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Obama’s Cuba Policy: Speak Softly, Carry No Stick

The U.S. turns off its electronic news ticker in Havana.

by
Henry Gomez

Bio

July 31, 2009 - 12:02 am
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Much ado has been made about Obama’s attempts to start a new chapter in dealing with Cuba’s Castro regime. Yet it seems that, as usual, the illegitimate Cuban government never has to make any concessions whatsoever.

Cason asks the obvious question:

What did we get in return for turning off the billboard? Time will tell. I doubt we will get anything — they will pocket the concession and move on to more demands for unilateral concessions [from the United States].

The Castro brothers have become masters at the game of international diplomacy. They engage in acts of repression and brutality against the Cuban people, and when challenged they claim that Cuba needs to preserve its national sovereignty. Then they simply wait for the outrage to blow over and continue to repress.

Case in point: the European Union recently lifted the weak sanctions it had placed on Cuba in 2003 for jailing 75 dissidents, independent librarians, and independent journalists. In exchange for the lifting of the sanctions Europe got nothing except a promise to continue a “dialogue.”

Today, two-thirds of the 75 arrested in the “Cuban Black Spring of 2003” are still in prison.

So now the bulbs of the news ticker, the beacon of uncensored information, have been darkened and Cason feels that nothing in Cuba has changed:

[The Castro regime] will keep up their billboards; they will block Cubans from Internet access and from contact from us and our ideas. This is not a way to increase engagement with Cuba. They have to want a dialogue, not maintain a monologue. A totalitarian dictatorship like Cuba’s simply, plainly will not and cannot allow freedom of information.

It’s obvious that the Obama administration knows all of this. It’s becoming equally obvious that they just don’t care.

Latin America is becoming a breeding ground for a new generation of Marxist leaders (ostensibly democratically elected, but who then go on dismantle the institutions of democracy) and apparently that suits the president just fine.

Cason hopes that the electronic billboard he implemented was not dismantled but simply deactivated. He says, “It should be turned back on when it becomes clear we have once again made a fruitless unilateral concession that in no way advances the liberty of Cubans.”

I’m not so optimistic. Liberty for Cubans seems to be the last thing on the mind of President Obama despite his claims to the contrary during the campaign.

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Henry Louis Gomez is Cuban-American and blogs at BabaluBlog.com.
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