- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Nat Hentoff’s latest column is right on target (“The Castros are Dr. King’s disciples?” Opinion, Monday). The Castro regime totally deceived members of the Congressional Black Caucus visiting Cuba. The worst part, however, is that the Obama administration is looking foolish and credulous on the issue of Cuba. President Obama has moved from his original position of calling on the government to take genuine steps toward democracy to openly engaging the Castro dictatorship.

As a Cuban, I want this administration to remember the Treaty of Paris of 1898. After 30 years of fighting the Spanish colonial troops, Cuban freedom fighters were denied a place at the negotiating table with Spain. This snub by the United States has had a profound effect on generations of Cubans. It is terrible to think that America could make this mistake again.

The Cuban crisis involves three parties: the U.S. government, the Castro regime and the Cuban opposition. Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton need to include the Cuban opposition - dissidents on the island and members of the exile community - in any negotiations concerning the future of their country. As in 1898, the suffering fell on those who confronted the oppression. Let us at least remember them this time.

FELIPE FERNANDEZ

Cutler Bay, Fla.

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