The Struggle for Freedom Continues in Cuba

National ReviewFidel Castro died on November 25, but Castroism — the one-party, neo-Stalinist system that has tyrannized Cuba for more than half a century — still needs to be defeated. Fidel’s brother, Raúl, “president” of the island nation for most of the last decade, has shown no signs of ending the political oppression and human-rights violations that define the regime. To be sure, Raúl has made a few minor reforms out of necessity, to open up the economy. But those changes have not been accompanied by political reforms.

The Obama administration restored diplomatic relations with the Cuban government and made it easier for Americans to travel and do business there. On January 12 of this year, the administration announced that it was ending the longstanding “wet foot, dry foot” policy that grants permanent-resident status to any Cuban who makes it to the U.S. shore. And back in October, the Obama administration announced the implementation of Presidential Policy Directive 43, which directs the Department of Defense to expand its relationship with Havana. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

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