In Cuba, Dr. Jill Biden Chose Propaganda Over Civil Society

Sunday, October 9, 2016
Today, Dr. Jill Biden, wife of U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, concludes her official visit to Cuba. Accompanying her was Catherine M. Russell, the U.S.'s Ambassador-at-Large for Women's Issues.

This 3-day trip could have been an opportunity to 'empower' Cuba's courageous female democracy activists and civil society leaders. Instead, the highlight of the trip was Dr. Biden and Amb. Russell attending a men's soccer game.

The trip was basically composed of Castro-regime led propaganda tours of 'cultural and educational' centers.

At the very least, we had hoped during Dr. Biden's three-day trip, she would have met with:

-- The Ladies in White, the courageous wives, daughters, mothers and other relatives of Cuban political prisoners, who will be brutally beaten and arrested again this Sunday.

-- CUBALEX, the independent legal center, which is led by a courageous woman, Laritza Diversent, whose headquarters were recently raided, its staff stripped naked, humiliated and arrested.

-- Sirley Avila Leon, the former Cuban National Assembly delegate-turned-dissident, who had her hand severed in a machete attack as a result. Upon her return to Cuba this month, after receiving medical treatment in the U.S., Sirley's home has been confiscated and her life threatened.

-- #Otro18, the female activists from the Partido Arco Progresista, who were stopped, beaten and stripped of their clothing for wearing T-shirts that reflect a movement to allow opposition groups to present candidates for election in 2018.

Or advocated for the growing number of female political prisoners, including members of The Ladies in White, such as Yaquelin Heredia Morales, Marietta Martinez Aguilera, Xiomara de las Mercedes Cruz Miranda and Aimara Nieto Muñoz.

To add insult to injury, even the licensee of the most popular paladar ('private restaurant') in Camaguey, Restaurante 1800, which Dr. Biden was scheduled to visit, has been arrested. Yet, silence from the U.S. delegation.

Unfortunately, this trip further confirms that the Obama Administration is not interested in helping Cuban civil society, which is led by extraordinary women.

The Obama Administration is solely focused on the President's hollow 'legacy' and kowtowing to Castro's dictatorship.