Bad Deals With Iran, Cuba — And Their Human Rights Records Are Worse
First Cuba. Now Iran.
It can be painful watching President Obama strike deals with some of the
world’s most odious regimes. But as the spotlight of misguided diplomacy
shines on these pariah states, it gives those who actually care about
human rights a chance to educate onlookers about what life is really
like for those beneath the boots of the Castros and the Mullahs.
To understand that is to understand why Havana and Tehran cannot be trusted.
Education is key, as was illustrated by a much-ballyhooed push poll by
the Atlantic Council in February last year, which showed wide support
for engagement with Cuba. However, once the question included
information on how horrible Cuba’s human rights record was, support
quickly dropped from 56% to a minority of 43%.
Iran, because of the memories of the hostage crisis and its ritualistic
“Death to America” chants, is well-known as a U.S. foe. Many Americans
realize that Iran is no friend of gay rights, and some may know that,
under the regime, homosexual acts are punishable by death.
But how many Americans know that Iran’s clerics can and do routinely
push gays into unwanted sex-change operations? Or that the regime that
may soon reap $300 billion to $400 billion in sanctions relief from the
Vienna nuclear deal is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism?
Tehran will likely use much of that money to support such proxy groups
as Hezbollah, Hamas and a Syrian regime that has massacred over 320,000
of its own people in four years.
Cuba’s human rights violations get even less attention. This is ironic
given that, unlike Iran, it lies just 90 miles from our shores and has a
history that is deeply interwoven with that of the United States. Cuban
soldiers fought in the American Revolutionary War. The U.S. liberated
Cuba from Spain in 1898. And, of course, there are close to two million
Americans of Cuban descent.
And yet, this former friend has been held still in historical aspic for
the last 56 years. Ruled by one single, communist clan, its 11 million
people have had their civil rights canceled. The island’s crumbling
buildings serve as a telling rebuke, reminders of a superior era gone
by. Nothing of any architectural significance has been built in half a
century. Similarly, the 1950s cars testify that average Cubans in 1959
suddenly became too poor to import new ones. Yet somehow these
self-evident facts have failed to generate much reaction from college
Democratic and friendly Israel gets all the opprobrium on campus, where
there’s a bourgeoning anti-Israeli movement. But Cuba? Crickets.
Do the following experiment: Google “Israel divestment” and you get
960,000 results. Google “Cuba divestment” and you get: “Did you mean:
One plausible explanation is that far too many American students have
been educated by a professorial cadre that agrees with the ideology of
the Castro clan. Che Guevara enthusiasts in academia even now are racing
to form partnerships with Cuba.
So small wonder these professors have spared their charges any
instruction on the sadistic nature of their Latin “hero” or anything
else that would make them question the reigning orthodoxy (both on
campus and in Havana).
But as anyone who’s ever been parent to a teenager can attest, the young
like to question authority. Why not use the present moment to give them
the information they lack concerning Cuba and Iran? As former White
House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel used to say, “You never want a
serious crisis to go to waste.”
Source: Bad Deals With Iran, Cuba — And Their Human Rights Records Are