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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.

___________

15-04-2014Eleven Years Since the Baraguá. By Lilianne Ruiz.
15-04-2014"I Only Know That I Am Afraid". By Tania Diez Castro.
15-04-2014Driving in Reverse. By Miriam Celaya.  
14-04-2014Venezuelas Agony: Weak President, Strong Generals, Riots and Cocaine.
13-04-2014Cat-and-mouse secrecy game plays out daily in Cuba. By Juan O. Tamayo.
11-04-2014Democracy in the Times of the Energy Crisis. By Erasmo Calzadilla.
10-04-2014Dialogue is the Last Chance for Venezuela, Washington Commentators Say (VIDEO).
09-04-2014Dad, I Want to Go to La Yuma. By Victor Ariel Gonzalez.
09-04-2014A Dictatorship Exactly Like the Cuban? By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
08-04-2014The Voices of Cubans? by Miriam Celaya.
07-04-2014A cold case with connections to Cuba? By Juan O. Tamayo.
07-04-2014Venezuela: The bottom has a basement. By Ambar de la Croux.
06-04-2014The Difficult Task of Eating Lunch and Dinner. By Leon Padron Azcuy.
06-04-2014Venezuelans wary that food ID cards are thin end of rationing wedge. By Virginia López. The Guardian.
06-04-2014Caracas chaos: Venezuelan general on the run. By Philip Sherwell. The Telegraph.
05-04-2014Is Venezuela The New Arab Spring? Why The Movement Resembles Egypt More Than Brazil. By Patricia Rey Mallén.
05-04-2014Freeing Cuba One Tweet at a Time. Bloomberg Editors.
03-04-2014The Castro Regime Kills and Doesn't Lie. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
03-04-2014In Cuba Policy Debate, Theories Don't Cut It. By Mauricio Claver-Carone.
02-04-2014Venezuela's byzantine exchange-rate system: A fistful of dollars, or perhaps not. By The Economist.
02-04-2014Maduro's Paramilitary Groups. By TalCual. LAHT.
01-04-2014Angel Santiesteban reveals the behaviour against him of an Associated Press correspondent, who in Cuba is ill reputed for manipulating the news in favor of the dictatorship.
31-03-2014Cuba's past raises skepticism about new foreign investment law. By Daniel Trotta and Marc Frank.
31-03-2014Armed pro-govt militias roil Venezuela protests. By Fabiola Sanchez and Frank Bajak.
30-03-2014Use and Abuse of the Lab Coat. By Fernando Damaso.
29-03-2014Cuba and the Dominican Republic on very different paths. By Roland Alum.
28-03-2014Carromero's Last Days: By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
28-03-2014Cuba Seeks Investors with an Old Publicity Strategy. By Juan Juan Almeida.
27-03-2014Venezuela's Failing State. By Leopoldo López.
27-03-2014Russia pivots toward Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua. By Ilan Berman.
27-03-2014Testimony of Mauricio Claver-Carone before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives. Capitol Hill Cubans.
26-03-2014Repression with a Brazilian scent. By Gustavo Hernandez Acevedo.
24-03-2014My incarceration is not enough for the dictatorship. By Ángel Santiesteban-Prats.
24-03-2014With Venezuela in a tailspin, growing number of Jews opting for Plan B. By Uriel Heilman.
24-03-2014With or Without the Organization of American States (OAS). By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
23-03-2014A Lightning Bolt That Keeps Shining in the Darkness. By TalCual. LAHT. (VIDEO)
22-03-2014Venezuela's unending tale of murder and sorrow. By Oakland Ross.
22-03-2014Russian Missiles Positioned In Caracas Are Ominous Sign Repression Will Worsen. By Joseph Humire.
22-03-2014Inside the barrios. Support among the poor for the government of Nicolás Maduro is conditional. By The Economist.
20-03-2014The Dirty Business Between Soldiers and Prisoners. By Dania Virgen García.
20-03-2014Venezuelan student protesters seek to woo poor. By Frank Bajak.
19-03-2014The Dictatorship's gift. By Ángel Santiesteban-Prats.
18-03-2014Communism Becomes More Evident in Venezuela. By VenEconomy/LAHT.
18-03-2014In a recent national survey it was made clear by a vast majority of Venezuelans that the political model prevailing in Venezuela is a dictatorship. By VenEconomy/LAHT.
18-03-2014Cuba is Venezuela's biggest loser. By Silvana Ordonez. CNBC.
18-03-2014Venezuela-Cuba Military Cooperation and the Narco-Terrorist Connection. By Pedro Roig.
17-03-2014The Cuban MININT: Lies, Death, Evil. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
17-03-2014When Freedom Becomes Agony. By Ángel Santiesteban.
16-03-2014Cuba prepares for Venezuela disruptions. By Juan O. Tamayo.
16-03-2014Putin Looks to Cuba. By Miriam Celaya.





GUILLERMO MILAN REYES. EDITOR Y REDACTOR DE ESTA PÁGINA WEB: "CUBA DEMOCRACIA Y VIDA. ORG"
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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.
RESUMEN EN ESPAÑOL DE LA ENTREVISTA HECHA A GUILLERMO MILÁN POR EL PERIÓDICO SUECO " TIDNINGEN ÅNGERMANLAND"
GUILLERMO MILAN REYES. EDITOR Y REDACTOR DE ESTA PÁGINA WEB: "CUBA DEMOCRACIA Y VIDA. ORG"
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