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Editorial: An Appeal to the White House
DDC | Madrid | 30 de Mayo de 2017 - 14:42 CEST.

Castroism's plans for 2018 are clear: to officially sanction the
transfer of power to the family's heirs and double down on the kind of
state capitalism that the Castros and the military elite already
administrate.

This road map involves two farcical elections beginning in November 2017
– municipal and parliamentary ones. In the municipal elections several
dozen independent candidates will try to run, for the first time, and
after the second ones Ra?l Castro might step down from the presidency of
the country, which would mean that, for the first time in decades, and
at least nominally, a Castro will no longer head up Cuba.

Both events will give rise to an unprecedented scenario and generate
dynamics that are difficult to predict, even for the regime itself. The
current spike in repression against any form of ​​independence on the
Island is linked to the authorities' uncertainty, as they are made even
more nervous by the volatile situation facing their Venezuelan ally
Nicol?s Maduro.

In this context, the White House has proposed withdrawing funds
supporting democracy in Cuba. The issue is still to be debated in
Congress, but its ultimate approval would have serious consequences for
the Cuban democratic cause.

Totalitarian laws remain in place on the Island. In addition to
repressing them, the regime condemns to social exclusion all those who
oppose it. Attempts to legalize independent initiatives are continually
rejected. Activists cannot work in the State sector, and are harassed if
they try to undertake economic activity on their own. They are the
victims of beatings, torture, abductions and arbitrary arrests,
prevented from traveling, expelled from the universities, and their
children are harassed at school. Retracting support would mean leaving
them completely at the mercy of their repressors.

At a time when the Tourism and Agriculture sectors are seeking ways to
access the Island's market, abandoning support for those fighting for
democracy in Cuba would be a boon for the elite that has ruined the
country and denies the vast majority of its citizens any chance for
freedom and prosperity. It is not only with investment in the economy
that the Cuban issue may be resolved, but also in human rights and
democratization.

US President Donald Trump stated on May 20: "The Cuban people deserve a
government that peacefully defends democratic values, economic freedoms,
religious freedoms and human rights. And my Administration is committed
to achieving that vision." In pursuit of these aims, the White House
should reconsider its proposal to cancel aid for those who are now
fighting for a democratic and diverse Cuba; a country that, among other
things, would not constitute a source of conflict in the region.

Source: Editorial: An Appeal to the White House | Diario de Cuba -
http://www.diariodecuba.com/derechos-humanos/1496135288_31501.html


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