Letter from a young Cuban to Barack Obama
Letter from a young Cuban to United States President Barack Obama
March 22, 2016
Just a few hours ago I had the opportunity to listen to your speech in its entirety by our channels on national television, and I should say, your words are precisely what inspired this letter that now, after reflecting on what you’ve said, I am writing to you.
I speak to you with the respect that a young Cuban feels for a man who was able to change the history of his country regarding its foreign policy toward Cuba. It is an indelible merit for all your life, and the best thing about it is that it will be a merit achieved by all sides.
I am very pleased that this new stage is opening in our countries when in Cuba we still have our Historic Leadership of the Revolution, because you should know if it were not the case, this process would be much more complicated for the United States, since we Cubans would be much more mistrustful.
I would like to refer to some aspects of the speech that you gave a few moments ago in the “Alicia Alonso Grand Theater of Havana:
The Cuban people, has always distinguished itself from the rest of the world, in the treatment of its enemies. The fragment of the poem by Martí that you mentioned is proof of that, but it is also the conduct of the Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Rúz, of our General of the Army Raúl Castro Rúz, of the Heroic Guerrilla Ernesto Ché Guevara and the immortal Vanguard Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán, who all offered medical attention, who morally and physically respected the officers and soldiers of the army of the dictator Fulgencio Batista, during the war that led to the Revolutionary triumph. So respect for one’s adversaries is not a new conduct in Cuba, rather it is a natural characteristic of our people.
I agree with you when you say, after more than half a century of fierce contradictions, that today in my country the governing of Cuba is for Cuba, and that the United States has no say in this.
I hope that these are not just words, and that the funds of your Congress designated for internal subversion on the island cease, that the NED and USAID stop promoting programs against the independence and self-determination of Cuba. Allow the will of the Cuban people to make the changes we need, and those that, by the way, we are already immersed in.
Your personal history, of your immigrant father, your mother who had few resources and your current position, is undoubtedly proof of your personal sacrifice, of your determination to overcome, but sadly it is not the history of the majority of men who like you grew up in the United States. I personally know of many more Black men murdered in the United States, than who are successfully involved in the politics of your country.
Cuba is a nation of equal opportunities, without social exclusions, and as you have well pointed out, allows and promotes equal education for boys and girls, regardless of the color of their skin, or religion or ideology of their parents. This is why our children can build a future with the same possibilities. Their individual efforts will also be decisive in the carrying out of their objectives, the difference being that in the collective, our society equally promotes this conduct and that of the state policies.
You mentioned the end of the Cold War, but I am concerned that the existence of socialist or progressive nations in Latin America are becoming the new “bloc” of contradictions. The case of Venezuela is one of those issues that exemplify what I mean and I believe that the United States could commit the mistake of burying that macabre historical stage, only to create a new one with the same intentions, but with different or mutated methods, which would be disastrous for our peoples.
I wish to express as a youth, that I consider my land to be a country of Democracy, a country where the workers not only have voice and vote. They also represent the majority and the policies of the Revolution are directed for them, because it is the workers, the campesinos and we the youth who are the principal objective of Cuban policy, of social, economic and cultural development, and I live in security and fully proud of this.
You mentioned that our potentialities are in our capacity to create and I agree, and I also mention our capacity to move the world, and there I would like to make a brief pause. Cuba not only moves the world, it has been able to since 1959, and it is precisely that mobilization that has caused you to be changing your foreign policy toward our country. The peoples have allied with Cuba, the leaders of Latin America have changed and the United States was left behind little by little.
We know that our society is imperfect, that we should work on aspects that you have pointed out and in many others that you can’t even imagine, precisely because we are a society that can be improved. But Mr. President, we have things that shine beyond our defects and as José Martí also said: “The sun burns with the same light with which it warms. The sun has stains. The unappreciative ones only speak of the stains. The appreciative ones speak of the light.”
You speak repeatedly of the need to leave the past behind. Cuba cannot forget the past, because the past is not a burden, it is memory, it is an impetus and is our essence. Cuba can, for the good of the future, sit down at any table and talk about any theme, but the participants should be good men and women, even if they are of different ideologies. They cannot be men or women without decency, without honor and without patriotic pride. We Cubans, precisely because of history, don’t speak with mercenaries or unpatriotic persons who turn their back on their people for personal gain. Individuality is respected in my homeland, but I learned as a child: The collective interests are above personal interests.
I wish to conclude, thanking you once again for your visit, your honesty and the kindness shown to our people, but it would be dishonest of me if I failed to include in these words, my evaluation of a phrase you directed to the General of the Army when you said: “You do not need to fear a threat from the United States.”
Mr. President Barack Obama, Cuba does not now nor has it ever felt fear. The Revolution has faced the aggressions of your country for centuries without cowardice. Today we face a peaceful coexistence with respect and diplomacy, but the future does not scare us. The United States does not scare us, at the end of the day we are a people of Homeland or Death.
Receive a cordial greeting from this Cuban youth.
Julio Alejandro Gómez Pereda
Author of the blog: www.palabrasentreelcafe.wordpress.com