Last week, Oakland’s Merritt College welcomed Cuban emissary Miguel Fraga to deliver an hour-long talk on Cuba’s perspective on the state of relations between the two nations.
The talk was sponsored by the college’s department of ethnic studies, whose chair, Siri Brown, used the occasion to praise Cuba’s juvenile detention facilities.
“To go into a juvenile hall where there’s no guns and no barbed wire fences and the whole aim is to reorient the youth to the goal of the revolution and treat people with respect, that was so profound for me,” she said, recalling a visit to Cuba, according to the Contra Costa Times.
“Despite these 50 years, if you go to Cuba today, you’re going to see that people don’t hate Americans,” Fraga, the first secretary at the newly re-established Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C. said, the Times reported.
Fraga’s talk arrived just two weeks ahead of President Obama’s planned two-day visit to Cuba on March 21; the first diplomatic trip of its kind to be made by a sitting U.S. president in nearly 90 years.
Breitbart News reported this week that Obama will announce new concessions to Cuba’s communist dictatorship shortly before his arrival there, which will ease travel restrictions and allow for the Cuban regime to benefit economically as the avenues of trade will be opened wider than before.
Much of the contention surrounding the newly-renewed relations between America and Cuba was based on the refusal to address and rectify the rampant human rights violations that the government is complicit in prior to restarting that dialogue and process.
Breitbart News reported that Cuba’s state-run newspaper El Granma published an article last month claiming that President Obama’s scheduled visit to Havana in March “disproves” decades of evidence that the Cuban government violates the human rights of its citizens. The same weekend the article was published, Cuban state police arrested almost 200 dissidents for participating in peaceful marches against communism.
Breitbart’s Frances Martel reported that a scathing 3,000-word editorial published recently by the Cuban government in El Granma “demanded that President Obama give America’s naval base in Guantánamo Bay, the only free territory on the island of Cuba, back to the Castro dictatorship.
It also demands a complete repeal of the embargo against the Castro government and censorship of American broadcasts to which Cubans seeking news from a free press have developed the ability to listen; this is available through innovations using the archaic radio technology available to average Cuban citizens. The article also demands that the United States no longer grant political asylum to Cuban nationals fleeing communist oppression or Cuban doctors seeking an escape from the nation’s $8-million-a-year medical slavery program.
Cuba is currently providing asylum to JoAnne Chesimard (aka Assata Shakur), a member of the Black Panther party who was convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973 and fled to Cuba in 1977 after escaping prison. She is a wanted terrorist on FBI’s most wanted list.
In March of last year, the University of California Berkeley’s Black Student Union (BSU) demanded, among a list of outrageous demands, that they rename a building on their campus after Assata Shakur.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.