General Coordinator of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU)

Santiago de Cuba, June 6, 2017.

 

Dear Mr. President,

 

Our warmest greetings to you and your distinguished family.

 

Mr. President, at a time when many are waiting for your Administration’s Cuba policy to be announced, I am addressing you in my condition as the leader of the Cuban Patriotic Union, Cuba’s largest opposition movement and as a citizen concerned about the future of my country, which sees the US as the best friend of the Cuban people and the first defender of freedom and democracy on the planet.

 

When the policy towards Cuba of your predecessor, Barack Obama, was announced in December 2014, our organization –after an in-depth analysis— decided to support the process of rapprochement, for various reasons. At that time we believed and still believe that it was an idea that deserved to be implemented. In the worst case, the new position of the US administration would shed light on what the next and most effective steps should be.

 

Mr. Obama’s gestures of goodwill would help destroy the Castro regime’s old and false claim that the United States was the primary responsible for the deep misery in which our people live. We also thought that dictator Raul Castro would chose to act with a minimum of sanity, and given his desire to deepen relations with the US and the European Union in search of economic benefits, would reduce the repression against peaceful opponents, human rights activists and independent journalists. But reality has proved otherwise. Castro’s tyranny has been benefiting from the good will of the US government without giving up a bit in their repressive attitude. Given the lack of real pressure from the US and the EU, the Castro regime has increased repression against the Cuban people as had not been seen for many years.

 

Last year, the number of political prisoners tripled. Political prisoners are subjected today to beatings and torture to a greater degree than in the last fourteen years. In 2016 and 2017, harassment, arbitrary detentions, beatings, house searches, and robberies by “law enforcement” forces increased significantly against peaceful opponents. In addition, restrictions and harassment against the “self-employed” greatly undermine the optimism of those who expected at least greater economic freedom.

 

In the present circumstances, the struggle for the democratization of Cuba becomes very difficult without the US staunch support. Some naively believe that we can move towards democracy by participating in the “electoral process” imposed by the regime. But, how can you think of free elections, when they raid your home, they beat you up, steal your children’s food and imprison and torture you just for trying to conduct an educational-recreational function for children. Under those conditions, how can we expect the regime to allow true democratic reformers to obtain a share of political power within their totalitarian framework?

 

For more than half a century our nation has suffered under a totalitarian regime of Stalinist character. There is no way out of such a regime unless the heirs of power give up control and repression, and the democratic world firmly and consistently support those who fight for freedom.

 

Politics, like medicine, requires effective treatments. Castro-communism is a dangerous germ that produces a serious infection, which must be combated with effective “antibiotics”. Against Castroism, sustained treatment is needed to prevent its spread to other nations – Venezuela and Nicaragua, to cite two examples – and to   reduce its presence in the country where it has caused the most damage: Cuba.

 

We are aware that the main responsibility in the struggle against Castroism lies with us Cubans, since we are the ones who suffer the most. But in a world where tyrants support each other, we need help from democratic countries to end the dictatorship. From a not only moral but also practical point of view, lovers of freedom and democracies around the world should support as much as possible those who struggle against totalitarianism.

 

Some are worried about the millions of dollars and thousands of jobs they claim the US economy would lose if you reverse Mr. Obama’s moves. However, few recognize that state intervention of Castro-Communism in Cuba, Venezuela and other countries brings costly economic consequences for the US. Few mention the huge sums of money that the US has had to spend and must continue to spend to defend democracy and human rights, always threatened by Castro-communism in the Americas and beyond.

 

Some argue that if the policies of former President Obama are reversed, Raul Castro’s successor would be entrenched in immobility instead of moving towards greater openness. We believe that, irrespective of the US policy towards Cuba, Raul Castro and his eventual successor in 2018 – whoever it may be – are not going to cede effective control of the country for fear of losing what was stolen by the Castroite elite to the Cuban people, and above all for fear of facing justice.

 

In view of the criminal behavior that Castroism persists in maintaining against the Cuban people, their support for chavista repression against the Venezuelan people, their close relations with other regimes that trample upon the rights of their citizens – such as those of Syria, North Korea and Iran, their hostile discourse against the US and their lack of cooperation on issues such as the extradition of fugitives from the US justice system, we believe that it is time to revert policies that only benefit the Castro regime and very little or nothing the oppressed people. It is time to impose strong sanctions on the regime of Raúl Castro, and also that of Nicolas Maduro. Because of its outstanding position in the free world, the US should not remain indifferent to the crimes that both regimes commit against their peoples.

 

The United States must continue to be the first defender of those who lack rights and freedoms in the world. It is the free world that must isolate and punish unrepentant dictatorships. What your Administration must fear is not the supposed isolation that, according to The New York Times, a US policy reversal towards Cuba would cause. What your Administration, your people and all freedom loving nations should fear is a world where the excesses of tyrants are not punished.

 

Castroism has never ceased to be one of the main enemies of the US, as it has been and continues to be the main enemy of the Cuban people. Criminals who do not correct their behavior must punished, not rewarded. When these criminals are at the helm of a country, their punishment is a high moral duty and an unavoidable political necessity.

 

Sincerely,

 

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José Daniel Ferrer García

General Coordinator of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU)

Santiago de Cuba, June 6, 2017.