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Obama is taking the wrong side in Cuba

Obama is taking the wrong side in Cuba

A memorable line from Ronald Reagan’s famous 1964 speech, “A Time for
Choosing,” pertained to some left-leaning politicians’ accommodationist
attitude toward communism. The line stood out last week, as the United
States resumed diplomatic relations with Cuba’s oppressive Communist regime.

“We cannot buy our security, our from the threat of the bomb,”
he said, “by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion
human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, ‘Give up your dreams
of freedom because to save our own skins, we’re willing to make a deal
with your slave masters.'”

Today, communism is no longer the formidable and violent global force it
once was — there’s no question now of “saving our own skins” from Soviet
bombs. In a sense, that makes Obama’s overly generous deal with the
oppressive, terrorist-sponsoring Cuban regime seem less craven. But the
lack of a pressing threat also calls into question why any
would show such unnecessary magnanimity, inking a deal with Cuba on such
unfavorable terms.

It’s not that Obama is wrong to make any deal whatsoever. At some point,
it has to happen. The opening up of trade will play a role — albeit not
a sufficient one on its own — in freeing Cubans from one of the world’s
worst governments.

But Obama made a deal that essentially asks nothing of the Cuban regime,
while giving it an immense gift that boosts its prestige.
can continue his policy of arbitrary arrests of political dissidents,
restriction of access so that his subjects lack access to the
truth, detention of political prisoners and oppression of Christian
churches. In all of these categories, the Cuban government has grown
worse in recent years, stepping up its oppression during and after the
period when Obama was negotiating with them to renew relations.

Cuba released 53 political prisoners as part of its deal with Obama — a
mere drop in the bucket. In its 2015 report on Cuba, Watch
notes that the regime in 2014 — even as it was negotiating with Obama —
more than doubled its number of “short-term arbitrary arrests of human
rights defenders, independent journalists, and other critics.” Those
(more than 7,000 last year) are routinely beaten and held
incommunicado for hours or days.

The HRW report adds that “other repressive tactics employed by the
government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination
of employment.”

Just imagine living in a country where simple criticism of the regime
can result in your sudden disappearance and torture — and if you’re
lucky, you might just be bullied (by other grown-ups, no less) and fired
from your job. Policemen might also harass and detain you when you try
to attend church.

Imagine all that, and then imagine that the United States – the world’s
beacon of freedom and the refuge for many Cuban refugees – suddenly
cozies up to your tormentors, even as they are stepping up the oppression.

This is what Obama has done by failing to make any serious demands on
the regime — for example, to release all political prisoners, to stop
the arbitrary arrests, or to open up Cuba to hold free elections with
fair international monitors. Obama also failed to demand concessions
with respect to Cuba’s continued harboring of international terrorists —
people who committed crimes both within the United States and abroad.

Cuban dissidents were not invited to take part in the Friday ceremony
reopening the U.S. embassy in Havana. According to news reports, the
Cuban regime threatened to boycott the ceremony if they were. The
exclusion sends a clear message: America snubs Cubans who bravely seek
freedom and a better life in order to mollify the murderers and
torturers who have ruined their country. If this is what U.S.-Cuban
relations are going to look like going forward, why bother to renew them?

Source: Obama is taking the wrong side in Cuba | Washington Examiner –

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