"Although nearly 82, I secured a new five-year term as president in February 2013. It will be the last one. It is time for me to stand down after making some concessions… in a manner of speaking, at least. I definitely want to make some economic concessions, allow the creation of small private companies, and even lift travel restrictions for my fellow citizens, including traitors such as that unruly blogger Yoani Sánchez. But, for the time being, forget about allowing an independent press and loosening the controls on the Internet.
Think about it. Too much information flowing freely in Cuba could encourage protests and sedition. Our system is collapsing, as I’ve said several times at internal meetings. But the Revolution is supposed to be irreversible, as my elder brother always used to say, and it’s thanks to this kind of language that the regime has survived until now.
If I legalized independent newspapers and radio stations tomorrow, if I allowed broadband Internet and if I ratified the two UN conventions on civil and political rights that I signed in 2008, the collapse would just come all the faster. Dig our own grave? No way. But we have little room for manoeuvre. Freedom of information and pluralism are recognized everywhere else in Latin America, at least on paper. Except in Cuba. It’s pretty tricky, especially as I am this year’s president of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Of course, it wasn’t very subtle of me to have kept this poor Calixto Ramon Martínez Arias of Hablemos Press in detention for seven months just for providing information about dengue and cholera epidemics that we later had to confirm. And it’s not very clever to lock up this Granma journalist, Luis Antonio Torres, whose reporting I had even praised, or the netizen Angel Santiesteban-Prats. When I am going to be able to release those two? Keeping them in detention is absurd, I know. But political survival has a price.
So? So I allow my State Security to harass and beat up independent journalists and bloggers."
*To show how some predators really think, we have presented their innermost thoughts in the first person. We had to use a little imagination, of course, but the facts alluded to conform to reality.
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