Introduction by Thomas Donahue, Chair, Committee for Free Trade Unionism

The Albert Shanker Institute

THOMAS DONAHUE: There are few people who have spent as many years and as much energy and concentrated attention on the problems of aiding democratic forces and assisting in democracy building than our speaker today. Carl Gershman spent his early years as writer for the A. Phillip Randolph institute, attempting to forge coalitions between blacks and the labor movement to help move the civil rights struggle from protest to politics. He was later to serve as executive director of Social Democrats USA before becoming senior counselor to the U.S. Representative at the United Nations.

Twenty-five years ago this year he was elected as the first president of the National Endowment for Democracy. In those early years the Endowment budget hovered around $17 million to $18 million a year, and in 1985 the Endowment made 22 grants to democracy assistance organizations. Last year the Endowment distributed over $110 million to over 1,000 such organizations.

Through those intervening years Carl built a dedicated and talented staff at the NED, and he advocated continually before the Congress and before successive administrations for more and more money for this cause to aid the lonely people around the world struggling to build free societies. He’s had a long interest in Cuba and its people, and in the anomalous presence of a totalitarian government which has kept itself in power for 50 years in the midst of a hemisphere where, with few exceptions, democracy has flourished.

I am proud to present to you my friend, a friend of democracy assistance and democracy building all across the world, Carl Gershman.

CARL GERSHMAN: Thank you, Tom. And let it also be said that Tom until recently was the vice chairman of our board and was a superb leader in the NED. We had the honor of presenting Tom with our Democracy Service Medal, which was an expression of our gratitude not only for what he did for the NED but for what he’s done throughout his whole career in the trade union movement and for democracy more generally.

He mentioned that the NED has been involved in helping people all over the world, and I just want to note we have a lot of NED staff here. I see Barbara Haig in the back and also Miriam Kornblith, Brandon Yoder and Aymil Rios. We’re all part of this effort, and we want to help what you’re doing.

It’s also a great pleasure for me to be here with old friends, Jay Mazur, Dick Wilson, Genie Kemble, Rita and Joel Freedman, and Orlando Gutierrez, Joel Brito, Anibal Cabrera and so many people who are sitting around this table who are people who have been colleagues of the NED and what it’s trying to do in Cuba and more broadly.

The fact that this labor committee under Tom’s leadership has now been established is very significant, not only for what it stands for worldwide but especially for Cuba, where there has not been a strong international voice for independent unions until now. This is an issue that Orlando and I dealt with in the article we did for the Journal of Democracy that was published in January. This is a very, very important moment, as we all know. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is thinking of sending a delegation to Cuba some time before the end of the year, and therefore having a committee like this coming into existence – and I’ll be talking about this more later – is terribly important.

And also, as we know – you can read about it in the news every day — the issue of Cuba and U.S. policy toward Cuba is becoming a very central issue on the U.S. foreign policy agenda. A bill now has been introduced in the Congress, supported by Senator Lugar, Senator Dodd, Senator Dorgan, the Chamber of Commerce, Human Rights Watch, and others, which is calling for the lifting of travel restrictions to Cuba. A battle is shaping up over Cuba policy. We also know that President Obama is going to be speaking about this issue when he addresses the Summit of the Americas just two weeks from now.

Let me say that this is, as we know, a very polarizing debate. There are passionate views on both sides of this debate. The defenders of the embargo have the view that Cuba has not changed and that it’s important to continue the policy of sanctions and isolation until Cuba opens up and changes. And the advocates of engagement feel that the embargo has failed, that it has not accomplished anything, and it gives the regime an excuse to blame America for Cuba’s economic failures.

As you know, the NED doesn’t get involved in policy debates. I want to make that very clear from the start. But also, just looking at the broader picture, I think we can say that in American politics today and in American foreign policy in general, the momentum is clearly on the side of engagement after the eight years of the Bush Administration. And it’s not just with regard to Cuba. We’re opening up talks with the government of Burma. Dick Holbrooke just met with his counterpart from Iran. Yesterday President Obama met with President Medvedev from Russia, and we’re going to rejoin the Human Rights Council, and so on and so forth.

When the announcement was made earlier this week that the U.S. has decided to rejoin the Human Rights Council, our ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, said that the decision was part of a broader push for “a new era of engagement in U.S. foreign policy” after the Bush presidency. Obviously Cuba is going to become part of that. It’s going to become a very important part of that. So a battle is shaping up.

It’s very important, I think, and this is what I want to say by way of introduction, it’s very important that this committee be a part of that political battle. You’re going to have two sides fighting about the embargo, and it’s very important that there’s somebody there to say that whichever side of this debate you’re on, it’s necessary to raise issues of freedom, human rights, and democracy — that we’re not against engagement but we want engagement with freedom. We want engagement with solidarity.

This is what President Obama did just yesterday in his meeting with President Medvedev. He raised the issue of the beating earlier this week in Moscow of Lev Ponomarov, the Russian human rights activist. The fact that he did that is important, and we want to see that approach in all of our discussions with repressive governments. And if there is going to be any change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, we hope that these issues — the issues of freedom, democracy, and trade union rights — are going to become a very important part of that discussion.

There are some people who think that Cuba might now be in a period of transition. Castro has turned over the presidency to his brother Raul who introduced last year some limited reforms having to do with the purchase of computers and cell phones and giving Cubans the right to stay at luxury hotels, which I’m sure means a lot to people who have nothing to live on.

Yet since those extremely limited reforms were announced a year ago, there has clearly been a back-tracking. Raul Castro talked about “a fearless debate” on Cuba’s problems, but that debate has not taken place and they don’t want to have it. I don’t believe they’re about to open up to a period of reform, basically for three reasons.

First of all, they’re feeling very strong. January was the 50th anniversary of the seizure of power by Castro, the so-called Cuban revolution of 1959. Five Latin American presidents have recently visited Cuba on this occasion, which shows why Cuba does not feel isolated in the hemisphere. The Guatemalan President, Álvaro Colom, went to Cuba and asked forgiveness for Guatemala’s serving as a base for the training by the CIA of Cubans to try to change the Cuban regime.

After that Michele Bachelet, the President of Chile, went to Cuba. It was a controversial decision to go to Cuba on this occasion, and when she was there, as I think as many know, Fidel Castro took the occasion of her being there to publish an article denouncing “the vengeful and fascist oligarchy” of Chile. In the article he took the side of Bolivia in its territorial dispute with Chile growing out of a war in the 19th century, thereby publicly humiliating the President of Chile. They’re feeling rather strong and behaving rather aggressively these days.

Ideological orthodoxy still reigns in Cuba, and that’s the second reason they’re not about to open up. Fidel regularly publishes reflections in the Cuban media that are very abusive toward the United States. The hardliners in the regime are strongly opposed to opening up relations with the U.S. There has been some talk of economic reforms, but they’re very fearful of such economic reforms. They’re afraid that they could lose control, and that’s the third reason they probably won’t undertake significant reforms — fear.

Of course they face very serious economic problems. They have an unproductive labor force, vast under-employment, which is not really reported. There’s immense corruption which goes under the name of the buddy system, or “socialism,” which is what they call it in a pun on socialism. They have an obsolete industrial plant, which derives from the Soviet period. There’s also widespread theft of government property that is part of a noncooperation campaign, which the regime calls “labor indiscipline,” by Cuban workers reflecting massive discontent.

There’s a very weak and deformed private sector, and there are vast inequalities –not just economic inequalities but regional inequalities and racial inequalities, because the overwhelming majority of the poor (and the really poor in Cuba are not in Havana but are in central and eastern parts of the island) are Afro-Cuban. So these contradictions are sharpening and there’s no expectation that the government is going to undertake the kind of major reforms that a RAND report issued five years ago said were urgently needed if Cuba was to solve its economic and social problems.

At the same time that all of this is happening, and this is what Orlando and I wrote about in the article in the Journal of Democracy, there is a new civic movement in Cuba. It is not entirely new, of course, since has grown gradually over the last three decades, but it is now a real force, and we describe the movement in its many dimensions. It consists not just of well-known figures like Oswaldo Payá, the leader of the Varela Project, or the Women in White, or FLAMUR, an organization that is focused on the dual currency system that impoverishes the average Cuban.

It goes well beyond that and includes human rights activists, people who run independent libraries, journalists, women, youth, the blogger underground, and also the underground rock movement made up of groups like Porno Para Ricardo that is led by Gorki Águila, which are closely tied to the dissident movement. The trial of Águila last August became the focus of significant political protests.

This movement is still largely unrecognized. It is a kind of invisible movement, partly I think because the international media in Havana don’t cover it. They rarely interview these dissidents, except maybe the more prominent personalities. I recently sent the article that Orlando and I did to a very prominent and extremely well informed journalist in Washington. I won’t mention his name. But he wrote me back saying it was “revelatory.” That’s very interesting. Why should it be revelatory? He wouldn’t have said the same thing about a report on the opposition movement in Russia or in China, but nobody knows about the Cuban movement because there are few journalists who take the trouble to write about it.

Yet important protests are taking place even as we speak. Just yesterday The New York Times ran a long article in its cultural section on the 10th biennial, a large artists’ gathering in Havana that’s being attended by a lot of people from the Tribeca and Soho areas of New York. What The Times didn’t mention was that on Sunday evening, at an open mike session, Cuban artists staged an important protest demonstration. They invited people in the audience to come forward to speak their minds. Two actors in military garb stood behind the podium, simulating the militarization of intellectual life in Cuba, and they put a dove on the podium. This was intended to mock the legendary incident on January 8, 1959, one week after the revolution, when a dove landed on Castro’s shoulder while he was giving an impassioned address in one of the big squares in Havana, making it look as if he had a kind of divine sanction. So having that dove on the platform now, and forcing it to stay there because a lot of times it wanted to fly away, was a way of mocking Fidel. Many young people who came up to give one-minute speeches, and all the speeches were about liberty and the desire for freedom of expression.

One of the people who addressed the open mike forum was the blogger Joani Sanchez. You probably have read about her. She’s Cuba’s most famous blogger. In her remarks she said Cuban bloggers are gaining a voice among youth. Though websites are blocked, Cuban youth copy blog entries on CDs, on floppy disks, on memory flash drives, and they circulate them throughout the island. They’ve created a kind of a virtual island within the island that is ruled by Castro. She exhorted youth in her remarks to this forum to demand more access to the Internet.

This protest was a demonstration of bravery, of defiance. Their mockery of the regime is symptomatic of the total alienation of the young people. The regime has lost the youth, not just the poor and marginalized young people but even many among the elite who go to the universities and have some access to sophisticated communications.

I think one of the things we have to do is to connect with these young people. The Directorio and other organizations are doing this already — connecting to these youth and helping them find ways of increasing their access to the Internet. The regime is very afraid of that.

The second thing that needs to be done is to support the real dissidents on the island. Again, as we speak Antúnez – the famous dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Pérez Antúnez — is in the sixth week of a hunger strike. He’s now taking liquids, but he and four others, including his wife, Iris Pérez Aguilera, who is head of the Rosa Parks movement in Cuba, are engaged in an important protest. These are black Afro-Cubans in central Cuba, in Placetas, and this protest is the culmination of many other actions that they have organized.

Antúnez , who is 44 years old, spent 17 years in prison, where he was referred to as “the black diamond” because he had an unbreakable spirit. He is a true hero, but nobody knows his name yet. He’s not as well known as Oswaldo Paya yet, but he’s a true hero and he is leading this hunger strike in his home town of Placetas. He’s beginning to develop support. People are coming from all over the island to show their solidarity, even though his house has been surrounded by security police to deny people access to Antunez.

Amnesty International this week has issued a statement in support of Antunez. Orlando’s Directorio is also circulating a statement. My point is that the international community has to provide solidarity with people like Antúnez in their struggle. The NED on June 24th is going to be focusing its Democracy Award in the Congress on Cuba. Antúnez and his wife will be two of the five people we’re going to honor. We’re also going to honor the founder of the Cuba Reflection Movement, Librado Linares, a social democrat who is now in prison. Wewill honor as well Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, who’s from the Christian Liberation Movement and who helped Paya circulate the Varela petition. He, too, is a young Cuban who is in prison. Not least, we will honor Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, a young labor activist who is black and also in prison. He’s from Matanzas in the center of Cuba, which is the heart and soul of the Cuban resistance movement.

These people, three of them Afro-Cubans, three of them in prison, all of them in their 30s and 40s, represent the new Cuba. They represent the future of Cuba, and I think we should be highlighting that.

And that brings me to the trade union movement. The International Trade Union Confederation is seeking a dialogue with Cuba. As we know, they want to send a delegation to Cuba, which if it goes would be hosted by the official CTC which is not a trade union but rather an instrument used by the regime to control the workers. The ITUC is now negotiating with the CTC to arrange this visit.

I had the opportunity, just a few weeks ago while visiting Sao Paolo, to meet with Victor Baez, the secretary general of TUCA, the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, which is the ITUC’s regional affiliate. I wanted to better understand their thinking and to let him understand our thinking about how to help workers and unions in Cuba. I came away from that discussion with the feeling that those who are organizing that delegation are open to dialogue with people like ourselves, and we should engage in that dialogue.

We should say, look, if you’re going to Cuba, if you’re engaging with the official so-called unions, you should also meet with the independent workers when you’re there. If you don’t, that would be a disaster for worker rights. And such a meeting should be not concealed. It should be prominent. It may be that they can’t work such a meeting into the agreement that they negotiate with the CTC for going to Cuba, but they should make clear that it is their intention to meet with the independent workers in Cuba.

And they should, in my view, also call for the release of political prisoners, especially the workers who have been imprisoned, and the respect for fundamental trade union rights that Cuban workers should have. And they should insist that Cuba discontinue such practices as the confiscation of wages in joint venture companies and the use of slave labor as in the Curacao case.

The ITUC and the international labor movement should follow what the European Union has done in its opening of relations with Cuba, which is to establish benchmarks having to do with the release of prisoners, access to the Internet, freedom of expression, according to which they will be able to measure Cuba’s progress in respecting rights, with the understanding that a sanctions-free relationship with Cuba would be continued only if there is progress in meeting these goals.

I’m sure this issue is very divisive within the EU, but such benchmarks at least establish a way to link an engagement policy with an effort to promote human rights. In the case of the ITUC, it would be important to lay down objective criteria of worker rights, where engagement could be adjusted up or down according to how much progress is made in this area. Certainly this committee could help define such criteria. It could also updates reporting on what Cuba is doing, if anything, to measure up to these benchmarks. In this way you would be creating a voice within the international labor movement for worker rights in Cuba.

I know that this conference is discussing ways in which the international labor movement can come to the assistance of workers in Cuba. I’m sure many of you have already seen the letter that Lech Walesa sent to President Obama. It focused entirely on the workers’ situation in Cuba. He appealed to the President “not to ignore the plight of Cuban workers and union activists” who need support. He mentioned the scandal of the regime confiscating wages in joint ventures where foreign pay hard currency to the regime for labor and the workers get paid in worthless, non-convertible pesos. He also mentioned the fact that the Cuban army is a controlling agent in the Cuban economy. It was a strong letter and a good example of what can be done to defend independent workers in Cuba.

Let me note another example of union solidarity with workers in Cuba. I had the opportunity, less than two weeks ago, to meet in Sydney with Paul Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, which is a large union in mining, steel, and iron. I noticed in his bio that he visited Cuba when he was 16 years old. I didn’t know how old he was, but then I learned that that was only 11 years ago. This fellow is 27 years old and he’s head of one of the largest unions in Australia. He went to Cuba as a pro-Castro leftist and stayed with a family for nine months. This was during the Special Period when the Cuban government was encouraging Cubans to speak out about the problems in the society, not unlike the way Raul has called for a so-called fearless debate today. And a lot of people spoke out. And then he watched as they all got arrested. Obviously he was totally disillusioned and became a strong opponent of the dictatorial Cuban system.

I gave him the article that Orlando and I did and suggested we try to work together on Cuba. Sure enough, he read the article, liked it, and then drafted a letter about Cuba to the president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, a woman who also happens to be the president of the International Trade Union Confederation.

We have allies, in other words, or potential allies. We have to cultivate these allies. We have to build a network of labor solidarity with workers in Cuba. I think there are more friends out there than we realize, and we have to discover who they are. Since we’re now entering into a period of engagement with Cuba, as I said before, it’s going to be up to people like ourselves and the allies whom we can cultivate to help shape a policy of solidarity during this period of engagement.

The U.S. should be open to a new relationship with Cuba. But such a relationship should be conditioned on the Cuban government’s beginning to develop a new relationship with the Cuban people. I think that should be at the heart of our debate, not just debating whether the embargo should be lifted, but what kind of relationship the Cuban government should have with its own people. We need to be heard from in this process, and so should democrats in Cuba.

I think the new approach to Cuba should build upon the ideas of Jose Martí. The Cuban government tries to identify with the ideas of Jose Martí, but Marti was a democrat and the regime imprisons Cubans who try to act upon on what Jose Martí stood for.

What he said in his writings is that freedom — libertad — is the essence of life. He wrote that political parties and voting are the means to promote liberty and are the only way that the people can correct the flaws in a democracy. Marti lived in New York toward the end of the 19th century, before he returned to Cuba to lead the last stage of the independence struggle against Spain. Marti, who backed Henry George who was a socialist candidate for mayor in New York at the time, knew about the robber barons and the flaws of capitalism — the kind of caricature of democracy that Fidel Castro rails against today.

But even then Jose Martí, when he wrote about that democracy, said that the vote is “an awesome, invincible, and solemn weapon;… the most effective and merciful instrument that man has devised to manage his affairs” and resolve “the social problems that announced themselves to the world with such formidable proportions” – he was writing at the end of the 19th century – a century earlier.

So freedom and democracy are at the heart of the Cuban movement, and so of course is independence. That’s the other idea that Jose Martí felt so strongly about. He was concerned about the annexationist movement in this country, but he said there were really two Americas. There was the land of Lincoln and the land of Cutting. Francis Cutting was the leading annexationist. Marti he hoped that the Cuban people, the Cuban workers, could establish a relationship of solidarity with the land of Lincoln – Americans who would support their drive for democracy and independence.

That’s where we are today, how to establish that relationship between the people in the United States who care about workers and human rights and the people of Cuba –a relationship of real solidarity.

These ideas are present in President Obama’s statements on Cuba. I want to read from a passage in the speech he delivered last May to the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami. Obama said, “There is no place for this kind of tyranny in this hemisphere. There is no place for any darkness that would shut out the light of liberty. Here we must heed the words of Dr. King, written from his own jail cell – ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”

And he went on: “Throughout my entire life there has been injustice in Cuba. Never, in my lifetime, have the people of Cuba known freedom. Never, in the lives of two generations of Cubans, have the people of Cuba known democracy. This is the terrible and tragic status quo that we have known for half a century — of elections that are anything but free and fair; of dissidents locked away in dark prison cells for the crime of speaking the truth. I won’t stand for this injustice, you won’t stand for this injustice, and together we will stand up for freedom in Cuba….

“My policy toward Cuba” — and this is what’s critical — “will be guided by one word: Libertad. And the road to freedom for all Cubans must begin with justice for Cuba’s political prisoners, the rights of free speech, a free press and freedom of assembly. And it must lead to elections that are free and fair.”

This should be our battle cry. The main struggle, the real struggle, will take place within Cuba, not here. It will be a national struggle for freedom in which Cubans of different races, from different regions, of different classes will come together to reclaim their freedom and to rebuild their national identity, which has been stolen from them. This is their struggle, but it needs and deserves international support.

Let us hope that by extending that international support and solidarity, we will help build in this country a common ground for developing a new consensus on U.S.-Cuba policy, and a new relationship with the people of Cuba based upon our shared values. Thank you.

MR. DONAHUE: Thank you very much, Carl. As always, a spirited presentation, which speaks to your whole approach to life and to your role at the National Endowment for Democracy. Carl, I really believe that everybody in this world who hopes for freedom, everybody who works for freedom, and those people particularly who can only aspire to freedom are all in your debt, and we’re grateful to you. Thank you. (Applause.)

Carl has indicated he’d be happy to take a couple of questions, so if there are those who would like to speak, please stand up.

Q: (Via translator.) First of all, I share everything that our speaker has said, but I would like to clarify one thing, something very positive that he said which to me is essential. And I want to clarify something else. First, the positive statement, is that all of these conferences in Washington, Caracas, Dominican Republic, wherever, they are essential to show solidarity with the people and workers of Cuba. But the decision to fight will have to be taken in Cuba. I hope that we all learn and do not commit the same mistakes of trying to bring freedom to Cuba from outside.

We Cubans have known freedom. That’s why the resistance is so strong in Cuba. In 1933 young Cuba and the workers movement went to strike against dictator Machado, with the support of Batista and the communists. The general strike succeeded and labor laws were created in 1933 in only 18 months. And also in 1944 the Cuban people through elections chose a democratic government that replaced Batista, who was supported by the communists.

We had 10 years of freedom, and it’s because of that freedom that the Cuban people is going to recover by itself its own freedom and its own liberties.


Q: I’m from Canada, and our country has practiced the policy of constructive engagement for some time now. I have some questions for you. I’m hoping you can answer those. The first one is that there’s a tendency for the policy of constructive engagement to simply be profitable engagement. And I would say that our trade union in our work with our country, in our work with our parliament has been looking for critical constructive engagement, and we’ve actually suggested the benchmarks, including human rights, opening of freedom of association, an end to the acts of repudiation and so on and so forth.

My question to you – I have two of them – one is, what benchmarks would you suggest are appropriate? And second, in the very likely instance that these benchmarks are not met, where does that leave the independent trade union movement around the world, as well as institutions like yours, and so on, that want to see democracy?

MR. GERSHMAN: (Off mike.) First of all I think that we should be developing those benchmarks, regardless of whether Cuba is ready to meet them.

I have been briefed on some of the points that have come out of your discussions from yesterday, and I think you’re beginning to develop those benchmarks. I don’t think there should be too many. I think they’re probably contained in all of the ILO conventions. Obviously they have to involve freedom of association, the right to bargain and the right to strike. They have to do with the release of political prisoners. I think this committee should help develop these benchmarks.

And then in cooperation with international figures like Lech Walesa and Paul Howes and others who want to play a role on this issue, I think the committee should communicate those benchmarks to the ITUC and to TUCA, saying that if you go to Cuba and have meetings with the CTC and you don’t raise these issues, if you don’t establish such benchmarks as part of official policy on the basis of which it will be determined whether the relationship will continue, if you don’t do that, and if you don’t meet with the independent workers, then somehow you’re not advancing the cause of workers in Cuba, you’re harming it.

There are some who think that just engagement by itself is useful. You know, you must talk to them. We have to talk, and by talking, somehow they’ll learn about us and our way of life. No, no. It doesn’t work that way. We have to understand that in this process, as we go forward with this process, this committee and the United States more generally are up against a very difficult challenge.

It’s not as if there’s a consensus in the Cuban leadership that they want a change. As I was saying, for a lot of reasons, ideological orthodoxy, self-preservation, the feeling that somehow they’re riding high right now with all the support from Latin American presidents, they really don’t feel they need to change.

Do they want a new relationship? Well, if they do, then they’ve got to demonstrate that they’re ready to adapt to the norms in the international community on worker rights and also on larger questions of human rights. If they won’t adapt, if they say it’s our way or we walk away from the table, then I don’t think there should be a delegation going. I don’t think you should go unless you can feel that you’re accomplishing something beyond just having engagement for no purpose. I think that the future of this relationship should be dependent upon the progress that is made on these issue of fundamental rights. I think this should be part of the policy of the international labor movement.

How is that policy going to be developed? It’s going to be developed from within the international labor movement. There have to be voices for workers rights. I hope that this is something where Canada and the United States can cooperate, along with our Latin American friends. Obviously the Europeans will need to be involved as well, and the Australians and others. The Central Europeans will definitely want to be involved. And we need their support.

I think it’s possible to have, especially now with the new U.S. administration, a strong U.S.-Canadian partnership on Latin America and on Cuba in particular. I think that partnership should obviously reach out to our Latin American friends. That partnership should then drive the international labor movement.

So let’s start building that U.S.-Canada friendship here. In the past there has been a kind of good cop-bad cop routine, as a Canadian friend once put it to me, where the Canadians engage and conduct programs that have the consent of the Cuban government, while the U.S. supports dissidents and human rights advocates and so forth. But I think that now it should be possible to really work together.

I think we really have to build a common policy here, a bipartisan policy in the U.S., and then a hemispheric policy and a global policy. And I think that can be done. If the Cubans decide that they want to circle the wagons, that they’re not interested in reform, they’re basically saying, it’s all or nothing. In that case I think there has to be stepped up solidarity to the movements inside Cuba, and we have to find ways of identifying with those people, to do all the kinds of things I talked about – to develop and strengthen the different channels that we have of connecting with the youth, connecting with people like Antúnez, connecting with the workers, connecting with the women activists, connecting with all of these people. We need to give them more visibility, give them more support, give them more resources to fight with. And give them more legitimacy, to counter the Castro government’s attempt to portray such people as a bunch of mercenaries. The regime says that it represents legitimate nationalism, that it represents the people even though it was never elected. Now that’s a lie, and that lie has to be exposed.

MR. DONAHUE: All right, sir. Once again, Carl, thank you very, very much. I said earlier we’re in your debt. We remain in your debt. And thank you.