Cuba: appeasement never works


Rosa María Payá will be presenting an appeal for a judicial review of the conviction of Angel Carromero for the events that caused the death of her father, Oswaldo Payá, and her friend Harold Cepero.

“According to Cuban law, anyone can request a review of a criminal case and I decided to do it not only because Angel Carromero alleged that another car had intentionally hit the car he was driving, but also because the rules of due process were violated when he was prevented from providing expert evidence which would determine if the event was provoked,” she said.

Bringing freedom and democracy to totalitarian Cuba will be no easy task. Two indispensable ingredients, though, must be courage on the part of the country’s dissidents and democrats, and international solidarity with them, The Washington Post notes:

Both were on display in Havana over the past week. At the center of events was Rosa María Payá Acevedo, daughter of the late Oswaldo Payá, a recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought who lost his life in a still-unexplained 2012 car crash. Ms. Payá decided to pay tribute to her father by awarding a human rights prize in his name and chose as the first recipient Luis Almagro, the Uruguayan secretary general of the Organization of American States, who has distinguished himself through forthright condemnation of repression in Cuba’s authoritarian ally Venezuela.

“That the Almagro Affair had to do with an award named for Oswaldo Payá, a true martyr in the cause of freedom who was inspired by Christian Democratic convictions, suggests that the Castro regime and those who wish to inherit its power are nervous,” notes George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center.

“Authoritarians confident of their position would not have reacted so stupidly to an award being given to a left-leaning, Spanish-speaking, Latin American politician — unless, that is, they were afraid that the memory of Oswaldo Payá would be rekindled in the ceremony in which Almagro received the Payá Award,” he writes for The National Review. All the more reason, then, to stop appeasing the Castro regime, and start taking steps to ensure progress in Cuba — and not just economic progress, but progress in human rights and the rule of law, adds Weigel, a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.

The Cuban government is practicing abroad what it is strictly forbidden within its own borders, says Gabriel C. Salvia (left), Director General of the Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo de América Latina (CADAL). The regime is infringing the political reciprocity principle in bilateral relations, he writes for Latin America Goes Global.

Once again, Raúl Castro’s government finds itself exposed on the international stage, and its political dogmatism may lead several democratic countries to review their relationship with Cuba. From a democratic perspective, the reaction of the single-party Cuba, regarding the initiative of the Latin-American network “Youth for Democracy” in Havana, to give the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General an award as well as a posthumous recognition to the former Chilean President Patricio Aylwin, is ridiculous.

It is a historical shame that Cuba is the only Western country that is less advanced than it was in the mid 20th century, notes analyst Roberto Alvarez Quinones. The same cannot even be said of Haiti. Many Cubans on the island would be happy if the country enjoyed the same standard of living it did 60 years ago today, when it was one of the highest in Latin America.

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