Cuba Democracia y Vida

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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.

___________

29-03-2015The Stuff Being Swept under the Carpet of Socialist Venezuela. By VenEconomy. LAHT. 
28-03-2015From Havana to Tehran. By Jaime Suchlicki.
26-03-2015Cuba's Continuous Support for Terrorism. By Jaime Suchlicki. [This article has 1 Comment].
25-03-2015Crying Out for Wisdom in Venezuela. By VenEconomy. LAHT. 
25-03-2015They Donate Blood for Bread with Ham. By Pablo Gonzalez. Cubanet.
24-03-2015Who is behind the mirror? By Luz Escobar. 14ymedio. 
23-03-2015Cuba: Being Educated So As Not To Be Free. By Veronica Vega. HT. 
23-03-2015I told you so. By José Azel.
23-03-2015How Obama outmaneuvered hardliners and cut a Cuba deal. By Warren Strobel, Matt Spetalnick and David Adams.
23-03-2015Activists Warn Cuba's Human Rights Wane as US Ties Improve. PanAm Post.
22-03-2015Internet in Cuba, I'll believe it when I see it. By Jeovany Jimenez Vega.  
21-03-2015Cuban Artist Kcho's Internet Service is a Lie. By Isbel Díaz Torres. HT.
21-03-2015How Obama's Cuba Deal Is Strengthening Its Military. By James Bruno.
20-03-2015 Cautionary tale from Canadian businessman imprisoned in Cuba. By Jeff Gray.
20-03-2015Yes, Venezuela is a Security Threat. By Carlos Alberto Montaner. MH. 
19-03-2015An Academy for Civil Society. By Victor Ariel González.
19-03-2015Raúl Castro Plays Both Sides. By Miriam Celaya.
18-03-2015No Embargo, No Cry. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
17-03-2015Maduro's New Enabling Law is the True 'Frankenstein's Monster'. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
15-03-2015Venezuela may spoil Obama-Castro fiesta. By Andres Oppenheimer. 
13-03-2015Are Interference and Solidarity the Same? By Fernando Dámaso.
13-03-2015Its Early, But Obamas Venezuela-Cuba Gambit Might Just Work. IBD Editorial.
12-03-2015For Obama Administration, Castro is Part of the Solution, Not the Problem. By Rudy Mayor.
11-03-2015Take care of politics! By Pedro Campos. 14ymedio.
10-03-2015My message to Mr Conan O'Brien. By Alberto Gutiérrez Barbero.
10-03-2015Queens for a Night. By Rosa López. 14ymedio.
09-03-2015Christians still targets as Cuba talks with Obama. By Bob Unruh.
09-03-2015The Law of the Funnel. By Fernando Dámaso.
07-03-2015Efe Denies Reporting on a "Self-Coup" by Venezuela's Maduro. LAHT/EFE.
07-03-2015Cuba and the Scars of Fidelismo. By Veronica Vega. HT.
06-03-2015The Legacy of the 'Eternal Commander' Hugo Chávez. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
06-03-2015Manual for Trading with Cuban Businesses. By Juan Juan Almeida.
06-03-2015Conan O'Brien overlooks dark side of Cuba. By Humberto Fontova. MH.
05-03-2015Cuba's Continuous Support for Terrorism. By Dr Jaime Suchlicki.
04-03-2015CENSORSHIP WITHOUT CENSORING. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
04-03-2015Obama is Clearly Out-of-Touch With Cuba's Reality. Capitol Hill Cubans.
03-03-2015Involve the Cubans in the EU-Cuba-negotiation. By Antonio Rodiles and Erik Jennische.
02-03-2015Musings of a Blind Man (3). By Ángels Santiesteban from prison in Havana.
01-03-2015The Cuba Deal: How Raúl Castro Duped Obama. By Néstor T. Carbonell.
28-02-2015New Electoral Law: New Wine in Old Wineskins? By Miriam Celaya.
26-02-2015Venezuela Breaks Down in Tears. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
26-02-2015Are There Reasons to be Hopeful in Cuba? By Veronica Vega. HT.
25-02-2015Six Issues the U.S. Should Not Concede to Cuba During Normalization Talks. By Ana Quintana.
24-02-2015Venezuela and Cuba: Partners in repression. Washington Post Editorial.
23-02-2015Will 'Emperor' Maduro get New Clothes after All?  By VenEconomy. LAHT.
22-02-2015Courting the Castros. Washington Post editorial.
21-02-2015Maduro Does Not Know How to Govern. "I never thought I'd get to say this, but Venezuela is worse than Cuba." By Yoani Sánchez.
21-02-2015International SOS reports: Cuba is not the medical paradise advertised, but considered a high risk nation for visitors. By Noah Rothman.
21-02-2015Cuba's hidden tax on workers mocks socialist ideals. By Barry Wood.
20-02-2015Musings of a Blind Man (1) 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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