Those hoping for announcements of change at Cuba’s Revolution Day ceremony in front of the Che Guevara monument on 26 July were disappointed.
President Raúl Castro did not even make a speech. For reaction to that euronews spoke with recently freed Cuban dissident Julio César Gálvez in Madrid.
The journalist was released from a 15 year prison term handed down in 2003, following his arrest as part of the so-called Black Spring crackdown.
So what does he make of Raúl Castro’s silence at the Revolution Day ceremony.
Gálvez told us: “Since 1959, when the Cuban Revolution succeeded, Fidel Castro – during his presidency or his time in power – never failed to make a speech on the 26th of July, and it was exactly the same for Raúl Castro.
In my humble opinion, this is a way for the Havana regime to try to present a new message to the world, with different images, saying that there are changes, that there are differences, that something new is possible.
Sadly it’s not so, this is just more of the same of what has been going on in Cuba for more than 50 years. It doesn’t matter who makes the speech, the content is the same, therefore the hidden mandate is the same.”
euronews then asked: “What immediate reforms should the Castro regime carry out so that you, the dissidents, would accept the EU normalising economic relations with Cuba?”
Gálvez replied: “The first thing the Cuban government must do is make political changes.
Nowhere in the world right now can you make economic or social changes if there are no political changes, and Cuba urgently needs political change.
The Cuban situation is chaotic in every aspect: political, economic, social. We hope that the regime is sufficiently capable to be able to discern that what is needed is political change, as well as understanding and a dialogue between Cubans.