In the year since President Obama recognized the regime of Cuba's Raul Castro, life on the Caribbean island has been as grim as ever. Today Cuba is closer to what China would hail as a “resilient authoritarian regime” rather than a land of civil opportunities, writes Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
Nevertheless, Mr. Obama has called on Congress to lift the U.S. trade embargo and, in a recent interview, said he would like to visit Mr. Castro's communist utopia.
But just days before Obama gushed about Cuba's brighter future, Castro commemorated Human Rights Day (Dec. 10) by arresting up to 200 dissidents, Mr. Gonzalez reports. In fact, the detention of Cuba's dissidents — more than 7,000 — is on pace to break previous records, according to Heritage.
Meanwhile, Castro, 84, insists that any normalization will require the United States to “remove all policies of the past.” And Cuba's end of this bargain?
It's no wonder Cuba's freedom fighters denounce Obama. A letter signed by 100 former political prisoners calls the administration's Cuba reset “a regrettable mistake” that is “worsening the human rights situation there, marginalizing the democratic opposition and compromising U.S. national security.”
And with Castro's son-in-law, Gen. Luis Alberto Rodriguez, expected to continue the family tradition, don't expect any policy reversals without regime change in Cuba.