We respond to your editorial published on April 23, entitled Expect Little Change In Cuba.
While we recognise and welcome your right to evaluate the recent elections in Cuba, we would have wanted you to adopt a more comprehensive approach to analysing the intensely democratic four-month process.
The Cuban people elected, in successive phases, their delegates in the constituencies, the Assemblies of Popular Power, and in all of the country’s municipalities and provinces, until constituting, on April 19, the National Assembly (Parliament) composed of 605 deputies. They later elected the 31 members of the Council of State, including our new president, who will lead the younger generations of Cubans to continue the revolutionary legacy of José Martí and Fidel Castro.
The most notable elements of the results of that electoral process speak for themselves about the inherently democratic nature of our participatory political system.
The new Parliament is composed of 53.2 per cent women, 45 per cent Blacks and Mestizos, and 87.6 per cent of members born after the triumph of the Revolution.
The new Council of State also shows a broad popular representation. Of its 31 members, 16 are women (48 per cent), with two of them being vice-presidents; 45 per cent Blacks and Mestizos; 13 of the members were elected for the first time; and 77 per cent born were after the triumph of the Revolution.
Our second comment would be on the editorial’s analysis of the relations between Cuba and the states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Contrary to what the editorial suggests, there are plenty of reasons to have faith in the commitment made by our new president Miguel Díaz-Canel before Parliament that while there will be changes and developments, there will be continuity of the Revolution (a commitment which embodies the decision of the Cuban people) without any negotiating of fundamental principles, without any compromises of our sovereignty and independence, without any possibility of a capitalist restoration, but to perfect our socialism, which will maintain ts foreign policy unchanged, upholding the sacred duty of internationalism and international solidarity, especially within our Latin American and Caribbean region.
Dr Fidel Castro uttered a phrase that is still engraved in the hearts of Cubans, when – in recognising the brave act of the visionary leaders of the first four independent Caribbean countries in establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba – he stated that they “showed a new way to the further foreign policy of the Caribbean Community with three peculiarities: independence, courage and concerted actions”. The validity of this thought is reflected in the tribute paid by Cuba every December to CARICOM-Cuba Day.
Additionally, the second protocol that updated the CARICOM-Cuba Economic Cooperation Agreement was signed in 2017, enabling more than 300 Caribbean products to receive free access to the Cuban market.
Finally, given the nature of the close and mutually respectful CARICOM-Cuba relations, we reject and condemn the call that the editorial launched in its last paragraph to the effect that “CARICOM must pressure Diaz-Canel to improve his image of human rights in Cuba and its democratic conditions”.
We will not address here, for obvious reasons of space, the extraordinary performance of our country in human rights – an achievement recognised throughout the United Nations (UN) system.
The moral authority and prestige achieved by Cuba in the eyes of our sister nations of the Caribbean is all the greater in light of the fact that everything Cuba has achieved has been by the sacrifice of our people, facing the longest and most cruel economic, commercial and
financial blockade in the history of humankind, a blockade that is defined by international law as an act of genocide, and being at the same time the main obstacle to the full exercise of the human rights of the Cuban people.
– Dr Francisco Fernández Peña, Cuban Ambassador to Barbados