The State of Dangerousness

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The precarious state of human rights in Cuba, as documented in today's report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), "New Castro, Same Cuba," can be summarized by the following provision in the Castro regime's criminal code (and widely-used against critics):

The State of Dangerousness

Article 72. A state of dangerousness is considered to be the special propensity of a person to commit crimes, as demonstrated by conduct observed in manifest contradiction to the norms of socialist morality.

We commend HRW for documenting the Castro regime's brutality.

Nonetheless, we disagree with an adjoining letter by HRW's Americas Director Jose Miguel Vivanco, which advocates for the unconditional lifting of tourism-travel related sanctions.

In lieu of tourism-travel sanctions, Vivanco's letter states that,

"[HRW's] report lays out a proposal for the United States to work with allies in the European Union, Canada, and Latin America to forge a new coalition that will exert targeted pressure on the Raul Castro government to release all political prisoners."

If such coalitions haven't been successful in preventing or dismantling nuclear weapon facilities in Iran and North Korea, what makes him think it would be successful in persuading the Castro regime to release political prisoners?

And just how successful have these coalitions been in preventing genocide in the Balkans, Rwanda or the Sudan?

Not successful at all.

But even more worrisome is Vivanco's own admission that:

"However, lifting the travel ban by itself will not bring an end to the Raul Castro government's repression."

So what's the point?

If the U.S. doubled the Castro regime's GDP through U.S. tourist-travel, it would also be doubling its ability to finance repression.

And that's a dangerous proposition indeed.