A Poor "Excuse"

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Earlier this year, in "Dictators need no excuses to crack down on dissent", we wrote in The Hill:

"'Don’t give them an excuse to crack down on dissent,' is a favorite sophism spread among foreign-policy elites, lazy bureaucrats and big-chair academics. Dictators love it. Why? Because as soon as it’s uttered, it shifts blame, immunizes them and effectively silences freedom’s advocates, even in the face of egregious violations of human rights and crimes against humanity."

Case and point:

U.S. trade, tourism and investment has turned China into the most lucrative dictatorship in human history. Moreover, U.S. policy towards China has relegated human rights and democracy to the agenda of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and business community.

Yet, as courageous students in Hong Kong ("Occupy Central") faced down Chinese repression in search for democracy:

"Chinese president Xi Jinping reiterated his position that Hong Kong's protest movement was 'illegal,' when speaking at the APEC summit Wednesday, adding a warning against any 'foreign interference,' in the city's affairs."

And acquiescing:

"U.S. President Barack Obama, also speaking at APEC, denied that the U.S. had supported the protests."

Then, Chinese state-media added:

"It is hardly likely that the US will admit to manipulating the ‘Occupy Central’ movement, just as it will not admit to manipulating other anti-China forces. It sees such activities as justified by ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’, ‘human rights’ and other values."

And China's foreign propagandists:

"U.S. eyes Occupy Central movement as ability to destabilize China... The United States has been providing extensive backing and funding to the Occupy Central movement and its leaders through the National Endowment for Democracy, through the National Democratic Institute, Soros, Rockefeller and Ford foundations and many other foundations."

In other words, hundreds of billions in U.S. tourism, trade and investment, and China's regime still uses the same "excuse" of "U.S. interference" to repress and stifle democracy.

This is what some would like to see in Cuba.

Anti-sanctions lobbyists argue that lifting U.S. sanctions would eliminate Castro's "excuse."

Yet, Castro would continue using the same "excuse" or simply make a similar one up.

Yesterday, Cuban blogger and journalist Reinaldo Escobar predicted that -- if this were to happen -- Castro would simply justify more repression by arguing:

"Now that Americans are able to enter the island more freely, buy businesses and the embargo is over, now we really need to protect the Revolution."

So hand over billions to Castro's dictatorship -- for what?