Why Doesn't Obama Care About Freedom?

June 29, 2009

If you recognize that Obama failed to vigorously and immediately support the pro-freedom demonstrators in Iran , take a look at his attitude toward those suffering under the Castro dictatorship.

An extraordinary editorial ran in the liberal Washington Post on Thursday, June 25, about the indifference of the Obama White House to the plight of those who believe in freedom just 90 miles from our shores. The editorial, "A Dissident Deflected," told the story of how the Obama Administration wouldn't issue a statement recognizing the plight of five human rights activists in Cuba until the Post itself inquired about the matter.

The five leaders of Cuba 's pro-democracy movement were recipients of the National Endowment for Democracy's 2009 Democracy Award. It was expected that they would not be allowed by the Castro regime to travel from Cuba to the U.S. to accept their award. But it wasn't expected, at least by the Post, that the Obama White House would seem unconcerned about their struggle for freedom. 

The Post explained, "None were able to travel to Washington. They have been represented here by Bertha Antúnez, sister of Jorge Luis García Pérez. And Ms. Antúnez, an Afro-Cuban who was active in the Rosa Parks movement before she was forced into exile a year ago, has been snubbed by President Obama. Requests that he meet with her went unanswered. Only as the ceremony began did the White House issue a brief statement."

The paper said that "Mr. Obama's hastily drafted statement―issued after The Post inquired about his silence―said he wished 'to acknowledge and commend' the five dissidents 'and all the brave men and women who are standing up for the right of the Cuban people to freely determine their country's future.'"

The belated "Statement of President Obama on NED 2009 Democracy Award Recipients" consisted of one paragraph:

"I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and commend the National Endowment for Democracy's 2009 Democracy Award recipients Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, Librado Linares, Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, and Iris Tamara Perez Aguilera and all the brave men and women who are standing up for the right of the Cuban people to freely determine their country's future. Like too many of their fellow citizens, four of these individuals have been unjustly jailed for defending the basic freedoms we all hold dear in the Americas . It is my sincere hope that all political prisoners who remain jailed, including three of today's award recipients, will be unconditionally released and allowed to fully participate in a democratic future in Cuba."

As important as the Post editorial was, Jack Otero of the Committee for Free Trade Unionism wrote a letter to the paper noting that the Post failed to highlight a leader of the Cuban independent labor movement by the name of  Iván Hernández Carrillo, who is serving a 25-year prison term since his arrest in 2003. Otero said that Hernández Carrillo is imprisoned for the "crime" of organizing unions not beholden to the communist-controlled Cuban Labor Confederation. "The Post should have acknowledged that labor activists in Cuba also risk their lives for freedom," he said.

This takes on more interest because we recently discovered that a top official of the AFL-CIO, Karen Nussbaum, who spoke at a major "progressive" conference in Washington, D.C., is stonewalling questions about how she traveled to Cuba as a young radical and came away gushing about the Castro dictatorship. She went to Cuba on the Venceremos Brigades organized by Obama's political associate Bernardine Dohrn, then a member of the communist terrorist Weather Underground.

But the Post editorial raised questions about Obama's indifference toward Cuban freedom fighters in the context of his treatment of other Latin American Marxists.

The paper commented, "It's not that the president is too busy to concern himself with Latin American politics. The White House arranged for a Spanish journalist to ask a question at Tuesday's news conference; reporter Macarena Vidal pressed Mr. Obama on whether U.S. allies such as Chile and Colombia were doing enough to help with 'less democratic countries.' The president replied by heaping praise on visiting Chilean President Michele Bachelet, a socialist who has been promoting Cuba's readmission into the Organization of American States and who has gone out of her way to avoid offending Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez. 'Chile is leading by example,' Mr. Obama said, adding that its good relationship with Washington despite political differences 'points the way for other countries...where the democratic tradition is not as deeply embedded as we'd like it to be.'"

The Post said that the message from Obama to Chávez and the Castro brothers was that "We can work with you" while the message to Cuba 's democratic opposition was "We don't have time for you."

This is an extraordinary indictment of Obama from the viewpoint of a liberal newspaper that now recognizes the far-left nature of the President's policies toward Latin America.

The paper then wondered if the brief Obama statement about the Cuban dissidents would be enough to satisfy the democratic forces opposed to the Communist dictatorship. "We suspect not," said the paper. "They, like the beleaguered pro-democracy movements of Venezuela and Nicaragua , are hoping that the American president will focus his policy on supporting them. Yet for now, Mr. Obama's diplomacy is clearly centered on their oppressors."

The sub-headline for the Post editorial was, "Why doesn't President Obama have time for Cuba 's pro-democracy opposition?" Considering his failure to immediately and actively express support for the brave freedom fighters in Iran , the answer should be obvious by now. He doesn't believe in the freedom agenda.

Some of us knew this was coming and predicted it. Unlike most of the media, we had examined the influences behind Obama, such as Communist Frank Marshall Davis, his mentor and father-figure, and understood before the election that this was a candidate who viewed America and the American way of life as the main problems in the world. Obama is truly a revolutionary Marxist who sympathizes not with those being oppressed by anti-American governments but with the governments themselves.

The Washington Post editorial on Cuba only scratched the surface of the dangers we face from this White House. Ultimately, the question that has to be seriously addressed by the Post and other media is: What should we do about the fact that the President of the United States is allied with those forces that want to bury us? 

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Copyright ©2009 Cliff Kincaid

*Cliff Kincaid is president of America’s Survival, Inc. - www.usasurvival.org
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