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An Aggressive Foreign Policy is Needed Against the Castro Regime


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While Castro-Communism is busy sentencing Cubans to decades-long prison terms for peacefully protesting, augmenting its state terror apparatus, weaponizing its anti-embargo lobby abroad, and fine-tuning its socialist legalism to violate fundamental human rights, the Biden-Harris administration’s reaction is to potentially expand its diplomatic body in Havana and facilitate remittances to the island. Both measures are precisely in line with what the Marxist-Leninist dictatorship needs for survivability.

Cuba does not have an immigration problem. It does have a scarcity problem. It lies in the absence of basic natural rights, as well as material and social deprivation. The acute state of institutionalized pauperism is regime-driven. The exception to this rule is, of course, the Castro family and the minuscule elite circle that circumferences the country’s dictatorial power structure. This criminal element is responsible for Cuba’s destitution and immoral governance which will benefit from the transfer of wealth of the remittances.

The idea that another chummy rapprochement between the United States and the Castro regime could be the answer or even a minimal remedy for the island’s woes, is misguided. The decision by former President Barack Obama to begin secret negotiations with Cuban communism immediately upon his first term resulted in a bombastic executive action course reformulating American policy towards the Castro dictatorship. Under a rationalized pretense of “burying the last remnant of the Cold War,” Obama launched a full-scale enamor campaign towards the world’s third most long-lived totalitarian dictatorship (after China and North Korea).  

A state visit in March 2016 to the captive nation and all the mojitos, a baseball game, fine dining in Havana restaurants (inaccessible to ordinary Cubans), and a laundry list of official perks which included joint initiatives and cooperative agreements between the planet’s most successful democracy and the third-oldest tyranny in areas of border security, public health, science, intelligence, and law enforcement. Yes, believe it or not, joint ventures in intelligence and law enforcement. Obama gave the “sleeping with the enemy” notion, a whole new latitude. The Castro regime’s espionage network (intelligence and counterintelligence) had a field day until former president Donald Trump dismantled these dangerous liaisons and much of Obama’s failed détente with Castroism.

The Obama-Castro pact produced not one a single shred of betterment in human rights conditions, an expansion of political spaces or civil liberties, or even economic liberalization. Obama’s seduction proved worthless. The Asian communist regimes in China and Vietnam had already for some decades proved that a Leninist state could coexist with a hybrid centrally controlled socialist “market” economy and generally raise the material living standards of its country’s city dwellers. Castro-Communism’s political insecurities have shunned concrete considerations of economic liberalization. It has been strictly state capitalism at its worse. If Havana did not take advantage of the lifeline the 44th President extended, it clearly points to the immutable nature of the communist regime.

There currently are, according to Prisoners Defenders, about 13,000 politically condemned prisoners in Cuba. The nature of the Cuban penal code which condemns Cubans under Article 76.1 “to prevent the commission of crimes” (preemptive) and Article 72 for conduct which is in “contradiction to the norms of socialist morality” lands many citizens in jail for crimes that in a free society would not be a remote consideration. Of these prisoners, 1,054 have been jailed as of February 2021. 794 are directly related to the 11th of July Cuban Uprising (11J).

The Castro regime’s top court, the Supreme Court of Cuba, has recommended sharpening its terror penal code to close the gap which Cubans use to alert the world about activity on the island. They are proposing modifications that would make it a crime punishable up to 30 years in jail, under the tentative Article 119.1, for any action that seeks to change, totally or partially, the dictatorship’s Constitution or its system of government. Article 143 could send any Cuban that collaborates with a foreign news agency, NGO or other monitoring international network and receives assistance, whether it be a stipend, monetary or logistical assistance, to prison for up to 10 years. Cuban communism does not want a repeat of 11J.   

The Biden-Harris administration should set forth a policy that promotes activism that seeks to free Cuba. Internet expansion is a must and a feasible policy. Expanding aid to the Cuban opposition makes sense. This includes increased funds for Radio and TV Martí, the United States government transmission agency into Cuba. A serious program of prosecuting violators of the American embargo would go a long way. Members of the Castro-Communist regime have ill-gotten assets throughout the world. The United States should pursue these resources, as it has done with Islamic terrorist and organized crime networks. Cuba’s involvement in drug-trafficking should be one of America’s national security concerns and acted upon. The menace of Cuban communism must be uprooted. Flimsy, outdated, failed policies, like Richard Nixon’s détente or Obama’s “engagement” mess, should not be repeated. It did not work then, and it will not work now.

Julio M Shiling, political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling // Julio es politólogo, escritor, director de Patria de Martí y The Cuban American Voice. Conferenciante y comentarista en los medios. Natural de Cuba, vive actualmente en EE UU.

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