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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.

___________

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.
13-09-2014Twenty years after Cuban raft exodus, they keep coming. By David Adams.
13-09-2014Obama's Cuba Problem. By José R. Cárdenas.
12-09-2014Castro Versus Castro. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
09-09-2014Accessories and Sandwiches. By Regina Coyula.
09-09-2014All Exiles Are Possible. By Luis Felipe Rojas.
09-09-2014Why Cuba's Intelligence Targets American Universities. By William Tucker.
04-09-2014Cuban Spy Case Still a Mystery. By Miguel Fernández Diaz.
04-09-2014Brazil extends contracts for 11,500 Cuban doctors, which will help to mitigate the scaling-back of the sale of professional services to Venezuela. The Economist.
04-09-2014The Problem With Regurgitating Castro's "Statistics". By Capitol Hill Cubans.
03-09-2014Fidel and Raul, My Brothers. Juanita, the Rebel Sister. By Francis Sanchez.
03-09-2014The First Independent Newspaper in Cuba. By Tania Diaz Castro.
03-09-2014Venezuela's ravaged economy. The damage wrought by President Nicolás Maduro is so great that there will be no recovery without broad social consensus including from the opposition. El País Editorial.
03-09-2014Who is Filling the University Classrooms? By Yoani Sanchez.
02-09-2014Young Cuban rafter who played Star-Spangled Banner on boat is now a mom and teacher in Hialeah. By Nora Gámez Torres.
02-09-2014Market-style reforms widen racial divide in Cuba. Reuters.
01-09-2014A Continued Coup against Venezuela's Regional Powers. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
01-09-2014Measuring Misery around the World. Venezuela holds the ignominious top spot. By Stev H. Hanke. Cato Institute.
31-08-2014To Rigola I Shall Not Return. By Rebeca Monzo.
31-08-2014Catholic archbishop in Cuba, the Apostolic nuncio, criticizes government. By Nora Gamoz Torres.
28-08-2014The Transition That is About Not to Come. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
28-08-2014The EU is engaged in a discussion that will yield no change in human rights conditions on the island. The U.S. would be wise not to follow the EUs lead. By Joel Brito.
27-08-2014A Thief Who Steals from a Thief. By Miriam Celaya.
26-08-2014Official Press: Triumphalism, Blacklisting and Censorship. By Yoani Sanchez.
24-08-2014Where is Ángel Santiesteban? A political prisoner cannot just disappear. CDV.org demands proof that he is alive and well. By Eva Belfrage.
23-08-2014Venezuelan Government Goes for More Censorship, Barbarism. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
23-08-2014Unexpected Happiness in Venezuela. By Caridad. HT.
22-08-2014Historical Lessons from Engaging Totalitarians: Tourism. Normally, travel broadens the mind but what about visiting a totalitarian state? By Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
22-08-2014Cuba struggles to attract investors despite reforms. By Marc Frank.
22-08-2014Venezuela's shipments of crude oil and fuel to its allies have fallen to a five-year low as a weak economy hits its ability to uphold accords. Shipments to Cuba and Nicaragua, however have held strong. By Marianna Parraga and Brian Ellsworth.
21-08-2014VenEconomy: ... And Everything Will Remain the Same in Venezuela. LAHT.
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.




 
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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".
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