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18/12/2014 | Apropos of ''normalizing'' relations with Cuba's police state

Martin Edwin Andersen

Toast with a Real Cuba Libre: Remember the Bay of Pigs' Brigade 2506 heroes!

 

As the Obama Administration announces its initiative to restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and opening an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half century, here is a modest proposal for the debate about dealing with a police-state regime keen on imitating the model of the Chinese Communist Party.

Whatever one's position on what can and should be done now, it is important to ensure that any effort to "normalize" relations with the Castro brothers does not mean a Stalin-like (or Putin-like, take your pick) falsification of history.

What is needed, President Obama, is official and prominent recognition of the heroism and sacrifice of the Cuban people in combating one of the world's longest-lasting dictatorships.

Today, conservative Republicans like Arizona Senator Jeff Flak are part of a bi-partisan call for a "normalization" of U.S.-Cuban relations, even though the dictator-brothers remain in control of the island.

Meanwhile, the only monument to Cuban-American relations in Washington, D.C., is the "Maine Memorial" in Potomac Park, which surely would be a leading contender in the "Most Obscure Memorial in Washington D.C." contest.

While a change in U.S.-Cuban relations might be justified on strategic grounds, such as outflanking Venezuelan brownshirt Hugo Chavez's (in)Maduro heir and their allies around the hemisphere and beyond, the U.S. should be careful about the signals it sends.

As the Obama Administration has been careful to note in the past, "normalization" should not include agreeing to lower international standards on democracy and human rights. I hope that remains just as true today, and that the long-awaited liberation of Alan Gross does not signal a lowering of the American flag.

Nor should it be about the selling out by the United States of recent shared history, which is why a monument needs to be erected in the nation's capital that memorializes the heroes and martyrs of Brigade 2506, as well as the victims of the Castro regime.

The noted author, Haynes Johnson, recognized the importance of the former when he wrote: "The Bay of Pigs was a battle when heroes were made."

Any legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress to "improve" relations with the Cuban dictatorship should also contain, a minimum, funds to create such a monument and a "freedom medal" in their honor, to be awarded to real democrats in the Americas--many faced with a new type of "coup" in their own countries, that of strongmen who destroy judicial power independence, freedom of the press, and the fundamental rights of the hemisphere's first peoples.

Some considerations:

1. Any effort to "normalize" relations with the Cuban dictatorship should require recognizing Cuba's heroes, particularly Brigade 2506

2. No such monument to Cuba's heroes and martyrs currently exists in the U.S. capital.

3. In late 1962, President John F. Kennedy told Brigade 2506 survivors: "I can assure you that this flag will be returned to this Brigade in a free Havana."

4. First Lady Jackie Kennedy said she hoped her son, John F. Kennedy, Jr., would "grow into a man at least half as brave as the members of Brigade 2506."

5. The late Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black noted that: "Great nations, like great men, should keep their word.''

6. A monument to Cuban freedom and sacrifice is a first step.

Offnews.info (Argentina)

 



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