Dissent is a healthy aspect of society. Like pain in the body, it announces that something may be wrong, that something may need fixing. Dissent can be troublesome and it can be unwelcomed. Dissidents sometimes choose the wrong time or place to voice their outrage and too-many, like Black Lives Matter, mistakenly believe that to dissent requires the silencing of others who object.
Countries that jail political prisoners who have merely spoken-out against the regime cannot be America’s friends. We may coexist with them and begrudgingly accept their geopolitical usefulness, but we cannot accept human rights violations and systemic political oppression as compatible with our ideals as a beacon of freedom in the world.
Sadly, President Obama has betrayed Americans and Cubans by cozying to Cuba’s despotic communist regime in an attempt to “thaw” relations with the totalitarian regime with whom we have been at odds for over 50 years.
Prior to and during Obama’s historic visit, Cuban political dissidents were rounded-up and arrested. Their fates are unknown.
The Castro regime rounded-up and arrested dozens of Cuban dissidents just hours before Obama’s plane touched-down in Cuba. Most of the jailed dissidents are members of Ladies in White, a protest group consisting of wives and mothers of jailed political prisoners. Over 50 members were arrested in a suburb of Havana called Miramar after Sunday Mass.
The group has marched peacefully in the past and have been arrested, but hoped that with all eyes on Cuba for Obama’s visit, the Cuban government may not bring-down the hammer of injustice. Instead, Castro’s thugs descended-upon the peaceful group and arrested them despite the large amount of international reporters covering the historic trip.
Berta Soler, one of the founders of the group who has marched since 2003, said that she knew the risks.
“For us, it’s very important that we do this so President Obama knows that there are women here fighting for the liberty of political prisoners. And he needs to know that we are here being repressed simply for exercising our right to express ourselves and manifest in a non-violent way.”
Sadly, Obama has not only neglected to reference the political persecution, but revealed to the world that he has invited communist dictator Raul Castro to offer his criticism of the United States and its system of government and culture.
Obama also lashed-out at America’s Congress for their unwillingness to rubberstamp his proposals that would end the U.S. embargo and allow him to shutter Guantanamo Bay, America’s naval base in Cuba which harbors a detention facility for terrorists.
Since 1959, Cubans have lived under an oppressive communist regime first governed by Fidel Castro and later by his brother, Raul. The regime was not only responsible for furthering the prospect of nuclear annihilation of hundreds-of-millions of Americans during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but has jailed, murdered and tortured untold numbers of innocent Cubans.
Joel Frewa, a communications director for Alex Meluskey’s Senate campaign who fled Venezuela and Hugo Chavez’s totalitarian regime, blasted Obama’s visit and willingness to turn a blind eye to the shameful political oppression.
“It is a slap in the face to all of those brave people who have risked their lives by taking to the Florida straits on a raft with their children in one hand and their dreams in another, “Frewa stated. “It is a slap in the face to the brave people of Venezuela and Nicaragua who have fought and died against their own tyrannical governments, backed by the Castro regime.”
Both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, senators of Cuban heritage, have condemned Obama’s shameful trip.
“This is an Obama presidential trip whose ultimate results will be giving away legitimacy and money to an anti-American regime that actively undermines our national security interests and acts against our values every single day. President Obama’s entourage will sleep in hotels controlled by the Cuban military that were confiscated by the regime and are among the $7 billion in unpaid legal claims owed to American property owners….
As a whole, President Obama’s trip to Cuba and his policy of one-sided concessions to this regime are as naïve as his world view and as misguided as his foreign policy affecting other parts of the world. America should be standing with our allies and democracy advocates around the world, not embracing, enriching and empowering our enemies, the way President Obama is about to do in Cuba.”
Cruz has repeatedly blasted the trip point-by-point and noted,
“The White House keeps saying that this trip will chart a new course for people-to-people relations, but all that Obama’s appeasement of the Castro dictatorship has done so far is create a channel for inside deals between large corporations and the Cuban military, which holds all the keys to the island’s economy. The effect will not be liberalization but rather the institutionalization of the Communist dictatorship as the profits from this détente will line the pockets not only of Fidel and Raul Castro, but also of Raul’s son, Alejandro Castro Espin.”