Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sharp, honest, unorthodox words words in Espacio Laical

What follows is my quick translation of sections of an "Encuentro" article summarizing the latest edition of the increasingly cutting-edge and important reform-minded outlet for critical debate, the Catholic Cuban magazine "Espacio Laical". 

Suplemento Digital de Espacio Laical No. 125 / Abril 2011:
CUBA: ¿HACIA UN NUEVO PACTO SOCIAL?

If anything defines Cuba today it is pluralism. For that reason, at the present hour it is strategic to build a prosperous and inclusive nation where there is a place for all members of the diverse national universe.  These challenges lead us to ask ourselves if it is necessary to reformulate the social pact that has reigned in Cuba during the past 50 years.  In the interest of dreaming all "possible Cubas," our magazine has decided to bring together four leading scholars active on the island and in the diaspora: Carlos Alzugaray, Arturo López- Levy, Alexis Pestano, and Lenier González.

Here they call for a reformulation of Cuba's "social pact."

Redacción CE, Madrid | 06/04/2011
ALZUGARAY:
The former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray calls on the government to "rethink" the island's "electoral processes" and the functioning of the Nacional Assembly as they may no longer reflect "the complexities of society" and are even "counterproductive in achieving a truly democratic election between distinct options."

About the economy and Internet, Alzugaray points to "the palpable resistance to recognize that the use of Internet and a variety of the most modern digital communication media are fundamental for the adequate development of economic production and services in the present global context."  He also affirms that expanding the use of Internet "would be a positive response to a present demand from a good part of society who considers it a recognized universal right."

Alzugaray also alludes to a "new unrest" in the Middle East, saying that "the world is living through a global political awakening of peoples who demand their fundamental social, economic, and political rights," adding that "at the vanguard" of these movements are "youthful generations, armed with the eminently democratic instruments that are social networks."

Finally, Alzugaray comments on the topic of migration, saying that "what is needed is the elimination of all administrative obstacles to the free movement of citizens."



LOPEZ-LEVY:
For his part, the analyst Arturo López-Levy proposes "three processes" for the "reformulation of the social pact": "a transition to mixed economy," "political liberalization," and "an orderly opening to the international community."

López-Levy lamenta "ver cómo en medio de la crisis económica (…) no se ha incentivado la inversión directa de los cubanos residentes en el exterior".  También reclama "atender las aspiraciones mayoritarias, a tener propiedad privada, viajar y resolver sus problemas de bienestar en términos de vivienda, transporte y comida".

GONZALEZ:
En tanto, Lenier González, vice-editor de la revista Espacio Laical, estima que "las reiteradas apelaciones a la unidad" por parte del régimen llevaron a "una fuerte contracción del ejercicio de las libertades individuales y a un férreo control gubernamental sobre la nueva institucionalidad", lo que resultó "a largo plazo" "terriblemente dañino" para el país.  González considera además que dicho pacto "se erigió sobre la exclusión de importantes sectores nacionales".

PESTANO:
Para el historiador Alexis Pestano, miembro del consejo editorial de la revista laica, "la incertidumbre sobre el futuro, la desconfianza en las posibilidades reales de consolidar cambios estables, en medio de las urgencias de la economía, condicionan la necesidad de una nueva motivación para el accionar comunitario".

Pestano se refiere también al "deterioro" "de los servicios sanitarios y educativos, especialmente en los niveles primario y secundario", y dice que es "visible" "la falta de recursos básicos en numerosas instituciones o de calificación adecuada del personal, en particular los jóvenes".

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