I heart dialogue, says @yoanisanchez

yoani-sanchezHit it, Yoani:

“Last Thursday, spellbound Cuban TV viewers were able to watch a debate between a portion of the opposition in Venezuela and representatives of the government. The controversial encounter was broadcast by TeleSur, which has always supported chavismo. This time around, the channel was forced to broadcast the other side’s concerns and points.

The pre-condition that cameras and microphones were available has been a masterful political move on the part of Maduro’s adversaries. Spectators were able to partake in the dialogue, and it made it more difficult to twist events. Each person on both sides had ten minutes, but the Venezuelan president was simply unable to synthesize his thoughts into such a short period.

For misinformed Cubans, the first thing that jumped out was the high level of the opposition’s discourse. Numbers, statistics, and concrete examples were presented respectfully. The next day, the most oft-repeated comment in the streets of Havanna was the popular “they swept the floor with Maduro,” a clear allusion to the overwhelming criticism his rivals engaged in. The government, for its part, seemed cowed, fearful, and with a cliche-plagued discourse.”

Read the rest in Yoani’s blog (in Spanish). If last Thursday helps inspire the downcast Cuban opposition,that in itself would be an achievement.

24 thoughts on “I heart dialogue, says @yoanisanchez

  1. Especially liked Yoani’s last para.:

    “Si mañana mismo la mesa para un diálogo estuviera lista, resultaría poco probable que escuchemos un discurso tan bien articulado en la oposición cubana como el logrado por sus colegas venezolanos. Sin embargo, aunque la negociación no se presente ahora como una posibilidad, nadie debe quedar eximido de prepararse para ella. Cuba necesita que ante esos posibles micrófonos estén quienes mejor representen los intereses de la nación, sus preocupaciones, sus sueños. Que puedan hablar por nosotros los ciudadanos, pero que lo hagan –por favor- con coherencia, sin violencia verbal y con argumentos que nos convenzan.”

    All politicians should take note. Especially those who, unlike their Cuban counterparts, have access to stats, prepared by independent bodies from third-party audits/supplies of official information.


  2. Interesting that they could watch the ‘Dialogue’ in Cuba.Kinda makes dictatorship look benign.LOL


    • Only because they have Telesur (majority partner Venezuela, minority partners Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Uruguay).

      I’m guessing nobody in Cuba thought of killing the signal during the cadena “for technical reasons”. I’m not sure they’ll overlook this next time around.


  3. To be honest, I’m shocked to see so much awe in the comments. They saw brilliant speeches, and well-substantiated articles, where I saw OK speeches, some rambling and a lack of well-picked evidence (why oh why didn’t they get in touch with Foro Penal for some names, quotes, cases and photos?).

    I’m guessing the dissidents in each country adjust their expectations according to their experience.


    • Exactly. The mere fact that they could actually see or hear a *debate* must have seemed shocking beyond belief. I guess that is the main takeaway from Yoani’s piece, how each person’s reality tints what they see.


        • Those low standards also apply to all Cuban exiles, according to Yoani. Her veiled stricture on their political views speaks volumes about a fundamental reason Cuba has stayed a dictatorship for five-plus decades.


          • Cuba had low democratic standard to begin with. Spaniard lost Cuba in the late 19th century, and in the short 50 yrs. before Castro Inc was established, less that 2 generations of Cubans had to deal with Batista and other dictatorships.

            i read about the sugar barons also being not vey interested in changing the status quo from colonial Spain to “colonial US” to colonial castro inc.

            the pueblo cubano has never had it too easy.

            OTH, Venezuelan success brought good quality immigration in the 50’s and 60’s, and the democratic values took a better hold. Regretfully underlying barbaric and fantastic discourses survived….

            Ask Toro and Briceno..


    • I am thinking that a lot of people here in Venezuela were pretty surprised too. Surely, Chavismo is loathe to televise these talks again, but how can they avoid it? They are supposed to “talk” again today. Anyone heard any details? When?


    • I was shocked. I was expecting a complete and total massacre by the chavistas and they completely muffed it. It was like waiting for the Red Wedding and then it never happened. It was about two hours in when I realized that it simply wouldn’t come to pass.

      Sure, the Opposition speakers held their own. Yet, it would have been so very, very easy for the chavistas, if they could have spent 10 minutes deviating from their scripts of the last 15 years, to disembowel the opposition on Cadena Nacional with a captive audience of millions to witness.

      And apparently they couldn’t do it.

      I used to think that the upper echelons of chavismo had some savvy political operators. Now I think it was only dear departed comandante eternal who had the skills.


  4. OT: Oh boy, North Korea wants to open an embassy in Caracas, to increase cooperation, and the Foreign Affairs Ministry was delighted at the prospect.


    I sure hope they aren’t planning on training national security forces, paramilitary forces or political leadership in the ways of North Korea, which is at least two orders of magnitude more fucked up than Cuba.

    This is what North Korean training can get you, btw:



  5. “I heart dialogue”

    Yoani Sanchez schooling our own political pundits in the very art of “Opposition as a Job”. I think she cracks laughing at all these morons who think she’s “fighting opression”, while cashing a fat check from Castro or someone else interested in such kind of “bad publicity is good publicity”

    Yesterday i stumbled upon a book from a Cuban author and dissident Reinaldo Arenas, this is what he had to say about those who pursue “dialog” with Castro and Co. Sadly, Reinaldo is dead since 90′

    To get you in context, Reinaldo wrote an open letter to Castro, signed by him and some renowned personalities, then:

    “The letter was published in a number of newspapers and was a terrible blow against Castro, since it did put in evidence that his dictatorship was even worse than Pinochet’s, since we would never do free elections. Those who naively try to sustain any dialog with Castro should remember his reaction to that letter, since he called its signatories “CIA Agents” first and “Sons of a bitch” then. Amazing is that numerous people in exile, already regarded as intelectuals, agree with the dialog. That implies to completely ignore Castro’s personality and ambitions. It is clear that Castro has created pro-dialogue bureaus in Cuba, these people even try to disguise as authorities on human rights organizations.

    On a side, there are Castro’s agents inside and outside Cuba, working in his favor, in the other , ambitious people with a desire to stand out, and in yet another one, scoundrels who think they can profit from the dialog business.

    Some day, off course, people will overthrow Castro and the least they will do is bring those who collaborated with the tyrant to justice. People who promote talks with Castro, knowingly (as everyone knows) that Castro is not abandoning power by fair means, and that what he needs is a truce and economic help to strenghten, are as guilty as the minions who torture and murder our people, or even more. In Cuba life goes on under absolute terror.

    Wonder if Yoani Dialog knows about the guy, i think she doesn’t care, his job as “anti castro ambassador” depends on the revolution going on.


    • Well… That just raised my opinion of Yoani. It almost felt like a praise of Posada Carriles could have slipped in any paragraph.


    • Really? You think that Yoani ¨cracks laughing at all these morons who think she´s ´fighting oppression´, while cashing a fat check from Castro or someone else interested in such kind of ´bad publicity is good publicity´¨? ¨I do not think it means what you think it means¨ (The Princess Bride).


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