By Dustin Howard
The President- hardly a stranger to hashtags, must’ve missed that #HumanRightsDay is trending on Twitter. While this was meant to observe South Africa’s Human Rights Day, on Twitter it has turned into a catch-all encompassing all sorts of narratives surrounding Human Rights.
The irony must be lost on the President, who is currently in Cuba where human life’s value is determined by the state, cheapened by the denial of so many basic rights.
The President appears to think he is bribing Cuba into being freer, bringing a delegation of capitalists with him to entice the most oppressive tyrants in this hemisphere. In reality, his pandering validates their tyranny, and reverses the gains of previous administrations, Democrat and Republican, to starve the Castros out of power.
What sort of President, under the guise of being a human rights campaigner, would do such a thing?
The same President who pays lip services to human rights, downplays the indignities and crimes of regimes all over the world. Specifically, in the case of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the President turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to the exploitative behavior, or pretends they will be punished in extreme cases.
Just in the case of Thailand and Malaysia, the practice of essentially enslaving captured people to work in factories and processing food is rampant. Human trafficking is a problem in several of the TPP countries.
Free trade is not without value or virtue, but can it legitimately be called free if the United States is trading with people who allow such blatant violations of human rights?
If consistency were alive and well in Washington, D.C. there would a greater outcry against a trade deal that enables profit from genuine human slavery, a definition the Obama administration altered to benefit Malaysia, a TPP country.
If President Obama were a serious advocate for those trapped in countries with oppressive and unethical practices, he wouldn’t be in Cuba today lauding those who jail their political opposition, nor would build his legacy on the backs of the poor in TPP countries.
Americans like lower prices, but not at the expense of their jobs and values.
Dustin Howard is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.