Friday, October 26, 2012

Cuban Dissident Eloy Gutierrez-Menoyo Dies

Cuban revolutionary turned opposition activist Eloy Gutierrez-Menoyo died on Friday at the age of 77 in a Havana hospital.
"Cuba cannot continue to corner itself, trying to convince the world that there is democracy here when a one-party system will never be a democracy," said the Spanish-born Gutierrez-Menoyo to BBC News after he grew disappointed with the Castro regime.

Though he fought as a rebel against then-dictator Fulgencio Batista, Gutierrez-Menoyo led a failed uprising five years after the 1959 Cuban Revolution.  This would lead to his imprisonment for 22 years before being freed by request of the government of Spain.     

While exiled in south Florida, Gutierrez-Menoyo subsequently created the "Cambio Cubano" movement aimed at promoting change in Cuba via dialogue.  Numerous Cuban exile community leaders interviewed by EFE praised Gutierrez-Menoyo's convictions yet disagreed with his methods:

(...) Tomás Rodríguez, of Agenda Cuba, praised the role of Gutierrez-Menoyo as an "important figure" in the struggle for Cuban freedom.

In Rodríguez' judgment, Menoyo's fight in prison was admirable and an inspiration to many opposition activists and exile groups.  But after he was freed, exiled and returned to the island he "distanced himself mentally from the reality in Cuba" and "tried to move forward with a senseless project."

The following video is a Spanish-language interview of Gutierrez-Menoyo from 2011.  In it, he explained why he felt like he was in a "sandwich" due to his "centrist" viewpoints and how the Venezuelan government's support of the Castro regime is a "false internationalism" compared to the aid previously provided to Cuba by the defunct Soviet Union:

We'll be back on Monday in order to report on several news stories from around the Americas and also to post a new poll.

Online Sources - BBC News,

Video Source - YouTube via user informarn

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