In the week leading up to 26 de Julio, the annual celebration of the Cuban Revolution, officials in Spain expressed hope that Cuba’s announcement that the “government’s wish is to free all the people”—at least all those not convicted of murder—might lead to better relations with the nations of Europe, and perhaps even the cessation, at last, of the US blockade of the island.
Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told the Spanish parliament that such a release would yield “political consequences” for relations with the EU and the US, in particular a possible “lifting of the embargo” that the US has stubbornly maintained since 1962.
In a Spain-brokered deal between the Vatican and Cuba, the latter agreed this month to free 52 of 75 prisoners sentenced in 2003 to prison terms of up to 28 years. Twenty have already emigrated to Spain with their families. Moratinos said there was nothing “coincidental” about these releases—they are the fruit of a six-year dialogue between the Spanish and Cuban governments.
Moratinos said the freeing of these prisoners should enable the EU to soften its joint position on Cuba, enacting a “cooperation accord”—despite reluctance from such US-friendly EU nations as France and Germany.
Cuban dissidents claim that, besides the 52 prisoners due for release, Cuba continues to imprison 115 political prisoners. Though that number, as the Miami Herald pointed out today, seems somewhat inflated.
The US embargo is deeply dumb, and should have been tossed in the dustbin of history, long ago. Whether Barack Obama—who, as is well known, is a Marxist, just like Fidel Castro—will elect to set off the ceaseless screaming that would commence, from both GOoPers and the more retrogade elements of the Cuban exile community, in lifting the embargo, no one at present knows.
Though Cuba has been the subject of ceaseless bloviations, in numberless American political campaigns, over the past 40-some years, not much is really known about the country and its history, up here in its historically meddlesome neighbor, but 90 miles to the north.
Two years ago Alexa wrote for Never In Our Names several superb, illuminating pieces centering around 26 de Julio. Long excerpts from two of them, “Subpoena Power, Sugarcane and Sundries on Sunday” and “History Will Absolve Me, v.1.0.” are featured beyond the “furthur.”