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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 26, 2014 at 6:36 AM

Re-establishing relations will not transform Cuba overnight

The Cuban story is not one story [“Welcome back, Cuba!” Opinion, Dec. 20]. There are many stories, one for each Cuban depending on how old he or she was when Castro took power in 1959, the date when each of us left Cuba and life circumstances before and after 1959.

My mom and I both agree that the embargo became irrelevant a long time ago, but re-establishing relations will not transform Cuba overnight. We hope that it will pave the way for democracy. For many Cubans on the island or in exile, this is not time for celebration. It is a time to mourn what has been lost over the past six decades: the summary executions of the early years, the Cubans — young and old — who drowned in the Florida straights, the thousands of prisoners jailed without due process, and the millions that still live on the Island with no hope and no voice.

To those who are saying they want to visit Cuba before “things change.” Consider the moral question: Are you saying that you want to photograph and enjoy the dilapidated city, the people pleading for a dollar or asking their relatives in the U.S. for a pair of shoes?

We will not celebrate yet. For us, it is time to reflect and hope. Hope for free and open elections, hope for a free press that we treasure so dearly in the U.S., hope for an economic system — likely socialist in nature, but functional — that provides opportunities for all of Cuba’s citizens.

Rafael del Castillo, Seattle

Comments | More in Cuba | Topics: Communism, Cuba, Fidel Castro

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