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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.

___________

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.
23-10-2014The NY Times is wrong about the Cuba embargo again. By Silvio Canto, JR.
23-10-2014Implications of Ending the Cuban Embargo. By Jaime Suchlicki.
21-10-2014Misguided Opinions. By Fernando Dámaso.
21-10-2014Cuba should not be rewarded for denying freedom to its people. Washington Post Editorial.
20-10-2014Full Disclosure on Columbia's Cuba Conference. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
19-10-2014The unrealistic dreams of a US comeback to Cuba. By Eva Belfrage.
17-10-2014Venezuela's Spectacular Underperformance. By Carmen Reinhardt and Kenneth Rogoff.
16-10-2014Of Jails In Cuba. By Ivan García.
15-10-2014The Castros Are Responsible for Cuba's Failures, Not the U.S. By Jorge Benitez. NYT.
14-10-2014The Policy of Death in Venezuela. By TalCual. LAHT.
13-10-2014Cuba: Education, Bureaucracy and Society. By Ariel Glaria.
13-10-2014New York Times and the ghost of Herbert Matthew. Editorial of The New York Sun.
12-10-2014Contradictions, Misrepresentations and Omissions: The New York Times Latest Cuba Editorial. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
10-10-2014New Customs Restrictions in Havana: Another Turn of The Screw. By Jeovany Jimenez Vega.
10-10-2014IACHR asks Cuba to guarantee jailed writer Ángel Santiesteban's safety and Reporters without Borders reiterate their request for his immediate release.
09-10-2014Sharp Rise in Cuban Migration Stirs Worries of a Mass Exodus. By Frances Robles.
08-10-2014Fraternal Relations: Cuba and Russia. By Jay Nordlinger.
07-10-2014No Time for Sadness in an Exhausted Cuba. By Carlos Cabrera Pérez.
07-10-2014Red Gold: A Quixotic Quest to Find Beef in Cuba. By Adam Leith Gollner.
06-10-2014Cuban migrants drank own blood, urine, adrift at sea for 23 Days. Reuters.
06-10-2014Is Panama's President Being Coerced by Cuba's Regime? Capitol Hill Cubans.
01-10-2014Racism Among Us. By Mario Hechevarria Driggs. Cubalog.eu.
01-10-2014Risky business in Cuba. By Peter Foster.
29-09-2014Maduro and the Disaster. By Miriam Celaya.
27-09-2014A Communal State Moves Forward in Venezuela. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
25-09-2014Dengue: A State Secret. By Gladys Linares.
24-09-2014Island in the Storm. By Yoani Sanchez.
23-09-2014Does Being Able to Pay with Either Currency Resolve the Problem? by Yoani Sanchez.
22-09-2014Misreporting (and Deceiving) on Cubas Private Restaurants. Capitol Hill Cubans.
21-09-2014Black, What for? FREEDOM FOR SONIA Y RAMÓN ALEJANDRO…!!! By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
21-09-2014Venezuela doesnt deserve a seat on the U.N Security Council. Washington Post Editorial.
20-09-2014The Lessons of Lope de Vega. By Yoani Sanchez.
20-09-2014Venezuela: Probably the World's worst managed economy. The price of the revolution's survival seems to be the slow death of Venezuela. The Economist.
18-09-2014The Venezuelan Government's Tactic of Evading the Issue. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
18-09-2014As migrants flee eastern Cuba, a town mourns those lost at sea. Reuters.
17-09-2014Miami Airport: The New Haven for Cuban Migrants. By Wilfredo Cancio Isla.
17-09-2014Raising risk of default in Venezuela. Standard and Poor's Rating Services cuts Venezuela's foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings. LAHT.
15-09-2014Rebuilding Cubans as Individuals. By Alejandro Armengol.
15-09-2014Solidarity or Propaganda? By Fernando Damaso.
15-09-2014Absurdities of the Week. By Fernando Damaso.




 
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RESUMEN EN ESPAÑOL DE LA ENTREVISTA HECHA A GUILLERMO MILÁN POR EL PERIÓDICO SUECO " TIDNINGEN ÅNGERMANLAND"
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