Obama’s Visit to Cuba is Just Another Concession to the Castro Dictatorship
(Washington, D.C.) – The White House has confirmed that President Obama will be traveling to Cuba next month, marking the first time a sitting President will visit the island in 88 years. While the president added that his visit will be an effort “to improve the lives of the Cuban people” reports of civil rights abuses and increases in the number of political prisoners have only continued since the U.S. began to normalize diplomatic relations more than a year ago. This is the latest step in the administration’s actions to improve relations with the island nation which included the opening of an embassy in Havana for the first time since 1961, and Cuba’s removal from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism last year. As these changes have taken effect, there has been a historic rise in Cuban refugees fleeing to the U.S and Central America. Many in Congress have objected to the upcoming visit, signaling that any move to lift the existing embargo on the island remains difficult.
Jorge Lima, VP of Operation and Policy for The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“For decades, the central goal of U.S. policy towards Cuba has been to encourage basic human rights and civil liberties for the people of that country. President Obama – along with the Secretary of Commerce — claims this visit is the next step in a process to help Cuba open its economy and facilitate commerce between the two countries. The message this historic visit sends, however, is not what the president claims. It’s unclear whether the president is more interested in his own legacy or ensuring basic human rights for the Cuban people.
Concession after concession, the U.S. continues to agree to demands from the Castro regime while the island and its people see no fundamental change. For more than 60 years, the Castro brothers have constantly undermined the basic civil liberties and rights of the Cuban people. Any message of hope for those who continue to seek freedom in Cuba is lost as they witness the Castro dictatorship broadcast celebratory pictures with a sitting U.S. President. We hope President Obama will be firm in his demands for change on the island, but for now this trip appears to do nothing more than legitimize an old dictatorship and prop a lame duck president’s legacy. The people of Cuba, the U.S., and all those in favor of liberty, deserve better.”