Dissidents around the world call on Obama to pressure dictators, not coddle them

Mike Gonzalez in Forbes:

Global Dissidents Ask That Obama Pressure Dictators, Not Coddle Them

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While President Obama was holding a private confab at the White House Thursday night with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to discuss, among other things, his pet project of climate change, dissidents held a public meeting in another part of Washington to demand more attention for a more traditional American priority, the support for democracy and human rights.

Chen Guangcheng from mainland China joined fellow Hong Kong democracy activists Martin Lee, Joshua Wong and Benny Tai at Washington’s Newseum to repeat a message that has so far failed to dissuade President Obama from cozying up to dictators: you can’t trust someone who mistreats his own people. It was a message that, coincidentally, Cuban dissidents were issuing in a desperate call from Havana at the same time.

“Obama should be on the side of the rights of the Chinese people, not on the side of the leader of the Communist Party,” Chen told me, speaking through an interpreter.

[…]

This is why it is important that the United States make its moral voice heard. Calls by dissidents around the world for support consistently fall on deaf ears at the White House, where Mr. Obama instead has given validation to dictators from Beijing to Havana.

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A member of the Ladies in White dissident group is led away by police to a bus in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, July 19, 2015.

As fortune would have it, while I was attending the dissidents’ event Thursday night, I received in my inbox a letter from a dissident leader in Havana, Antonio Rodiles from the Cuban movement Estado de Sats, signed by him and 13 other Cuban dissident leaders. The letter made almost exactly the same points the Chinese dissidents were making.

“The United States as a nation has declared time and again its total commitment to the defense of democracy and fundamental liberties,” read the letter, before taking President Obama to task.

Obama, it said, affirms that his policy of opening to the Castro dictatorship “is guided by the values of the Founding Fathers … However, the reality of the current situation contradicts this idea and paints a completely different picture. This unconditional rapprochement has only served to legitimize the longest lived and most destructive dictatorship in the history of the hemisphere, and has served to reinforce the violation of fundamental freedoms.”

The Cuban dissidents called on the U.S. Congress to hold firm and not give in to Mr. Obama by lifting the embargo on the Castros.

Read the entire article HERE.