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Obama: Stay the Course on Cuba

Dialogue with the Castro brothers is not an effective policy.

by
Henry Gomez

Bio

January 20, 2009 - 12:25 am
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Now joining the predictable chorus of the mainstream media is the Center for Democracy in the America. The organization has put out a press release with its own recommendations to the Obama administration. The recommendations are par for the course: a series of unilateral measures that the United States should pursue, resulting in a complete capitulation. The press release contains 19 bullet points that explain everything that, in their opinion, Obama should do to “break the deadlock,” but not a single thing that Cuba can do in return. That’s should not be surprising. Among the contributors to offer their recommendations are people like Alberto Coll, who had to resign his job at the Naval War College after pleading guilty to lying about an unauthorized trip to Cuba. Coll has since been accused by Lt. Col. Chris Simmons, a U.S. counterintelligence officer, of being a Castro agent.

But the most telling thing in the press release is not that it remains silent on what the Castro regime can itself do to “break the deadlock” or that among the writers for the group’s position paper is an accused Castro spy. No, the most telling thing is that in the entire release there is not one mention of political prisoners, dissidents, or the lack of fundamental human rights. If you read the group’s entire 118-page paper, the word “democracy” is never used as a proposed objective of our foreign policy toward the Castro regime. It is frequently used, however, but in a different context. You see the main target of of the the Center for Democracy in the Americas is the Cuban Democracy Act, which requires Cuba to meet certain simple objectives like releasing internationally recognized political prisoners and allowing political opposition to organize. It seems that the the Center for Democracy in the Americas is actually the center for unilateral concessions to the longest lasting tyranny in the modern history of the western hemisphere.

Obama should stay the course and do what he promised to Cuban-Americans while campaigning in South Florida. He said then that the U.S. embargo on Cuba is “an important inducement to change” in Cuba. On another occasion he said:

I will maintain the embargo. It provides us with the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice: if you take significant steps toward democracy, beginning with the freeing of all political prisoners, we will take steps to begin normalizing relations. That’s the way to bring about real change in Cuba — through strong, smart and principled diplomacy.

Obama would be wise to keep his own counsel when it comes to Cuba policy and not be swayed by the media, which consistently plays a moral equivalency game, or think tanks that openly lobby for policies that take pressure off of the regime and require nothing in return. He needs to keep his promise to seek libertad for Cuba.

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