Monday, April 27, 2009

Left should push for democratization of Cuba

Wise words from Marc Cooper


Obama's move Monday, his clean break with the last half-century of American policy, in itself begins to rob the Cuban government of its convenient bogeyman. Who in Cuba is going to believe that an Obama-led America poses a threat of invasion? (Answer: only a few dozen "revolutionary" Americans who at any given moment can be found in a Havana hotel bar telling themselves they are vacationing in Paradise).

I never bought the argument that the reality of a belligerant Bush admin in Washington somehow justified censorship, repression and oppression in Havana. It's a non-sequitor. We don't believe the threat of Al Qaeda justifies suspension of the U.S. constitution, do we? Are Cubans somehow entitled to a lower grade of civil liberties than we are?

So those of us who wish to lift the embargo now have the obligation to demand that the Cuban government start to make some tangible concessions toward democratization.

Raul Castro putting a few cell phones up for sale and his family members suddenly embracing the same gays and lesbians that were once relegated to UMAP labor camps ain't gonna cut it.

If Obama can enact a policy -- no matter how modest-- of creating an opening toward a "hostile" nation, then the Cuban government ought to be able to do the same in regard to its own population.

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