In a scathing editorial for Politico entitled “In Cuba, Obama Will Legitimize the Corrupt and Ignore the Oppressed,” GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz blasted President Obama for his “legacy-building” Cuba trip. In effect, the Texas senator critiqued the president’s worldview, a perspective informed by Left-wing meta-narratives. “Communist Havana has always been a magnet for the radical chic of the left, drawn like moths to the flame of this western outpost of totalitarian Communism,” began Cruz. “Back in the 1960s, the visitors included Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichael, while Che Guevara himself received Jean-Paul Sartre. Now this scene will include a president of the United States.” By locating Obama’s “unprecedented” trip within a larger and well-established intellectual tradition of Leftist communist apologia, Cruz not only downplayed the apparent historical significance of U.S.-Cuban rapprochement, but recast Obama as a misguided postmodern theorist, rather than a realist diplomat.
On Sunday, President Barack Obama, a retinue of celebrities in tow, is expected to arrive in the Cuban capital to hang out with Raul Castro and his henchmen, all of which will be breathlessly documented by the media mavens along for the ride.
Meanwhile, political prisoners languishing in dungeons across the island will hear this message: Nobody has your back. You’re alone with your tormentors. The world has forgotten about you.
They will not be on TV, rubbing elbows with the Obamas or left-wing politicians like Nancy Pelosi. There will be no mojitos at the U.S. Embassy for them. Raul Castro denies their very existence.
News reports say there are more than 100 long-term prisoners of conscience in Cuba. Nobody knows for sure, as the Castro regime does not grant international organizations access to its prisons. But we know they are there and that hundreds are held for shorter periods, and beaten in prison regularly.
As a son of Cuban immigrants, Cruz knows full well the horrors the Castro regime has inflicted on its people. “I am the son of a Cuban who was beaten and tortured by Batista’s regime, and my aunt was likewise brutalized by Castro’s thugs,” explained Cruz. “Thankfully, both my father and my Tía Sonia found freedom in the United States.”
Cruz’s editorial was published early Sunday and likely penned a few days prior. On Monday, President Obama held a joint press conference with Raul Castro. Cruz’s editorial proved prescient. Both in tone and tenor, the Cuban autocrat was defiant, refusing to even acknowledge the reality of political prisoners.
"What political prisoners?" asks Pres Castro in response to a question. Challenges reporter to provide list of political prisoners in Cuba.— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 21, 2016
Raul Castro says the Cubans don't have political prisoners, standing next to President Obama.— Rick Klein (@rickklein) March 21, 2016
RT @JohnSurico: Castro being such a Castro in this press conference.— WhiteHousePressCorps (@whpresscorps) March 21, 2016
It was a shocking moment that we should have expected. As Cruz wrote, “The effect” of Obama’s conciliatory gestures “will not be liberalization but rather the institutionalization of the Communist dictatorship as the profits from this détente will line the pockets not only of Fidel and Raul Castro, but also of Raul’s son, Alejandro Castro Espin.”
Detailing the Castro regime’s unwavering commitment to human rights abuses, Cruz asserted:
I have news, Mr. President: No progress has taken place. Cuba is going backward.
Over the weekend a makeshift boat was rescued off Marco Island carrying 18 desperate refugees who were willing to risk their lives rather than endure the “progress” in Cuba. Nine had perished on the journey.
The independent Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation says that 1,141 Cubans were detained for political reasons last month alone, following the 1,447 that were detained in January.
So sycophancy is having the effect is always does: It is telling our enemies that they can behave with impunity.
As Cuban-Americans speak out against what they deem to legitimization of a dictatorial regime, Sen. Cruz and other U.S. lawmakers continue to speak out for the forgotten people of Cuba. In an editorial likely dismissed as partisan by the administration, Cruz said what Obama should have to Raul Castro’s face: “I have a word for the people of Cuba who will witness the gaudy spectacle in Havana this weekend: America has not forgotten you.”