Until recently, American politicians visiting Cuba would regularly stop off to meet with members of the island nation's dissident community, as a gesture of respect and solidarity.

According to an Associated Press report Thursday, in the seven months since the relationship between the United States and Cuba began to thaw, "American politicians have flooded Havana to see the sights, meet the country's new entrepreneurs and discuss the possible end of the U.S. trade embargo with leaders of the communist government."

But of the more than 20 U.S. lawmakers who have visited Cuba since February, not one has visited with Cuba's dissident community. This is in part because Cuban officials have made dissing the dissidents, many of whom have spent years or decades in prisons for nonviolently advocating for democracy, a condition for obtaining access to high-ranking Cuban officials.

Of course, while Cuba's democracy advocates have long counted on the support and goodwill of allies in the U.S., most also realize that true political change in Cuba cannot come from the outside. As leading Cuban dissident Dr. Oscar Biscet wrote in an op-ed for the Examiner last month, "Ultimately … it is the Cuban people who must claim our liberty and establish our democracy. Only then will Cuba be free."

Read more from the AP here.

Daniel Allott is deputy commentary editor for the Washington Examiner