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On Cuban Independence Day, The World Should Ask: When Is Cuba Going To Change?

May 20, 2012 | Blog

Today marks the 110th anniversary of the watershed moment in Cuba’s history when it achieved its independence. Today is also an opportunity for America and the world to reassert our desire to help the Cuban people overcome the Castro regime’s repression and ensure that this century  is marked by Cuba’s realization of freedom and democracy.

Throughout its rule, the Castro regime has failed the Cuban people and destroyed lives. It has done so through a failed economic system, corruption, cruel violence and outright murder.  The international community should join America in insisting that Cuba hold free, fair and transparent elections, release all political prisoners, and protect fundamental freedoms.

Doing so is especially important now at a unique time in Cuba’s history that has seen the rise of a relentless pro-democracy movement willing to stand up for their God-given rights. They deserve our solidarity, especially considering the regime’s response to this historic campaign for democratic change has been a cruel wave of political repression.

Our policy should be geared towards applying pressure on the Cuban government to change.  They need to stop beating up and harassing people that challenge their authority, and instead allow those differences to be settled at the ballot box, through a free and fair election process in which the Cuban people elect their own leaders.  They need to stop imprisoning their political opponents and liberate them all.  Instead of unleashing their security forces and organized mobs to break up pro-democracy demonstrations, they need to allow the Cuban people to assemble and express their views freely. We should also withhold opportunities for American dollars to help fund the Castros’ repressive machine and hurt the Cuban people’s freedom, safety and dignity. 

After more than fifty years of the Castros’ oppressive rule, we should never lose an opportunity to remind the world what a failure their government system, philosophy and leadership has been.  They have failed the Cuban people.  Now more than ever, it’s Cuba that needs to change. It’s Cuba that needs to earn the right and privileges that come with a normalized relationship with America.  It’s Cuba that needs to stop swimming against the current of history and stop denying the Cuban people the fundamental rights and freedoms they are courageously fighting for.

Neither America nor the world should change our insistence that Cuba change its way. It’s Cuba that needs to change and respect the democratic desires of its people.