CUBAN-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF CIVIL ENGINEERS

POSITION STATEMENT ON THE RESUMPTION OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH CUBA

We as Cuban American Civil Engineers, both by heritage and training, understand that improved quality of life for the Cuban people must be based on a strong foundation of civil liberties, impartial judiciary overseeing of the rule of law and respect for human rights. We are firm believers in the right of the Cuban people to determine their own destiny in a democratic environment within the above framework.

Fidel Castro took power in Cuba on January 1, 1959. As a result of Castro’s takeover, millions of Cuban families where shattered when they lost their homes, businesses, livelihoods, dreams and homeland. The lucky ones left Cuba and resettled in the United States and in other parts of the world. Those who left Cuba worked very hard and suffered as they struggled to re-establish their lives, put meals on their tables and educate their children. Those who stayed behind suffered even more. They experienced the total decay and destruction of a thriving country and economy, lived through nearly six decades of deprivation and lacked the most basic needs of human beings, and completely lost their individual freedom. Many Cubans suffered the loss of family members and friends who were imprisoned, tortured and executed by the Communist regime.

The history of Cuba post Castro is well known and documented, so we will not attempt to re-write it. The Cuban people have been living under the Castro dictatorship for six decades! Fidel Castro is the longest reigning dictator the world has known, and combined with that of his brother (5 years as of 2016), they have been in power for 58 years and counting! What the Castro brothers have done to the island nation and its people is unbelievable and unforgivable; however, for the majority, living under totalitarian communism is all they know, their entire lives praising the success of “la revolución.” Few Cuban citizens still believe in “la revolución” but most do not. As difficult as it is, we must realize and accept that change will come when the Cuban people determine to claim their rights and demand the necessary changes. The Castro regime prefers to have people living in privation and misery than change their core beliefs or allow any democratic process. As outsiders, the US government and the Cuban exiles will not bring change to Cuba by force. It has to be demanded on to the government by its own people unless it does so willingly. Fidel, Raul, and their close allies in power will not “give in” to what is contrary to their own interests disguised as “revolutionary principles.”

Some points to consider:

  • The current Cuban government is the same one that was established in 1959. There have been no free elections since then and none are planned.
  • The Castro government today is the same one that has ruled with an iron fist for decades. According to the Cuba Archive Project[1], the government is responsible for the confirmed death or disappearance of 7,062 Cubans as of December 31, 2014.
  • Cuban dissidents are constantly harassed and jailed, just for protesting peacefully, and sometimes just to prevent them from attending gatherings. According to Luis Enrique Ferrer, local representative of UNPACU[2], in 2014, before the Obama administration changed the U.S. policy towards Cuba, arrests of dissidents were averaging approximately 200 per month. In 2015, arrests increased to approximately 500 per month. This year, they are averaging approximately 1,000 per month. So, instead of improving, the repression has increased, and become more violent. The pattern of repression has been corroborated by OMCT (Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura)[3]
  • The Castro totalitarian government controls all aspects of society and Cubans increasingly leave the island and escape abroad by the thousands each year seeking freedom and a better quality of life for their families.
  • All foreign trade with Cuba is controlled by the government.
  • Decades of trade between Cuba and market economies in Europe, Canada and Latin America have produced no improvements for the people in the island.
  • The Cuban government still owes US companies an estimated $1.8 Billion in confiscated property. That property is valued at $7 Billion today.
  • Cuba has provided sanctuary for terrorists from other nations and harbored American fugitives and provides sanctuary for terrorists. Convicted murderer JoAnne Chesimard is among the 90 or more criminals who fled America and received political asylum in Cuba.

The Cuban-American Association of Civil Engineers is profoundly concerned over the continued deterioration of the island nation’s infrastructure and the direct and indirect impact this has had on the socio-economic, environmental, health and welfare of the Cuban people. It is the desire of the C-AACE to establish a non-commercial humanitarian relationship with our fellow Cuban engineering, architecture and construction professionals as goodwill ambassadors for the crucial purpose of providing technological assistance in the assessment, restoration and redevelopment of our heritage homeland.

We as a professional society of Civil Engineers are supportive of activities that lay the groundwork for an improved quality of life for the people in Cuba.  We encourage like-minded professionals to endorse and support the following:

  1. Participation in the annual Cuba Infrastructure Scholarship Competition[4] for college level students that encourages the study of infrastructure in Cuba under a free enterprise environment.
  2. Full WIFI capabilities for worldwide information access throughout the island of Cuba to all citizens without censorship or limitations.
  3. Formal creation and expansion of a database in a Center of Excellence for Cuba Infrastructure.
  4. Courtesy “affiliate” membership for Civil Engineer colleagues in Cuba to C-AACE.
  5. Support for civil society citizen’s initiatives that promote democracy in Cuba such as Proyecto Varela[5], Emilia[6], Cuba Decide[7], or similar endeavors.
  6. Encourage the creation of non-governmental professional organizations by civil society in Cuba with similar goals and objectives as C-AACE.[8]
  7. Direct competitive and fair compensation to Cuban professional engineers for services provided.
  8. Support the declaration of May 12, 2016 by former Latin American Presidents and heads of states in support of a plebiscite in Cuba.[9]
  9. Support the fundamental principles and Agreements established during the Segundo Encuentro Nacional Cubano held in Puerto Rico and dated August 14, 2016.[10]

The Cuban American Association of Civil Engineers (C-AACE) is a not-for-profit organization originally established in Miami, Florida on March 4, 1961, as the “Association of Cuban Civil Engineers in Exile, Inc.”. In 2006, the name was changed to the Cuban-American Association of Civil Engineers, Inc.

[1] http://cubaarchive.org/home/

[2] http://www.unpacu.org/

[3] http://www.omct.org/es/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/cuba/2016/08/d23916/

[4] https://www.facebook.com/Cuba.Infrastructure.Scholarship.Competition/

[5] www.icdcprague.org and http://www.oswaldopaya.org/es/up/VARELA%20PROJECT.pdf

[6] www.theemiliaproject.com

[7] www.cubadecide.org

[8] http://c-aace.org/about-us/

[9] https://www.concordia.net/programming/concordia-the-americas/

[10] http://www.cubanosunidosdepuertorico.com/encuentro-nacional-cubano and http://www.martinoticias.com/a/acuerdo-ii-encuentro-nacional-  puerto-rico/128007.html

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