Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

Oct. 15, 1999, Cuba Free Press.

"THE IX SUMMIT: What the Motherland should not forget" By Jorge Diego Delgado, Cuba Free Press.

HAVANA - In the last few decades it has become fashionable to hold summit meetings of statesmen...and other leaders of governments. Along these lines, we in Cuba are soon to host one such gathering, bringing together some leaders of Ibero-America, where chosen leaders (and others) will embrace, as if seeking to join peoples from the Rio Bravo to the Patagonia, plus Spain and Portugal.

We always wonder why these high protocol meetings take place at all, since their discussions and agreements never seem to accomplish much. This time it takes place in Cuba, the only communist country of the hemisphere. One can not deny the positive aspects these Ibero-American encounters could have on a cultural, scientific and financial level. But one thing is protocol and yet another is the actual application of what has been debated and resolved in these reunions.

We have, for example, the "democratization" of Cuban society which our government at the Vina del Mar summit in Chile agreed to promote...and has never delivered on. Last year, in a News-Week article the topic of "the new re-conquest" by Spain was discussed, referring to some of its old ultramarine possessions. No longer do conquistadors use swords or arquebuses; now they use computers and sizable economic investments. We know we can't escape that Hispanic presence, which is evident throughout the island in the form of tourists and industrialists.

The "Gallegos" (the Spanish word for Galicians being our slang term for all Spaniards) have again become a common topic of many conversations - as they marry our women, buy many cases even join the regime in mixed ownership of businesses. It seems these fresh Iberians have applied the old proverb about "erase the old tally and start anew..." to their previous colonial possession. They seem to have forgotten the expropriations suffered by other Spaniards, either residents or businessmen on our island during the 60's, at the hand of the same Cuban government!

Of course there may be other motives behind these conciliatory attitudes. Perhaps the individuals currently holding negotiations and endorsing the regime are trying to regain those old possessions as they take advantage of the cheap labor. Another possibility as we analyze the motives the Spanish government might have in opening this current approach to Cuba, would be to promote a reciprocal opening of the island as it is positioned to re-enter the global context.

Of course there is a wide gap between good intentions and reality. The IX Ibero-American Summit is knocking at the door. There is debate on one side of the Atlantic as to the validity of attending it at all, it being on the territory of a totalitarian government. Many American nations, including the "Pearl of the Antilles" (Cuba) have great need for the injection of foreign capital. But they also need large doses of civil discourse, democracy and respect for human dignity. That message should not be forgotten by Cuba's European motherland.

Jorge Diego Delagado, Cuba Free Press.

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