Kerry to Shun Cuban Dissidents From Embassy Event

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Supporters of Obama's Cuba policy should be very proud of themselves.

In October 2014, we had warned:

"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."

And now, that's exactly what's happening.

The Obama Administration has completely lost its moral compass.

Think of the poor example this sets for other nations.

Is this how the international community will "press" the Castro regime on democracy and rights, as the Obama Administration contends?

In a nutshell, here's what "change looks like" in Obama's Cuba policy -- Castro si, disidentes no.

From AP:

Cuba dissidents won't attend US Embassy event

The Obama administration doesn't plan to invite Cuban dissidents to Secretary of State John Kerry's historic flag-raising at the U.S. Embassy in Havana on Friday, vividly illustrating how U.S. policy is shifting focus from the island's opposition to its single-party government. Instead, Kerry intends to meet more quietly with prominent activists later in the day, officials said.

The Cuban opposition has occupied the center of U.S. policy toward the island since the nations cut diplomatic relations in 1961. The Cuban government labels its domestic opponents as traitorous U.S. mercenaries. As the two countries have moved to restore relations, Cuba has almost entirely stopped meeting with American politicians who visit dissidents during trips to Havana.

Their presence at the embassy would have risked setting back the new spirit of cooperation the U.S. hopes to engender, according to the officials, who weren't authorized to speak publicly about internal planning and demanded anonymity. But not meeting them at all, they said, would send an equally bad signal.

Key dissidents told the AP late Tuesday that they had not received invitations to any of Friday's events.

Dissident Yoani Sanchez's online newspaper 14ymedio has received no credential for the U.S. embassy event, said editor Reinaldo Escobar, who is married to Sanchez.

"The right thing to do would be to invite us and hear us out despite the fact that we don't agree with the new U.S. policy," said Antonio Rodiles, head of the dissident group Estado de SATS.

The cautious approach is consistent with how Obama has handled the question of support for dissidents since he and Castro announced a prisoner swap in December and their intention to create a broader improvement in relations. The process has resulted in unilateral steps by Obama to ease the economic embargo on Cuba and last month's formal upgrading of both countries' interests sections into full-fledged embassies.

When senior diplomat Roberta Jacobson held talks in Havana in January, she met several government critics at the end of her historic trip but was restrained in her criticism of the government. Since then, American politicians have flooded Havana to see the sights, meet the country's new entrepreneurs and discuss possibly ending the U.S. embargo with leaders of the communist government.

According to an Associated Press count that matches tallies by leading dissidents, more than 20 U.S. lawmakers have visited Cuba since February without meeting the opposition groups that were once obligatory for congressional delegations.

Tragically, rather than being on their side:

The Obama Administration is now on his side: