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The attack in Brussels pushed the President Obama’s big Cuba speech into the background. In fact, some of his critics think he should have skipped it and come home.
But I hope they, at least, read what he said because right in front of Raoul Castro he told Cuba’s young people their future isn’t with a closed system like communism. Their future is in joining the rest of the world, he said.
Related: Raul Castro meets the press
And even more, significant is that Raoul Castro would let an American president come into his country and say this stuff on live TV across Cuba, simultaneously translated into Spanish.
“I believe citizens should be free to speak their mind without fear,” Obama said. “To organize and criticize their government. And to protest peacefully. And that the rule of law should not include arbitrary detentions of people who decide to exercise those rights.”
Look at that. Trying to get Cuba to sign the First Amendment.
And in a country where campaigning isn’t allowed and elections are controlled by one party – he also said this:
“And yes I believe voters should be able to choose their governments in free and democratic elections.”
He said that with Raoul Castro right there in the audience. And then they went to a baseball game together!
Castro probably figured, well, one day of free speech? A small price to pay for all the US currency that’s headed this way. But it’s also an admission that Cuba’s past support of terrorism was a dead end. And that trying to rule its own people by fear has left it weak.
And sooner or later, the Islamic radicals trying to scare people into joining their little caliphate will learn the very same lesson.