Human Rights in Cuba

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So much for Obama’s ‘new chapter’ with Cuba
By DANIEL ALLOTT (@DANIELALLOTT) • 1/11/17 6:39 PM

“If I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban
people…you might have said our sights were set a little too high.”

So said President Obama in his farewell address to the country Tuesday
night. Obama often touts his administration’s actions on Cuba as
evidence that his approach to diplomacy has worked. The Obama
administration did open up a new chapter with the Cuban regime —
restoring diplomatic relations with the government and making it easier
for Americans to and do business there. Unfortunately, the new
chapter reads like something out of a Stephen King novel.

Cuban and activist Dr. Oscar Biscet was
Wednesday morning by state in his home in Havana. He was released
after six hours and told that he’d be imprisoned if he did not stop
organizing for Project Emelia, an initiative he recently launched to
help teach Cubans how to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience.

Biscet is a leading advocate of nonviolent resistance to the Castro
regime and of a peaceful transition to democracy on the island. Biscet
is a physician and human rights activist who has spent 13 years in the
state’s prisons. He has been imprisoned for a variety of “crimes,”
including exposing the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion,
displaying the Cuban flag upside down in an act of protest and
organizing to carry out nonviolent acts of civil disobedience. This last
act earned him a 25-year term, for which he served 8 years.

Biscet has been awarded numerous awards for his work, including the
Presidential Medal of , bestowed by President Bush in 2007.

Biscet left the island for the first time last year and arrived in
Washington D.C., visiting the Washington Examiner’s offices in June. He
told the Washington Examiner that Obama’s outreach had been “a strategic
error” because it rewarded the regime and got the Cuban people nothing
in return. He warned that the reforms had enacted were
mostly cosmetic and that true change would only come once all Cubans had
secured the basic rights of free speech, religion, assembly and a free
press.

Biscet is hardly alone in being targeted by state police. As Obama has
“open[ed] a new chapter” with Cuba, the Cuban regime is still reading
from the old playbook when it comes to political repression. As Amnesty
International put it about Cuba last year, “Despite increasingly open
diplomatic relations, severe restrictions on freedoms of ,
association and movement continued. Thousands of cases of harassment of
government critics and arbitrary arrests and detentions were reported.”

During his summer visit to D.C., Biscet told the Washington Examiner
that he was anxious to return to Cuba to launch Project Emelia. “I have
a moral and ethical commitment to return. I can’t leave my people enslaved.”

Daniel Allott is deputy commentary editor for the Washington Examiner

Source: So much for Obama’s ‘new chapter’ with Cuba | Washington
Examiner –
www.washingtonexaminer.com/so-much-for-obamas-new-chapter-with-cuba/article/2611608

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