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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.

___________

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. 
17-06-2015Self-Employed in Cuba? Good Luck with That. By Nelson Rodríguez Chartrand.
15-06-2015Cuba After the Castros - The Likely Scenario: The armed forces control 70% of the economy now. It's not likely they'll give that up for a free market. By José Azel. WSJ.
15-06-2015Obama Negotiates U.S.-Venezuela Relations With Drug Kingpin Diosdado Cabello. Capitol Hill Cubans.
14-06-2015Maduro's Regime Starts off June on a Bad Note. Reports everywhere have shown it has not fared well in any area of performance. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
14-06-2015An Appalling Indictment of Castro. By Brian Latell. MH. 
13-06-2015From Villa Marista They Threaten to Delay Angel Santiestebans Release. By Lilianne Ruiz.
11-06-2015Progress made in Paris Club debt negotiations. However, one obstacle to a final agreement will be the issue of data on international reserves, which it regards as a state secret, and  data on the balance of payments. The Economist.
10-06-2015Rum, Risk and Ruin: 13 Reasons Why You Still Shouldn't Do Business in Cuba. By Santiago A. Cueto, International Business Law Advisor.
10-06-2015American tourists won't bring democracy to Cuba. By José Azel.
09-06-2015Decrepit Cuba. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
09-06-2015The Caravan Of Terror Expands Its Impunity. By Agustin López.
08-06-2015The Cuban Telenovela Presents? By Ángel Santiesteban from prison in Havana.
08-06-2015A Bad Week for Obama's Cuba Policy. Capitol Hill Cubans.
07-06-2015#TodosMarchamos, We All March, or Fear of Freedom. By Antonio Rodiles. Cubanet.
07-06-2015Seven final warnings about Obamas new Cuba policy. By Carlos Alberto Montaner.
06-06-2015When Barbarity Governs Venezuela. By VenEconomy. LAHT. + Video.
05-06-2015Dearest Obama. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo. 
05-06-2015For Sucelys, to Be Reborn Tomorrow. By Jeovany Jimenez Vega.
04-06-2015Cuba 2015: State security still murders fleeing refugees. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.  
03-06-2015The Government of Venezuela Cannot Escape International Scrutiny! VenEconomy. LAHT.
30-05-2015Cuba: Very big fuss over very small economy. By Andres Oppenheimer.
30-05-2015Cubas crackdown should make Obama think twice. The Washington Examiner Editorial.
28-05-2015State Inefficiency, Convenient Business. By Ernesto Pérez Chang. Cubanet.
28-05-2015The Cuban Market Mirage. By José Cardenas.
27-05-2015Castro 200, Obama 0: While Talks Continue, Beatings Continue. By Elliott Abrams.
26-05-2015Cuba: The Straight and Narrow Path of the Law. By J.J Nieves. HT.
26-05-2015Scandal Over Cuba-Bound Weapons Unfolds in Colombia. By Capitol Hill Cubans. 
24-05-2015The New Normal in Latin America. By Susan Kaufman Purcell. LAHT.
23-05-2015So Many Lists Having Nothing to Do With Obama. By Reinaldo Escobar. 14ymedio.
23-05-2015Cuba's Clandestine Press Thumb Their Noses at Street Censorship. Dissidents to Go Public with DVDs, Disks to Quench "Thirst for Information".
21-05-2015Cuban trans advocate: Government seeks to 'destroy us'. By Michael K. Lavers.





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

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