"There are many good laws in Burma, but we do not have a judiciary system fair and independent"
These are the words of Aung San Suu Kyi in the World Economic Forum in Thailand. The Burmese dissident spoke for 15 minutes in Bangkok, a restrained speech, but deep and consistent with its political history. The Burmese human rights activist remembered the most memorable moment of her visit to Thailand the moment she saw the night lights of Bangkok from the cockpit of the plane that took her to the Global Forum, in contrast to the darkness of the capital of Burma affected by frequent power outages.
Personally, this little anecdote about the lights of Bangkok and Rangoon darkness was what reminded me, almost twelve years ago, when I left Cuba.
In a June evening the small plane took off from Havana, and within minutes the blue silhouette of my country was lost in the horizon. Gone was the distant outline of Varadero, easily distinguishable from the height of the aircraft that launched me on a one way trip to Canada, my country of destination, my second home, perhaps forever. My little island was lost in the distance and in the night, crossing through American territory, into the unknown.
It was the sea of lights of Toronto what struck me at the very beginning, deeply, and still today is anchored in my thoughts, just as happened to Aung San Suu Kyi in Bangkok: the contrast between the darkness of Havana and the flickering glow of the night lights of Toronto. Too many contrasts!!!
“There are many good laws in Burma, but we do not have a judiciary system fair and independent.""The process is not irreversible. These days I am coming across what I call reckless optimism. A little bit of healthy skepticism I think is in order."
"Investors in Burma should be noted that even the best laws are useless if there are no clean and independent courts to administer the rules fairly."“We do not want more investment to mean more possibilities for corruption and greater inequality”
Son algunas de las palabras de la Premio Nobel de la Paz. ¡Cuánta verdad!
Birmania es controlada por una junta militar, también lo es Cuba.
Those were some of the words of the Nobel Peace Prize. How true!
Burma is controlled by a military junta, so is Cuba.
They have released hundreds of political prisoners of the prisons and have allowed Suu Kyi, after 24 years of isolation, exercise their rights to opinion, personal freedom and civil rights.
In Cuba, the military junta with the help of the Church sent many political prisoners to the exile and still does not allow to their citizens to exercise any of the rights recovered by the Nobel Prize in Burma.
Burma's military junta opened the exit and entry door to "The Lady" to attend the Global Forum and then take a tour of Europe, and back again. In Cuba, Castro's military junta does not allow the free flow throughout its borders of its own citizens, and the power is exercised throughout precisely of the strict control of the movement of their nationals, from the right to walk their own streets to even live or move out to another province or city, or the vital human right to travel outside their geographical boundaries ... and return.
The similarities are many, and also the differences. And it is there where are the words of Suu Kyi seem to me very revealing, especially when she remembers that we must have a "healthy skepticism" and remember that "the process is not irreversible."
The foreign media in my country and in the world echoes the minimalistic reforms Raul Castro’s government has done and does today, and will do possibly tomorrow. They exaggerate and confuse too much with the truly spirit of what reform means: a profound change in the existing structures of the society.
These reforms have not yet been made in Cuba. Will there be?
When Aung San Suu Kyi says she does not want more "investment to mean more possibilities for corruption and greater inequality" we must remember, for instance, that the diversions of reforms made by Castro’s envoys as Mariela Castro spent 5 000 dollars in her stay in a luxury American hotel in the United States, to promote a pantomime of "sexual revolution" that it doesn’t exist at any other level of Cuba’s society, and it is even partially in itself.
Investors in Cuba shut their eyes to the enslavement of the Cubans by hiring labor laws, miserable wages to those workers and professionals who are hired by Cuban institutions in charge with the hiring process on the fields where they invest. And the most important aspect: how they do use the funds collected with such investments.
Good laws also exist in all dictatorships: they are those colored papers that cover all the serious violations of human rights in authoritarian regimes.
And as the Nobel Prize had warned the best laws are useless if there are no clean and independent courts to administer the rules fairly.
Aung San Suu Kyi spoke about her country, but from the distance and by a curious association of terms she also talked about Cuba. The geographical distances often cause them to shorten some policies.
And in the case of Burma and Cuba, the similarities and differences are evident. Of course, my country still doesn’t have a charismatic and strong personality like Suu Kyi. It is part of the small tragedy that is still dragging our ankles and keeps us with the longest military junta in Latin America’s history.
Meanwhile, we see with sympathy the birth of democracy in the remote Asian country and salute with sincere joy that is shaping the contours in the Far East with the smile of this optimistic little woman, brave and tenacious, perhaps thinking that soon, very soon, we will have our own version in the small Caribbean island of Cuba.