Cuba Ships Dissidents off to Spain to be ‘Liberated’

Havana street scene. photo by Al Dieste.

I posted a note on Facebook about new opportunities to travel to Cuba, at least if you can claim to be a part of an educational tour or study group. A bunch of friends commented on how much they too want to go there.

Tonight I read a column about the terrible treatment there of dissidents by Mary Anastasia O’Grady in the WSJ. While Cuba may indeed be a tempting travel destination, listen to how “The 75” are being treated after Spain’s socialist government let Castro send them there to be ‘liberated’ last year.

The 75 were permitted to leave with their families, bring one change of clothes, but not given a chance to say goodbye to anyone. They have no documents so they can’t claim political refugee status…they are liberated in limbo. Spain’s government should be ashamed of how they so quickly agreed to Castro’s deal to purge their country of people who spoke up, and might make them look bad.

Cuba’s jails are full of people who have had the audacity to try and organize peaceful demonstrations, or writing columns against the leadership. They are tortured there, according to what the 75 have told the reporter when she met them in Spain. While Castro claimed he had liberated them, in fact they have no rights in Spain because they haven’t been classified as such…because doing that would make Cuba look bad and Spain’s foreign minister is a frequent VIP guest in the sunny island.

So yes, I’d join those who are eager to visit lovely Havana and sip on mojitos and bask in the music and dance. But it’s good to not forget that this is an island that’s got a bad reputation for torture and doing very bad things to anyone who dares to challenge the status quo.