Americans Surrender in Havana
We don't hear them calling for Cuba's freedom or for at least a little less repression. We don't see them trying to meet with Cuban dissidents or making an effort to visit political prisoners. We don't see them seeking free elections. They are defenders of civil rights in the United States, but we don't hear them talking about the civil, human or voting rights of the Cuban people.
What we see are American politicians prancing around Havana and caving in to the world's oldest dictatorship. We see them embracing people who have blood on their hands.
Every time a new U.S. congressional delegation visits Cuba, we see American lawmakers surrendering the democratic principles they are supposed to stand for. It's repulsive!
Their double standards are blatant and shameless. They demand respect for human rights in countries ruled by right-wing despots, but they wear horse blinders when they ignore the atrocities of leftist dictators. These are the kind of "progressive leaders" who supported an embargo against Haiti and a boycott against South Africa, yet they want American tourists to bask in the sun of Cuban apartheid by staying in hotels, swimming at beaches, shopping at stores and eating in restaurants that are either off-limits or unaffordable for most Cubans.
The latest such delegation went to Cuba last week. After the lawmakers embarked on all the well-orchestrated tours of what the Cuban government wanted them to see, the head of the seven-member delegation of Democrats proclaimed that most of them are ready to cave in on all fronts. Without preconditions, they would have the United States establish diplomatic relations with the 50-year-long regime of the ruthless Castro brothers.
"Most of the members of our delegation believe we need to actually normalize relations and then the details of what that means would follow," said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., at a news conference in Havana. That has to go down as one of the most naive and irresponsible statements in recent history.
After decades trying to get the Castro regime to release the clenched grip that has been choking the Cuban people, Lee and her mostly African-American delegation would have us rely on the clearly nonexistent benevolence of the Castro brothers and their henchmen. If the lawmakers had bothered to meet with political prisoners, they would have found that many are black Cubans who would tell them horror stories about the racist policies of the Castro government.
Yet at this rate — and because they have such huge horse blinders on — soon we will see American politicians going to Cuba and apologizing for the United States' defending the cause of freedom!
With the American political pendulum clearly swinging to the left, a growing number of Democrats have been calling for lifting all sorts of U.S.
The latest bipartisan effort to cave in to Havana was announced last week by a group of U.S. senators who proposed a bill that would allow most Americans to travel to Cuba, a policy that largely has been outlawed by the 47-year-long U.S. trade embargo against the communist island.
These naive, useful fools actually believe they can weaken the Castro regime by sending American tourists to Havana.
"The Cuban people certainly have heard the voice of the Castro brothers for many, many decades," Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who is a co-sponsor of the bill, told reporters. "Having the opportunity to hear the voices of American tourists, I think, undermines the Castro regime."
Well, sir, you think wrong!
Tourists from all over the world have been going to Castro's Cuba for decades, and they have not helped the Cuban people become any freer. Dissidents still are humiliated and beaten by government-sponsored mobs. The media still are controlled totally by the regime. People are still afraid to speak freely, even with their own relatives and neighbors. Political prisoners still are held in some of the world's most inhumane dungeons for the simple "crime" of distributing books from a home library or for writing articles opposing government policies.
In fact, by benefiting from services and luxuries that are denied to the Cuban people, what tourists from around the world have done is hypocritically close their eyes to Cuban-style apartheid.
Without preconditions — without first getting the dictatorship to begin releasing its grip on the people — we would be allowing the Castro brothers to control American tourism and to use the extra cash to continue to finance the repression machine that keeps them in power.
But amazingly, that doesn't seem to be a concern for the naive American lawmakers who actually believe they are accomplishing something when they go on their revolutionary junkets in Havana and make concessions to dictators.
Even President Barack Obama, who favors lifting some Cuban sanctions, has come out in support of using the embargo as leverage to get some concessions toward democratic change.
Yet by calling for diplomatic relations before Cuba and the United States settle their differences and by lifting the travel ban for American tourists, some American lawmakers actually believe they are breaking down walls. In fact, they are keeping the Cuban people behind the old Iron Curtain.
To find out more about Miguel Perez and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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