Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tropical Breezes: Democracy Movement in Cuba

Fire of Liberty
It seems that El Hefe is having some troubles keeping his police state together in Cuba. After 46 years of Castro's jack-boot tactics of suppressing freedom of speech and assembly as well as his continued application of Soviet style economic policies it seems the people are looking for alternatives and aren't afraid to do so. Though the odds of hearing or seeing any stories from the MSM on the ever-growing freedom movement in Cuba and the fact that members of the US government have met with these groups in Cuba is very low, I can assure you the New York Sun is on the ball. Just look at what the NY Sun wrote in a recent editorial about the democracy movement and events in Cuba:
The most recent repression traces back to a May 20 gathering at Havana at which at least 150 dissidents demanded democracy and the release of political prisoners. Mr. Gomez Manzano was one of the organizers. After this unusually strong showing, Mr. Castro apparently felt compelled to send in his paramilitary to suppress a small annual opposition commemoration on July 13. A wave of arrests followed just more than a week later.

Since July 22, 50 opponents of the regime have been arrested, of whom 15 remain in jail, including Mr. Gomez Manzano. Seventy-five dissidents were arrested in 2003; 61 of them are still behind bars. The government has launched a campaign of intimidation against other leaders. For example, a crowd of pro-government thugs recently surrounded the house of Vladimiro Roca for several hours, hurling invective at him as they tried to block an anti-government meeting.

Mr. Castro has managed to weather many storms during his 46-year reign, but there's hope that this time might be different. "I think we are at the tipping point," a senior program manager at Freedom House, Xavier Utset, told the Sun. The dissident movement is gaining ground, Mr. Utset said. The movement is developing into a full-blown civil society that is less afraid of the government, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, Stephen Johnson, said.

The regime also is fraying at the edges in more serious ways than ever before, a former staff member of the National Security Council, Otto Reich, told the Sun. A 15-year downward economic spiral triggered by the end of Soviet support is sinking the country further into poverty and stagnation, and aid from Hugo Chavez's Venezuela isn't nearly enough to solve the problem. Hurricane Dennis wreaked havoc on a Cuban infrastructure that was already crumbling.

A recent visit by Senator Specter turned up the heat even further. The senator met with dissident leaders just three weeks after Mr. Castro had claimed in a speech that the opposition was dead. As Ms. Clyne reported, dissidents say the visit gave a major moral and political boost to their movement by showing the support of a high-profile American senator for freedom in Cuba. President Bush last year created the new post of "transition coordinator" to oversee American support for the downfall of the current government and to aid a democratic replacement when that downfall happens, a post the president filled late last month by appointing Caleb McCarry in a move that angered Mr. Castro.
I'd say that the people of Cuba are finally reaching the point where they can see the burning beacon of freedom in the distance but still have miles of rough road ahead before they reach the goal of casting aside 46 years of Castro's tyranny once and for all. Let's just hope more folks within our government and the media start advocating the democracy movement in Cuba like the New York Sun does. The time for change in Cuba is budding and will blossom via our unmitigated support.

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