No Legitimacy for Cuba's Dictators

Monday, October 13, 2014
By Center for a Free Cuba's Frank Calzon in The New York Times:

No Legitimacy for Cuba’s Dictators

There is no useful purpose served by legitimizing the Castros’ communist dictatorship in Cuba and giving it an international propaganda victory that would embolden the world’s other dictators.

U.S. policy has changed dramatically since the 1960s when Havana confiscated $1.8 billion in American properties. “Interests sections” are open in both capitals. Cuba annually buys hundreds of millions of dollars worth of American foodstuffs. The U.S. "embargo" requires they pay cash, because Cuba owes billions to European governments that have extended trade credits. Putting American taxpayers on the same hook is what the current push to “normalize” diplomatic relations is all about. But why do so? There are no “trickle-down” benefits to the Cuban people. Foreign trade and investment in Cuba is solely with the Castro government. There is no civil “rule of law” that settles disputes, orders payments or protects investors from government seizures and arbitrary arrests.

The 15-year prison sentence handed to an American aid contractor, Alan Gross, for giving a satellite telephone and laptop to a Jewish group should be a warning to anyone who thinks relations with Cuba can be "normalized." Gross was held for more than a year before the Castro government even concocted a charge. Now the Castros are trying to barter his release in exchange for the release of spies sentenced in U.S. prisons for spying on military bases in Florida (one of whom was allowed to visit his ailing mother in Cuba, whereas the regime denied Gross's request to visit his dying mother).

For good reason, the State Department keeps Cuba on its list of states supporting international terrorism. Cuba has trained terrorists, supplied troops to Marxist revolutionaries in Latin America and Africa, is an important member of the anti-Israel coalition at the U.N. and elsewhere, and last year was caught smuggling two war planes and missile parts to North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions. Today, the Castros are close allies of Syria and Iran. Cuba’s terrorist designs are undeniable and Havana is as repressive as ever.