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Dan Gilmore / March 21, 2016

Obama’s Visit to Cuba Will Accomplish Little

He will have failed if he doesn’t condemn Castro’s police state.

On Sunday, the whole Obama family touched down in Cuba for a historic visit, as this will be the first time in 88 years that a sitting American president visited the island. While there, Barack Obama will visit everyone from Cuban dictator Raul Castro to political dissenters calling for Liberty. However, Obama’s visit will have failed if he doesn’t condemn Castro’s police state.

Last year, Obama claimed that he was interested in visiting Cuba only if he saw the country making progress towards Liberty. “I’m not interested in just validating the status quo,” he said. However, on Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard picked up 18 Cubans who were fleeing the country on homemade rafts, trying to cross the 90 miles between Cuba and Florida. Hours before Obama’s jet touched down on communist soil, the Cuban government arrested 50 protesters from the group Ladies in White for demonstrating and throwing pro-Liberty leaflets into the air. The protests have become a weekly occurrence.

The dissidents said Cuba’s crackdown on political speech has increased in the weeks leading up to Obama’s visit, showing that things are just as they have been. The Castros are still in charge, after all. While Obama hoped for a diplomatic shortcut, Liberty could yet come to the country ruled by a police state. It’s possible that the flow of goods and information could foster more Liberty for the nation, especially when the 85-year-old Castro leaves power — just as when Ronald Reagan began to trade with the Soviet Union. But it will take time and an actual friend of Liberty in the White House.

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