The Corner

A Man to Stand With

In my column yesterday, I spoke of President Obama and his meeting with Raúl Castro in Panama City. I also spoke of a group of Cuban dissidents who were present in the city — and who were attacked, physically, by agents of the Cuban embassy.

Now they are back home in Cuba, those dissidents. And the dictatorship is retaliating against them for their presence in Panama. Over the years, I have spoken of actos de repudio (“acts of repudiation”). These are episodes in which a government mob surrounds a residence, threatening, terrifying, and sometimes assaulting the people within.

The man known as “Antúnez” — formal name: Jorge Luis García Pérez — is one of the most prominent dissidents in Cuba. He is an ex-political prisoner and an example of tremendous bravery. (Antúnez is Afro-Cuban, by the way, as are many of the democracy leaders. I mention this because the Left, in America and elsewhere, has always pretended that the Castro dictatorship is good for blacks.) Antúnez was one of the dissidents in Panama.

Yesterday, he called supporters in America to report that his house was being surrounded and that mob action was about to begin. He said that the government had closed all workplaces and schools in his city, Placetas, so that people could participate in this acto de repudio. He said that workers were told that their wages would be suspended if they did not participate.

In due course, state agents said repeatedly that they would kill Antúnez.

To hear a tape recording of the phone call Antúnez made (in Spanish), go here. To see a report on the matter, go here.

I’m afraid that Obama regarded democratic protesters in Iran, in 2009, as nuisances — and that he regards the likes of Antúnez as nuisances, too. Obama has expressed clear sympathy for the Castro dictatorship. (If you doubt this, see his remarks in Panama.) Does he have equal sympathy for the dictatorship’s victims? If so, he should express it.

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