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Obama Warmly Legitimizes Cuban Dictatorship

December 24, 2014 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

I have long been reporting on Castro-ruled Cuba and, indeed, was there not long after Fidel Castro had taken over the country. What became clear, as the number of Castro’s political prisoners increased, was that his revolutionary Cuba was a dictatorship, like the regime he had ousted.

After I wrote that, a member of his administration rebuked me for my rank ignorance.

I responded by saying that he knew that if I were a Cuban in Cuba, I would be in prison.

Later, at the United Nations, I was one of a number of reporters interviewing Che Guevara, the young, dashing Latin American revolutionary who had acquired fans among many American college students.

Sitting by his side that day was a translator; we had been told he could not conduct an interview in English.

I asked him: “Mr. Guevara, can you see at any time in the future when there might be elections by freedom of choice in Cuba?”

Without waiting for the translator, Guevara burst out laughing, saying: “Aqui? In Cuba?”

I kept reporting — often using sources from within Cuba that I cannot, for their sake, name — details about the impact of the dictatorship. For example, kids who heard their parents criticize Fidel were required to inform the authorities.

Currently, Cuba is under the active leadership of Raul Castro, who is not markedly different from his brother.

In The Wall Street Journal last week, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whose parents fled Cuba to live here in freedom, declares “it has been the policy and law of the U.S. to make clear that re-establishing diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba is possible — but only once the Cuban government stops jailing political opponents, protects free speech, and allows independent political parties to be formed and to participate in free and fair elections” (“A Victory for Oppression,” Marco Rubio, The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 17).

“The opportunity for Cuba to normalize relations with the U.S. has always been there, but the Castro regime has never been interested in changing its ways.

“Now, thanks to President Obama’s concessions, the regime in Cuba won’t have to change.”

I can still hear Che Guevara laughing at my question about the future of free elections there. Of course, there’ll be changes in the economy, but I continue to have regular access to news from inside Cuba of the Castro brothers’ stifling dissent. I am still trying to establish indirect contact and even talk …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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