Asked whether Cuba might at least examine how to expand freedoms to help the Obama administration with Congress, the communist regime’s lead negotiator Josefina Vidal said, “Absolutely no.”
“Change in Cuba isn’t negotiable,” she insisted.
The role to be played by civil-society activists and the political opposition in this new scenario will depend on their ability to adapt to a new context and evolve, by looking for new ways of self-management and by basing the survival or success of their projects in terms of the support achieved by citizens, within or outside Cuba, notes Eliécer Ávila, a founder of SOMOS+ and a member of the Cuban Civil Society Open Forum.
A more open political game can largely benefit civil society, if it does not waste time crying over what is already a reality and rather decide to “turn on their batteries” to take benefit from the possible advantages that can arise from these new winds of change, she writes for The Huffington Post.
Other civil society activists want the U.S. to be more aggressive in holding the regime to account for its human rights violations.
Administration officials must demand free elections and accountability for murdered activists, democracy advocate Rosa Maria Paya writes for The PanAm Post. Payá is the daughter of the late democracy leader Oswaldo Payá, who, along with Harold Cepero, was killed in an automobile accident on July 22, 2012 in Bayamo, Cuba. She addressed a Washington conference on human rights last Friday alongside other Cuba democracy advocates, including Frank Calzon of the Center for Free Cuba (above).
U.S. tech companies see a potential windfall in the Obama administration’s decision to ease trade restrictions with Cuba, Julian Hattem reports for The Hill:
In 2013, just 26 percent of the country used the Internet, according to the International Telecommunications Union, an agency of the United Nations — but most of them could merely access a walled-off network of largely Cuban websites and services. The portion of Cubans who have actual unfettered access to the true, global Internet is estimated to be closer to 5 percent.
“Cuba remains one of the most heavily restricted environments for Internet use in the world, and it has been that way for quite some time,” said Laura Reed, a research analyst at Freedom House, a pro-democracy organization.