Cuban Dissident Antonio G. Rodiles Wants Trump to “Treat Cuba Like a Dictatorship”

https://www.attorneycuba.com/files/2017/03/Antonio-G.-Rodiles-300x224.jpegAntonio G. Rodiles, the leader of the Forum for Rights and Freedom, has called for the Trump administration to reset U.S.-Cuba relations.

Rodiles and his partner Ailer González told El Nuevo Herald that they want the Trump administration to “recognize that they are dealing with a dictatorship.”

Rodiles would like President Donald Trump to invite opponents of the Castro regime to become a part of the “policy design” and “political process” toward Cuba, unlike what former President Barack Obama reportedly did when he restored diplomatic ties with the island in December 2014.

Rodiles and González criticized what they see as the “indolence” of the Obama administration and denounced the increased repression on the island since Obama’s rapprochement with Cuba. They said the situation on the island has gotten worse since Fidel Castro’s death last year. Opponents of the regime are reportedly being heavily monitored by the government and their families are being harassed.

“It is important for the new administration to start taking action on the issue and make some statement, because silence is being very well used by the regime to try to crush the opposition,” Rodiles said in a meeting with El Nuevo Herald.

President Trump tweeted in November saying that he was ready to “terminate” the previous administration’s agreements with Cuba if the island didn’t “make a better deal.” Trump has not taken any action against Cuba since his inauguration, but his administration is reportedly performing a “full review of all U.S. policies” with the island.

Rodiles didn’t say which measures taken by Obama should be eliminated. Several of the changes the former president made—like authorizing U.S. airlines to travel to Cuba and enabling Cubans in the U.S. to send remittances—are popular on the island and within a large section of the Cuban-American community.

Rodiles did say that he supports the previous long-held policy of applying economic pressure against the Castro regime, a practice Obama called a “failed policy.” The U.S. embargo against Cuba was first imposed in 1958. It was supposed to be maintained until the Cuban government moved toward “democracy and [a] greater respect for human rights.”

Obama reportedly asked dissidents and activists to have patience with his new policies during a meeting in Havana in March 2016. But Rodiles told the former president that he won’t be patient because Castro’s government was “kicking citizens and women with impunity.” Rodiles and several activists were arrested on the same day Obama arrived in Havana.

The couple dismissed the criticism they’ve received from people who question their support for Trump. They said they are only interested in dealing with issues in Cuba and not taking a position on U.S. domestic politics. They also claimed that their agenda is dictated by dissident groups within the Cuban exile community.

Rodiles and González acknowledged that there are many different strategies and approaches being carried out by dissidents on the island, and said it’s a healthy element in the struggle for democracy. For Rodiles, the most important thing is for the Castro regime to understand that its time is over after almost 60 years in power.
Source: 3.21.17 Rodiles Trump Treat Cuba Like Dictatorship.pdf