Cuba comes to Eastern

From Eastern News Flash

Cuban Educator Ariel Ducal Diaz said “Cuba is not a hell and it is not a paradise, and education and health are a right, not a business” during his presentation on “The New Normal: Towards Normalization of United States–Cuba Relations,” on Oct. 16 in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Conference Room. “We will not privatize these rights, which are rooted in Cuba’s belief in social justice and the belief of a person’s right to life,” said Dacal Diaz.

This past December, President Barack Obama said “it’s time for a new approach” and announced that the United States was taking steps to restore full diplomacy with Cuba, a move that ended 50 years of strained relations with the Communist nation.
Two big challenges going forward, Dacal Diaz said, are for the United States to accept Cuba’s fundamental belief in independence and social justice. “These two matters are like two sides of a coin. People must have a right to self-determination and the right to live. It is not possible to secure life if life is viewed as a commodity.” The second challenge for Cuba is that, because of the continuing economic blockade of the United States, the island nation needs an infusion of capital to sustain its system. “We want to be a good model for social and economic democracy, but if your big neighbor wants to come into your house with the same old attitudes of wanting to dominate your home, that makes the challenge difficult.”

In 1959, 80 percent of Cuba’s trade was with the U.S. In 1989, 85 percent of it was with the Soviet Union. To start redevelopment, Diaz used the imagery of a levee holding back water to describe how Cuba is dealing effectively and efficiency with the new influx of capital sure to come as a result of Obama’s decision. “We have learned from past experience. We have created laws on foreign investments. No one country will ever have more than 30 percent of foreign investment in Cuba.”