Cuba Policy Change Fails to Advance Human Rights
(Washington, D.C.) With less than two weeks left in its term, the Obama Administration has announced that the United States will no longer grant automatic protection to Cuban refugees who arrive on U.S. soil. While lawmakers, leaders in Florida and in the Cuban American community have long discussed a potential change to the so-called ‘wet foot dry foot’ policy, this move was made unilaterally by the administration and was met with praise from the regime in Cuba.
Jorge Lima, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“Next week the United States will celebrate a peaceful transition of power, with millions of Americans freely expressing their support for, or opposition to, the new president. In contrast, people in Cuba still lack even the most basic protections of fundamental human rights. They continue to live under oppression, with their lives controlled by a dictator who denies even simple free speech rights, and imprisons people for expressing their views.
It is sad that instead of insisting on genuine reforms and protection of individual rights, President Obama has sided with a dictator in Havana instead of those who believe in democracy. It is yet another concession to Castro with no commitment for change on the island.
There is support in Congress for changes to the policies that govern treatment of Cubans seeking asylum in the United States. Instead of imposing this unilateral change in the last days of his presidency, he should have sought an open debate and discourse. This would also have provided an opportunity to discuss the failure of the Cuban regime to protect human rights, despite the opening instituted by President Obama.”