Cuddling With Cuba

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


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Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal an unsettling betrayal of those fighting for democracy in Cuba. Apparently, fancy dinners and high-level access are more important than challenging a Castro regime that supports narco-terrorism and is spreading neo-Marxist tyranny in Latin America.

A cable from November 2009 shows how some Western countries have given up on pressing Cuba on human rights issues, with diplomats agreeing not to meet with opposition figures fighting for freedom while visiting the island. The European Union, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and Spain, among others, are described as countries whose officials have decided that Cuba’s political oppression is not worth fighting. Unbelievably, this catering to the Castros has no benefit beyond “pomp-full dinners and meetings, and for the most pliant, a photo-op with one of the Castro brothers.” There was no economic agreement behind this, only greed.

The United Kingdom, Germany and the Czech Republic are depicted as being more honorable, deciding it is better to not hold high-level meetings in Cuba than to submit to the regime’s rules about who they can meet with. A representative of the Vatican, Archbishop Claudio Celli, is especially principled and angers the officials he met with by complimenting Cuban bloggers and asking for freer Internet access for the population.

Another 2009 cable shows that the U.S. has little hope invested in Cuban dissidents. “We see very little evidence that the mainline dissident organizations have much resonance among Cubans,” it reads. The document claims that the opposition leaders are old, divided amongst themselves and their ranks have been infiltrated by Cuban intelligence. The cable is pessimistic about change in the near term, stating that “We do not believe the announcement of Fidel’s death would spark either violent demonstrations or a quick surge in migration.”

However, the cables do show an opportunity available for Cuban dissidents. One predicts the declining economy of Cuba could become “fatal” in two to three years, with Italian officials reporting that sources in the Cuban government as saying the country “would become insolvent as early as 2011.” It appears that President Raul Castro does not have his head in the sand regarding this impending disaster, as he has announced plans to reduce the government workforce by 500,000, decrease subsidies and allow some limited free market reforms to stimulate the economy.

Cuban-American author Humberto Fontova told FrontPage that part of the reason for complacency towards the Castro regime is a belief among some in the West that “if Castro brought ‘fabulous health and education to some pesthole banana republic, then a few human rights abuses are a small price to pay.’” The reality, Fontova says, is that Castro turned a country with a higher per capita income than half of Europe “into a pesthole that repels Haitians.”

The rise of radical Islam is also distracting the West’s attention away from Cuba and its allies in Venezuela. He says this is a mistake because the Castro regime’s activity threatens the West.

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  • Chezwick_Mac

    Let's be clear here: Cuba is the JUNIOR partner in this Axis of Evil. It is CHAVEZ who is bankrolling FARC AND Ortega. It is Chavez who is facilitating the entry of Islamic terrorists into the USA via Mexico. And it is Chavez who is acquiring nuclear know-how and ballistic missile technology from Iran (and Russia) in order to brow-beat his neighbors and contest the USA for supremacy in Latin America.

    Our government's response – under both Obama AND Bush – seems to be to hope he's just a passing fad and that he'll go away soon. One gets the impression we're afflicted with a combination of fear and inertia in dealing with Chavez. We don't seem to want to do anything to provoke him so that he can justify his saber-rattling and his military build-up, so he proceeds with them, unimpeded.

    • Esther Rodriguez

      It is Cuba that is supplying Chavez with his own security apparatus, with the know-how of how to run a dictatorship while first establishing it, and protecting Chavez through very well, adept and professional agents to carry out the travesty that he does throughout Latin America. We should also remember that Hugo Chavez was one of the myriad of Latin American men who while very young, were sent to the huge indoctrination camp of Cuba. Chavez has publicly acknowledge this. Whereas Chavez is the spreading cancer, the Castro brothers and their communist regime, are its source….even in evil, don't underestimate Havana.

  • Wesley69

    Cuba still exports revolution. However, it is no longer isolated. Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia are Marxist regimes. The current President of Brazil was a Marxist Revolutionary. Then again, our own administration, if not Marxist, is Socialist. What these countries have in common is a hatred for the big giant to the north. Obama, hungry for a foreign policy win besides the Start Treaty, would probably entertain a normalization of relations with Cuba. I doubt Obama is concerned about the South Florida vote. He would win praise from the far left within his party.