Video offers rare glimpse of Cuban ‘moderate’ leader’s hardline ideology




The Cuban opposition movement will try to register more than 170 independent candidates for the upcoming general election, which begin in October. But they have almost zero chance of winning, particularly because Raúl Castro’s government is already working on a strategy to discredit “counterrevolutionary” candidates, first Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel said in another snippet of a recently leaked video (below) that has stirred controversy, The Miami Herald adds:

In a videotaped private meeting with Communist Party members, Díaz-Canel — often portrayed as a moderate politician with a quiet disposition — took on an all too familiar hardline tone that offered a rare glimpse into his ideology. In the video, he threatens to shut down the OnCuba website, criticizes the Cuba Posible centrist think tank as well as a training program for entrepreneurs, Cuba Emprende, which is run by the Catholic Church and has links to the Miami-based Cuba Study Group.

For dissident Antonio Rodiles (right) – who published the video on YouTube – the vice president’s statements “confirm…that he is an individual who does not propose any change, is another pawn in the transfer of power.”

In February of this year ten prominent human rights activists from ten different countries, mostly in Latin America, founded “Justice Cuba,” the International Committee for the Prosecution of Crimes Against Humanity of the Castro Regime, a Cuban democracy advocate writes:

The Commission has gathered a great deal of support and media coverage in its efforts to document, classify and organize the factual information indicating that crimes against humanity have been committed against the Cuban people by the Castro Regime. The goal of the Justice Cuba Commission is to eventually present these cases before an international tribunal. Justice Cuba held a very successful session of public testimonials in Miami City Hall on July 15 (above). The next session of testimonials will take place on 12 September from 1pm to 3pm at Cannon 122.

Credit: OONI

The Cuban government has blocked internet content deemed critical of the revolution from reaching users on the island for years, but apparently its censorship methods are not that sophisticated, according to a report by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), an organization linked to the open network and free software, Tor, reports suggest:

After analyzing access to more than 1,400 websites in three Cuban cities between late May and early June, three OONI members who traveled to the island found that at least 41 are blocked, mostly news sites and websites of Cuban opposition organizations or human rights NGOs. “The main conclusion of this study is that Cuba’s ISP [Internet Service Provider, in this case ETECSA] appears to mainly censor sites that express criticism (directly or indirectly) toward the Cuban government,” explained María Xynou, one of the authors of the study. “However, internet censorship in Cuba does not appear to be particularly sophisticated compared to other countries with more advanced censorship, such as China or Iran.”

Latin American countries deserve credit for their recent denunciations of what they bluntly refer to as Venezuela’s dictatorship, but I have a hard time understanding why they don’t do the same thing with Cuba’s dictatorship. When it comes to Cuba, they all seem to look the other way, notes analyst Andres Oppenheimer:

I was thinking about this when I read about Cuba’s Oct. 22 election for municipal council members. It will be the first of several tightly controlled steps leading to the election of a National Assembly that is to decide the successor to Cuban President Raul Castro, 86, who has vowed to step down in February.

But, of course, Cuba’s National Assembly will just rubber-stamp whomever Castro picks. Cuba has been a hereditary dictatorship since 1959, when the late Cuban President Fidel Castro took power by force, and later when he became ill, he passed on the country’s government to his brother, Raul, in 2006.


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