The missing Cuban dissidents– or Barack Obama drives one hard bargain

Color me agnostic on the Cuba embargo. I think we could have driven Clan Castro from power years ago if we had subsidized cheap airfares and flooded Havana with hipsters and libertarians. Be that as it may, that was not the deal negotiated by the nimrods in the White House.

No matter what the deal was, if the US is to retain even a thread of its already shredded international credibility it must ensure that the deal that was negotiated is actually carried out. There is no evidence that the Obama administration intends to do that.

From yesterday’s daily briefing by the slightly addled and ever befuddled State Department spokescritter Jen Psaki. The questioner is AP’s Matt Lee:

QUESTION: New topic, please. Cuba?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Under the Administration’s deal to normalize relations with the Castro regime, 53 Cuban political prisoners are set to be released. Do we know who they are and where they are now?

MS. PSAKI: Well, when the announcement was made in December, of course, the United States shared the names of individuals jailed in Cuba on charges related to their political activities. We’re not going to outline who those individuals were. We shared them with the Cuban Government. Obviously, it’s a topic that we will remain engaged with them with, but I don’t expect we’ll be releasing a public list.

QUESTION: There’s a prominent dissident group in Cuba, the Ladies in White; they’ve been protesting the new policy. And they say the list is so secretive that no one knows who’s on there. Is there a lack of transparency?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we know who’s on there, and the Cuban Government knows who’s on there, and we’ve given a specific number. Obviously, there are a range of steps that both sides will need to continue to work together to take over the coming weeks. One of the reasons why we felt so strongly about changing our policy is that this – the old policy was not just broken on the economic front, but it was making it impossible for civil society and people to operate and kind of live and communicate in Cuba. So there’s a range of benefits, not just the release of the prisoners, which, obviously, we see as something that’s positive and we’ll continue to discuss and press; but there are other steps that will help, I think, groups like you mentioned, and we think it will take …read more    

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