Stabbed in the Back on Captive Nations Day

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

It was not really noticed, but the official opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. on July 20th took place during what is called Captive Nations Week. If many people do not remember what Captive Nations Week is all about, I will not blame them since it has fallen into almost total obscurity since the end of the Cold War. First begun under U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1959, it was created to remind Americans of those who suffer and languish under Communism. This week became more poignant as refugees from Communist states, including Cuba, fled such totalitarian lands to obtain for all that we Americans take for granted—freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the right to peaceful assembly, the right to air one’s grievances and seek justice for past wrongs, and the right to join, form and vote for the political party of anyone’s choice.

This week had real meaning to those who had fled from Communist states, and in so many ways it still has meaning for those in Communist countries still around. Most Americans cannot imagine the nightmares, the terrible things, and the ugly reality so many people in those Communist states, past and present, have had to endure. Americans cannot imagine what it means to be locked up in a slave labor camp for years simply for voicing a different opinion or practicing a religion outlawed by the state. The things so many people who escaped from these Communist governments have gone through will haunt them for the rest of their lives. And those who escaped are the lucky ones. Tens of millions have been murdered by various Communist regimes in so many countries since 1917, and hundreds of millions are made to suffer in fear and isolation because they cannot escape. Their lives have been diminished and destroyed forever even though they are still alive (more or less).

What incenses me is that U.S. President Barack Obama knew full well that he was allowing the official opening of the Cuban embassy on Captive Nations Week—a calculated insult. Worse, it has been revealed that Obama administration officials have deliberately taken Cuba off its list of state sponsored terrorism and up-graded Cuba (and China) on its list of countries guilty of human trafficking for the simple reason of establishing diplomatic relations and making it easier for those who will want to invest in Cuba despite the U.S. embargo. If there can ever be a true betrayal of the meaning and symbolism of Captive Nations Week, then this is it. But as I have said before, there are powerful business and left wing forces that want to recognize Cuba so that investors can put in tens of millions of dollars into Cuba. It is following a pattern of what business investors had done with regards to China, Vietnam, and Laos. Why should their viewpoint be any different with regards to Cuba? Cuba is seen simply as one more place to invest in. It seems that so many of our politicians have abandoned the meaning of what it means to be free.

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