Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why should Raúl Castro stop arresting dissidents?

As Rep. Pelosi enjoys a cup of coffee in Cuba, the Castro government arrested 200 dissidents recalling the death of Mr. Zapata, who died 5 years ago.

Mr. Zapata, an Afro-Cuban, was a major dissident who died in a hunger strike in 2010, as recalled by the U.S. State Department:
On Tuesday, February 23, 2010, prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo died following an eleven-week hunger strike. We are deeply saddened to learn of his death, and the U.S. Government extends its heartfelt sympathies to his family, friends, and supporters. 
Zapata was arrested in 2003 on charges of “contempt for authority.” While in Havana last week, the U.S. delegation for Migration Talks raised Zapata’s incarceration and poor health with Cuban officials and urged them to provide all necessary medical care. 
Mr. Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s death highlights the injustice of Cuba's holding more than 200 political prisoners who should now be released without delay[.]

One of the dissidents arrested this week was Berta Soler of "The Ladies in White," a group of women who march every week demanding the release of their husbands, brothers, and sons.

The Obama administration has expressed concern, but it's going to take a lot more than that to stop the Castro regime.  

Unfortunately, the Obama administration broke with previous U.S. presidents who connected the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with changes in the human right record on the island.  Furthermore, the Obama administration punted on every issue and appears in a hurry to do a deal with Cuba and Iran.

We are living in strange times.  Secretary Clinton measures her success by the number of miles that she flew.  President Obama measures his success by the number of deals that he agrees to.  We are indeed living in strange times!   

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