Archive for February 2016
I had a chance to stop by “the leadership table”………..we miss leadership don’t we?
Back in December 2014, President Obama started a new relationship with the Cuban dictatorship. It was based on the idea that we had to try something different.
How does that look now? Let’s see:
1) The “let’s try something different” argument was flawed. It was the Cuban government, not the U.S., that refused to reach out. President Carter almost reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba but pulled back when Castro sent Cuban troops into Africa. President Clinton was looking at it until the Cuban government shot down four U.S. citizens over the Florida Straits in 1996. There were talks in 1982 under President Reagan. Channels were open under other administrations, too.
It is untrue that the U.S. refused to talk to Cuba. It was the Castro regime that refused to change.
2) The people in Cuba are not buying “hope and change”. They want out, as we see from news reports:
Eight-year-old Vanesa Amador stands patiently on a bridge that joins Mexico and the United States. She is feet away from a country she admits she knows nothing about but has strong feelings for.
“The United States is the best country in the whole world,” she says, smiling.Vanesa and her mother, Mayra, are part of a group of about 120 Cubans who made a long journey through several Latin American countries before boarding a charter plane in Costa Rica to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, the border town with Laredo, Texas.
The number of Cubans entering the United States nearly doubled last year, compared with the year before. That trend shows no signs of slowing. More Cubans are coming to the United States because they fear that a thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations will end a longstanding policy granting legal status to any Cuban national who reaches dry land in the United States.
The Obama administration made some big mistakes in opening this new relationship with Cuba:
1) It did not consult with Congress. It would have been easier to work with Cuba under a bipartisan plan that called for this in exchange for that. For example, we open the embassy if you provide us a plan to take care of U.S. citizens who had their property stolen. Or, we will allow more investment in Cuba if you hold elections or tolerate a free press. Keeping Congress out makes it more difficult to lift the embargo.
2) No one realized in the Obama administration that opening an embassy in Cuba would encourage many to leave to take advantage of the refugee status that Cubans have enjoyed. This is a “refugee” problem that the Obama administration does not need on top of kids showing on the border or Middle East refugees.
So where are we now? We have an embassy in Cuba but people are still trying to leave the island and repression has gotten worse. Didn’t any one in the White House think of this?