Thursday, December 18, 2014

GOP and Cuba: fighting yesterday's war … by gimleteye

With the November 2014 election in the balance, President Obama and Charlie Crist, then candidate for governor, sent up trial balloons on the issue of normalizing relations with Cuba. Crist, who had publicly stated his intention to visit Cuba, attended a Miami Beach fundraiser filled with Republican donors, ready to break ranks with the GOP on Cuba. (We blogged the event.)

But subsequent polling showed how volatile the issue remains, and the White House sat on its hands until the results were in.

Yesterday, the Cuba lobby lashed out at Obama and demonstrated the cards it would have played if the announcement had preceded the election: that Democrats "acquiesce", that the world is "less safe" as a result, that Obama is weak and that "rogue regimes can murder Americans, have US courts and juries duly convict those involved and see justice aborted by a stroke of the President's pen."

Our hearts go out to those who have suffered. There is no easing that pain. I know: my grandparents were murdered in the Holocaust.

There is no argument that holds up this remaining relic of the Cold War. President Obama pointed out yesterday that China and Vietnam have thrived and American companies have benefited from bilateral agreements even though they maintain their own forms of communism.

Yes, Cuba is only 90 miles away but the 2016 elections are even closer, and as a result of yesterday's decision, the GOP should be troubled by using Congress to continue to foment antagonism to Obama and Democrats, and by rigid positions that sound already like yesterday's war.


Anonymous said...

Yes, China and Viet Nam have "flourished" - if economic growth by a segment of the population - is your measurement of flourishing. They still lack freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and every other right that free societies enjoy. China's "One Child Policy" still forces couples to abort all children except the first. Men and women need a lot more than a MacDonald in every corner to "flourish".

Anonymous said...

Given the outcome of the election it's not clear the Dems could have done much worst. In fact the backlash from the usual suspects may have actually helped. It proves how obdurate and out of touch these old war horses are

Actually war horse may be a overstatement of their true involvement since all I remember over the years (other than a failed CIA led operation) most of these "exiles leaders" never did anything about Castro but organize demonstrations or blow each other up here in Miami.

My favorite current scam is them railing against lifting the trade embargo all they while they have their little cottage industry sending stuff to friends and family on the island while smuggling out anything of value down there.

Anonymous said...

If your family were victims of the Holocaust, then you should wish a free homeland for Cubans, just as Jews have finally enjoyed since 1948.

Anonymous said...

Do you understand that lifting the embargo will allow Cuba to buy ON CREDIT from the United States.
Cuba has defaulted on their payments with every other country that has loaned them credit. Do you understand that you and I and every other taxpayer will end up paying for their defaulted payments?

I am 26 years old. Not an old workhorse, just a hard-working, freedom-loving American.

Anonymous said...

Your standard of living is due, 100 percent, in industrial America to the flourishing of economic relations with a repressive regime in China. So if you are so committed to blocking economic relations with Cuba, you should also take to the airwaves and streets demanding the U.S. govt and consumers to halt all commerce and goods with communist China. Right?

Anonymous said...

I do.

Anonymous said...

Cubans Americans can do better than Versailles Restaurant as a protest point. Protests should be moved from this restaurant to the Cuban museum. Very hard to take a group of people seriously when they are tied to a restaurant.

Harry Emilio Gottlieb said...

Witness To History In The Making
"Cuba Concerns"

I was at Versailles around 5 PM yesterday to help witness history in the making. It may not be as significant to the world as the fall of the Berlin Wall, but for many Cuban’s it comes mighty close.

50 years of an unsuccessful exercise in futility if more than enough time and energy for us to invest. Now the door to change in Cuba is open just a crack.

Finally we have a President with guts enough to tackle the Immigration, Health and now Cuba issues. He may not end up fix them completely, but at least he is trying to move us in the right direction. I doubt that McCain, Romney or Palin would have had the guts to tackle these critical issues anytime at all. W certainly did not.

I suspect we could have saved 30, 40 or even 50 years if families here had not sent (voluntarily or penalty of law) all that money to relatives there. If so, they would have taken to the streets long ago and overthrown the tyrannical regime.

The Latin Builders Association, Sedano’s, Fanjul’s, Goya, El Dorado, ATT, Sprint and others must be salivating for the opportunity to get in there. God help Cuba if in 5 years there is a Starbucks, Walgreens, KFC, CVS, McDonald and Walmart on every corner.

Let’s hope Cuba will be spared suburban sprawl, an oversupply of condos, traffic congestion, pollution, electrical shortages, not enough potable water, as well as demands for public land by sporting organizations, museum named after billionaires, ferris wheels and viewing towers.

My big concern right now is that there may be a flood of Cubans trying to get here before we are able to establish a fair immigration and travel policy and process.

Let’s hope that this is a positive step and does not result in another Mariel. The Wet Foot / Dry Foot Policy has been unfair to all other immigrant groups. This policy has rewarded Cuban’s to risk their lives in a football type of endeavor to make it here for a touchdown and freedom. It’s shameful. I hope that this attempt at bringing a bit more openness and civility will be beneficial and more humanitarian. Regrettably Rubio and his GOP pals will rule the Senate and House and do their best to keep the status quo and continue a 50 year failed policy.

Anonymous said...

To say that Cuban exiles have never done anything about Castro other than to "blow each other up" is equivalent to saying that Jewish Americans have never done anything for Israel or African Americans have never done anything for civil rights. Let's leave the rhetorical insults aside and engage in logical conversation.
To think that Cuba's current problems stem from Castro's 1959 revolution is a total fallacy. Cuba problems surfaced in 1898 when Cuban citizens fought a three year war against Spain only to be occupied by U.S. government forces with the sinking of the battleship Maine as an excuse. The ensuing Platt amendment permitted the U.S. to occupy Cuba anytime their economic interests were threatened. That amendment planted the seed of hatred in Castro at an early age. Move forward to 1952 and Cuba was enjoying a huge economic growth with a continuing democracy under President Carlos Prio Socarras. In comes the U.S. government once again and backs dictator Fulgencio Batista into the presidency to protect its economic interests. Cuban citizens rebelled against Batista and wanted him removed. Castro lied to them and implemented the most ruthless government ever experienced in the Western Hemisphere. Through over half a century Cuban exiles have fought the Castro government, whether on the beaches of Bay of Pigs, infiltrations into the island on behalf of the U.S. government or by exposing the Castro regime for its human rights violations at every forum throughout the world. We welcome President Obama's new policies; something Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton attempted to do but were always blocked by Fidel Castro who feared that once the embargo was lifted he would not have an excuse to hide behind for the utter failure of his demagoguery. The power base that local Republican politicians have shared in South Florida is not supported by a large segment of Cuban exiles. We hope for a day when Cubans in the island are ultimately free but just like Jews will not forget the Holocaust nor African Americans forget the abuses at Selma and many other places, Cuban Americans will never forget the crimes against humanity committed by the Castro brothers while most of the world remained silent. Cuban Americans are also thankful to this great nation for its continued support and the protection it gave them in its shores.

Anonymous said...

It is curious that after 50 years no Cubans here or in Cuba have done anything to diminish the Castro's control. Whatever the policy the last 50+ years, it failed. Time for a new approach. But please no US tax money being used to subsidize Cubans living in Cuba. We have enough poverty and problems to solve here in America.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Sen. Menendez of New Jersey rip the administration as well for this action? Seems like Rubio is your only target.

Got to widen your perspective.

Anonymous said...

I hate my leftwing pope as much as I hate my leftwing president. Obama has destroyed the Democratic Party.

CATO Count of Little Havana said...


You say that 56 years later we must forgive and forget. So if by chance Hitler and Nazi Germany had survived WWII, 56 years later with Hitler slobbering himself and in depends one of his family members or henchmen take over but continue to eschew Nazism should we just forget about the murder, torture and imprisonment of innocents and without concessions recognize such a regime?

Just asking because it's somewhat similar to what you are asking us to do here.

How about South Africa? knowing that Cuba practices its own apartheid, where's the outrage?

I will patiently await your erudite response.
Also keep in mind Castro wanted to nuke the US fortunately if nothing else Khrushchev was at least half sane.

Anonymous said...

Well clearly standing in front of a Cuban restaurant in Miami wrapped in the Cuban flag and telling us how bad it is in Cuba (with your mouthful) has worked so well.

If we had embargoed Cubans instead of Cuban cigars the regime would've been done in 10 years. Because really, when the going gets tough which is easier? risk your life to bring down a tyrant take a boat ride for free food stamps? Fidel is glad to see the exile leaders leave. It's his pressure relief valve.

And what did the leaders do when they got here? Buzz havana with leaflets? Wonder what was they next bold move? sneak into havana and toilet paper raul's house?

Anonymous said...

The free food stamps and welfare and Section 8 housing is sure an inducement to Cubans and lots of other communist types. Medicare Fraud? Where do the scammers take off to?

Anonymous said...

President Barack Obama’s unilateral decision to normalize relations with Cuba and lift the U.S. embargo without the approval of Congress may play well on the international left and help the Castro regime to maintain control of the country, the economy, and all levers of power for years to come, but it will do nothing to improve the lives of ordinary Cubans.

Anonymous said...

Most people alive today in Cuba have never known economic freedom.

It ranked 177th out of 178 countries in the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, published by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal—placing Cuba at the very bottom, just above North Korea, among the most repressed nations in the world.

Property rights are severely restricted. Fidel Castro’s 83-year-old brother Raul continues to guide both the government and the Cuban Communist Party.

The average worker earns less than $25 a month, agriculture is a shambles, mining is depressed, and tourism revenue is volatile.

A one-party Communist state since the Castros took over more than 50years ago, Cuba depends on external assistance — chiefly oil subsidies provided by Venezuela and remittances from Cuban émigrés — and a captive labor force to survive.

With the Castro-lite regime of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on the verge of collapse due to plummeting world oil prices, the Cuban government knows it cannot count on the billions in subsidies from Caracas to keep flowing, so a potential flood of greenbacks from North America suddenly looks very inviting.

Yet as Senator Marco Rubio noted, while President Obama’s appeasement of the brutally repressive Castro regime may help it to survive politically by refloating the socialist Cuban economy on inflows of American aid, corporate investments, expatriate remittances, and tourism receipts, the regime will have no incentive to establish the rule of law or to take any of the many other steps toward democratic capitalism that would improve economic freedom for the Cuban people.

Anonymous said...

In the his most recent “negotiation” with a foreign nemesis, President Obama has once again given away more and gotten less.

Unfortunately for the United States, in the long run, this fairy tale is not likely to have a happy ending.

Anonymous said...

What message will Vladimir Putin and the Chinese take from all this?
What about ISIS and al-Qaeda?

They will all know that if you threaten and bluster, America will fold. If you manipulate and offer gossamer promises, America will run into your arms. It’s a lesson Iran has already learned.

Now the North Koreans and the Cubans can join the party.

Freedom lost, again

Anonymous said...

Maybe you missed that Sen Jeff Flake(R-Arizona) supported Obama's half-cooked Cuba policy. There will be bipartisan support and opposition to this plan, though I suspect everyone will agree as Obama screws up the execution of it.

Anonymous said...

Ah the old "we must maintain our clearly failed course of action or others will sense us weak" argument.

AKA the domino effect 2.0.

Ted Baker said...

The level of vitrol and ignorance that appears in a number of these rants truly boggles the mind. It is the old story of "I have mine, so screw the rest of you". For Rubio and Diaz-Balart - two "do-nothing" politicians - to rag on our President for doing something that the world sees as overdue, appropriate, and timely, is a testament to their gross pandering and intellectual incompetence. Wasn't Rubio the one who used the Florida GOP American Express card to pay his personal bills: obtain a mortgage for a home for which any other citizen with similar income could not have qualified; and concocted a grandiose story on his family's travails, from Cuba to the US? And, name one piece of federal legislation that bears the name of a Diaz-Balart or Rubio. Zero, Zilch, Nada! Political panderers and opportunists of the highest order!

Ted Baker