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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.

___________

20-08-2014Historical Lessons from Engaging Totalitarians. Business and High Technology. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
20-08-2014The Journalist Who Tells the Truth. By Alejandro Tur Valladares.
20-08-2014It's About the Entire Venezuela Healthcare System. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
19-08-2014Amidst Rumors and disinformation, Ángel Santiesteban Continues Missing.
19-08-2014Fulton Armstrong's Confession of being the AP source. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
17-08-2014The Associated Press Calls Us 'Mercenaries'. Por Manuel Cuesta Morua.
17-08-2014A revisit to the Cuban Balsero crisis and the people who found freedom in America. By Fabiola Santiago. With Miami Herald video.
17-08-2014Chavez friends get rich after his death as Venezuela slides into chaos. By Michael Smith and Anatoly Kurmanaev.
16-08-2014Temperamental Old Coots. By Anddy Sierra Alvarez. 
16-08-2014U.S. sees surge in rafters fleeing Cuba. By Christine Armario.
15-08-2014Cleaning Havana's "Malecon" Sea Wall 8/16.
15-08-2014Hold Cuba Accountable for Illegal Arms Trafficking. By Mauricio Claver-Carone. 
14-08-2014Cuban Dissidents: We Have Nothing to Celebrate on Castro's Birthday. LAHT/EFE.
14-08-2014Venezuela's Government Does not Notice the 'Log in its Own Eye'. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
14-08-2014Investment in Cuba? What for? By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, translated by Alberto de la Cruz in Babalú blog.
12-08-2014"A few years ago I met a foreign correspondent based in Cuba who related an absurd and revealing anecdote..." By Yoani Sanchez.
12-08-2014AP in Cuba: When misreporting news becomes the news. Associated Press in Cuba crossed the line on journalistic standards. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
11-08-2014What it Costs to Eat ! By Rebeca Monzo.
11-08-2014Record Number of Cubans Crossing the Mexican Border to USA: By Wilfredo Cancio Isla. HT.
11-08-2014A Terrorist Big Fish Gets Away. By Mary Anastasia O'Grady. WSJ.
10-08-2014Remembering Gustavo Arcos: Eight Years Later. The Cuban Revolutionary who broke with Fidel Castro and became a Human Rights Defender. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
09-08-2014China's Dagong Downgrades Venezuela to BB-. Escalating economic risks will threaten Venezuela's political stability, and the repayment environment tends to deteriorate. LAHT.
08-08-2014Rekindling old friendships. Cuba is once again resorting to geopolitics to support a failing economy. The Economist.
07-08-2014AP Gets Defensive on Cuba Programs, Contradicts Itself. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
06-08-2014The Maleconazo in a Can of Condensed Milk. By Yoani Sanchez.
06-08-2014Maleconazo at 20 years and the Associated Press. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
05-08-2014Overstatement. By Fernando Dámaso.
04-08-2014Maleconazo: A rumor of freedom that shook the Castro dictatorship. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
04-08-2014AP Should Next Investigate How to Regain Its Objectivity. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
02-08-2014Support religious freedom in Cuba. By Katrina Lantos Swett and May Ann Glendon.
01-08-2014Harvard University Professor Jorge Dominguez lets the cat out of the bag on Cuba. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
31-07-2014Cuban Dissident to Congressional Black Caucus: Stop Helping the Dictatorship. By Mike Gonzalez.
30-07-2014A morning at the Courthouse. By Rebeca Monzo.
30-07-2014Leopoldo Lopez and Angel Santiesteban: Two Lives and One Destiny. By the Editor of Santiesteban's blog.
27-07-2014A Hilarious Conclusion. By Fernando Dámaso.
26-07-2014Completely dismantled, the farce against Angel Santiesteban continues in an unknown location.
22-07-2014Oswaldo Payás death in Cuba two years ago still awaits a proper investigation. Washington Post Editorial.
22-07-2014The Battered Press. By Fernando Dámaso.
21-07-2014Leopoldo Lopez's jailing is a symptom of a sick Venezuela. By Lilian Tintori. WP.
20-07-2014Oswaldo's and Harold's Nonviolent Legacy in Cuba: Demonstrating Love is Stronger than Hate. By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
20-07-2014Russia-Cuba love affair on again. By Juan O. Tamayo.
19-07-2014The New Robin Hoods. By Ángel Santiesteban.
14-07-2014Man accuses Cuban agents of insidious, 'psychological' intimidation. By Juan O. Tamayo.
13-07-2014Twenty years of impunity in the July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre. By John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.  
12-07-2014The Massacre in Canimar River: 34th Anniversary. By Enrisco.
12-07-2014The Tribal Unity of the Dissenters. By Ángel Santiesteban. 
11-07-2014What fate awaits Cubans if Cuba and the U.S. normalize relations? By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
08-07-2014Ghost of Hugo Chávez stalks Spain. By Carlos Alberto Montaner.
08-07-2014I Would Not Accept Trading My Freedom For That of the Spies. By Ángel Santiesteban.
07-07-2014Response to my Blog Readers. By Ángel Santiesteban.




 
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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