Cuban dissidents rounded up as Obama’s arrival snubbed by Castro bros
Prior to President Obama’s arrival in Havana yesterday, Cuban authorities actually cracked down on dissidents. Alan Gomez in USA Today:
Just hours before President Obama landed Sunday in Cuba for his historic visit to the communist island, Cuban authorities arrested more than 50 dissidents who were marching to demand improved human rights.
Members of the group, known as the Ladies in White, are used to the routine. They march each Sunday after Mass at a church in a suburb of Havana called Miramar and usually get arrested and detained for hours or days.
Some in the group thought Cuban authorities would back off this Sunday out of respect for Obama's visit. Berta Soler, one of the founding members who has been marching since 2003, said while walking to the church Sunday morning that maybe they would be allowed to protest without getting arrested.
"Everything looks good so far," she said.
Despite dozens of international reporters in town for Obama's trip, the group was quickly rounded up in buses and police cars.
The treatment was brutal, as Jonathan Watts reported in the leftist Guardian:
“My son and his wife are in jail now. They all are. The police were very violent,” Glavys Fernández, the mother of leading opposition figure Antonio Rodiles, told the Guardian.
So it is fair to say that, far from bargaining to improve the treatment of dissidents as a condition of the honor of a presidential visit, Obama has snubbed the hopes and dreams of Cuba’s dissidents. Oddly enough, the race-obsessed Obama ignores the fact that Cuba’s ruling elite is heavily Caucasian, while many of the dissidents are part of the black majority of island
For their part, the Castro Brothers, who have run the dictatorship in Cuba for over half a century, snubbed Obama’s arrival, even though Raúl Castro, the healthier of the two, turned out at José Martí Airport for the pope’s arrival. Obama made do with Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, as his policy staff pretended that the obvious snub wasn’t a snub:
The White House says it's taking no offense that Cuban President Raul Castro didn't greet President Barack Obama upon arrival in Havana.
Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, says it was "never contemplated or discussed" that Castro would be at the airport.
He said the Cubans consider Monday morning's ceremony with Obama and Castro to be the official welcome event.
In the world of diplomacy, this is clear sign of submission, and will be taken as such. “Thank you, sir, may I have another” is the clear message.
Obama, who shockingly speaks no foreign languages despite his elite education and upbringing partially overseas, affected a Cuban idiom in his greeting to the Cuban people upon arrival.
As he arrived, Obama used a Cuban phrase meaning “what’s up?” when he tweeted: “¿Que bolá Cuba? Just touched down here, looking forward to meeting and hearing directly from the Cuban people.”
So proud was the White House of this pretense at some degree of linguistic sophistication that it was tweeted out on the President’s account:
¿Que bolá Cuba? Just touched down here, looking forward to meeting and hearing directly from the Cuban people.— President Obama (@POTUS) March 20, 2016
The American media are mostly cooperating in presenting this visit as a triumph for American foreign policy. As usual, the New York Times is acting as pilot fish in portraying Cubans as eager to see their new Yanqui amigo.
I am nauseated. The U.S. is reinforcing a vicious, murderous communist dictatorship, and giving up its high-value cards in return for nothing. Obama is once again sending a message of weakness and capitulation. And it is heard and understood by all the vicious dictators of the world.