The head of the Cuban regime, President Miguel Díaz-Canel (left) has gone on a publicity tour to do damage control after the peaceful protests of July 11. Thousands of Cubans took the streets of several cities demanding freedom, democracy and the end of the dictatorship, as a result Díaz-Canel and his government arbitrarily arrested countless protesters and has convicted dozens in blatantly unfair trials.

Díaz-Canel, from show to show

Not much can be expected of the meetings between the Castrist leaders and citizens

By René Gómez Manzano, Chairman of Sociedad International Derechos Humanos (ISHR), section Cuba

Frankfurt am Main/Havana, 6 July 2021 ─ This Wednesday, the Cuban leader, Miguel Díaz-Canel, met at the National Association of Economists and Accountants of Cuba (ANEC) “with researchers, professors and students linked to the economy”. According to the tweet posted on the official site of the Presidency, this is the “first of several meetings that will take place this week with various sectors of the country”.

And, indeed, on Thursday – reports the digital version of the official Granma newspaper – “from early in the morning”, the same mayimbe “exchanged… with a hundred young people in the Plaza Cadenas of the University of Havana”. This was followed by a tweet from the hierarch himself with a penetrating aftertaste of demagoguery: “Our young people must be listened to as the most important people there are.”

It is clear that he wants to project an image of receptivity and tolerance. But there is no doubt about the obvious: it is a misleading, false image. For the rest, it does not seem that there is much to expect from these encounters à la communist. And this, above all, because of the way in which they are organized and the characteristics of the participating personnel.

These are people carefully chosen and filtered by the same with whom they are going to interview. And of course, those who have stood out for their unconditional support for the regime and for their reluctance to speak out loud and clear are selected. In this rarefied context, it is natural that half measures are made and euphemisms are frequent.

Like the one that, according to Juventud Rebelde, was used by Carola Salas, the new director of the Center for Research on International Economics at the University of Havana. Regarding foreign investment, Mrs. Salas used a phrase worthy of appearing in an anthology: “it continues to be an opportunity that has not been fully exploited”.

To use these terms to refer to the possibilities of external financing that the Castro regime, with its clumsy stillness wastes in an even more criminal than stupid way! Cuba, which if it weren’t for those inept authorities, would be – by far – the recipient of the largest and most enriching foreign investments in the entire Caribbean area!

The Communist leaders, in essence, remain locked in the same positions they have assumed for decades. As the saying goes: “Silly dog, even if its snout is burned.” And boy, the fire that the Cuban people put together has been intense, when on July 11 and the following days they clearly demonstrated that they are simply fed up with socialism, “continuity” and communism!

But the Castro supporters act as if it were not with them. According to the same “Cuban youth newspaper”: “the problems raised are exposed in the Central Report at the 8th. Congress of the PCC and in its closing speech”. The current “Constitution” is also remembered, which, as is known, exalts the “socialist economy” and its “planned direction” (the same ones that have sunk the country in the current mound).

The aforementioned newspaper, through the mouth of the First Secretary of the one-party, lists the territories in which a ruinous situation prevails (“delays” is the delicate euphemism used by Díaz-Canel): “public administration and… business management and administration”; “The sectors of commerce, services, habitat, urbanism”; “The industrial base”; “the agriculture”…

What is stated in the preceding paragraph constitutes (these are the words of the President of the Republic himself, elected by 605 compatriots) a “cold characterization of the moment we are in.” To solve this endless string of problems and disasters, the Head of State advocates for “enhancing government management”.

In the case of pronouncements of the high leader of the country, the reference to the North American embargo could not be missed. Although Díaz-Canel made a reservation that draws attention: “The blockade will continue, and we cannot continue to regret the blockade.” And he concluded: “We have to find a different solution so that this country has what it deserves after so many years”… of the blockade, of course.

We will see where the subsequent meetings with “religious leaders and agricultural producers, among others” stop. Meeting with the former may offer clearer and more definitive approaches. I wish! It is assumed that, unlike the leaders of the ANEC and other pro-government entities, the mentors of Cuban devotes are not chosen or promoted by the Castrist themselves.

To the usual innocents, to those who believe that this series of meetings of the high leadership with “various sectors of the country” obeys the conciliatory spirit of the leaders of Castrism, it is convenient to direct a comment: If you are going to thank someone, do not forget to the brave people who started to protest in the Cuban streets on July 11 and subsequent days.

It is to them to whom it is fair to extend the recognition for this loosening of the relentless government pressure. As well as the free distribution (for the first time under Castrism) of certain products given away by foreign countries. Or for the exemption of taxes to those who import food, medicine and other essential items, or solar panels.

As the phrase goes: “Honor to whom honor deserves!”