President Barack Obama and his family arrived in Cuba on March 20, 2016 with high expectations. Much was made in 2016 of the shift from decades long imprisonment to shorter term detentions in the press and by U.S. officials but little was said with regards to the simultaneous escalation in knife attacks, breaking bones, machete attacks and extrajudicial killings of high profile human rights activists since 2010. Five years later and the failure of this visit and the overall policy becomes ever more evident.
The suspicious deaths of human rights defenders such as Orlando Zapata Tamayo (2010), Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia (2011), Laura Inés Pollán Toledo (2011), Wilman Villar Mendoza (2012), Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas (2012), and Harold Cepero Escalante (2012) is a terrifying alternative to the long prison sentences that the Castro regime would use to take opposition leaders out of circulation, as was the case in 2003, during the Bush administration.
On May 14, 2015 Sirley Ávila León lost her left hand, had her right arm broken by a second machete blow, and her knees slashed by several more machete blows by a married couple in an attack orchestrated by Cuban state security. The husband wielding the machete and the wife throwing the severed hand into a pigsty. Cuban doctors told her that because of the contamination in the pigsty that the hand could not be reattached. She was left completely incapacitated, not even able to bend her knees.
|Human rights defender machete attacked on May 24, 2015|
In an interview on March 21, 2016 with the Spanish Daily ABC the human rights activist declared: "After they began relations with Obama, the totalitarian regime tightened up against those who truly fight for the rule of law in Cuba." ... "All this" - in allusion to the trip of the US president to the island- "is a fallacy." For her, "this friendship of Obama [with Raul] will not bring anything good to the Cuban people." Five years later, and scores of U.S. diplomats with brain injuries, and a shuttered embassy indicates that Sirley was right. The attacks began in November 2016, just months after the President's historic visit.
|President Barack Obama and Dictator Raul Castro at press conference|
However the silence by President Obama, the U.S. press corps on the escalating violence and murder of opposition activists speaks volumes on the moral failings of the Cuba policy of the United States that is assisting in a dynastic succession of the Castro regime by meeting with Alejandro Castro in the official sit down with Raul Castro while ignoring the terrible price being paid by Cubans who want to be free.
President Obama did not have a "Reagan moment" in Cuba. The image of President Obama photographed with the Ministry of the Interior in the background with Che Guevara prominently featured and used by Cuban official media as an endorsement of the violent revolutionary martyr sends an unfortunate message around the world. We need more images of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi not a mass murdering and hate filled communist icon.
|Did Castro manipulate Obama into this photo-op or did White House want it?|
|Murdered dissidents was part of the price of appeasement with Castro|