Cuba's Reforms Ring Hollow in Miami

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MIAMI – Cuban dissidents are skeptical about the economic changes taking place in Cuba, arguing that they are no substitute for democratic reforms, reports El Nuevo Herald. That was the message that three Cuban dissidents brought to Capitol Hill recently, where they discouraged the U.S. government from making concessions to Cuba.

Normando Hernández, Regis Iglesias y José Luis García, who were among the Group of 75 jailed in 2003 during a crackdown known as Cuba’s Black Spring, called the recent economic reforms "hollow."

Beginning Nov. 10, Cubans will be permitted to buy and sell homes without government intervention, ending a decades-long ban regulating the real estate market on the island. The announcement was published last week in Cuba’s official daily, Granma. The reform is part of package of proposals initiated by Raúl Castro to boost the economy. Castro is also proposing an increase in private enterprise and foreign investment, as well as deep cuts to state subsidies and dismissal of more than 1 million public employees. He has also considered decreasing government control over private companies and expanding the legal sale of cars.

Regis Iglesias, a Cuban exile who now lives in Spain, said that more than buying and selling homes and cars, Cubans need elections and respect for their freedom.

“Economic freedom does not bring liberty or democracy to people, let alone to a country that has had 52 years of tyranny,” said Miami resident Hernández.