July 7, 2015

Capitulation to Cuba Continues

  • By reestablishing diplomatic ties with Cuba’s Castro regime without requiring it to make a single policy change, President Obama made clear he is in search of a legacy at any cost.
  • The unilateral capitulation to the Castros must end. Before the Senate considers confirming an ambassador or lifting the embargo, Cuba must announce significant political liberalizations and return all U.S. fugitives.

While Americans were celebrating their freedoms over the Fourth of July holiday, President Obama continued what has become a foreign policy hallmark of his administration: the unilateral capitulation to adversaries, this time at the cost of the Cuban people.

On July 1, President Obama announced the United States would “formally re-establish diplomatic relations” with Cuba. This is just the latest in a series of unilateral capitulations to the Castro brothers that began last December, with little discernable benefit for the Cuban people. In May of this year alone, according to the Cuban Commission on Human Rights, the Castro regime took 641 political prisoners. This compares to the 53 political prisoners the administration bragged it had secured the release of last December.

No Evidence Engagement Will Improve the Lives of Cubans

President Obama said engagement with Cuba “can also help the Cuban people improve their own lives.” It is an idealistic statement with no grounding in reality.

First, Cuba has had decades of normal relations with Canada and Western Europe. That has not led to any political liberalization for the average Cuban.

Next, when President Bill Clinton said the United States would restore full diplomatic relations with Vietnam, part of his argument was that increased diplomatic and economic contact would lead to political liberalization. The most recent State Department Human Rights report on Vietnam says “the most significant human rights problems” in that country continue to be severe restrictions on citizens’ political rights.

Finally, when President Clinton expanded normal trade relations with China, part of his argument, again, was that expanded trade would lead to political liberalization. The average Chinese citizen does not enjoy basic political rights today.

What the Castro Brothers Must Do

The time for unilateral capitulations to the Castro brothers in Cuba must end. Before the Senate even considers confirming an ambassador to Cuba or lifting the embargo, President Obama must describe how the Cuban government plans to make the following policy changes:

  • Provide greater political freedoms for the Cuban people, including a timeline for free and fair elections providing the Cuban people the ability to change their government.
  • Return to the United States all fugitives from justice currently residing in Cuba, including Joanne Deborah Chesimard, an FBI Most Wanted Terrorist “who murdered a law enforcement officer execution-style,” and William Morales, an FALN terrorist bomb-maker convicted in federal court and wanted by the FBI.
  • Address outstanding legal claims for property of U.S. citizens that was confiscated by Cuba.

This would be a legacy worth celebrating on Cuba.

Issue Tag: National Security