Awkward: Hours Before Air Force One Landed In Cuba, Dozens Of Dissidents Were Arrested

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Mar 21, 2016 10:40 AM
Awkward: Hours Before Air Force One Landed In Cuba, Dozens Of Dissidents Were Arrested

In terms of U.S.-Cuba relations, I guess you can say the Cold War-era mentality is over…on paper. The embassy has been reopened, and Barack Obama became the first president to visit the island nation in 88 years. Yet, that still doesn’t negate the fact that dozens of dissidents were arrested hours before President Obama arrived in Cuba. Granted, it was part of a scheduled protests that have occurred every Sunday by the Ladies in White, a group of wives whose husbands had been political prisoners of the authoritarian regime (via Slate):

Dozens of people protesting the Cuban government in Havana were arrested on Sunday, mere hours before President Obama was set to arrive on a historic three-day visit to the island. The detentions follow a pattern that repeats itself every Sunday when the Ladies in White group, made up by wives of former political prisoners, take to the streets to protest. About 300 government supporters surrounded the 50 members of Ladies in White before police officers detained the protesters and loaded them into buses, reports the Associated Press.

[…]

The arrests were seen as another sign that the government led by Raúl Castro will not tolerate any kind of disruptions to the highly anticipated visit. “No matter what Mr. Obama says about freedom during his three-day stay, Cubans of all ages and ideologies will be expected to behave,” points out the New York Times.

In other words, it’s a day that ends in “y” in Cuba. No wonder why Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) believes this whole trip is a “disgrace.”