There's a lot someone could quibble about in President Barack Obama's demand Wednesday that Cuba empty its jails of political prisoners.
It was made in a written statement, not in televised remarks from the East Room or Rose Garden.
On the White House Web site, I could find posted only in Spanish.
And the demand was not made while Orlando Zapata Tamayo was struggling to survive his hunger strike and ensuing torture by his captors, but only after his death and protests by the Damas De Blanco that were too dramatic to be further ignored.
All of this and more will re-convince many that Obama, despite the rhetoric in the statement and in campaign and other speeches on the subject, is not a true believer in Cuban freedom.
But do not be too disillusioned, for Obama's call for political prisoners be released is a big deal, for the single reason that he is the president of the United States. If only by one iota, Obama has elevated their status and perhaps provided the brave men imprisoned in the Castro gulag some added protection.
For that, we should be grateful.
UPDATED, 11:50 p.m. EDT — Babalú has the statement in English:
Recent events in Cuba, including the tragic death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the repression visited upon Las Damas de Blanco, and the intensified harassment of those who dare to give voice to the desires of their fellow Cubans, are deeply disturbing.
These events underscore that instead of embracing an opportunity to enter a new era, Cuban authorities continue to respond to the aspirations of the Cuban people with a clenched fist.
Today, I join my voice with brave individuals across Cuba and a growing chorus around the world in calling for an end to the repression, for the immediate, unconditional release of all political prisoners in Cuba, and for respect for the basic rights of the Cuban people.
During the course of the past year, I have taken steps to reach out to the Cuban people and to signal my desire to seek a new era in relations between the governments of the United States and Cuba. I remain committed to supporting the simple desire of the Cuban people to freely determine their future and to enjoy the rights and freedoms that define the Americas, and that should be universal to all human beings.