Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Castro regime's unchanging ways and American pragmatism

 "Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance." - Václav Havel

Journalist Karen Caballero escorted out by Cuban state security
Last week the Castro regime took part in the Summit of the Americas, in what was supposed to be a gathering of democracies and turned it into a violent circus where civil society activists were threatened, harassed, slandered, libeled and physically assaulted. However it didn't end there when heads of state were allotted 8 minutes to speak, Raul Castro took 49 minutes.

To add insult to injury, an accredited journalist, Karen Caballero, anchor and correspondent for TV/Radio Martí after entering to attend a press conference with the Cuban foreign minister at the Summit of the Americas was expelled from the gathering by Cuban state security agents.  TV/Radio Marti is affiliated with Voice of America (VOA) and the U.S. government. Despite this the Voice of America Spanish website has remained silent on this incident of harassment, although it was reported on by CNN in Spanish on its website, and the U.S. president thanked Raul Castro for his "spirit of openness."

Yesterday, the President made his recommendation that Cuba be taken off the list of state sponsors of terrorism ignoring the clear and present danger that it represents. At the same time Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez", who had been attacked by state security agents in Panama last week found his home in Placetas, Cuba surrounded by state security and others told to go and engage in an act of repudiation at the activist's at home or face reprisals at work and school.

The White House is engaged in what Pat Buchanan describes as the tradition of ruthless American pragmatism. In the Forum 2000 Conference in 2009, Vaclav Havel called President Obama to task for engaging in that practice with the Dalai Lama:
I believe that when the new Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize postpones receiving the Dalai Lama until after he has accomplished his visit to China, he makes a small compromise, a compromise which actually has some logic to it. However, there arises a question as to whether those large, serious compromises do not have their origin and roots in precisely these tiny and very often more or less logical compromises.
The devil is in the details. Many who advocate for a principled engagement with the regime are troubled by the ruthless pragmatism of the Obama administration and how it could set back both US national interests and the freedom aspirations of the Cubans on the island. Human rights and norms of civility need to be upheld if they are to survive.

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