Dear Raúl, querido Obama, dear Pope Francis

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 2, No. 12, December 2014.

Tatlin's Whisper #6 is a performance art piece by Tania Bruguera first performed in 2009 in Havana. Ms. Bruguera invited audience members to speak their minds without censorship from a podium flanked by two persons in military uniform. In a reference to Fidel Castro's speech of 1959, in which a white dove alighted on his shoulder, a dove was placed on the shoulders of speakers when they spoke.

Tatlin’s Whisper #6 is a performance art piece by Tania Bruguera first performed in 2009 in Havana. Ms. Bruguera invited audience members to speak their minds without censorship from a podium flanked by two persons in military uniform. In reference to Fidel Castro’s speech of January 8, 1959, in which a white dove alighted on his shoulder, a dove was placed on the shoulders of speakers. Ms. Bruguera’s call for December 30 demonstrations by Cubans is detailed on the #yotambienexigo Facebook and Twitter sites.

Dear Raúl, querido Obama, dear Pope Francis,

First let me offer congratulations, because politicians are expected to make history and today, December 17th, 2014, has been a historic day.

You have made history by proposing that the embargo/blockade become empty words. With the restoration of diplomatic relations, you have transformed the meaning of fifty-three years of policies defined by one side (the United States) and used by the other (Cuba) to ideologically guide the daily lives of Cubans everywhere. I wonder if this gesture is not also a proposal to kill ideology itself? Cuba is finally seeing itself, not from the perspective of death, but of life. But, I wonder, what will that life be and who will have the right to that new life?

Very well then, Raúl,

As a Cuban, today I call for the right to know what is being planned with our lives and, as part of this new phase, for the establishment of a politically transparent process in which we will all be able to participate, and to have the right to hold different opinions without punishment. When it comes time to reconsider what has defined who we are, that it not include the same intolerance and indifference which has so far accompanied changes in Cuba—a process in which acquiescence is the only option.

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Opportunities in a New Era of US-Cuban Relations

Cuba US

A Cuban and U.S. flag wave from the balcony of the Hotel Saratoga where a U.S. Congressional delegation is staying in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. Cuba’s foreign minister told the group of U.S. senators and congressmen Monday that his country is open to greater diplomatic and trade ties but the congressional delegation did not meet President Raul Castro, the man who will make many of the key decisions about the new U.S.-Cuban relationship. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 2, No. 12, December 2014. 

By Matthew Michaelides

Yesterday, American officials announced that the United States and Cuba would re-establish full diplomatic relations, ties that the U.S.  had broken off in January 1961. The United States will once again have an embassy in Havana, and Cuba an embassy in Washington. Travel and financial restrictions between the countries will be eased by executive order as everyone waits to see if Congress will accept President Obama’s recommendation and end the U.S. embargo of the island nation. Continue reading