Last week, President Barack Obama unilaterally made a huge foreign policy decision for America, then said aloha and headed off on vacation.
Living here in South Florida, I’ve come to learn much about the relations and history between America and Cuba. I was honored to meet several Bay of Pigs survivors and I’ve had the opportunity to speak to several members of the South Florida Cuban community since Obama’s unilateral decision — not politicians but everyday Cubans. They expressed one singular perspective — unless the Castro regime has fallen and Cuban is on its way to reforming, we have simply thrown them a lifeline. The editorial board of the Washington Post expressed the same sentiment.
Hundreds of protestors in Miami were more passionately outspoken, with some older Cubans shouting “Obama is a traitor.”
Nonetheless, Obama headed off for a well-earned vacation (and well-funded, thanks to your tax dollars), while Cuba’s 83-year-old president, Raul Castro, had some alohas of his own.
As reported by CNS News, “Castro sent a blunt message to Washington Saturday as the White House works to reverse a half-century of hostility between the U.S. and Cuba: Don’t expect detente to do away with the communist system.”
“Castro’s speech to Cuba’s National Assembly was a sharp counterpoint to the message U.S. President Barack Obama gave in his year-end news conference the day before. Obama reiterated that by engaging directly with the Cuban people, Americans are more likely to encourage reform in Cuba’s one-party system and centrally planned economy. “We must not expect that in order for relations with the United States to improve, Cuba will abandon the ideas that it has struggled for,” Castro said.”
So the repressive communist regime of Cuba will persevere and has no plans for reform in return for the concessions given by Obama. And for those of you in the mindset of “why not, we trade and deal with China” I reply, exactly, and look what that’s gotten us — a communist country that understands how to leverage free market economics to sustain a communist ideology and regime. Let’s not forget the recent episode played out in Hong Kong where any thought of reform was squashed.
The collapse of the Soviet Union didn’t come militarily; it came economically because of the pressure placed on a system that couldn’t sustain itself. And so it is with Cuba, at a time when they’ve lost their major sponsor, the Soviet Union — and now Russia has its own major economic issues.
Cuba’s most recent sponsor, Venezuela, beginning under Hugo Chavez, is watching its socialist nationalized economy crumbling due to falling oil prices. So when things were potentially looking quite bleak for Cuba’s totalitarian regime, here comes President Obama with a no-strings-attached bailout.
And in a further display of defiant, victorious arrogance, as reported by CNS, “Also appearing before parliament, shaking their fists in victory, were three convicted spies just released from long U.S. prison terms. The last imprisoned members of the “Cuban Five” spy ring were freed this week in a sweeping deal that included American contractor Alan Gross and a Cuban who had spied for the U.S., both released from their cells in Cuba as a first step toward the restoration of full diplomatic ties and a loosening of U.S. trade and travel restrictions.”
“Castro also expressed gratitude to Obama during his speech, calling it a “just decision” to release the men who spied on anti-Castro exile groups in South Florida in the 1990s and have long been regarded as heroes in Cuba. Seated behind the three and their families was Elian Gonzalez, the young Cuban rafter at the center of a bitter custody battle in 2000 between relatives in Miami and his father in Cuba. The president closed with a shout of “Viva Fidel!” in reference to his older brother.”
The comparative analysis from a leadership viewpoint is quite interesting between Castro and Obama. One firmly declares his future intent and commitment before his nation — the other heads off to a sunny 17-day vacation. Based on optics alone, there’s a clear winner.
But who exactly will benefit from the executive order — or was it a presidential memoranda — issued by Obama? CNS News says, “The executive orders Obama announced Wednesday can clear the way for limited exports to Cuba and freer travel by specific categories of Americans such as academics and artists, but he acknowledged his need to work with Congress to end the decades-old embargo Cuba blames for the dire condition of its infrastructure and economy.”
So I can just imagine which — or shall I say what type of — academics and artists will be in that ‘specified category?’ Something tells me conservatives won’t be included. And what about the almost 80 criminals who have fled the United States and found asylum in Cuba — including one black female who escaped from prison where she was serving a sentence for killing a New Jersey State Trooper? Will they be repatriated?
“Castro confirmed he would attend the Summit of Americas in Panama in April, where he is expected to have further discussions with Obama. And late last Friday, Cuban state television showed four of the Cuban Five celebrating their reunion by singing together during a private party in Havana. Their release angered the protesters in Miami. Two women held up a sign saying “Obama’s message to Castro: Imprison Americans and get 3 spies and an embassy.”
So as we enter the final two years of the Obama era, will his two major foreign policy achievements be normalizing relations with communist Cuba and enabling Islamist terror sponsor Iran to become a nuclear state? Or destabilizing Libya so it could become an Islamist state? Oops, I forgot, agreeing to crippling climate change measures with China which don’t take effect for communist China for almost 30 years. And, well, maybe Russia overruns Ukraine and the Baltic States because of previously admitted foreign policy flexibility after reelection.
Stay tuned, these final two years are gonna be interesting.