Miami Herald | EDITORIAL

Cuba through rose-colored glasses

 

OUR OPINION: Ignoring Castro regime’s brutal nature is intellectually dishonest

HeraldEd@MiamiHerald.com

The scathing reply delivered by Sen. Marco Rubio on the Senate floor this week in response to Sen. Tom Harkin’s report of a visit to Cuba was a well-aimed and well-justified verbal cannonball. Sen. Harkin had it coming.

Let’s be clear about this: There is room for debate about the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba and whether it should be replaced. Indeed, open debate should be encouraged.

There is certainly room for discussion about finding a more-effective way for the United States to help the Cuban people and, at the same time, promote U.S. goals in the hemisphere. Sacred cows have no place in foreign policy.

But any discussion about daily life in Cuba that glosses over, or completely ignores — as Sen. Harkin did — the punishing nature of the Cuban regime is intellectually dishonest, not to say naive.

Sen. Harkin believes the United States should abandon its policy of seeking Cuba’s isolation. His farm state of Iowa benefits from any trade improvement that would increase agricultural exports to Cuba, of course. Still, it’s his opinion, and he’s entitled to express it without arousing anyone’s temper.

But U.S. policy toward Cuba is one thing, and the tyrannical, dictatorial nature of the Cuban government is another. How can there be any debate about the latter?

Sen. Harkin recently visited eastern Cuba and returned to deliver a report on the Senate floor about the idyllic countryside and the wonders of Cuban medicine, with a brief bow, as well, to the state education system.

Even assuming he’s right — a debatable point — he forgot to say that whatever “benefits” the Cuban state offers its people have come at the price of taking their liberty. That’s a bad bargain in anyone’s book. His constituents in Iowa wouldn’t make that deal, and neither did the Cuban people, not willingly.

There’s not enough room here to once again lay out all the many crimes of the Castro regime. We’ll settle for the opening words of the latest Human Rights Watch report on Cuba:

“Cuba remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent. In 2012, the government of Raúl Castro continued to enforce political conformity using short-term detentions, beatings, public acts of repudiation, travel restrictions and forced exile.”

And that’s just for openers. Maybe Sen. Harkin would have gotten a more-accurate impression of what daily life is really like if he had spoken to Cuban dissidents, the courageous individuals who dare to keep the spirit of freedom alive on the island by willingly risking their lives and liberty.

Sen. Rubio rightly responded to the speech by the Democrat from Iowa with sarcasm and indignation, tying the Castro regime to the Venezuelan government’s harsh response to street protests over failed economic policies based on Cuba’s discredited model.

“Let me tell you what the Cubans are really good at,” Sen. Rubio said. “What they are really good at is repression … They have exported repression in real time, in our hemisphere, right now.”

Mr. Rubio ended by making a good suggestion to his colleagues: Go ahead, visit Cuba, but be sure to talk to those who dare to speak the truth even at the cost of punishment by the government.

“I bet you’re going to hear something very different than what you got from your hosts on your last trip to the wonderful Cuba, this extraordinary socialist paradise. Because it’s a joke. It’s a farce.”

It’s a joke, but no one’s laughing.

Read more Editorials stories from the Miami Herald

  • Miami Herald | EDITORIAL

    Filling the bench

    OUR OPINION: The selection of judges a problem in the Florida gubernatorial race

  • Miami Herald | EDITORIAL

    Black eye for the region

    OUR OPINION: Venezuela does not deserve support for Security Council seat

  •  
Florida State Prison in Starke, the department’s largest prison.

    Miami Herald | EDITORIAL

    Crime in Florida’s prisons

    OUR OPINION: Corrections secretary must push — hard — for reform

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category