The fruits of dialogue and commerce

As the “Cuba Experts” keep telling us, it is dialogue and commerce with the brutal Castro dictatorship that will bring freedom to Cuba. The problem with their argument, which is the same problem it has always had, is that if flies in the face of reason and logic. None of these “Cuba Experts,” or politicians pushing trade with the Castro family, have ever explained how providing billions of dollars in revenue and strengthening a dictatorship that has oppressed its people for half a century will suddenly make them want to become nice guys.

It doesn’t work, and here is a prime example of the supposed “fruits of dialogue” via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Time to Re-Evaluate Vietnam Policy?

Needless to say, the U.S. policy of trade, travel and diplomatic relations with Vietnam has not brought greater freedoms, democracy or human rights to the Vietnamese people.

According to The Hill:

Cao vows push for Vietnam sanctions in his final weeks

Capitol Hill’s first ethnic Vietnamese lawmaker is spending his final weeks in the House pushing for sanctions against human-rights violators in his home country.

Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-La.) introduced two bills on Nov. 18. The Vietnam Democracy Promotion Act of 2010 provides aid money to promote freedom in the communist nation as well as education and refugee resettlement programs. It also imposes conditions on aid to Hanoi and requires annual progress reports. Cao’s other bill, the Vietnam Human Rights Sanctions Act, would impose financial sanctions on, and deny visas to, Vietnamese officials guilty of human-rights abuses.

The sanctions bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the likely incoming chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), who defeated Republican challenger Van Tran in midterm elections but drew criticism for saying “the Vietnamese and the Republicans are, with an intensity, trying to take away this seat.”

A companion bill was simultaneously introduced in the Senate by Republican Sens. Sam Brownback (Kan.), John Cornyn (Texas) and Richard Burr (N.C.).

“Vietnam’s oppression of its citizens, particularly over the last year, demonstrates the need for more targeted U.S. action,” the co-sponsors said in a statement. “The Vietnamese government must reverse course on its human rights record in order to strengthen U.S.-Vietnam relations.” […]

Cao’s sanctions bill is modeled after the McCain-Lieberman Iran sanctions legislation, he said, but this is the first time such a bill has targeted Vietnam.

“The transition of the Government of Vietnam toward greater economic activity and trade has not been matched by greater political freedom and substantial improvements in basic human rights for the citizens of Vietnam, including freedom of religion, expression, association, and assembly,” the bill states, citing numerous dissidents mistreated by the government for promoting democracy. “The Government of Vietnam continues to detain, imprison, place under house arrest, convict, and otherwise restrict individuals for the peaceful expression of dissenting political or religious views, including democracy and human rights activists, independent trade union leaders, non-state-sanctioned publishers, journalists, bloggers, members of ethnic minorities, and unsanctioned religious groups.”

Cao cites the case of 59 Catholics arrested this spring for trying to bury a woman in the cemetery of a parish that the government had decided to take over. One of the parishioners, Nam Nguyen, died from beatings in custody. Cao, Wolf and Smith all wrote letters to Vietnamese leaders seeking the Catholics’ release, but six were convicted late last month, without legal representation, on charges of disturbing social order.

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