February 21, 2006


The Alliance Between Reformists and Democrats: The Key to a Peaceful Transition in Cuba after Fidel Castro's Death (Carlos Alberto Montaner, 2/21/06, Firmas Press)

As 2006 begins, it is evident that the Cuban government has managed to overcome the most dramatic aspects of the huge economic and political crisis entailed by the cancellation of the Soviet subsidies and the discredit of Marxism as an ideological reference after the end of the U.S.S.R.

Nevertheless, the manner in which that process of questionable recovery was conducted has exacted a high cost from Fidel Castro in the eyes of the Cuban people and even of the ruling class itself, compromising -- in the short range -- the future of the system after Castro's predictable death.

While the regime today is not in any danger of disappearing, that is due to the unlimited authority that Castro exercises and the fear he instills among supporters and adversaries. However, all symptoms point to the existence of a sharp demoralization in the structure of power and a mixture of rejection and indifference among the population, especially among the young, to which must be added the sometimes heroic pressure exerted by the sectors of democratic opposition in the country and abroad, as well as the constant denunciations from prestigious international organizations, such as the European Parliament and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The principal psychological and political elements are therefore in place for some very significant changes to occur after the disappearance of El Comandante, so long as that transformation of the system is seen as an opportunity with minimal risk and clear personal advancement for the great majority of the population, including those people who today hold the power. [...]


It is very important that the civilian and military reformists within the structure of power in Cuba know that the internal and external opposition -- while continuing to pressure on all fronts where it can possibly act -- is willing to negotiate ways of cooperation that lead to a peaceful transition toward political and economic freedom, with neither winners nor losers, and with room for all political positions that can be defended reasonably and legally.

# Within those formulas, there should be a referendum that legitimizes a general amnesty for all acts committed with political intention.

# Funds should be made available for the honorable and decorous retirement, inside Cuba or outside, guaranteed by international organizations, of those functionaries who request it, as has been done in other countries.

# Assurances must be made that there will be no reprisals and no one will be condemned to a life of indignity.

# An agreement should be reached that the Armed Forces and the forces needed to maintain order will be transformed and placed at the service of democracy, same as was done in Spain and in most of the Eastern bloc countries. Those forces will not be abolished, however.

# A formal commitment should be made that no one will lose his or her home when private property is restored.

In short, guarantees should be made that the change will be to the benefit of the whole of society, not for the enjoyment of a few.

The accompanying photo says it all.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 21, 2006 7:56 AM

Great deal.

Would we have offered such a deal to the Nazis at the end of the War? General amnesty for all acts comitted with political intention, honorable and decorous retirement--right this way, meine Herren, no hard feelings.

I guess not, because the Nazis killed so many more people than the Communists, right?

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 21, 2006 9:21 AM


We gave them pretty close to that. Nuremberg wasn't exactly packed with defendants.

Posted by: oj at February 21, 2006 9:38 AM

.. or, we could 'retire' them in a somewhat less 'decorous' manner by putting a bullet through their foreheads.

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at February 21, 2006 9:38 AM

If we're going to add some northern states to the union why not a tropical one as well...statehood for Cuba anyone?

Posted by: Dave W at February 21, 2006 10:27 AM

Is it me or does this read as don't discredit marxism, make it work this time.

I told my husband that we will be gambling in Cuba before we die.

Who would have thought?

Posted by: Sandy P. at February 21, 2006 10:37 AM

Don't remember Pinochet getting that deal.

Posted by: Rick T. at February 21, 2006 10:38 AM

Now that's how to display an American flag!

Posted by: Brandon at February 21, 2006 11:17 AM

Pinochet did get that deal, but then people decided to overturn it. Same thing can be done here.

Although every time the deal isn't gone through it makes it that much harder to peacefully transition between dictatorship and freedom.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at February 21, 2006 3:39 PM