16.4.09

What does Castro want from Obama ...and Obama from Castro? - Part II

In his (now) 5 reflections since Obama's limited lifting of restrictions on Cuba, Castro alludes to an array of issues but, unaccustomed to dialogue, has thus far disregarded the invitation to discuss the civil rights of Cubans, political prisoners and democratic elections. That's either not good for appetizers or not relevant to Castro for he would surely be deprived of power and could even end up being tried, convicted and imprisoned or placed under house arrest.

Not surprisingly, as he prepares to meet hemispheric leaders in Trinidad today, Obama gently touched on Castro's omissions in an Op Ed published today.
"Each of our countries has pursued its own democratic journey, but we must be joined together in our commitment to liberty, equality, and human rights. That is why I look forward to the day when every country in the hemisphere can take its seat at the table consistent with the Inter-American Democratic Charter. And just as the United States seeks that goal in reaching out to the Cuban people, we expect all of our friends in the hemisphere to join together in supporting liberty, equality, and human rights for all Cubans."
Castro surely knows he can't forever avoid what he omits to address but he appears to be content with maintaining the status quo as long as possible for it has provided him with unchecked power in Cuba and a massive following from hemispheric leaders angry at past US foreign policy.

Yet it won't be that easy for him to get away with it this time given that Obama does not share his predecessors' views or foreign policies. Obama can agree with much of what Castro supposedly stands for without making further concessions for as long as Castro stubbornly fails to satisfactorily address Cuban political prisoners, civil rights and democratic elections.

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