Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cuba and Apartheid

Berta Soler Fernandez is an interesting figure.  She is the current leader of a group in Cuba called Ladies in White (Damas en Blanca) which was formed to protest the repression of the Cuban regime.   The members are wives and girl friends of jailed dissidents.   The movement began as a Sunday march from St. Rita's church to places in Havana.   It is a non violent movement although supporters of Castro at times have attacked the marches.

Soler was granted an exit visa from Cuba and was allowed to receive Europe's highest award for human rights.   She then went to Florida to build support for her movement.   She was quoted in the Huff Post as saying "We want a Cuba in which liberty exists. Where there is democracy. And where there is respect for human rights. And also, we are fighting pacifically for a Cuba without the Castros."

What the Huff Post and much of the other coverage of Soler's visit did not cover was her very specific opposition to lifting the US economic blockade of Cuba.   Soler was very specific and is quoted as saying "I respect the opinions of everyone in the world, but mine [and] that of the Ladies in White is don't lift the embargo."

My default opinion on the embargo is just the opposite, which is consistent with my thoughts when the South African regime was maintaining Apartheid.  I thought then that the regime would falter if companies like HP (which had several shareholder resolutions to get out of South Africa) were allowed to work in the country and create their own employment policies.   In Cuba, without the blockade, I have always thought that if all sorts of American products began to come into the country that the regime's repression would be overturned because technology has a particularly disruptive effect on tyrants.

Castro has been a disaster for Cuba - when he took power the per capita income of Cubans was about the same as Puerto Rico or Mexico both countries have far surpassed Cuba, now the Mexican PCI is 50% higher than Cuba.   So despite the propaganda from the left, it is not the paradise that they say it is.  

In the end the best way to get rid of the Castros is made a bit unclear by Sra. Soler's comments.

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