Small glimmer of hope in Cuba?

No, not really. Raulito seems more willing than his brother to let Cubans criticize their awful government, though not by much. We had Cuban writers criticize the government at a book fair a few weeks ago and we had a by-government-invitation-only meeting of intellectuals complaining about the Castro government a few weeks ago.

Now we have a film festival featuring films somewhat critical of what’s going on in Cuba:

A 14-minute documentary called “Las camas solas” — “The Lonely Beds” — highlighted Cuba’s housing shortage, showing a group of families who leave their dilapidated Havana apartment building for a government shelter in 2004, seeking safety from Hurricane Ivan.

“It’s a shame the building has been allowed to be destroyed like this,” a woman says as the camera pans over her rundown home.

Of course, as soon as you get a story like that, you get another one like the recent sentencing of dissidents to prison–for “disturbing the peace” (as noted on this blog).

And critical filmmakers at the film festival don’t dare go too far, lest they find themselves in trouble with the Castro government:

Politics, democratic reform and the legitimacy of more than 40 years of unchallenged communist rule don’t figure in these documentaries. But still,
Sandra Gomez worried she was crossing a line when she made “The Lonely Beds.”

“I thought that it was going to be too critical and that it would never be allowed to be shown in a space such as this,” said Gomez, 30, a graduate of Havana’s International School of Film and Television. “I was really surprised.”

Still, the filmmakers doubt their critical works will ever make it to television.

“This is a documentary not to be seen only by intellectuals,” said Rodriguez, creator of “Buscandote Havana.” “It’s for all the people … so that they can see what is happening, and that is not what they see every day on television.”

Some people see these small token gestures as proof that Cuba is willing to open itself up so why should’t we drop the embargo?

I see them as nothing more than cheap propaganda ploys. As long as a Castro is in charge in Cuba, whether it be Fidel or Raul, Cubans will continue to be repressed. And 48 years of history back up what I say.

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