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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.

___________

21-12-2014Despite Its Beauty, Cuba Isn't Quite Ready For Tourists. By Scott Simon.
20-12-2014President Obama's 'betrayal' of Cuban democrats. The Washingon Post Editorial.
20-12-2014Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: Courting dictators won't lead to democracy.
20-12-2014Here's what Cuba really needs, Mr. Obama. By Rosa Maria Payá. The Washington Post.
19-12-2014Castro's Wall Remains Intact. Diario de Cuba editorial.
19-12-2014Goliath Opens His Wallet. A New Era for Cuba and the United States. By Yoani Sanchez.
18-12-2014Has D-Day Arrived? By Yoani Sanchez.
18-12-2014Fidel Died. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo. 
17-12-2014Obama's Announcement: Issues of Credibility, Geo-Political Vision and Executive Overreach. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
17-12-2014Alan Gross, the hook that ended up being swallowed. By Yoani Sanchez.
16-12-2014To Fight Ebola, Cuba Is Sending Its Biggest Export - Doctors. By Benny Avni. NW.
16-12-2014Rapidly Aging Population Poses Challenge to Cubas Future. LAHT.
16-12-2014Havana: City of the "Marvelous" Unreality. By Dr Jeovany Jimenez Vega.
15-12-2014Drug Trafficking – The Other Pest of the Venezuelan Revolution. By VenEconomy. LAHT. 
13-12-2014Requiem for the 10th of December (International Day of Human Rights). By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
13-12-2014The Counterrevolutionary Activities of the Associated Press. By Reinaldo Escobar. 
13-12-2014The APs Latest Attack: On Cubas Independent Rappers. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
13-12-2014A "Clandestine" Meeting with Ernesto Londoño from The New York Times. By Miriam Celaya.
11-12-2014Cubas Dissidents Have a Bone to Pick with the New York Times. By José R Cardenas.
10-12-2014Cuba: Authoritarianism is Also a Popular Culture. By Yenisel Rodríguez Pérez. HT. 
10-12-2014Venezuela's willing accomplices. By Carlos Alberto Montaner.
09-12-2014The Dark Side of Cuba's Ebola Economy. By James Bloodworth.
09-12-2014What I Said at FIU - seminar on The Power of International Solidarity. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
08-12-2014Party On for Corruption in Venezuela. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
08-12-2014Government Mission – Neutralize the Venezuelan Opposition. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
07-12-2014How Cubans Make Ends Meet: What New York Times Editorials Miss. By Ivan García. 
07-12-2014In Cuba There are Fewer Rural Schools Than in 1958. By Michel Suárez.
07-12-2014Internet in Cuba only for the rich -- or resourceful. By alexandre Grosbois.
06-12-2014Alan Gross, The New York Times And The Spies. By Mario Felix Lleonart. 14ymedio. 
05-12-2014The New York Times writer gets Earful from Cuba dissidents. By Guillermo I Martinez.
03-12-2014How Many More Will Have to Die in Venezuelan Prisons? By VenEconomy. LAHT.
03-12-2014Let him go now! Miami Herald Editorial.
01-12-2014Ernesto Londoño and The New York Times travel program to Cuba and Iran.
01-12-2014"People-to-People" Trips Are Insulting. Capitol Hill Cubans.
30-11-2014Cuba: Access to WiFi or When Ingenuity is Penalized. By Juan Juan Almeida.
30-11-2014Cuban teen in the military returned to a certain Death. By Helen Aguirre Ferré. MH.
29-11-2014Kill, Already, If You Are Going to Kill. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
28-11-2014An Epidemic of Editorials. By Fernando Damaso.
28-11-2014Cuban Health Care Workers' Motives: Idealism or Necessity? by Jeovany Jimenez Vega.
28-11-2014Silence Enables Violence Against Cuba's Dissidents. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
27-11-2014Situation in Venezuelan Prisons Worsens. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
25-11-2014A Thorn in the Side of the Venezuelan Dictatorship. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
24-11-2014Street vendors are the last card in a clandestine business deck whose purpose is pure survival. by Lilianne Ruiz.
24-11-2014Leaving Cuba: From Dreams to Reality. By Veronica Vega. HT.
24-11-2014The Iran-Cuba-Venezuela Nexus. By Mary Anastasia O'Grady. WSJ.
24-11-2014Where There's Smoke. By Fernando Damaso.
23-11-2014Fees for Americans a sore spot in Cuba travel. By Paul Guzzo.
22-11-2014Is Cuba Shilling for North Korea in the Congo? By Capitol Hill Cubans.
21-11-2014Cuba refuses to tear down its wall. By Maria C. Werlau. MH.
20-11-2014A New Anniversary, 495 years since the founding of Havana. By Fernando Dámaso.





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