“The totalitarian regime is still intact,” [Rosa Maria Paya ... the daughter of Oswaldo Paya, a Cuban democracy activist who in 2012 was killed in a mysterious car crash that official accounts labeled an accident, but that Paya’s family, and the driver of the car, have condemned as a brazen assassination by the Castro regime] told me. “Fundamental human rights that have been violated for 55 years are still being violated, and the life of the common Cuban hasn’t changed at all.”
To be fair, it is early in the process. And Paya does support engagement. She just wants to make sure the objective of democracy is remembered.
But keep in mind that democratization wasn't the motivation of the Castro regime for restoring relations with America:
Stratfor has thoughts on the impact on Venezuela.
They also note that Cuba, which turned to Venezuela for financial support when Soviet support dried up (when the Soviet Union disappeared), finds that Venezuelan financial support probably isn't that secure given Venezuela's own financial implosion.
So Cuba hopes that we can provide the financial help to save Cuba's dictatorship. Hey, we provided the help that is keeping Iran's head above water. Why not Cuba, too?
I understand that in theory we may hope that opening up Cuba will undermine their dictatorship. But Cuba clearly believes that they can maintain their dictatorship and save it with this restoration of relations.
So just who do you really believe is practicing "smart" diplomacy?
The Castro regime survived estrangement from America. The thug regime will survive Obama-designed engagement. Heck, it may even thrive.
And our president couldn't care less about that kind of democratic change. Heck, he probably thinks the Cuban people aren't ready for democracy and freedom, eh?
Tip to Instapundit.