Cuba Relations Normalized with Prisoner Swap:
Today President Obama restored diplomatic relations with Cuba and lifted the travel ban after 54 years of unsuccessful embargo. Cuban dissident blogger, Yoani Sanchez,has written about the hardships that the embargo and the repressive Castro regimes have imposed on the citizens of Cuba.
The Castros (Raul and Fidel) have maintained an iron grip on internet access. The blockade on internet information critical of the Castro regime means that Sanchez cannot even read her own blog posts online.
President Obama, in announcing the deal pointed to the 54 years of embargo and unbroken Castro dictatorship (first Fidel and now Raul) and said, “We do not believe we can keep doing the same thing over five decades and expect a different result.”
Mary Jo Porter and Maui resident, Karen Chun, established TranslatingCuba.com, a Worldwide Translation Project for dissident Cuban voices in 2010, as an expansion of a similar effort that began in 2008. This project has been instrumental in internationalizing these Cuban voices and their descriptions of daily Cuban life under the Castros.
“What is important for Americans to understand — and this is the central focus of the TranslatingCuba.com work — is that the problems of Cuba are the fault of Cubans, not of Americans or the American government.
If you ask Cubans what their three biggest problems are, they like to say, “Breakfast, lunch and dinner.” One of the most prosperous and advanced nations in Latin America has been brought to its knees not by the embargo or by a lack of diplomatic relations with the United States, but by the Castro regime and its 50-plus-year imposition of a non-democratic totalitarian regime on its people.
The task of TranslatingCuba.com has been to bring the voices of Cubans living on the island, suffering under this regime, to readers around the world. Some of these voices have become very prominent, others barely get heard, on or off the island. They represent a plurality of opinions, and often disagree with each other, like people do in a free society. These are the voices of freedom from an un-free society.
We expect the Obama Administration’s announcement today to spark an outpouring of wide-ranging opinions from Cubans on the island. TranslatingCuba.com will continue to bring these voices to a broader audience.”
Ironically, the newly freed Alan Gross was imprisoned for bringing communications equipment for residents of Cuba.