British Minister Shows What Normalization (Sadly) Looks Like

Sunday, November 2, 2014
Last week, we posted how normalizing relations with Cuba would relegate human rights and democracy to the bottom of the policy agenda.

This week, British Foreign Office Minister, Hugo Swire, showed us (once again) exactly what that looks like.

Swire's trip -- hyped in the media as the first British government Minister to visit Cuba in nearly 10 years -- was billed "to discuss trade, investment and concerns about human rights."

Upon the conclusion of his three-day trip, Swire had discussed plenty of trade and investment with Castro's monopolies -- but very little about human rights and zero about democracy.

Apparently, Swire was more interested in expressing his gratitude to Castro for recently confiscating millions from Britain's largest (former) investor in Cuba, Coral Capital Group Ltd. -- and arbitrarily arresting its executives -- but at least repatriating them after a couple of years in prison.

After all, Castro could have instead handed them 15-year sentences (like Canada's Cy Tokmakjinan).

Swire glorified his meetings with Castro's Minister of Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Serra.

And, of course, there was the compulsory propaganda conference at Castro's official "International Press Center."

To top off the visit, Swire was enchanted by Cuban dictator Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela.
And human rights?

Those were "broached" (to rhetorically check off the box) with Cardinal Jaime Ortega -- best known for scolding dissidents, squashing internal critics, banishing political prisoners and denying safe harbor to the persecuted.

And what about Cuba's independent civil society, democracy leaders and opposition activists?



The collage (below) in Swire's departing tweet, shows it all: