Cuba through rose-colored glassesOUR OPINION: Ignoring Castro regime’s brutal nature is intellectually dishonest
The scathing reply delivered by Sen. Marco Rubio on the Senate floor this week in response to Sen. Tom Harkin’s report of a visit to Cuba was a well-aimed and well-justified verbal cannonball. Sen. Harkin had it coming.
Let’s be clear about this: There is room for debate about the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba and whether it should be replaced. Indeed, open debate should be encouraged.
There is certainly room for discussion about finding a more-effective way for the United States to help the Cuban people and, at the same time, promote U.S. goals in the hemisphere. Sacred cows have no place in foreign policy.
But any discussion about daily life in Cuba that glosses over, or completely ignores — as Sen. Harkin did — the punishing nature of the Cuban regime is intellectually dishonest, not to say naive.
Sen. Harkin believes the United States should abandon its policy of seeking Cuba’s isolation. His farm state of Iowa benefits from any trade improvement that would increase agricultural exports to Cuba, of course. Still, it’s his opinion, and he’s entitled to express it without arousing anyone’s temper.
But U.S. policy toward Cuba is one thing, and the tyrannical, dictatorial nature of the Cuban government is another. How can there be any debate about the latter?
Sen. Harkin recently visited eastern Cuba and returned to deliver a report on the Senate floor about the idyllic countryside and the wonders of Cuban medicine, with a brief bow, as well, to the state education system.
Even assuming he’s right — a debatable point — he forgot to say that whatever “benefits” the Cuban state offers its people have come at the price of taking their liberty. That’s a bad bargain in anyone’s book. His constituents in Iowa wouldn’t make that deal, and neither did the Cuban people, not willingly.
There’s not enough room here to once again lay out all the many crimes of the Castro regime. We’ll settle for the opening words of the latest Human Rights Watch report on Cuba:
“Cuba remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent. In 2012, the government of Raúl Castro continued to enforce political conformity using short-term detentions, beatings, public acts of repudiation, travel restrictions and forced exile.”
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