|Debating a supporter of the Castro regime on TRT World on October 9, 2017|
On October 9, 2017 on the TRT World program "The News Makers" I participated in a contentious conversation on US-Cuba relations that ended up turning into a debate that hopefully generated more light than heat on the important subject of the diplomatic crisis taking place between the United States and Cuba.
My adversary on this program was Robert Miller, director of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC). The organization's name is a misnomer in reality it should be called the Castro Dictatorship Support Campaign. Douglas Dowell, a self described "liberal-minded social democrat" describes CSC as "apologists for a repressive dictatorship." CSC claims that Cuba is a democracy are even more troubling when one takes into account that Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition since 2015 in the United Kingdom, is a long time supporter.
The organization has engaged in lobbying of British members of parliament and the results can be seen in troubling way. Following the death of Fidel Castro on November 25, 2016 Jeremy Corbyn praised the Communist tyrant a "huge figure of modern history, national independence and 20th Century socialism" and in "our lives." In August of 2017 controversy erupted when "Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s parliamentary private secretary (PPS) Karen Lee tweeted 'happy birthday Fidel' when she shared a message from the Cuba Solidarity Campaign." The question raised by David Tinline, a former Labour candidate for parliament, in 2005: "Why does the left still back Castro?" is even more relevant and troubling today when one considers that the Leader of the Labour party garnered 40% of the vote in the last elections.
This is part of an international network that supports the Castro regime with branches in Ireland, Scotland, Canada (Cuba Solidarity in Canada), the United States, Australia, and the list goes on. More ominously for Venezuelans, there is now a "Venezuela Solidarity Campaign" underway that in reality should be called the Maduro Dictatorship Support Campaign to install totalitarianism in Venezuela.
There are genuinely few times that I can say I debated an unapologetic supporter of the Castro regime. This was one of them, revealing to me the importance of friends of freedom organizing into more effective support networks to provide real solidarity for the oppressed peoples of Cuba, Venezuela, China, North Korea, Laos, Iran, Syria and Vietnam.