US-Cuba rapprochement benefits regime, not people


The rapprochement between the United States and Cuba – one of the world’s most authoritarian tourist destinations – will benefit the Cuban people little and its fruits will not reach the population, dissident Oscar Elias Biscet (far right) said Monday.

“As long as the Castros are (in power), there will be no improvement,” he said.

Cuba needs change “from the bottom up to the superstructure” and an opening to democracy and freedom, Biscet said, adding that he feared the Cuban regime “might prolong itself” even if Raul Castro leaves power as announced in 2018.

When I was 23 years old I did a very small thing. I refused to say a few words, “I’m with Fidel,” said Cuban poet and human-rights activist Armando Valladares (left) upon receiving the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s Canterbury Medal in New York, May 12:

First I refused the sign on my desk that said as much, and after years of torture and watching so many fellow fighters die, either in body or in spirit, I persisted in my refusal to say the few words the regime demanded of me.

My story is proof that a seemingly small act of defiance can mean everything to the enemies of freedom. They did not keep me in jail for 22 years because my refusal to say three words meant nothing. They kept me there that long because it meant everything.

An intercontinental association of lawyers in the Western Hemisphere has been forced to abandon plans to gather in Havana for its upcoming annual gathering, Jacob Gershman writes for The Wall Street Journal’s law blog:

The reason, according to organizers, was the Cuban government’s concern about who would be speaking at the meeting and what they would say about the Communist regime and its allies in Venezuela.

The Inter-American Bar Association informed its members this week that their meeting would now be in Miami. The abrupt venue change came after its president, Carlos Lopez, flew down to Havana Tuesday at the urgent request of Cuba’s government-sanctioned bar association, according to Mr. Lopez. 

The Miami Daily Business Review has more coverage of the development.

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