Saturday, January 9, 2010

Havana, as doves fly northward

A new year is raised in Havana with the same old news, some of the old faces buried and others hidden from public scrutiny by reason beyond any human comprehension. Castro is lying in his bed of sorrows writing his weekly “reflections” about something remotely landed in Cuba’s reality: maybe a few brushstrokes about Obama’s policy, the new American spy in Cuba or his routinely boring trade of constant nagging over the blockade.

Meanwhile, Cubans wake up and open their windows to a city with doves flying northward assisted by Venezuelan’s winds. Since Chavez Health Care programs was established in Venezuela with the help of Cubans’ doctors, known as “Barrio Adentro”, many of them had deserted from it and fled to Miami via Colombia. According to the Foundation Solidarity without Frontiers, around 200 doctors arrived to Miami in 2009. Overall, they reach the total of 1 500 since the mission started. Other sources had claimed higher numbers. Antonio Pariz, director of Venezuela Central University, settled the numbers in 4 thousands.

When the numbers could be higher or lower, the actual fact is that Venezuela had became one of the feasible routes to Cubans doctors to reach Miami. The latest news dated from yesterday, when 7 of them arrived to Spain after bribed Cuban and Venezuelan officials in charge of the Operation “Barrio Adentro” and some Venezuelan airport authorities.

When it looks like our doctors had found their way to escape our Socialist paradise, our national foreign policy appears to have the same intentions and flight orientations.

Since Chavez showed his red beret in Miraflores, the government of Fidel Castro not only backed him with political support, but even with concerted solid actions in the diplomatic worldwide arena. The falling star of Castro, before his burial three years ago, tried feverishly to seat Chavez in his revolutionary throne fearing that after him nobody could hold his torch toward Socialism, and I would say he was clever in many ways.

Three years later without Castro in the public eye and with his brother Raul holding the wheel of Cuba’s government, dimly juggling with a collapsed economy and a rising civil society, our international policy is literally in Chavez hands. The most recently signs were in December 13th, during the last Summit of ALBA in Havana. The consequences of that meeting we could see it in COP15 where our voice was limited to the saddest role of little puppets. Bruno Rodriguez attitude of quoting Hugo Chavez over and over, acted more like Chavez personal’s envoy to Copenhagen rather than our Minister of Foreign Affairs. Words, image and voice borrowed from Chavez’s speech.

Who would have thought Cuba would finish his journey in Venezuela’s Orbit?

Years before former Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage declared clearly that Cuba had two Presidents: Castro and Chavez. Today, he could dare to say: Cuba has its President seated in Miraflores trying to inherit the legacy of Castro. That is not an easy role in a person who doesn’t have the charisma, the intellect and the charming manners of his master. And obviously he is a bit dim-witted and not the brilliant student of his maestro, but he has the money and the resources Cuba needs and the doors are open.

It is sad to see our country turned into a playground for a puppet, and it is more enervating to stay calm when that puppet behave as the emperor you have to please in every visit. At the same time, it is sadder to admit how far our national policy has gone when it comes to term with Venezuela and Chavez. Cuban Doctors and medicines had been sent to Venezuela to achieve the dream of Castro’s puppet: a sort of Cuban Health Care system in Chavez’s style. Meanwhile, Cuba is lacking of those same key components in its system. The sugar cane industry was dismantled by Fidel Castro, but surprisingly some of those same factories have been built in Venezuela.

Every time Chavez needs a good piece of advice about any single issue we have him in Cuba visiting our stay-in-bed leader, and later our officials is following the trail of Chavez everywhere: in UNO pleasing him when he called Bush the Devil and repeating the despicable denomination to Obama in Copenhagen; or planning any common position in regional issues like the withdrawal of Zelaya from Honduras’ government; or creating a local currency (SUCRE) to spill out the abhorred dollar from the region.

The nuances in today’s Cuba don’t stop there. Through the last years, Chavez became the only source of information, not only to Cubans, to the world about Fidel Castro’s fate. Every time we knew something our only point of reference had been Chavez: pictures, public images and videos, letters and even public speeches of Chavez had been the almost exclusive source of information about Castro’s health. And, shamefully, Cuba’s newspapers and TV had built the image of Chavez as the leader of Cuba rather than Raul Castro.

Has been that image a deliberated manoeuvre of Fidel Castro?

It is possible. But in this story nothing is simple, accidental and made unintentionally. It could have been reached over the course of last years, bit a bit, stepping up and gaining in confidence each other, but definitely this is not a sort of casual policy so unusual and uncharacteristic in Castro. Today, the result is a perfect coordinated plan between the old sneaky satrap and the figure who is trying to inherit the revolutionary stardom created by Castro in the 60’s.

Overall, what it had been left to us is a country whose current leaders are catching what signals are coming from Miraflores to later on to react pointing out northward, always in the way the devil is cursing Venezuela.

Early morning the ordinary Cuban opens his windows in shattered Havana, looks through the sky to his city skyline and discovers here and there the silhouette of any early sparrow or dove crossing his visual line across the city. It is not a magical signal marked in his fate and it is nothing that jumps out of his imagination. Today is another day in his calendar, a day more in which he has to unseal all his personal wisdom to reach the night with all his basic needs fulfilled, if not stumbles.

His daily routine kept him buried in little pieces of personal tragedies without the time to figure out where those doves are coming from, to where they go and why they are going. All his life had been designed in order to follow rules, not to question them. Yesterday, they were capable to offer their life in a nuclear confrontation; today, the paradise points to Venezuela, as simple as that.