human rights organizations or political opposition activities.

Under the pretext of strengthening it, the Council of the Americas letter, assumes a false version of what is today, although still rudimentary, civil society in Cuba. Forgetting that the origin of the Cuban crisis is national, and not in its relations with the U.S., the letter does not demand greater reforms from the Castro regime. While, on the other hand, it proposes a demobilizing version of civil society.

Rather than focusing on the democratization of a whole country, the promoters of this letter seek the exaltation of some self-employed workers. They seek help from Washington to invent in Cuba the "super-timbiriche."