This 4th of July, Cuban People Deserve Better

Jul 5, 2015Columns

From July 4, 2015 edition of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This 4th of July weekend, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Cuba who yearn for the freedoms our forefathers secured for us 239 years ago. Forgotten in the Obama administration's "legacy-making" foreign policy celebrations are the liberty-loving dissidents languishing in Cuban jails; the families who will never see their loved one who "disappeared"; the young and old who risked and lost their lives in shark-infested waters trying to touch the shores of freedom; and the millions who suffer unspeakable poverty and indignities under the repressive, Communist Castro regime.

Yet again, the Obama administration proves that it does not know how to negotiate from a position of strength worthy of the noblest super power on earth. With dwindling economic support from its regional ally, Venezuela, the Castro regime desperately desires economic ties with its powerful neighbor to the north. Yet the administration continues its pattern of negotiating with the world's worst dictators from a position of weakness, demanding none of the human rights and democratic concessions that it could secure and that the Cuban people deserve.

President Barack Obama offered Cuba a one-sided handshake without demanding any major human rights or political reforms from Cuba in return. The corrupt Castro brothers and their communist government cronies will enjoy the economic benefits of a 'friendship' with the United States while the Cuban people will continue to live in an oppressed state deprived of free speech and the most basic of economic opportunities.

As we celebrate our freedoms this weekend with our families, let our thoughts and prayers be joined in solidarity with our Cuban brothers and sisters whose hearts still long for liberty and who continue to find hope in the faint sound of its bells which ring so loudly a mere 90 miles from their island-nation's shores.

Rep. Sean Duffy
7th Congressional District