Obama’s focus on strengthening ties with the apartheid Castro regime leaves Cuba’s dissidents on the sidelines

According to President Obama and the supporters of his failed and horrifically abhorrent Cuba policy, engaging and generously rewarding the apartheid Castro regime for being its usual murderous and repressive self will eventually lead to democracy and respect for human rights in Cuba. In other words, promoting and defending slavery, racism, and violent repression in Cuba is the best way to end slavery, racism, and violent repression in Cuba.

Via the Associated Press (complete with Castro regime propaganda and disclaimers just in case hearing a little bit of truth may induce you to come to the correct conclusion that Obama’s Cuba policy is horrific and the Castro regime is a vile and repressive dictatorship):

Cuban dissidents feel sidelined as US focuses on state ties

Berta Soler

HAVANA (AP) — In the seven months since the U.S. and Cuba declared detente, American politicians have flooded Havana to see the sights, meet the country’s new entrepreneurs and discuss the possible end of the U.S. trade embargo with leaders of the communist government.

Their agendas have also featured an increasingly conspicuous hole — the spot once occupied by U.S.-backed dissidents who then sat at the center of Washington’s policy on Cuba.

According to an Associated Press count confirmed by leading dissidents, more than 20 U.S. lawmakers have come to Cuba since February without meeting with opposition groups that once were an obligatory stop for congressional delegations.

Advocates of President Barack Obama’s outreach to Cuba say it’s a more intelligent way to push for democratic reform on the island. After decades of fruitlessly trying to strengthen the government’s opponents, they see diplomatic engagement as the best method for persuading Cuba it’s time to open the political system and keep loosening control of the centrally planned economy.

That’s left many dissidents feeling increasingly sidelined and abandoned as both countries celebrate milestones like Monday’s opening of embassies in Havana and Washington.

“The only thing they want is to open up business, the embassy,” said Berta Soler, leader of a faction of the Ladies in White, one of the island’s best-known dissident groups. “Whenever someone high-level came from the United States before, they always made time to meet with us before getting on the plane (back home), and that’s not happening.”

Legislative staffers say Cuban officials have made clear that if Congress members meet with dissidents, they will not get access to high-ranking officials such as First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, the man expected to be the next president of Cuba who has met with U.S. politicians like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

With embassies reopened and Cuba and the U.S. formally discussing issues such as human rights, increased Internet access and opening trade, supporters of the new U.S. policy say talking with Cuban leaders is clearly the most promising way to promote reform on the island.

“Some (dissidents) may feel that because of the decision (to restore ties), their views are not being reflected as they would hope,” said Tim Rieser, a senior adviser to Leahy who accompanied him on a trip to Cuba last month. But “the senator believes that it makes no sense to continue a policy that has failed to achieve any of its objectives. It hasn’t helped the Cuban people, and it is time to try a different way.”

Cuban officials are highly sensitive to the issue of domestic dissidents, whom they call mercenaries and tools of a U.S.-backed policy aimed at overturning the half-century-old socialist revolution.

Many dissidents receive support from anti-Castro Cuban-Americans in Florida. They have been unable to generate widespread support on the island because of intense government pressure aimed at stifling popular organizing and because many ordinary Cubans believe dissidents only want to earn money, renown and visas to live in the U.S.

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