Being that they are all Cuban dissidents and live on the island, no one in the White House gives much credence to their assessments. President Obama prefers to get his information about Cuba directly from the apartheid regime and the bevy of yes-men that surround him.
Nevertheless, if you want to know just how effective the president’s Cuba policy has been through the eyes of an actual Cuban, here you go.
Revenue for the regime, a crackdown on society, and the repression of dissidents
Antonio Rodiles, Coordinator of the Forum for Rights and Freedoms (ForoDyL):
A year ago relations were restored but, if one counts the 18 months of the confidential political process leading up to that achievement, it has been some 3 years of rapprochement between Washington and Havana. During this period what has been most evident is an increase in repression and violence on the Island.
This is a trend that has affected not only the opposition and human rights activists, but also the population at large, ordinary Cubans who do not get involved in politics because they are afraid to; the self-employed, for example, with fines, controls, and the whole issue of abusive and excessive taxes.
What we are seeing is a regime that, though it has opened up in the international sphere, at home is doubling down on its repressive policies. A sign of this is the relentless flight of Cubans abroad we have been recently been witnessing.
The Obama Administration had stated that this was best way to bring about positive change in Cuba, but I think it is high time that it at least begin to publicly recognize that things are not going as they expected, because what we are experiencing is a process curtailing all the freedoms and rights of Cubans.
From the outset the Forum for Rights and Freedoms identified the need for a real political process in which the regime also had to take steps. This is not what has happened. The people behind this agenda of continuing to grant concessions, without requiring anything from the regime in return, are proving to be somewhat obstinate.
It is very worrisome that in recent weeks we have seen a wave of imprisonments, not only temporary arrests, while Washington remains utterly silent about the situation. Moreover, the famous empowerment that the self-employed were going to enjoy has yet to materialize.
The regime’s response to the Obama Administration’s measures has been its traditional backwardness, and it is surprising that there have been no statements released, by any institution, including human rights groups, with respect to the current situation.
Laritza Diversent, Director of Cubalex
The rapprochement between the two governments has been positive, although we have not seen any steps forward by the Cuban Government in terms of greater respect for human rights on the Island.
It is up to Cuban civil society to expand strategies to achieve the recognition of its rights.
The repression against dissidents is getting even harsher, but I think this is more due the regime’s fear than its privileged position.
Eduardo Cardet, National Coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement
For the people of Cuba this has been a very tough, difficult year, characterized by a worsening economic and social crisis, and an alarming increase in the exodus of Cubans who are heading abroad, by any means possible, especially to the United States, as almost the only opportunity to improve their lives.
The political regime has exhibited no changes of the kind we have been striving for, as dissidents. The repressive control has only increased, and we’re not the only ones saying it. There is a palpable level of violence being perpetrated against the Ladies in White, and against all opponents of the regime in general, and any manifestation of independent participation.
Unfortunately, there has been no democratic opening-up, at all. At the public relations level, however, the Government of Cuba has managed to project a fraudulent mirage of change. Many democratic countries around the world, such as in the European Union, have sought to rethink their relationships with the Government of Cuba, as if almost everything was resolved.
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