“The opposition has not matured,” Laments Martha Beatriz Roque /
14ymedio, Lilianne Ruiz
14ymedio, Lilianne Ruiz, Havana, 28 April 2016 — Martha Beatriz Roque
has returned from Miami after receiving a permit from the Cuban
government in late February, which authorized her to leave the country
one time. The activist was one of the seven former prisoners of the
Black Spring of 2003 who benefited from this permit. She returns with a
certain pessimism and a critical impression of the state of the Cuban
Lilianne Ruiz. You returned from abroad after permission from the Cuban
government, which allowed you to make only one trip. What impressions
did you bring back from your stay outside the country?
Martha Beatriz Roque. I come back with a tremendous pain in my heart
about what I have seen there. In Miami there is the historic exile, who
love their country, their fatherland, who talk about democracy, who
think about Cuba constantly and who have a great nostalgia for the
island, but this historic exile, unfortunately, is getting old and some
of its members have died.
However, many people who are coming to Miami through different
countries, including now through Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama, are
turning their backs on Cuba, they even want to forget that they are
Cubans. These are people who are a part of a social fabric here that is
broken, who have no ethics, no formal education and they are
LR. What do you think has been the outcome of Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba?
MBR. Obama has his agenda and within it is defending the interests of
American citizens, as is natural, because that is his country. He has
made it clear that the problems of Cuba have to be solved by Cubans and
that is important. The people had a great lesson with Obama’s visit: for
the people it has meant hope, which the Communist Party Congress
subsequently tried to annihilate.
LR. And the opposition?
MBR. In Cuba there are opponents, but an opposition, as such, does not
exist. An opposition exists in Venezuela, because it has been capable of
uniting despite its disagreements. We are not capable of something like
that yet. Here the unity lasts seconds.
LR. Did the 7th Congress of the Communist Party frustrate you, or were
you were expecting something like what happened?
MBR. The Party Congress was going to be postponed to another date but it
was held to try to counter what Obama said to the Cuban people, and
because of this they didn’t have any finished [guiding] document. Some
said, after the Congress was over, “We were right, Obama has achieved
nothing.” Others say that the Congress was a way of demonstrating the
failure of what Obama is doing, but I would not say that. Much less do I
think it is a failure, because there are things that have been
accelerated with Obama’s visit.
LR. Like what?
MBR. In the specific case of the eleven members of us from the [Black
Spring] group of 75 who remain in Cuba, we were not allowed to leave the
country and, at least in this moment, they allowed us one trip abroad.
There have been solutions to some problems that you couldn’t say are
changes, without the reestablishment of rights. This has to be seen as
something satisfactory, not as something negative. In the not so distant
future other solutions will have to come, because the economic, social
and political situation of the country is unbearable.
LR. Will it be the self-employed who change Cuba?
MBR. The Cuban regime will not allow any self-employed to export,
because that, they will say, is reserved for the businesses of the
Ministry of Foreign Trade. The United States government is trying to
have direct relationships with the self-employed, but that is not going
to be allowed. Right now, when some self-employed turn their faces just
slightly to the north, they’re going to cut off those businesses they’re
going to stop everything.
LR. Can access to the internet help make the changes occur?
MBR. The regime does not allow it because they know that the internet is
a source of knowledge, of the transmission of news and possibilities.
LR. What is the Cuban opposition lacking to be able to call forth the
MBR. First of all, it lacks leadership. Unfortunately, here everyone
wants to be a leader, no one wants to be in the line, everyone wants to
be at the head of it. It also lacks the exile,, which is capable of
manufacturing a leader and putting forward a project with resources, but
this does not solve anything.
LR. Do you see any chance for the opposition to influence the
constitutional referendum announced by the government?
MBR. The opposition has not matured, it is still the same, generating
documents, projecting itself abroad, meeting abroad, telling people what
they have to do. But if the opposition doesn’t take advantage of this
moment to work jointly with the people, it’s simple, nothing is going to
happen. If they don’t work with the people, if they don’t raise
awareness among the people, what does it matter that they go to meet the
Pope in Rome, it’s all the same, it is simply not going to solve anything.
Source: “The opposition has not matured,” Laments Martha Beatriz Roque /
14ymedio, Lilianne Ruiz – Translating Cuba –