In today’s Impromptus, I report some good news out of Sweden. What, Muslim immigrants assimilating? No, no — but almost as good: A group of Cuban dissidents and democracy activists met in Stockholm for a “week of hope.” They were sponsored by a Cuban exile group, of course. But look: They were also sponsored by the Swedish government. And they met right in parliament.
As I put it, “Sweden has come a long way since Olof Palme, who so loved mass-murdering Communists in Hanoi and elsewhere.”
Here in the Corner, I wanted to add something about Sweden and Cuba. At the recent Oslo Freedom Forum, Roberto de Jesús Guerra spoke. He is an independent journalist in Cuba — that takes incredible bravery, including the willingness to be imprisoned repeatedly — and he was on his first trip outside of Cuba. I wrote about him here.
I did not mention this — that he named the embassies in Havana that allow dissidents and democrats to come in and use the Internet. Would you like the complete list? The embassies of the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Holland, and the U.S. interests section (which is housed in the Swiss embassy). That’s it. “The rest of the diplomatic corps in Cuba does not give us any type of help,” said Roberto.
The Czechs have been helping the Cubans for a long time. That is a special relationship. Václav Havel was a great supporter of the Cuban opposition. In 2005, I wrote a piece called “Solidarity, Exemplified: The amazing story of the Czechs and the Cubans.” I’m glad the U.S. interests section is still allowing people to come in, even under an administration bent on making nice with the Castros. Sweden? A marvelous development, and a surprise to me.
Holland? That too is a surprise. Completely stumps me. Am glad and admiring, though.
Just about every other country would rather smooch the Castros’ geriatric, murderous butts than lift a finger for the Cubans. As Jeane Kirkpatrick put it to me, a long time ago now, that is “both a puzzling and a profoundly painful phenomenon of our times.”