As an addendum to my previous post, I want briefly to share part of a long, heated conversation I had this afternoon with two very good friends of mine.
Both are Cuban, both immigrated to the US as adults, both are quite critical of the lack of fundamental freedoms in Cuba, and both are also very critical of the US embargo - considering it not only a convenient "excusa" for the failures of the Cuban government but also an "illegal" and morally reprehensible policy that has inflicted real harm on the Cuban people.
In fact, while they expressed admiration for Yoani's valiant struggle and eloquent voice in Cuba, they were quite disappointed in what they saw as her evasions whenever asked about the reasons behind her own opposition to the embargo. They said that whenever asked about her rejection of the US embargo, she would repeat the mantra that she opposed it mainly because the government used it as a pretext, diverting attention from the real embargo that the Cuban government holds against the Cuban people.
I wrote as much in my previous post.
I pointed out that she has indeed used some of this very same language in the past in her repeated and consistent critique of US policy, even using the word "injerencista" (meddling) when asked about the embargo while visiting the Brazilian Congress. They shot back that while she may have used such a word in Brazil, the fact that she never used such categorical language in the US -where it most needs to be said and heard- only shows that she was being "political" and trying not to alienate the US government and the Cuban-American hard right.
I responded that her record against the embargo is both clear and well-known and that she was likely using her public exposure in the US to shine a bright light on what she sees as the more crucial issue of the lack of fundamental freedoms in Cuba. She has also said repeatedly that the "US embargo question" is often used as a litmus test and to cynically distract attention from what she sees as the primordial issue: that the Cuban government is the main obstacle to freedom on the island.
They responded that perhaps it was she who was being cynical, opportunistic, or at least overly "strategic" in refusing to use direct, accusatory language (the same language she is adept at using against the Cuban government) when discussing the US embargo while in Washington and Miami. They contended that her failure to "hablar de la soga en la casa del ahorcado" (speak of the rope in the house of the condemned) - or perhaps - "del verdugo" (of the executioner), indicated a weakness and inconsistency in her otherwise powerful and even-handed message.
Moreover, she often would say that too much focus on the US embargo is both needlessly divisive and serves as a distraction from the main issue of Cuban state repression and denial of fundamental freedoms on the island.
I said that honest people can disagree about where to lay the proper measure of blame for the lack of fundamental freedoms in Cuba and the antagonistic Cuba-US relationship.
I also said that they would be hard pressed to find another Cuban -especially one still residing on the island itself- with more demonstrated nerve and intelligence that she has shown over the past 6 years on her blog - including the two of them when they still lived in Cuba and were quite "strategic" themselves in their avoidance of anything too "political."
(Photo credits: Cuban 5 and March with Flags photos by OLPL, all others by El Yuma)