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A Republican View

We must continue to stand with the Cuban people
Lincoln Diaz-Balart
From the Print Edition:
Cuba, May/June 2007

(continued from page 1)

At the time of the disappearance of the dictator in Cuba, the U.S. embargo, with its lifting being conditioned on those three developments, as it is by law, will constitute critical leverage for the Cuban people to achieve those three conditions. In other words, for them to achieve their freedom.

It should not seem that complicated. Wherever there has been some form of external pressure, there has been a democratic transition. Where there has been acquiescence, financing, massive trade, oxygen for the regime, such as in China, there has been no democratic transition. It is very simple.

So when we see some, in Congress and elsewhere, asking for an end to the embargo on the Cuban dictatorship now, before the three conditions, we have to ask the following question: Which of the three conditions do the Cuban people not deserve? Do they not deserve the liberation of all political prisoners, or the legalization of political parties, the press and labor unions? Or do they not deserve free elections? Which of the three conditions do the Cuban people not deserve?

We must remember that in Cuba people can be killed simply for attempting to leave the country without permission, such as during the recent purposeful sinking of an old tugboat full of refugees, in which 41 defenseless human beings were murdered, and the even more recent execution by firing squad of three young men 72 hours after a farcical so-called trial for the "crime" of trying to reach freedom in the United States. This is a system where, if a Cuban citizen has a child with a fever or another medical problem, he or she has to get a foreigner to purchase the medicines, in dollars or euros. Let us not forget, as well, that this is a regime that continues to harbor countless felony fugitives from U.S. justice (airline hijackers, drug traffickers, murderers of police officers) as well as international terrorists, from ETA to FARC to IRA; a dictatorship that has had over a dozen spies convicted in the United States for spying against U.S. interests in the last decade alone; a regime that has had the head of its air force indicted in the United States (and is still awaiting trial) for the murder of unarmed U.S. citizens in international airspace, and the head of its navy indicted in the United States for drug trafficking. The Cuban dictatorship is one of only a handful of regimes that remain on the U.S. State Department's list of state sponsors of international terrorism.

I would ask those who say that U.S. sanctions "have not worked" to remember what the Cuban dictatorship used to do when it received five or six billion dollars annually from the Soviet Union, an amount similar to what it would receive each year from U.S. tourism. I would ask them to remember Grenada, Nicaragua, Angola, Eritrea.

No, this is not the time to give the Cuban dictatorship countless billions of dollars unilaterally, while Cuba's prisons remain full of heroic political prisoners and while the regime remains a state sponsor of international terrorism. However, the wait will not be long. The Cuban dictatorship will soon be but a grotesque Caribbean chapter in the history of evil. A democratic transition in Cuba will take place. Then, not only will relations be normalized with the United States, but the Cuban people will always be grateful to America for not having joined its jailers to profit from its oppression during its totalitarian nightmare.

Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart is a Republican from Florida.

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