Support for my Cuba travel policies? About “this” much.
Yesterday, Fox News Latino treated us to Mario Diaz-Balart’s latest oeuvre on foreign policy. And as usual, what he does say is far less interesting than what he doesn’t say.
Mario criticizes President Obama for appeasing the Castro dictatorship, claiming that instead of supporting “the growing, courageous pro-democracy movement” against the “increasingly relentless oppression of the Cuban people, President Obama weakened U.S. sanctions and has increased the flow of dollars to the dictatorship.”
Ok, I’d like to say to draw an obvious parallel that either continues to escape Mario, o el se esta haciendo el bobito. The “increased relentless oppression” at the hands of the Cuban government is precisely due to the “growing” activity within the island’s “courageous pro-democracy movement.”
In other words, if people weren’t increasingly speaking out against the regime, then the regime wouldn’t be increasing their efforts to shut them up. Get it?
That “growth” in pro-democratic activity has directly coincided with the President’s policy of unrestricted travel and remittances for Cuban-American families. Is it a causal connection? Could be, though it’s hard to prove. However, there’s no denying there’s a strong correlation between having access to the outside world and being able to efficiently rise and organize against your oppressors. As Tomas Bilbao of the Cuba Study Group tried to explain to Mario not too long ago:
Democratic transitions from authoritarian rule in Eastern Europe, apartheid South Africa, and even the Arab Spring we are now witnessing, have proven that contact with the outside world has played a crucial role in promoting those changes. In none of these successful cases, did the U.S. restrict contact between U.S. civil society and those nations.
Further, it shows just how little confidence Mario has that public support will materialize for his failed policy objectives that he won’t even mention them on this op-ed. The truth is Mario wants to bring back the Cuban family travel and remittance restrictions of the Bush years. He tried it in December of last year, by introducing an amendment to an appropriations bill that would rescind the easing of travel and remittance restrictions made by President Obama in 2009, only to discover one again that his travel and remittance restrictions are hugely unpopular with just about everyone, including Miami’s Cuban community and opposition leaders in the island. As leading Cuban democracy advocate Yoani Sanchez wrote back in December in an op-ed titled “Congressional Amendment Threatens Cuban Families”:
Right now, thousands of teenagers, the self-employed, seniors, students and babies depend on the uninterrupted growth in the flow between the families in exile and those on the island. In many Cuban homes, the personal ability of thousands of individuals to overcome depends on maintaining this bridge, and their future as citizens rests in the arms of solidarity extended from outside.
Bottom line: Mario Diaz-Balart and his cronies know there is little public support for their intransigent policies, and that’s why they don’t go into specifics when they propose them anymore, neither in this op-ed or the language they introduced in the 2012 GOP Platform. Orwellian rhetoric aside, Mario has no interest in advancing policies that help Cuban families or empower the Cuban people to take their destinies into their own hands. He’s only interested in policies that increase the likelihood of Cuba blowing up like a pressure cooker. That way the Cuban people won’t roll on the floor laughing their butts off the day his brother Lincoln parachutes into the island and claims his “rightful” place as the next President of Cuba.