Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cuba through rose-colored glasses

Posted on Tuesday, 02.25.14

Cuba through rose-colored glasses
OUR OPINION: Ignoring Castro regime's brutal nature is intellectually

The scathing reply delivered by Sen. Marco Rubio on the Senate floor
this week in response to Sen. Tom Harkin's report of a visit to Cuba was
a well-aimed and well-justified verbal cannonball. Sen. Harkin had it

Let's be clear about this: There is room for debate about the U.S. trade
embargo of Cuba and whether it should be replaced. Indeed, open debate
should be encouraged.

There is certainly room for discussion about finding a more-effective
way for the United States to help the Cuban people and, at the same
time, promote U.S. goals in the hemisphere. Sacred cows have no place in
foreign policy.

But any discussion about daily life in Cuba that glosses over, or
completely ignores — as Sen. Harkin did — the punishing nature of the
Cuban regime is intellectually dishonest, not to say naive.

Sen. Harkin believes the United States should abandon its policy of
seeking Cuba's isolation. His farm state of Iowa benefits from any trade
improvement that would increase agricultural exports to Cuba, of course.
Still, it's his opinion, and he's entitled to express it without
arousing anyone's temper.

But U.S. policy toward Cuba is one thing, and the tyrannical,
dictatorial nature of the Cuban government is another. How can there be
any debate about the latter?

Sen. Harkin recently visited eastern Cuba and returned to deliver a
report on the Senate floor about the idyllic countryside and the wonders
of Cuban medicine, with a brief bow, as well, to the state education system.

Even assuming he's right — a debatable point — he forgot to say that
whatever "benefits" the Cuban state offers its people have come at the
price of taking their liberty. That's a bad bargain in anyone's book.
His constituents in Iowa wouldn't make that deal, and neither did the
Cuban people, not willingly.

There's not enough room here to once again lay out all the many crimes
of the Castro regime. We'll settle for the opening words of the latest
Human Rights Watch report on Cuba:

"Cuba remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually
all forms of political dissent. In 2012, the government of Raúl Castro
continued to enforce political conformity using short-term detentions,
beatings, public acts of repudiation, travel restrictions and forced exile."

And that's just for openers. Maybe Sen. Harkin would have gotten a
more-accurate impression of what daily life is really like if he had
spoken to Cuban dissidents, the courageous individuals who dare to keep
the spirit of freedom alive on the island by willingly risking their
lives and liberty.

Sen. Rubio rightly responded to the speech by the Democrat from Iowa
with sarcasm and indignation, tying the Castro regime to the Venezuelan
government's harsh response to street protests over failed economic
policies based on Cuba's discredited model.

"Let me tell you what the Cubans are really good at," Sen. Rubio said.
"What they are really good at is repression … They have exported
repression in real time, in our hemisphere, right now."

Mr. Rubio ended by making a good suggestion to his colleagues: Go ahead,
visit Cuba, but be sure to talk to those who dare to speak the truth
even at the cost of punishment by the government.

"I bet you're going to hear something very different than what you got
from your hosts on your last trip to the wonderful Cuba, this
extraordinary socialist paradise. Because it's a joke. It's a farce."

It's a joke, but no one's laughing.

Source: Cuba through rose-colored glasses - Editorials -

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