Posted on Wed, Feb. 19, 2003 story:PUB_DESC
The real Plattist is Fidel Castro


In modern Cuban history, those who have looked to the United States for solutions to national problems have been called Plattists. Though belonging to the left political jargon, Plattists could be applied to both sides of the political divide. America is of course a great, generous country and, with all its problems, the best example to follow. Nevertheless, whoever tries to make it the final arbiter of other countries' problems is no real friend.

To be dependent on the United States, thus, is the harshest insult that Fidel Castro can throw at his opposition. Paradoxically, Castro and his regime themselves are increasingly dependent on America. Let us see:

• Every time that the Cuban government has been called to make reforms or allow any serious national referendum in its 44-year history, it always has answered that the U.S. embargo on Cuba has to be lifted first. This is pure Plattism. Why should the Cuban government wait for changes in the policy of a foreign government to make changes in its own national policy?

For foreigners, Castro and his government are the world's best hostesses. If the visitors happen to be American, the attention is really lavish. Obviously, this is not normal in a country where the political and social demands of its own citizens are never listened to and where only foreigners, not Cubans, are allowed to invest. How should we call this sycophancy with foreigners and disdain for nationals?

• Since its inception, the Cuban dissident movement has called on the Cuban, not the U.S., government to come to a national round table to discuss issues among Cubans and look for solutions to our national crisis. Castro's answer has been imprisonment and harassment of the dissidents and their families and pressure to force them into exile. The opposition's fault? To try to solve Cuban problems among Cubans.

Cuban problems are the result of Castro's morbid craving for absolute power and his Mafia-like methods to deal with the opposition. The real Plattism is found not in Miami or in the Cuban dissident movement, but in the Cuban government. The Cuban government effectively has disguised itself as nationalist and revolutionary, but it is neither. This is extremely painful for Cuba. The nation is stalled. The Cuban people have been duped. Castro accuses the opposition of being what he and his government really are.

Who wants to meet -- and meet only -- with Americans? Who says that Cuban problems are between Cuba and the United States? Who, then, is the Plattist? The conclusion is obvious.

Oscar Peña, one of the founders of the Cuban dissident movement, is vice president of the Cuban Committee for Human Rights.