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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.

___________

08-02-2016Heritage/WSJ Index: Cuba Remains Worlds Second Least-Free Economy (After North Korea). Capitol Hill Cubans. 
07-02-2016The increase of tourism in Cuba creates problems of supplies of food and bottled water and general problems of service at airports and hotels. By Zunilda Mata. 14ymedio.
06-02-2016Facts Prove Obama's Cuba Policy Counter-Productive. By Mauricio Claver-Carone.
02-02-2016Cuba, Burma and Obama. By Antonio Rodiles. 
02-02-2016Hollande And Castro: Plenty of Wine But No Democracy. By Yoani Sanchez. 14ymedio.
01-02-2016Failure in Cuba. The Washington Post - Editorial.
29-01-2016Venezuelans Hit Hard by another Crisis. By VenEconomy. LAHT. 
29-01-2016The New Cuban Missile Crisis Mystery Deepens. By Shoshana Bryen and Dr. Stephen Bryen.
29-01-201657 years of the House of Castro. By Cuba Archive.
28-01-2016The economic future of Cuba looks bleak. America is preparing for a wave of Cuban refugees. By Jacob Gelt Dekker.
27-01-2016Statements by Capitol Hill Cubans, Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio on Latest Round of Obama's Cuba Regulatory Changes. Capitol Hill Cubans. 
27-01-2016The Invisible Struggle of Cuba's Largest Opposition Group. By Haroldo Dilla Alfonso. (+ CDV.org note)
26-01-2016Venezuela's Economic, Social Indicators Speak for Themselves. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
26-01-2016El Nino and the Old Man. By Rebeca Monzo.
25-01-2016A Calamity Called Evo. By Carlos Alberto Montaner. 14ymedio.
25-01-2016Cuba's Democrats Need U.S. Support. By Mary Anastasia O'Grady.
24-01-2016Time is Running Out for Venezuela. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
23-01-2016Cuba's Dangerous Crusade against Intermediaries. By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez. HT. 
22-01-2016Without Free Speech, Cuba Remains Trapped in Totalitarian Unanimity. A Simple Compromise Can Satisfy All Sides of the Embargo Debate. By José Azel.
22-01-2016The Fall of Ortega's Central American Wall. By Carlos F. Chamorro. HT. 
20-01-2016Jovellanos, a Cuban Town in the Matanza Province That Lives on Nostalgia. By Pedro Acosta.
20-01-2016The president of the National Assembly Ramos Alllup revealed lies and told truths to Nicolas Maduro, who presented an Economic Emergency Decree for consideration by the Assembly. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
19-01-2016Land Leases, a 'Half-ownership'. By Juan Carlos Fernandez. 14ymedio. 
19-01-2016Friday of Surprises for Venezuela. By VenEconomy. LAHT.  
17-01-2016Human Rights in Cuba: Nothing Has Changed. By Jeovany Jimenez Vega.
17-01-2016Obama Should Promote, Defend Democracy in Latin America. By Ambassadors Lino Gutierrez and Robert Callahan.  
16-01-2016Report: Cuban Army Gets Lions Share of Foreign Investment. By Sabrina Martín.
15-01-2016Naming the Wounds. By Wendy Guerra.
15-01-2016Rising prices and sudden shortages - an 'inexplicable' problem. By Reinaldo Escobar. 14ymedio.
14-01-2016 Who will succeed Raul Castro? By Roberto Alvarez Quinones. DDC.
14-01-2016Unnecessary Portraits. By Fernando Dámaso.
13-01-2016Cubas War on Christianity: Evangelical Church Demolished Overnight. By Frances Martel.
12-01-2016Higher education in Cuba: A Vision (Part 1). By Rolby Milian. Somos+.
12-01-2016North Korea's Cuban Friends. By Anastasia O'Grady.
10-01-2016The Day the Prisoners Are Freed in Venezuela. By Carlos Alberto Montaner.  
07-01-2016Closed Game. By Fernando Dámaso.
07-01-2016A Glance at Cuba in 2015. By Iván García.
06-01-2016In Venezuela They Blinked. By Beatrice E. Rangel. LAHT.
06-01-2016The Cuban Nation And The Cuba Of The Castro Brothers. By Jorge Hernandez Fonseca. 14ymedio.
06-01-2016Against the Changes. By Fernando Dámaso.  
04-01-2016Abuse In Cubas Valle Grande Prison. By Manuel Morejon. 14ymedio. (+ video by UNPACU)
04-01-2016The EU must not betray Cuba. By Rosa Maria Payá.
03-01-2016Cuba And The Three Questions. By Carlos Alberto Montaner.
01-01-2016Beans, ah, the beans! By Yoani Sanchez. 14ymedio.
30-12-2015In Diapers. By Manuel Pereira.
30-12-2015Cubas CDR Committees: Bringing Back the Dead. By Irina Echarry. HT.
28-12-2015Who Cares About Vladimir Morera Bacallao? By Capitol Hill Cubans.
27-12-2015Cuba's Energy Revolution is in a Tailspin. By Luz Escobar.
26-12-2015Inefficiency, Not Drought, Is the Cause of Cuba’s Water Shortages. By Pilar Montes. HT.  
26-12-2015To Leave or Not to Leave Cuba. By Veronica Vega.





GUILLERMO MILAN REYES. Representante de La Unión Patriótica de Cuba (UNPACU) en Suecia. EDITOR Y REDACTOR DE: "CUBA DEMOCRACIA Y VIDA. ORG"
Eva Belfrage: Representante de la Unión Patriótica de Cuba (UNPACU) en Suecia. Editor and collaborator for the English/Swedish page of “Cuba Democracia y Vida”


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SER CAMPESINO EN UN PAÍS LIBRE. ENTREVISTA AL SEÑOR ALF HOLMSTEN. Por: Guillermo Milán Reyes. Editor y redactor de "Cuba Democracia y Vida".

Entrevistas realizadas a Guillermo Milán Reyes, editor y redactor de esta página Web "Cuba Democracia Y Vida, por varios periodistas de importantes periódicos en Maputo-Mozambique, a mediados del 2004.


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