Cuba has also signed a new and important contract this month with Rosneft, the giant Russian oil company. In the middle of the photo above, that is Juan Torres, the President of Cupet, which is Cuba's oil company. Flanking Mr. Torres are two key Russian officials at the ceremony marking the signing of the contract. A new feature of the deal with Russia will include a wave of Cubans going to Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas Research beginning in September of this year. Russia, like China, is quite anxious to fill the American void when it comes to dealing with Cuba, especially with Cuba's new laws that are geared to facilitating foreign investments in the Vietnamese-style market reforms the island is now embracing. Cuba has let it be known it would much prefer to deal with its nearby superpower neighbor instead of very distant foreign nations, but it feels it has no choice because of the EMBARGO.
Katrina vanden Heuvel is one of America's best, boldest and brightest journalists. Born 54-years-ago in New York City and a Princeton graduate, she had a long article this week in the Washington Post in which she graphically pointed out the greed, cowardice and ignorance that has predicated America's Cuban policy since the 1950s, especially since the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba was overthrown by the Cuban Revolution in January of 1959 only to quickly reconstitute itself on U. S. soil, namely nearby Miami where Fulgencio Batista, Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano had already stashed millions of dollars that, along with car bombs and other intimidations, would soon overwhelm first Miami and then Washington, D. C.
Katrina vanden Heuvel's Washington Post article this week was so direct and incontestable that a first impression might be: How in the world could Americans allow this to happen for going on six decades without lifting a finger in defense of the sacrosanct democracy they were bequeathed by the Founding Fathers and by the World War II sacrifices that so many brave Americans contributed to protecting it. Since 1945 two generations of Americans have been so cowardly and so dysfunctional that they allowed a few greedy politicians to use the awesome power and wealth of the world's superpower to team with the Mafia to support a brutal, thieving dictatorship on a nearby island. That was a death-knell for democracy and the coffin followed when that overthrown dictatorship merely fled back to U. S. soil where it exacerbated its anti-democracy thievery and power-grab.
Katrina vanden Heuvel in her Washington Post article this week was expounding on one of her themes, which is that the U. S. democracy since World War II has shamed itself by picking the wrong fights -- such as by losing the bloody Vietnam War and by punishing innocent Cubans and innocent friendly nations around the world to appease the revenge-and-greed motivations of a handful of Cuban exiles and their sycophants. For those still interested in the preservation of democratic ideals and principles, here are some of the key self-destructive and incontestable points Katrina vanden Heuvel made in her Washington Post article this week:
*****"The sad irony of U.S.-Cuban relations is that Cuba is changing and the United States remains largely frozen in a self-destructive Cold War policy. The embargo isolates the United States, not Cuba. At the last Summit of the Americas in 2012, the Presidents of Brazil and even Colombia, one of the few remaining U. S. allies, joined other countries in announcing they would skip the next summit in 2015 if Cuba is not invited."
*****"Regional trading and political ties are developing with the United States, not Cuba, on the sidelines. My recent trip to Cuba reaffirmed what Josefina Vidal, head of the North American Division of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, told our education exchange delegation in a wide-ranging, 90-minute conversation: 'The U. S. is facing the risk of being irrelevant in the future of Cuba.'"
*****"The conservative Republican head of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donahue, while visiting Cuba last month, reiterated the chamber's call to lift the embargo in his speech at the University of Havana. Donahue realizes that the major victims of the U. S. blockade are U. S. businesses."
*****"Cuba has just passed a new law facilitating foreign investment. A new rush is on. A Brazilian firm captured the major project of modernizing the port at Mariel. A Chinese company is building 34 wind turbines. And another Chinese company sells the new cars that are starting to be seen on the streets. A British developer has just initialed a deal to build a luxury golf resort. The European Union has opened a formal dialogue with Cuba on trade, investment and human rights."
*****"Amidst all of the changes in Cuba, the U. S. is fighting yesterday's war. At present, Cubans are freer to travel to the United States than Americans are to go to Cuba. What fears or fantasies support that idiocy?"
*****"U. S. policy is frozen in time just because bureaucratic inertia is reinforced by the firm grip hardcore anti-Castro zealots have on our policy -- most notably Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez of Union City, New Jersey. But those zealots are growing ever more isolated."
Robert Menendez is the controversial but entrenched member of the U. S. Congress from Union City, New Jersey; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is the controversial but entrenched Havana-born member of the U. S. Congress from Miami, Florida. As Katrina vanden Heuvel so cogently and correctly points out this week in the Washington Post, to allow a couple of "anti-Castro zealots" to maintain a dictatorial grip on America's Cuban policy makes the United States, in the eyes of the world, appear to be a menacing, corrupt bully. American eyes who deny that fact are merely blind.
The U. S. support of the vile Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba from 1952 till 1959 created Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. Otherwise, in all likelihood, Fidel Castro would have been a lawyer in Santiago de Cuba, nothing more and nothing less -- certainly not the living man with the best known name in the entire world.
While the unconscionable U. S. support of the pernicious Batista-Mafia dictatorship gave birth to Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, the graphic above shows why the U. S. policy regarding Cuba -- dictated by a handful of exiles and their convenient acolytes -- has, since 1959, made the United States appear to be a weird boogeyman with yellow skin and bulging eyeballs as it stares wickedly down at the nearby island of Cuba. Thus, since the 1950s Cuba has held a position on the international stage far out of proportion to its size, population or economy. And since the 1950s, the U. S. policy regarding Cuba has forced even America's best friends around the world to cringe in embarrassment and sorrow. And as Katrina vanden Heuvel points out this week, America's Cuban policy "is frozen in time" by a handful of "anti-Castro zealots." No American can dispute those facts but, unfortunately, not enough Americans have the courage or the intelligence to do anything about them.