Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Cuba"

Castro Mocks the American Outreach

by Elliott Abrams

The efforts of the Obama administration to ‘normalize’ relations with Cuba have been mocked this past week.

The U.S. Southern Command holds an annual regional security conference. For decades one of its main purposes was to protect the region against Cuba, but this time the Obama administration made sure that Cuba was invited to attend. The conference was held at the very end of January. Read more »

Cuban Political Prisoners Measure the Impact of Obama’s Cuba Policy

by Elliott Abrams

This past week marked the anniversary of President Obama’s new Cuba policy.

That policy is failing to produce any human rights improvements in Cuba. So this week, 126 Cuban former political prisoners–who together have served 1,945 years in Castro’s prisons, wrote a letter to Mr. Obama about his policy. It was delivered to the White House by Ernesto Diaz Rodriguez, a former political prisoner and poet who spent more than 22 years in Cuba’s prisons. Read more »

The Pope’s Cuba Test

by Elliott Abrams

The Pope’s visit to Cuba is of course a test of the regime: how much of a crackdown will it undertake to prevent him from seeing a single demonstrator or dissident?

But it is also a test of Pope Francis. He is visiting a vicious and brutal dictatorship that has largely eviscerated the Cuban church–closing its schools, for example, including those attended by Fidel Castro as a child. There have been plenty of news reports in the last week of round-ups of dissidents throughout the island. Today there are more. Jon Watts reported for The Guardian in London as follows: Read more »

John Kerry, George Shultz, and the Kerry Visit to Cuba

by Elliott Abrams

Secretary of State Kerry will visit Cuba soon–on August 14.

Since the opening of diplomatic relations and of the Cuban embassy in Washington, what’s been going on in Cuba?

More repression. There were 630 political arrests in June, according to the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights. Jorge Ramirez Calderon, one of the political prisoners released as part of President Obama’s rapprochement with the Castro regime, was notified this week that he is facing a 4-year sentence for “public disorder.” His crime was joining a demonstration for human rights in March. So, while Kerry was celebrating the opening of Castro’s embassy in Washington, the Cuban regime was cracking down harder on the Cuban people. Read more »

The Nation’s Meet The Spies Tour

by Elliott Abrams

Travel to Cuba is a new fad, helped by the changes the Obama administration has made in U.S. policy. It’s easy now for almost any group to go there, under the guise of some educational program or purpose.

But travel to Cuba has long been a practice for American leftists, who have seen the Castro regime not as a brutal oppressor of human rights but as a beacon of light in the Hemisphere. No democracy, free expression, freedom of the press, free trade unions? Who cares, after all? The thrill of visiting the communist island has been too much to resist. Read more »

Cuba and the Terrorism List

by Elliott Abrams

The Obama administration announced today that Cuba comes off the “terrorism list.”

Here is some of what it said:

the President in December instructed the Secretary of State to immediately launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and conclude that review within six months. In April, the Secretary of State completed that review and recommended to the President that Cuba should no longer be designated as a State Sponsors of Terrorism. The President then submitted to Congress the statutorily required report indicating the Administration’s intent to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, including the certification that Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months; and that Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future. Read more »