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Conferencia La Nación y la Emigración: a lot of patriotic rhetoric, and doors closed to dissidents

With non-public debates and a majority of participants linked to pro-Castro organizations, the event leaves 'investment possibilities' for last.

Opening of the 4th Conferencia La Nación y la Emigración in Havana.
Opening of the 4th Conferencia La Nación y la Emigración in Havana. X/@DiazCanelB

With the Cuban regime declaring its interest in  attracting emigrants to invest and save the country from ruin, the "4th Nation and Emigration Conference" continued on Sunday with sessions rife with patriotic speeches and with Cuba's ruling leadership occupying the presidency.

According to the regime’s Cuban News Agency (ACN), 371 Cubans living abroad are participating in the event at the Palacion de las Convenciones (conference center), where "economic development and investment possibilities" will be addressed this Sunday. These issues are included in non-public discussions, which have been grouped into four thematic panels.

The conference's other three panels feature perspectives on the country's relationship with its emigrants, their communications with the country, and culture as an identity.

"This occurs in the midst of a transformative and revolutionary process in our economy, aimed at updating the socialist system, making it more efficient and adapting it to the current realities of the country and the world," Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla stated at the inauguration on Saturday.

In the initial session, chaired by President Miguel Díaz-Canel, described by the official press as a "patriotic debate," some of the participants echoed the government's propaganda and blamed the US economic embargo for their inability to "establish ties with the country and contribute to its development."

Most of the conference participants come from the United States, followed by Spain, Mexico, Panama, France, Italy and many other "latitudes." In reality, most of the attendees whose identities were revealed are people linked to pro-Castro groups abroad. 

"In patriotic Cubans living abroad, the nation grows, is enriched, manifests itself, and presents itself proudly to the world, more and more broadly, wherever there is a Cuban who carries in his soul the feeling of the homeland," Rodriguez Parrilla said.

At the end of his speech the minister made it clear that Cuba's "open arms" will not be opening for emigrants who oppose the regime, and quoted José Martí.

"It is Marti's formula of triumphant love, written in blood on the flag of the lone star. This is our faith. Then there are those traitors, as the Apostle called those who, with a spirit of submission, hate and destroy, neo-annexionists, who will not be among us," he said.

On his social networks Díaz-Canel wrote, with reference to the opening of the event: "It is with great pleasure that we inaugurate this Saturday the 4th Conferencia La Nación y la Emigración, #JuntosX inspired by the formula of triumphant love of which the Apostle spoke. Through respectful, sincere and necessary dialogue, with the Cuba of all, #LaPatriaCrece" (#TheHomelandGrows).

For decades thousands of Cubans have been barred from returning to their homeland because of their political ideas, analyst Emilio Morales recalled in an article published this Saturday in DIARIO DE CUBA.

Over the last 30 years, the community of Cuban exiles has been able to send to the island and put into the hands of Cubans what the Communist government has been unable to: over 52 billion dollars in cash, and another 50 billion in consumer goods, Morales said.

"Those making up the Cuban ‘diaspora’ have the potential to inject more than 20 billion dollars in a period of 24 to 36 months if the country transitions to a democracy with the rule of law and a free market. And that's not just Cuban-born multimillionaires, but rather the hundreds of thousands who could invest part of their savings or take out lines of credit to build businesses with their families in the country where they were born, " he said.

He opined that, "however, to take advantage of this potential it is necessary to throw off the Communist yoke. The generous charity of Cuban exiles and their desire to rebuild the country will not be subordinated to a regime that has violated the civil rights of Cubans for more than six decades. For this to happen the Communist regime has to disappear. There is no possible option with them in power. The rule of law, free enterprise and a separation of powers is needed to protect and empower citizens before Cuban exiles can rebuild the country."

According to the author, "the call put out by the Cuban regime to organize the "Nation and Emigration" event is nothing more than a political smokescreen that will serve no purpose. It is a stage to receive obsequious collaborators, agents of influence, opportunists and useful fools who lend themselves to be media enablers, generating a lot of buzz and no change; much ado about nothing."

"In this final hour, in which the system is crumpling on its own, they're aspiring to entice expatriates whose rights have been wrested from them, without even asking for forgiveness for the acts of barbarism committed in the past, and still committed in the present. Its desperate search for support from those exiles shows the fragility of the Cuban regime in its final stage," he said.

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