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  • Cuba

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on December 18th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Obama has announced that he will not only end the trade embargo with Cuba but establish full diplomatic relations.

    President Obama, as he has shown all year, isn’t about to go quietly into the lame-duck night, even with Republicans ready to take full power down the street. With the stunning announcement Wednesday that the United States is set to normalize relations with Cuba, the president is closing his self-termed “Year of Action” with a thunderclap.

    In doing so, Obama is serving notice to new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that a sitting president trumps a Congress divided both along party lines and within them. The shift comes about a month after the last time the president thrust his stick into the GOP’s eye, when Obama announced he was unilaterally providing widespread deportation relief to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants.

    I have no objection to ending the embargo, which has been mostly symbolic for years.

    Diplomatic relations is another matter.

    Even the Argentine Pope is involved apparently. Certainly, there is no reason why the Pope should recognize real democracy and freedom after a lifetime in Argentina.

    Whether any of this will influence the station of the Cuban people is doubtful.

    A full end to the US trade embargo of Cuba would require legislation in Congress, something for which there has been virtually no appetite until now, but the White House hopes that by using a series of executive actions to minimise its enforcement, it can provide a breakthrough that will encourage political reform in Cuba and soften political opposition in the US.

    A recent view of Cuba is available from Michael Totten and it is not optimistic about Cuban freedom.

    I had to stay off their radar. Freedom House ranks Cuba as the sixth worst country in the entire world for journalists. The Castro government creates a more hostile working environment than even the Syrian and Iranian governments. The only countries on earth that repress reporters more ruthlessly are, in order, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Eritrea, and Belarus. All are either communist or post-communist in-name-only.

    Some of my colleagues in the media weren’t sure I’d get away with it. “You’re pretty high profile,” said one. “And it’s not like you can hide.”

    Several who have worked in Cuba in the past warned me not to bring a laptop. “That alone will be a red flag,” said one. “They’ll put you under surveillance.”

    You don’t just fly into Cuba and start interviewing the locals.

    The regime is that much more decrepit with the absence of Daddy Warbucks in Moscow. The things you will most love about Cuba, I bet, are the Cubans and the ravaged beauty of the place. I can’t imagine any people on earth putting up with such bullshit with as much grace and humor and decency as the Cubans have managed, God love ‘em. Were it not for the regime I’d happily live in Havana.”

    Of course, Obama plans to help them out with US aid but Congress may have more to say about that.

    Every Cuban, regardless of how content they may appear, lives with two underlying things—sadness and fear, the latter being more prevalent. Most Cubans will not openly display it as you are a foreigner, but read between the lines when they speak to you.”

    I know what it’s like to wear a false face. Not only did I have to lie at the airport, I had to conceal my identity from every single person I met in the country, including other Americans, lest someone say the wrong thing about me in public in front of the wrong person at the wrong time. I vowed to myself before I even left the United States that I wouldn’t tell a single human being in Cuba who I am or what I was doing no matter how much I felt like I trusted them. I hated having to do that, and I felt a little self-loathing because of it, but I had to be careful and consoled myself with the fact that I could be honest about everything later in writing.

    Cuba is a police state on a par with North Korea. Cuban intelligence has been running our Cuba policy for many years.

    As of 2007, they were STILL running our policy.

    “The Cuban government has eyes and ears everywhere,” he told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “If it was that easy to recruit Ana Montes, then we have to assume they have recruited others.”

    Carmichael said his experience looking for Cuban spies within the DIA led him to believe that Cuba today has “a stable of agents” within the U.S. intelligence community and elsewhere in government. “The danger is that the information [they gather] will be shared with Iran or wherever our forces are today,” he added.

    Carmichael called Montes the “Queen of Cuba” because of her unprecedented penetration of the U.S. intelligence community and her impact on U.S. government policy toward Cuba.

    Not only did she have access to the most secret, compartmented intelligence programs aimed at Castro and his regime. But as the intelligence community’s top Cuba analyst, Montes helped to craft virtually every major classified analysis on Cuba, including key National Intelligence Estimates.

    Under Montes’s guidance, the Cuba NIE’s instructed policy-makers that Castro’s regime posed no threat to the United States and was not seeking to extend its influence to other countries in the Western hemisphere.

    Whether this is still case is unknowable but, considering who runs our government and the State Department, I would say yes.

    The Cuban embargo began in retaliation for expropriation of US assets and the assets of the Cuban middle class who mostly decamped to the US over the years. Those who left early were lucky. Others, not so much. It, our relationship with Cuba and Castro, began with the support of the Eisenhower Administration.

    Just months after he seized power in Cuba, Fidel Castro visited Washington in April 1959. He placed a wreath at the base of both the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials and was photographed looking up in seeming admiration of both U.S. presidents.

    For U.S.-Cuba relations, it was all downhill after that.

    Che Guevara was already executing thousands of Cubans during this “honeymoon period.” Michael Totten has a few things to add about Guevara, as well.

    “Just as Jacobin Paris had Louis Antoine de Saint-Just,” wrote French historian Pascal Fontaine, “revolutionary Havana had Che Guevara, a Latin American version of Nechaev, the nineteenth century nihilist terrorist who inspired Dostoevsky’s The Devils. As Guevara wrote to a friend in 1957, ‘My ideological training means that I am one of those people who believe that the solution to the world’s problems is to be found behind the Iron Curtain.’…He was a great admirer of the Cultural Revolution [in China]. According to Regis Debray, ‘It was he and not Fidel who in 1960 invented Cuba’s first corrective work camp,’ or what the Americans would call a slave labor camp and the Russians called the gulag.”

    The adulation that he has enjoyed is incomprehensible except as an example of propaganda and stupidity. Even the returned hostage, Gross is seen with his lawyers who are apparently admirers of Guevara.

    Gross

    Guevara is the enduring image of Cuba and radical chic, even more than Castro.

     

    18 Responses to “Cuba”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      I don’t mind a deal in principle. The problem is that this deal, like Obama’s other deals with dictatorships, is a lousy deal for the USA. It’s a great deal for the Cuban regime and for the American businesses that cooperate with it, but it betrays our principles and rewards hostage-taking and intransigence by the Castro brothers. Obama doesn’t merely sell out oppressed peoples, he sells them out cheap. Ordinary Cubans will see little if any benefit, and the regime is strengthened when we should be working to weaken it and encourage alternatives.

    2. Veryretired Says:

      It rewards a significant element in the current regime’s leftist constituency, which has always supported the Castro regime, and slaps the Cuban emigre’ community in Florida, which is generally Republican supporting.

      The idea that this political move has some higher motivation or purpose is ludicrous.

      As for Pope Francis, that’s a long way down from JP 2.

    3. TimL Says:

      Once again, rogue governments have every reason to seize US citizens if they can get their hands on them. Use them as bargaining chips later. Could he not have gotten some freedom for the Catholic church in Cuba, for example. No, it’s all a giveaway with nothing in return.

    4. Grurray Says:

      The embargo didn’t and doesn’t work, but it has been not working a lot less lately.
      The Cuban economy was on the verge of collapse because they couldn’t be supported by Venezuela anymore, which is collapsing. The Castros would have still probably survived somehow, but we sure made it a lot easier for them by bailing them out.

      This lame duck session is turning out to be Obama checking off all the Leftists’ greatest hits before he loses power in January.

    5. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      This is a test requested by Jonathan in Support.

    6. dearieme Says:

      A useful cliche in such matters is to intone “the devil is in the detail”. That may well prove right.

      As for the lawyers with their twee picture of Che: shove the scoundrels out the window, for heaven’s sake.

      “there is no reason why the Pope should recognize real democracy and freedom after a lifetime in Argentina”; there is no reason why O should recognize real democracy and freedom after a political lifetime in Chicago.

    7. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Trying again to see if WordPress has decided it likes me:

      Leaving aside the arguments for or against keeping or dropping the Embargo; the Embargo actually consists of 6 separate Federal statutes, each with statutory requirements that must be fulfilled before its provisions can be lifted. Cuba is also formally listed as a supporter of terrorism.

      The verbally expressed will of Benito Hussein Obama does not fulfill those requirements.

      Just as he did with the Amnesty Decree, he is by Decree deliberately and blatantly claiming the power to over-ride lawfully enacted statute. Other than a couple of cases of the handwaving vapors; there is no sign, hint, or promise of action by the Republican “leadership” to resist this seizure of power.

      Mind you, after the CR surrender, Institutional Republican promises are worthless. Only consistent actions will restore a semblance of credibility. Past record being the best predictor of future performance, I am not expecting even promises.

      If the “law” is the momentary whim of any Executive Branch employee reversible without notice, and Congress is just a waste of protoplasm, we are not governed by the Constitution. If we are not governed by the Constitution, the Federal government does not have legitimacy and its writ only runs as far as citizens can be put literally or figuratively at gunpoint.

      If these ARE the new rules established by default because the Republicans will not even pretend to defend the Constitutional framework, life in going to get “nasty, brutish, and short”.

    8. Sgt. Mom Says:

      “there is no reason why O should recognize real democracy and freedom after a political lifetime in Chicago.”

      Truer words were never spoke, Dearie. One of my fondest wishes is that the other Boyz would literally say, “the hell with you, I’m going to Texas” – but someone has to stay and carry on the good fight.

    9. newrouter Says:

      >off all the Leftists’ greatest hits before he loses power in January.<

      hah you ain't seen nothing yet with the barackypenphone

    10. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Well, Hussein has delivered a big win for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

      I am glad that Dr. Kennedy linked the Michael Totten Articles, they are excellent, if stomach flipping, insights into how comprehensively, the Castros have ruined that sunny land.

      Personally, I think the embargo is a bit beside the point.

      Cuba is within US waters. A line drawn from San Juan to Brownsville runs through it. We never should have allowed the island to be controlled by hostile forces.

      The time has long since arrived to fix the problem. The Castro brothers need to enter an assisted living facility. The gulag needs to be emptied. The US must make this happen, peacefully if possible, but vi et armis if necessary.

      Sadly, but unsurprisingly, Hussein has turned over his cards and revealed that he is not only a card carrying member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but he is also a member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. So, he won’t do what must be done. Here is hoping that we can elect a patriotic American to be president in 2016.

    11. TeeJaw Says:

      The more brutal the dictator the more warm and fuzzy Obama feels about them.

    12. dearieme Says:

      “Cuba is within US waters. A line drawn from San Juan to Brownsville runs through it. We never should have allowed the island to be controlled by hostile forces.”

      Remember the Maine.

    13. Mike K Says:

      “We never should have allowed the island to be controlled by hostile forces.”

      In 1962 a US invasion was imminent but was avoided by the “Missile Crisis” resolution, which involved more of a surrender (Missiles in Turkey) than was admitted for decades. It is probably better than nothing happened because it was later learned that tactical nuclear missiles were already in place. Castro was furious that the Soviets did not give him launch authority. We only learned this later.

      I don’t care about the embargo, which will probably do little for the Cuban people, but the diplomatic matters are more in the power of Congress. Obama will ignore Congress knowing he is impeachment proof. Still, the matter will probably be another muddle like amnesty. There is a lot of “atmospherics” in this as Kissinger would say.

    14. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      >>The more brutal the dictator the more warm and fuzzy Obama feels about them.

      True for leftists in general. Part cowardice, part awe & envy of their power, which they would love to wield here.

    15. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Mike K: I don’t want to retrade the early 60s. JFK definitely mucked up the situation in Cuba when he approved the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and Castro trumped him by claiming the Soviet Union as a protector. However, to me the real question is why did it ever get that far. Castro seized power at the beginning of 1959. Eisenhower was in the sixth year of his presidency, so he could have resolved the situation before JFK, and probably at a lower cost.

      All of that is ancient history. The situation has festered for 25 years since the Soviet Union disappeared. We need to get active and solve it.

    16. vxxc2014 Says:

      We’ll end up also supporting Venezuela and possibly Iran too. They’re out of money as oil is crashing back to earth.

      We meanwhile have Shale oil to burn.

      Those are his fellow Anti-colonialist regimes and they’re in trouble.

      POTUS isn’t a Socialist, or a Communist.

      He’s an Anti-Colonialist. African Anti-Colonialism is the politics he identifies with, his only ever public display of emotion is “Dreams of My Father”, when he visits his Father’s Grave.

    17. vxxc2014 Says:

      Now I have a suspicion more will be coming North than Cigars.

      POTUS isn’t Hitler. He’s Allende with Abimael Guzman as his Attorney General.

    18. Mike K Says:

      “Eisenhower was in the sixth year of his presidency, so he could have resolved the situation before JFK, and probably at a lower cost.”

      The Bay of Pigs was an Eisenhower/.CIA plan but JFK screwed it up by chickening out on the air support. Maybe it would have failed anyway because the Cubans were more supportive of Fidel than we realized.

      Richard Bissel planned the invasion but Kennedy interfered with the plans.

      At a meeting on 11 March, 1961, Kennedy rejected Bissell’s proposed scheme. He told him to go away and draft a new plan. He asked for it to be “less spectacular” and with a more remote landing site than Trinidad. It appears that Kennedy had completely misunderstood the report from the JCS.

      Bissell now resubmitted his plan. As requested, the landing was no longer at Trinidad. Instead he selected Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs). This was 80 miles from the Escambray Mountains. What is more, this journey to the mountains was across an impenetrable swamp. As Bissell explained to Kennedy, this means that the guerrilla fallback option had been removed from the operation.

      This was fatal to any possibility, however small, there had been of success. The final blow was his interference in the plans for air support.

      On April 14, Kennedy asked Bissell how many Douglas B-26 Invaders were going to be used. He replied sixteen. Kennedy told him to use only eight. Bissell knew that the invasion could not succeed without adequate air cover.

      They went anyway, in a mindset similar to Obama’s decision to increase troops in Afghanistan while announcing the date of withdrawal.

      It’s all politics and is nothing new.