In an interview with the Miami Herald, Secretary John Kerry declared human rights will be “at the top” of his agenda in talks with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Friday. That is a ploy to pretend the Obama administration cares about the future of freedom in the Communist-dominated country.
The reality is having already moved to “normalize” relations with Cuba, the administration has zero leverage over the regime.
Further, Kerry is uncomfortable in even making symbolic gestures in support of human rights advocates. The secretary admitted Cuban dissidents won’t be invited to the flag-raising ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.
Critics were quick to come after Kerry. Senator Marco Rubio complained the White House is “sending its most chilling signal yet; that it views diplomatic relations with the Castro regime to be more important than the interests of the American people, or the basic human rights of the Cuban people….” Indeed, there are serious unanswered questions over whether the U.S. administration even has a legal right to set up an embassy in Cuba.
The administration’s haphazard engagement with Cuba further fuels concerns that the White House negotiated a weak deal with Iran. Adding to suspicion that the U.S. has a habit of capitulating to totalitarian regimes are reports that the Oval Office secretly conceded to Iran the right to enrich uranium in 2011.
There is another similarity between Obama’s Cuba and Iran policies. Right before Obama signed off on the Iran deal, the administration issued a blistering report over the state of human rights in Iran. Yet, the president sealed the deal anyway and the U.S. has no serious strategy for promoting human rights with the Tehran regime.