The Cuban Conflict Observatory (OCC) has received this letter from the Latin American Federation of Rural Women, Cuba chapter, with a request that we contribute to its distribution. The OCC invites readers to share this statement on social media.

In Cuba, with a brave online speech, young mother Amelia Calzadilla has not only shaken the feelings of urban families, but also of rural ones.

While starvation spreads among the population, our countryside sinks into misery and unproductiveness, to which it has been condemned by Government economic policies. The State has neglected the basic needs of citizens –food, health, electricity, transportation, education– dedicating instead the scarce available resources to building luxury hotels that remain empty as the most basic needs of subsistence remain uncovered. As Cuban economists have shown, the cost of building a hotel room would suffice to purchase 10 tractors to till the vast idle lands. But those who might put the country in a different track continue to show more interest in crushing all private initiatives than in solving the population’s hardships. Both in farmlands and cities the ideas and projects of the common citizen are suffocated.

In March 2020, Cuban peasant ladies associated with the Latin American Federation of Rural Women (FLAMUR) along with the League of Independent Farmers of Cuba, released a letter that we entitled “There is no Country without the Countryside”. We presented in it a five-point program to avoid the famine that was coming then and is knocking today on the doors of Cuban families:

1- Freedom to produce and distribute our products.

2- Freedom to set the prices of our products according to the market.

3- Freedom to import and export directly, even from the United States, where it is a fact that its laws do not prevent it, due to our nature of independent farmers.

4- Eliminate for ten years all taxes on food producers and processors.

5- Hand over permanent property deeds of the land to all agricultural producers.

The League of Independent Farmers and FLAMUR concluded the document with this call: “Let’s avoid a famine! Lift the internal blockade on free agricultural production!”

What was the Government answer? None. It ignored us and announced a 63-measure plan –managed by the State– to provide a solution to food security. As expected, famine and scarcity are part today of the reality Amelia denounced. They do not want to grant economic freedoms, nor legalize property deeds to all those who privately and independently supply goods and services, whether in the cities or the countryside. They want a “private sector” under their control and without real autonomy.

Theirs is a selfish and annexationist mentality. Right now, they are not bound to empower citizen entrepreneurs but to deceive the Biden administration’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), in charge of managing economic sanctions to other countries. They are disguising as independent private companies the businesses of their relatives and unconditional ones. Thus they expect that these are the ones who benefit from the US regulation that exempts from economic sanctions those Cuban businesses that are really private and independent, which theirs are not.

We reiterate our demand that the five points that as peasant women we presented to the government 2 years ago, to guarantee food for the population, be accepted. We do so inspired by the dignity and courage with which Amelia –surrounded by an enormous police deployment worthy of a dangerous terrorist– attended the “interview” with officials bound on inducing her to repent.

Inquisition is alive in Cuba, yes, but beware, also is the Cuban people’s restlessness. The fight goes on!