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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.

___________

28-07-2015Lower profile but thorny dialogues with the Venezuelan government and FARC, who appear to regard the Obama administration as a potential source of easy favors. Washington Post Editorial.
26-07-2015As Odebrechts Corruption Probe Widens, So Should Some Politicians Shame. Capitol Hill Cubans.
26-07-2015Writing about the Cowards. By Reinaldo Escobar.
25-07-2015Fake change in Cuba: totalitarian regime maintains travel Controls. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
24-07-2015It's Time for Plowing in Venezuela. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
23-07-2015Slain Dissidents Daughter Demands Answers. By Travis LaCouter.
23-07-2015Payá Was An Example Of Dedication And Persistence. 14ymedio. 
21-07-2015U.S. diplomats in Cuba would do well to focus on human rights. Washington Post Editorial.
21-07-2015Exiles Fear Impact of U.S.-Cuba Normalization on Benefits for Cuban Migrants. U.S. Could Deport 35,000 Cubans to the Island. LAHT/EFE.
20-07-2015The high price of diplomatic relations with the Castro regime. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
20-07-2015Obama rewarding oppression in Cuba. By Marion Smith. Video CNN: US set to open embassy in Havana after 54 years.
19-07-2015Winds from the North. By VenEconomy. LAHT. 
18-07-2015Parliamentary Smugness in Cuba 2015. By Rogelio Manuel Diaz Moreno. HT.
18-07-2015Cuba Shuns Google, Exposes Anti-Sanctions Lobbyist's Lies. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
18-07-2015CUBA’S MEDICAL DRAIN. By Stephanie Panichelli-Batalla*.
09-07-2015About the Wave of Violence in Venezuela. By VenEconomy. LAHT. 
08-07-2015Cubans pay the price for Obama's 'engagement' with the Castros. By Jeff Jacoby.
08-07-2015Violence escalates in Cuba. Two violent assaults in Cuba and two radically different media responses. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
07-07-2015The Broody Serpents Egg. By Ángel Santiesteban from prison in Havana.
07-07-2015Stop Hiding Details of Cuba Embassy Deal. By Capitol Hill Cubans. 
06-07-2015An Urgent Call for Independent Journalism in Cuba. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
05-07-2015Cuba, the Pearl of the Caribbean. By Martín Guevara.  
05-07-2015Why Don't Things Work in Cuba? By Kaned Garrido. Somos más.
04-07-2015The party would be over for the regime with the designation of Venezuela as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. VenEconomy. LAHT.
04-07-2015Cuba's Problem Is Not the Embargo. Por José Azel.
03-07-2015The Lives Of Opposition Leaders Have Their Names On The Government's Blacklist. By Ángel Santiesteban from prison in Havana.
03-07-2015U.S. Never Asked Alan Gross About His Imprisonment in Cuba. By James Kirchick.
01-07-2015Despite Mr. Obama's 'engagement', Cuba continues its repression. Washington Post Editorial.
01-07-2015Cuban Professionals do Business Under the Table. By Ivan García.
01-07-2015I Plead to Human Rights Organizations on Behalf of the Slave Labor in Cuban Prisons. Ángel Santiesteban from prison in Havana.
30-06-2015Venezuela's MUD Must Keep a Watchful Eye on PSUV Primary Elections. By VenEconomy. LAHT. 
30-06-2015Profile of a Father. By Mario Lleonart.
29-06-2015Cuba: Catholic Church Bans Relatives of Political Prisoners from Mass. By Frances Martel.
27-06-2015Human Development in a Country without Freedom? The Castro regime has dedicated itself to sugarcoating the pill for organizations like the UN, UNESCO and UNICEF. By Jose Hugo Fernandez. Cubanet.
26-06-2015Some Remain More Equal than Others in New US-Cuba Policy. Democracy the First Victim of Champagne Diplomacy. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
26-06-2015Food and Venezuela: Let them eat Chavismo. FAO honours Venezuela for curbing hunger - which is actually getting worse. The Economist.
26-06-2015Domestic Tourism, the Faces of Deceit. By Ernesto Pérez Chang.
26-06-2015WSJ: When Helping the Cuban People Means Bankrolling the Castros. By Mauricio Claver-Carone.
24-06-2015Emigrating in the Third Age. By Yoani Sanchez. 14ymedio. 
24-06-2015Open Letter to the unjustly imprisoned graffiti artist 'El Sexto' from the unjustly imprisoned writer Ángel Santiesteban.
24-06-2015Venezuelas CNE Lucena Has Spoken… and So Has Maduro. By VenEconomy.
23-06-2015Why The Beatings? By Pastor Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso.
22-06-2015Will Venezuelas Maduro Provoke Major Crisis in a Bid to Regain Popular Support?
22-06-2015Cubans fear new diplomatic relations with US could change special rights as immigrants. By Jurriaan van Eerten.
22-06-2015Dancing With Another Dictatorship. By Mary Anastasia OGrady.
21-06-2015Professionals of 'Snitching'. By Camilo Ernesto Olivera. Cubanet.
21-06-2015Obama Admits Cuba Sponsors Terrorism, But... By Capitol Hill Cubans.
18-06-2015Che Guevara, the Commercial Fetish. By Hector Dario Reyes 14ymedio. 
18-06-2015Castro, Obama and a 'Thing Called Congress'. By amb Everett Ellis Briggs.  
17-06-2015Family Wounds. By Ángel Santiesteban from prison in Havana. 





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

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