Margarita Alarcón Perea
Isaac Newton’s third law of motion states: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This law is exemplified by what happens if we step off a boat onto the bank of a lake: as we move in the direction of the shore, the boat tends to move in the opposite direction (leaving us face down in the water, if we aren’t careful!).
Bashing yourself in the water aside, politics are also constantly affected by this third law. In recent weeks , ever since the “handshake” during Nelson Mandela’s funeral services, one saw a constant flow of news on Cuba and the United States. Granted, the “handshake” was no more than a show of common courtesy, but the media took it up to mean so much more it grew to be hilarious. Other things did take special meaning in what could be deemed steps towards the much belated ending of hostilities between both nations.
The bilateral talks between Cuba and the United States. Judy Gross´s statements pleading to President Obama to find a solution taking “any steps necessary”, which include taking Cuba up on its longstanding offer to exchange Mr Gross for the remaining Cuban Five imprisoned in the US. A bipartisan group of over 60 senators requesting the same regarding the case of Alan Gross. The recent poll taken by the Atlantic Council in Washington which shows an overwhelming majority in the US, including Florida favors normalizing relations with Cuba, putting an end to the embargo and freeing travel to and fro. Senator Bernie Sanders came down on a brief visit to meet with Alan Gross and later go to the Guantanamo prison camps. The Havana leg of the trip gave Sen. Sanders the chance to speak to the press briefly where he said he hoped a solution to the Gross case would be reached soon as well as better relations with Cuba.
There is an obvious trend, the US and Cuba are advancing towards finally breaking bread, ever so slowly, but the trend is there. That would be the “action” if we apply Newton’s third law. The “reaction” unfortunately is not what we would hope for.
Every time in history that there has been a positive “action” from within the parties involved in resolving the conflict between Cuba and the US, the “reaction” has come from groups of either within the US Congress or Cubans on the island somehow involved with a foreign element. This time is no exception.
With the publication of a piece this morning by AFP, we read that a group inside Cuba is preparing to launch a campaign to gather signatures in order to change the constitution. This is by all means a valid attempt at producing change inside the island. It is in fact, the way Cuba establishes the changing or modification of its constitution. The problem with this “reaction” is that when reading the piece one learns that “the reform bid would bring together several Cuba opposition groups and actively launch in May with events in Cuba, the US states of Florida and New Jersey, Puerto Rico and Spain.”
Why is it always that when a group or person decides to change something in Cuba foreigners are always somehow in tow or dare I say, the inciters? Do they necessarily need the backing? Do they not know how to form dissent within their own ranks? Is this such a difficult feat to achieve?
Rather than holding hands with foreign interests, it would do Cuba and the US both a lot of good if the “reaction” to actions such as the ones that have been occurring were born from within the island by islanders with no other parties involved.
If not, falling on your face in the water is the only thing we will be expecting.