Cuba UPDATED

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Havana today for the opening of the U.S. Embassy. The headlines are joyful (Kerry to See U.S. Flag Fly Over Cuba Embassy After 54 Years) and call it “a new day.”

Politico is even giving Communist dictator Raul Castro, Obama’s favorite Castro, a tongue-bath, exulting over

the remarkable political transformation of Raúl Castro—a zealot communist (and unrepentant Stalinist) throughout the 1970s who has morphed into a formidable agent of change

Politico’s “formidable agent of change” – not your everyday agent of change, mind you, but a formidable one –  actually spelled out last December that there will be no change:

Castro rejected that idea in his address to the twice-annual meeting of the National Assembly, saying “we must not expect that in order for relations with the United States to improve, Cuba will abandon the ideas that it has struggled for.”

It’s not only the ideas; writer Humberto Fontova tells IBD that Castro, frankly, owns everything in Cuba. That won’t change.

Few realize that Cuban dissident organizations report a sharp increase in repression throughout the island of Cuba, and especially in Havana. All dissidents are excluded from the Embassy event.

The WaPo editorial explains,

Mr. Kerry has decided to omit the very people in Cuba who embody the values that the American flag represents: human dignity, the wisdom of the individual above the state and free access to basic rights of expression in speech, assembly and thought. These people — the dissidents in Cuba who have fought tirelessly for democracy and human rights, and who continue to suffer regular beatings and arrests — will not be witnesses to the flag-raising. They were not invited.

The official U.S. explanation for excluding the dissidents is that the flag-raising ceremony is a government-to-government affair. This is lame. Inviting the dissidents would be a demonstration to Raúl and Fidel Castro of what the flag stands for: people freely choosing their leaders, a pluralism of views and a public engaging in the institutions and traditions of a healthy civil society. Not inviting them is a sorry tip of the hat to what the Castros so vividly stand for: diktat, statism, control and rule by fear.

The real reason why Kerry is not inviting Cuban dissidents to the flag-raising event is because the Castro regime doesn’t want them there — and the Obama Administration has shamefully acquiesced. In return, the U.S. got . . . nothing.

Next on the list: Iran.

UPDATE

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.