President Obama was naively optimistic before his visit to Cuba. An incident that happened just hours before he landed Sunday, proves that Cuba hasn’t changed for the better.
Cuban authorities arrested over 50 dissidents who were protesting for the improvement of human rights. The group known as the Ladies in White, march every Sunday following a church mass and are usually arrested and detained for hours and sometimes even days.
With Obama’s visit scheduled, the group thought that that Sunday may be different. However, Cuban authorities were still quick to put a stop to the peaceful protest.
Not to mention, Raul Castro did not greet the president upon his arrival in the country. The White House maintains that this wasn’t a snub on Castro’s part. Prior to his meeting on Monday with Castro, the president said that “change is going to happen here, and I think that Raul Castro understands that.”
Obama and some American media keep calling this trip a “triumph” for American foreign policy. But, many disagree.
“He landed in Cuba and Raul Castro, who’s the head of Cuba, wasn’t there to greet him. Folks, what are we doing? What are we doing?” said Donald Trump, the leading republican presidential candidate. “We are amateur hour folks… Obama should have turned the plane around and returned home.”
We may have found something that Ted Cruz and Trump agree on. Cruz criticized the visit as well. “Now when President Obama is in Cuba, you know who he’s not going to meet? He’s not going to meet the dissidents who are being tortured right now by Raul and Fidel Castro, who are being silenced for daring to stand up. He’s not going to meet the Ladies in White,” said Ted Cruz, a fellow republican presidential candidate. Cruz also added that he plans to only visit Cuba when it is free from communist dictatorship.
Cuban-American Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla) also condemned the president’s trip to Cuba. “So there are about 120 countries that the president has yet to visit. Allies, friends, folks that would love to receive the president. And yet he takes his entire family on what again seems to be almost a pilgrimage, to the one remaining totalitarian dictatorship, anti-American dictatorship in this hemisphere,” said the congressman. “It is frankly a tragic, and a disgusting, and a horrific day for the United States, and frankly for the entire world.”