It should be common sense that appeasing and rewarding a corrupt and murderous dictatorship for nothing in return is not only stupid, but guaranteed to fail. Unfortunately, that sense is not all that common among some folks.
Appeasing Cuba’s Regime Didn’t Work
The Biden administration should learn from the failures of the Obama administration.
For more than 60 years, a dictatorship has imposed a violently oppressive system on the Cuban people. Its human-rights abuses grew worse under the appeasement policy of the Obama-Biden administration. Amid the “thaw” in relations, documented political detentions rose to 9,940 in 2016 from 8,616 in 2015. The Castro regime lined its pockets and expanded its machinery of repression.
The malignancy has spread beyond the island. After revamping the Venezuelan military and intelligence services, Cuba led efforts to sustain the illegitimate Nicolás Maduro regime and supported its abuses, which mirrored those carried out against the Cuban people. The 2020 State Department report on Venezuela highlights torture, arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial killings—abuses that “amounted to crimes against humanity,” U.N.-appointed investigators found.
The Cuban dictatorship also worked with Hezbollah, a terrorist proxy of Iran, to prop up the Maduro regime. In Cuba, terrorists find a haven. The regime refused Colombia’s extradition requests following a 2019 bombing that killed 22. The Cuban regime reportedly also harbors American fugitives such as terrorist cop-killer Joanne Chesimard, hijacker-murderer Ishmail Muslim Ali and terrorist bomb-maker William Morales. Inexplicably, the Obama administration delisted Cuba as a state sponsor of terror in 2015. This January, the Trump administration corrected that error.
Let’s not forget that the attacks in 2016 and 2017 against U.S. diplomats in Havana remain unsolved. Many U.S. personnel and their families suffered debilitating brain injuries.
The Cuban regime alone bears responsibility for U.S. sanctions. Under the 1996 Libertad Act, sanctions will end if the U.S. president certifies that a genuine democratic transition in Cuba is under way. The basic conditions include the release of all political prisoners; legalization of independent media, political parties and trade organizations; and free, fair multiparty elections. Until then, the U.S. must demonstrate solidarity with the Cuban people, which includes tough sanctions on their oppressors. We urge President Biden to uphold the sanctions imposed by the Libertad Act, legislation he voted for years ago, rather than resume the policy of appeasement.
Messrs. McCaul and Diaz-Balart, both Republicans, represent Texas’ 10th and Florida’s 25th congressional districts, respectively.