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The Cuban regime made headlines earlier this year when it announced that it would overhaul the decades-old migratory law, which has restricted the ability of Cuban citizens to travel abroad. Observers watched anxiously, hoping that this would be the beginning of significant democratic change on the island that has been under the tight grip of the Castro brothers for the past half century.
Among those granted permission to travel abroad was Rosa Maria Paya, the daughter of the late opposition leader, Oswaldo Paya. Rosa Maria embarked on a whirlwind tour of the United States and Europe, and she did not pull any punches. She spoke frankly to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Organization of American States, and officials in Washington, DC, regarding the highly suspicious circumstances surrounding her father’s death. Rosa Maria and her family have demanded an independent investigation into the role of the Cuban government in Oswaldo’s controversial death in 2012.
Dissident Regis Iglesias Ramirez, a confidant of Oswaldo Paya, remembers his friend on the Freedom Collection:
Despite widespread speculation that she might attempt to seek asylum while abroad, Rosa Maria returned to Cuba. The world collectively breathed a sigh of relief when she arrived home without incident. International attention quickly faded. Meanwhile, the regime waited in the wings, preparing to make its move.
State security agents quietly began setting up camp outside the family home of Rosa Maria. A post on the government’s official blog ominously warned that any “false accusations” about her father’s death would result in arrest and imprisonment. Amid these threats, it is unsurprising that on June 10 The Miami Herald reported that the Paya family arrived in South Florida and plans to settle in Miami.
It appears that in allowing Cubans greater freedoms abroad, the regime has stepped up repression at home. One step forward, two steps back.
Chinese Prisoner’s Death Holds a Message for Americans and China
Liu Xiaobo, China’s most prominent dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner died this week. His death holds a message for Americans and for China.
Release of Chinese Political Prisoner a Timely Reminder to Support Freedom Advocates Abroad
More than half the world’s population still lives in countries where basic political rights and civil liberties are only partly respected, if at all.
Bringing Freedom to the Forefront of 21st Century Politics
Is the global liberal democratic order in danger? Purposefully constructed in the aftermath of World War II, this order -- and the American leadership that is central to its success --has contributed to securing peace and expanding prosperity in the United States and around the world. Today, that order appears to be dissolving. This crisis is not new or sudden; it has been mounting for several years. Global challenges like authoritarian capitalism, violent extremism, demographic pressures, and displaced populations have placed global freedom in decline. Fraying traditional alliances united by core values of freedom are increasingly weak to respond. It is alarming that the downdraft in democratic resilience over the past decade or more includes countries that have long been part of the consolidated democratic West. This is democratic deconsolidation. In much of the Western world, we see a rise in demagogic populism, illiberalism, nationalism, protectionism, and waning conf
The Importance of Speaking Truth to Tyrants
What the president of the United States says matters. Even during the realpolitik policies of détente under Richard Nixon, it was still clear that American policy was based on a set of core values. Nixon’s practical goals of reaching deals with America’s adversaries was never based on the “great chemistry” with himself or praising the Soviet or Communist Chinese leadership doing a “fantastic job.” When the president aligns himself with the autocrats and dictators, he aligns America with their oppression. He sends a message that corruption and brutality are not our concern. Contrast that with how Ronald Reagan defied much of world opinion in calling out the brutality of the Soviet system. Natan Sharansky, then a refusenik imprisoned in a Soviet gulag, later wrote for the Weekly Standard of his thoughts on Reagan’s pronouncement that the USSR was an evil empire: “It was the great, brilliant moment whe