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How to achieve real political reform in Cuba. By Ray Walser.
  
18-05-2012

web/folder.asp?folderID=215

How to achieve real political reform in Cuba

BY RAY WALSER 

Miami Herald

May 18, 2012


 
What’s the best way to mark the fifth annual Cuba Solidarity Day? If we want to help the long-suffering people of Fidel Castro’s island “paradise,” the answer should be obvious: Shine a light on the repression and tyranny that makes daily life there such a grinding ordeal. Show unflinching support for dissidents and advocates of non-violent change on the island.

That’s what the George W. Bush administration did on the first Cuba Solidarity Day, May 20, 2008. Worldwide efforts focused on political prisoners and the demands for progress and democratic change. That first Solidarity Day attempted to look below the decks of the Cuban ship, boring down to the unrest and unhappiness on the galley-level.

But there’s another school of thought on how best to mark this day — one that encourages “engagement” and leans more on diplomacy than accountability.

Today, thanks to the Obama administration, as well as left-leaning think tanks in Washington and New York, an effort is underway to steer an opposite course — one that moves, incredibly enough, closer to cooperation with the Castro regime. Tossed overboard are demands for human rights, freedom and dignity for Cubans. In their place: the siren song of tourism partnerships and exchanges of academics and musicians.

A fresh wave of Cubans is disembarking on and around May 20 to participate in Cuba’s latest charm offensive. The capstone visit for this round features Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Raul Castro and an activist for gay and lesbian rights, at the Latin American Studies Association in San Francisco. She will be received with acclaim as a voice of progressive tolerance on issues of individual sexual preference.

The objective of these latest Cuban visitors — salaried employees and privileged members of the regime — is to convince ordinary Americans that Cuba is already on a course to better days. We’re to believe that major economic change is underway, and that small portions of “democratic space,” as the Obama administration fondly refers to it, are being carved out.

The ultimate goal of spokespersons such as Mariela Castro is relatively simple: Win the coveted U.S. imprimatur of acceptance for Cuban-style, post-Castro socialism, and smooth the way for full diplomatic recognition. The eventual goal, of course, is to bring down the 1996 Helms-Burton Act and with it the trade embargo. That way, the fabled Castro Revolution may continue on a course of channeled change, with a succession of next-generation party apparatchiks, bureaucrats and military leaders fully in control in the wheelhouse.

Yet, as the Bush administration knew, and the Obama administration seems to forget, authentic change in Cuba requires far more than institutional tinkering and piecemeal economic reform or the creation of manufactured “democratic space.” It means taking these five fundamental steps toward authentic political reform:
• Recognition of the right to independent political parties to exist legally and operate freely.
• Free and fair elections.
• Genuine freedom of expression, including unfiltered access to the Internet.
• Freedom of association for civil society, private enterprise and organized labor.
• Genuine rule of law and human rights standards, which include the release of all remaining political prisoners.
Nothing more — and nothing less — will do.

The first step to real solidarity with the Cuban people is to correct an erroneous impression that the hired guns and apologists for the Castro regime who ride in first class cabins speak for all Cubans. Time for truth in advertising! They represent the Castro regime. They speak for the power elite in Havana. And they have clearly in view a succession scenario, or “soft landing,” for the post-Castro era.
On May 20, those interested in the future of U.S.-Cuba relations, and authentic liberty on the island, need to remember that the authentic voices of change are far more likely to be found below decks in Cuba’s permanent steerage class. Here you find the people barred from traveling. Here are the ones with limited access to the outside world. Here are the ones constantly harassed and threatened, left in jail and treated as enemies of the state.

It’s a difficult course to steer, but it’s the only one that will effect change. Solidarity with Cuba’s people begins below decks, not in luxury cabins with ocean views.

Ray Walser, a veteran Foreign Service officer, is a senior policy analyst specializing in Latin America at The Heritage Foundation.

___________

28-11-2014Cuban Health Care Workers' Motives: Idealism or Necessity? by Jeovany Jimenez Vega.
28-11-2014Silence Enables Violence Against Cuba's Dissidents. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
27-11-2014Situation in Venezuelan Prisons Worsens. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
25-11-2014A Thorn in the Side of the Venezuelan Dictatorship. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
24-11-2014Street vendors are the last card in a clandestine business deck whose purpose is pure survival. by Lilianne Ruiz.
24-11-2014Leaving Cuba: From Dreams to Reality. By Veronica Vega. HT.
24-11-2014The Iran-Cuba-Venezuela Nexus. By Mary Anastasia O'Grady. WSJ.
24-11-2014Where There's Smoke. By Fernando Damaso.
23-11-2014Fees for Americans a sore spot in Cuba travel. By Paul Guzzo.
22-11-2014Is Cuba Shilling for North Korea in the Congo? By Capitol Hill Cubans.
21-11-2014Cuba refuses to tear down its wall. By Maria C. Werlau. MH.
20-11-2014A New Anniversary, 495 years since the founding of Havana. By Fernando Dámaso.
20-11-2014New York Times wrong to lobby for lifting Cuba embargo. By Guillermo I. Martinez.
19-11-2014Raul Castro's Migratory Reform Falters. By Eliecer Ávila.
19-11-2014Who is really blockading us? By Jeovany Jimenez Vega.
19-11-2014Venezuela's 'Cartel of the Frogs'. Everybody has become a suspect in Venezuela today it has spread to the own ranks of the ruling party PSUV. By TalCual. LAHT.
18-11-2014Miguel Rodríguez Torres, Where Art Thou? By TalCual. LAHT.
18-11-2014Venezuela's Controversial External Debt. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
17-11-2014Are Czechs giving up on moral responsibility? By Carl Gershman. WP.
17-11-2014From the common position to common sense. By Martin Guevara.
17-11-2014The New York Times' Brain Drain (Contradiction) on Immigration. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
16-11-2014Create or die. By Carlos Alberto Montaner.
15-11-2014No Ceiling for the Exchange Rate in Venezuela? By VenEconomy. LAHT.
15-11-2014Maduro's Government is Alone, Weak and Without Resources. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
14-11-2014Cubas Juan Triana: Economist or State Official? By Erasmo Calzadilla. HT.
14-11-2014With No Embargo, What Would Castro Do? The Blindspot of Sympathizers and Free-Trade Dogmatists. By José Azel.
13-11-2014Why Cuba is More Recalcitrant Than North Korea. By Capitol Hill Cubans. 
13-11-2014Venezuela Naked at the UN. By TalCual. LAHT.
12-11-2014Why communism collapsed 25 years ago. By Carlos Alberto Montaner.
12-11-2014Speaking of Skin Colors in Cuba. By Warhol P. Havana Times.
12-11-2014Cuba's Retired Population Struggles With Economic Reforms. By David Strug.
12-11-2014The New York Times Cuban Adventures in Misinformation. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
10-11-2014Cubas Slave Trade in Doctors. By Mary Anastasia OGrady. WSJ.
09-11-2014The Totalitarian Temptation. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
09-11-2014Time for Cubans and Cuban Americans to stop being crabby. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
06-11-2014This Blind Cuban Dissident Tells the New York Times What They Have Wrong on Cuba. By Mike Gonzalez.
04-11-2014Remembering Missing Cuban Journalist on International Day to End Impunity. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
03-11-2014The New York Times Rests our Case. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
02-11-2014Sensitive Issues. By Ángel Santiesteban.
02-11-2014On normalizing relations with Cuba, freedom first. By George A. McNenney.
31-10-2014The Castro regime is using its doctors in fight for Ebola for political purposes - and at a hefty markup, critics say. Deutsche Welle.
30-10-2014Antonio Rodiles: We Must Accept Nothing Less Than Fundamental Freedoms.
30-10-2014Cuban Wave Arrives by Land. by Miriam Jordan and Arian Campo-Flores. WSJ.
29-10-2014Cuba as the End Times Approach. By Erasmo Calzadilla. HT.
28-10-2014An Unfamiliar Cuba in the "Era of Changes". By Miriam Celaya.
26-10-2014Venezuela's Criminal Gangs: Warriors of Cultural Revolution. By Maria Werlau.
26-10-2014Cuba hasn't earned embargo's end. Miami Herald Editorial.
26-10-2014Desperate and Shameless: The New York Times Latest Cuba Editorial. By Capitol Hill Cubans. 
25-10-2014Venezuela Pays for Expropriation Mistakes. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
24-10-2014Foreign Policy: Cuba Leads Diplomatic Offensive to Protect North Koreas Dictator.




 
GUILLERMO MILAN REYES. EDITOR Y REDACTOR DE ESTA PÁGINA WEB: "CUBA DEMOCRACIA Y VIDA. ORG"
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