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Thursday, August 10, 2006


BUENOS AIRES -- Watching the latest events in Cuba from this part of the world, one gets the sense that the international community -- perhaps including the United States -- will be in no great hurry to seek a rapid transition to democracy on the island. While many countries say they would like to see an economic and political opening in Cuba, most governments may be more dominated by fear of chaotic change than motivated by the desire for democracy in Cuba. Find out why, reading the entire column here.


Blogger Parlanchín said...

But if your commentary re. the U.S. is correct, and it may very well be, why should Bush follow the recommendations you made earlier?

4:45 PM  
Blogger Parlanchín said...

And by the way, I have my own recommendations to those seeking to "re-build" Cuba.

Integrity - Integridad: ¿Existe la palabra en el diccionario en Cuba?

It would be nearly impossible to visit Cuba for 120 days or more in 11 trips during the last three years and not learn something about how life on the island has been altered in the last 4 decades.

What first comes to mind is how the Cuban mentality, the Cuban mores and integrity have changed since I left the Island in 1958. Perhaps I feel more of a change than Cubans who have lived in other Latin American countries all these years instead of the United States.

Cubans on the Island have lost their ethical bearings. It has become an un-principled society.

A couple of days ago, a young Cuban lawyer-friend who has lived in the U.S. scarcely five years, and who I have otherwise come to respect, said something which confirmed my conclusion.

“Business is one thing and integrity is another”… it doesn’t translate well, as he said it in Spanish, but his message was clear: “You can't let integrity interfere with business”

Did I hear correctly?

My own upbringing plus a twenty-year career in the company which many have called “America’s most admired corporation” taught me differently. Integrity is integrity; in all you do.

How can anyone “put integrity aside” in doing business? I guess some do, and they are likely to end up in prison. Of course my friend is a lawyer, which in itself means he either learned how to make a living without having one ounce of remorse regardless of what he does, or has it in his genes and therefore he became a lawyer.

And before my honest lawyer friends raise a stink, you know darn well I am not referring to you and that a large number of your colleagues fit that other mold. The results of any public opinion survey on the subject confirm it.

But in this case, I am quite sure it was the “Cuban” in him and not the lawyer who spoke.

“You can’t let integrity interfere with business”.

I still can’t believe it.

For those of you who have never been to Cuba, or those of you who left Cuba long ago and have never been back, and particularly for those of you who travel there frequently on business and have no idea of what is happening around you (yes, that's right, you don't have a clue), be alert! The “new” Cubans will not even blink when they cheat or make absurd demands or make-up the most incredible stories in order to get their hands in your pockets.

And for those planning for the "reconstruction of a free Cuba", my advise is this: Before the bulldozers break ground, before a new constitution is written, before free elections are held, a massive re-culturization effort must be undertaken or nothing will take hold. Cubans on the Island (and unfortunately some elsewhere too) have to re-learn the meaning of honesty and integrity.

Cubans, if left to their own devices, will devour each other guided by the law of the jungle, where only the strongest prevail.

Caveat emptor. It is a sad and scary prospect.

5:06 PM  
Blogger roberto e said...

You are correct ,nobody meaning everybody but the Cuban People.

Andres I can show you a cover of a 1962 Life Magazine issue with a story where captains of ships crossing the Florida Straits
would often encounter boats full of Cubans riddled with bullets
courtesy of Fidel,Che Guevara
and Raul.

Cubans dying in the Florida Straits
not to mention executed ,jailed tortured and oppressed at home has never been a priority for anyone
except Cubans.

Most Academics and other elites worldwide did not recognize that there might be a Human rights problem in Cuba until 2000 mostly thanks to the efforts of the Cuban American National Foundation

If you are on the cover of LIFE
Magazine and other Publications for 47 years its not because the World does not know ,its because they choose to ignore for their own reasons .
Usually the reasons are to snub their noses at the USA, do business with Cuba and the Drug Cartels or do not want Cuba competing with them in Tourism
as you point out in your article

We Cubans know this , after reading your book I realize that so do you.
As the elites continued to abett
tyranny We Cubans became more insular and suspicious,

For two decades a few Venezuelan friends after a little vacation
trip to Cuba always told me that we Cubans were "exagerados" when it came to our views on Cuba and our warnings on how it may happen to them.
Practically all these folks now live in Miami and tell me how right I was. I wish I had not been so insightful.

I am grateful for the attention you are bringing to Cuba issues even when I do not agree with you.

Seen any NY Doormen lately walking around Buenos Aires lately.

Best Regards

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The irony of it all is that by now we should have seen socialism's "new man" arise in Cuba; the one that would participate in every process of society out of pure revolutionary altruism. What we have in Cuba instead is one of the most corrupt governments in Latin American history which have also contributed in corrupting its own population.

12:32 PM  
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8:56 PM  

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