[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Debate is Good

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Debate is Good

Yesterday's debate on U.S. Cuba policy in Little Havana was well covered by Henry, who attended the event and blogged about it here. I won't add much to what Henry has already mentioned, but there was a quote in the Herald article linked above attributed to FIU Professor Lisandro Perez which struck me as very revealing:
Let's not put U.S. policy at the level of the Cuban government.
Surprising that Perez, a dialogue advocate, would say that. What's the purpose of dialogue if it isn't to attempt to compromise two different vantage points at a relatively level plane?

Perez's comment also illustrates his lack of desire for Cuba to change. Of course, we shouldn't expect Cuba to be at the same level as the United States, he says. So what if Cuba oppresses its people and denies basic human rights? So what if they don't live up to our (U.S.) standards? Remember, they're a sovereign nation. What right do we have to impose our standards on them?

At least that's my translation of what academics like Perez are trying to say when they give every impression of apologizing for the atrocities of the castro regime.

Debates like this are great, perhaps we need to have these public debates on a more regular basis. Not only are they the hallmarks of a free society, but they serve a key purpose which is to expose the feelings and interests of both sides of an issue. In the case of yesterday's debate, it's clear where people such as Lisandro Perez stand.

That's a good thing.

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Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

I get the feeling that you are quoting Lisandro Perez out of context. Here's what was printed in the Miami Herald (April 1):

"Luis Zúñiga, a Radio and TV Martí executive and former political prisoner, reminded Flake and Pérez that, even if the travel ban were lifted, 'the regime has the power to decide who will travel to Cuba' and that many, such as himself, still won't be able to go.

'If they put restrictions, that's their problem,' Flake said, adding that it should be beneath the United States to restrict Americans' freedoms.

Pérez agreed. 'Let's not put U.S. policy at the level of the Cuban government.'"

It obviously refers to the practical nature of restricting travel mandated by governments alone. International law prohibits unreasonable curtailing of a person's right to travel where they wish. Human rights organizations have criticized the new US restrictions of travel by Cuban families. And the latest polls show that the majority of Cubans also oppose the new restrictions.

You should re-examine your interpretations of what "academics" are really saying. You might find that many Americans and Cuban-Americans are saying the same things.

1:14 PM, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

I beg to differ. Perez is a well-known dialoguero, as Henry noted in his blog the other day. So even if he made that remark in context to travel restrictions, it contradicts his otherwise prevailing attitude that the U.S. should sit down and talk to the castros without demanding that Cuba meet certain prerequisites.

Oh, and can you please tell me what academics are really saying?

1:50 PM, April 02, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

The context is clear. You may want to find another quote by Perez that would suggest he is contradicting himself. Otherwise, I see no point in having some abstract discussion.

What are academics saying? They are opposed to current US policy towards Cuba. Just as the majority of Americans and a growing number of Cuban-Americans are. They are not "apologizing for the atrocities of the castro regime" as you interpret it.

3:28 PM, April 02, 2007  

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