The Corner

Beating Up Berta

Expected news: The Ladies in White have been beaten very badly. They are the human-rights advocates in Cuba, who are attacked by state-security agents when they do things such as try to attend mass. Yesterday, the leader of the group, Berta Soler, was struck in the head, causing her to suffer convulsions.

To read about this, go here. (The article is in Spanish.)

I have a habit when talking to political dissidents. I ask, “What do security agents say when they beat you? Anything? What are they like? Do they indicate remorse? How are they recruited to do this work?” Etc.

In an interview three years ago, Berta Soler told me what they say. They say to her, “Nera! Why are you protesting against us? You should be thankful to the revolution. If you went to America, you would be killed by the Ku Klux Klan. Obama may be president, but you’re just an ordinary black woman.”

Last year, Berta told me that, in his unilateral opening to Cuba, President Obama had given the Castros a “green light” to “crush civil society.”

A few weeks ago, Obama yukked it up with the persecutors of people such as Berta Soler — doing the wave with them at a ballgame and so on. Yet he also met with dissidents, including Berta. You can’t be on the side of both, can you? At a minimum, don’t you have to treat one with sternness and the other with kindness?

Also, when Obama met with those dissidents, he saw a lot of black faces around the table. Perhaps a majority of the group. I wonder whether he sees a reminder — even a hint — of the civil-rights movement he reveres.


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