U.S. flag up in Havana, more dissidents down
The Ladies in White ('Las damas en blanco") are an amazing story. They would be big Hollywood favorites if only their target were some pro-U.S. right-wing dictator like Pinochet in Chile. These ladies march every Sunday calling for the release of their husbands, their sons, and other men from the political prisons.
This is how Berta Soler, one of their leaders, welcomed the story of the U.S. flag going up in Havana, as reported by Belen Marty:
“With or without the embassy, the Cuban government will continue to do whatever they want.” These words from Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White democratic opposition, have been echoed by dissidents across the island and abroad. As she and others have documented, the Cuban flag may now fly over the embassy in Washington, DC, but the regime has continued with heavy-handed arrests against peaceful human-rights activists.
It was more "in your face Obama" when Bruno Gutierrez, the foreign minister, followed the flag ceremony with a rant about the embargo and Guantánamo.
Then Raúl Castro called on President Obama to use his "administrative" powers to end the embargo and close GITMO. I guess that Raúl knows a thing or two about administrative powers!
Some of you will say that we do business with other countries that we disagree with, such as China, Vietnam, and others.
However, we had leverage with Cuba, from demanding the release of Joanne Chesimard (the woman who killed a New Jersey state trooper) to negotiating the restoration of some basic rights to settling accounts for U.S. citizens who had their property stolen by the Castro regime.
We could have negotiated a better deal for the U.S., and for the Cuban people.
The flags are flying in Havana and Washington, D.C. There is not a lot of joy among the dissidents who had hoped that President Obama would keep the promises he made in 2008 about re-establishing relations with the corrupt dictatorship.
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