Obama's Congressional Allies in Cuba: Freedom is Not on the Agenda

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Last October, in a post entitled, "How to Relegate Human Rights and Democracy in U.S.-Cuba Policy," we predicted:

"If relations with Cuba were normalized, the United States might occasionally raise the issue of human rights and democracy rhetorically -- but in practice it would be relegated to the bottom of the agenda.

The United States' agenda towards Cuba would become subject to the priorities of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau, the National Foreign Trade Council, every major agribusiness and oil conglomerate, etc.

None of whom care one bit about the human rights of the Cuban people -- nor of the Iranian people, Syrian people, Burmese people, et al.

This is not a theory. It is a fact."

Case and point was this weekend's trip to Cuba by U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mark Warner (D-VA).

Their visit was riddled with comments about trade opportunities (with Castro's monopolies), agricultural sales (to Castro's monopolies) and meetings (with Castro's regime).

They discussed their hopes (with Castro regime officials) that the American Farm Bureau and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce can pressure enough Republicans to join their efforts to lift all sanctions.

And tacky (and elitist) comments about the "classic cars."

All while enjoying the amenities of Havana's 5-star Hotel Nacional (owned by the Cuban military).

And for some (tragic) comic relief: Senator Klobuchar, who has obviously never visited a police state before, said Cubans "sporadically" recognized her on the streets for her efforts to lift the embargo. Naiveté can be cute -- and scary.

Now for a dose of Cuba's reality:

During their visit, 69 dissidents from the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) were arrested in Santiago; 14 female activists from the The Ladies in White were arrested in Havana; and 10 female activists from the Anti-Totalitarian Forum (FANTU) were arrested in Santa Clara.

Dissidents were not on the Senatorial trio's orchestrated itinerary.

And the fun is just beginning.

As they departed Cuba, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was just arriving with a delegation of her Congressional friends.

Pelosi said in a statement:

[Her delegation] will work to advance the U.S.-Cuba relationship and build on the work done by many in the Congress over the years, especially with respect to agriculture and trade.

Note the trend.