Cuban Extremists Mock Obama

Derailment of Detente Starts
Tuesday, August 11th, 2015
           Not unexpectedly, this accusatory index finger was pointed at Cuba yesterday -- Monday, August 10th. It belongs to retired Rear Admiral John Kirby. Till recently he was a spokesman for the Pentagon. Now he is a spokesman for the U. S. State Department. On Sunday, August 9th, Cuban authorities briefly retained about 90 anti-government demonstrators who disapprove of the fact that Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Havana Friday for the flag-raising ceremony at the first U. S. Embassy in Cuba since 1961. Sunday's demonstration spawned this obligatory and fully anticipated statement from Mr. Kirby on Monday: "We are deeply concerned by the round-up of peaceful activists by Cuban authorities." Well, sir, keep your index finger handy because you'll be aiming it across the Florida Straits some more this week and a lot more next week. Since 1959 counter-revolutionary tactics against Cuba have never failed to garner desired reactions in Washington, followed quickly by monetary and other reactions. Though small in number, provocateurs in Cuba are well-organized and, most agree, well-funded. Provoking Cuba into doing something that will be used to derail efforts to normalize relations with the U. S. has worked in the past and it will work again. Assassination attempts, the Bay of Pigs attack, terrorist acts, the embargo...they haven't worked to counter the revolution; and provocative demonstrations won't overturn it. But they can easily derail Obama's peace overtures. I predict Mr. Kirby's index finger will really get a good work-out in the coming days and weeks. After that...what? Miami's Little Havana moving back to Havana, perhaps?
         This is the image from Havana that flashed around the world on Monday, August 10th. The photo is courtesy of Francisco Jara/AFP. As this forum has stated repeatedly since December 17th, President Obama's Herculean efforts to normalize relations with Cuba will fail and result in more violence than peace. This past Sunday, Cuban security forces detained 90 dissidents, releasing them a few hours later. But it marks the first major salvo designed to turn back the advances Cuba and the U. S. have made in the last few months, such as the opening of embassies in the two capitals of Havana and Washington for the first time since 1961. The Cuban flag-raising ceremony at its new embassy in Washington took place last month and the American flag is due to be raised this Friday at the new U. S. embassy in Cuba, with Secretary of State John Kerry scheduled to attend the event. Since December 17th when he appeared on television in the U. S. and in Cuba to announce his plans to normalize relations with Cuba, the vast majority of Cubans have considered President Barack Obama a major hero. They have paraded his image and the U. S. flag all over the island, including on their clothing. But Sunday many of the dissidents, as shown above, wore masks depicting and mocking the U. S. President. In major articles, both the AFP and ABC-News quoted a dissident, Angel Mova, as saying, "It's his {Obama'sfault, what is happening." That, of course, is the minority opinion but, rest assured, it is the opinion that will be the coda to President Obama's brave and historic attempt to bring a degree of normalcy and decency to America's Cuban policy. In 1963 President Kennedy knew he had majority opinion on his side when he told his aides his "top priority" upon his return from Dallas was to normalize relations with Cuba. In 1996 President Clinton knew he had majority opinion on his side when he bravely tried to move in that direction too. History documents the fact that instead of moving toward normalization of relations with Cuba, the attempts by Presidents Kennedy and Clinton merely led to disasters and to post-disaster reactions that greatly strengthened the Miami-directed bellicosity towards Cuba. History is a teacher, a lesson...a precursor. That's why, from the get-go, President Obama's efforts were destined to meet the same fate as those of Presidents Kennedy and Clinton. Yes, the embassies have opened for the first time since 1961, highlighting incredible and very bold strides by President Obama. But when the smoke clears and the fog dissipates by the time he leaves office in January of 2017, his grandiose efforts to bring sanity and decency to U.S.-Cuban relations will have only spawned a setback while yet again providing a relatively easy victory for the minority that for decades has benefited -- revengefully, economically, and politically -- from a very cruel Cuban policy.
       This Francisco Jara/AFP photo was taken Sunday in Havana as the DAMAS DE BLANCO -- the "Ladies in White" -- began their anti-government demonstration. As usual it was very successful because about 50 of them were detained for a few hours, long enough to garner Monday morning headlines. It, of course, would have been vastly more successful if Cuban security forces had acted more violently. But prior to Secretary of State John Kerry's flag-raising trip to Cuba Friday, there is ample time to provoke Cuba and there are now enough Smart Phones to get audio and video of provocations. So, in defiance of President Obama, that's what Americans can expect...later this week, next week, and in the torrid months to come.
      Josefina Vidal is Cuba's Minister of North American Affairs, which means she is Cuba's top official regarding U. S. relations. She was Cuba's prime diplomat in the past two years in negotiating some remarkable advances with President Obama's representatives. They involved clandestine and un-publicized sessions that led up to Vidal's four highly publicized diplomatic meetings -- two in Havana and two in Washington -- with her U. S. counterpart Roberta Jacobson. Before, during, and after all the detente she has negotiated with the Obama administration in the past two years, Vidal has steadfastly maintained that most of her time and energy are devoted to monitoring and analyzing endless and well-funded regime-change programs. She particularly tries to assess foreign-funded and inspired dissident activity, hoping to avoid a reaction that could be used to hurt Cuba. It is for sure, on the eve of Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Cuba this Friday, Vidal anticipated the anti-government demonstrations that occurred yesterday and, for sure, she anticipates more the rest of the week. She is abundantly aware that dissidents hope to have Smart Phone-type audio and video of incidents that will saturate U. S. television networks. Yes, Josefina Vidal...in her heart of hearts...knows that the work she and many others, including her good friend Roberta Jacobson, have put in will be in vain. Yet, she believes it was worth a try. "Yes," she says, "it's almost a no-win position for us. The perpetrators have the advantage. We know that. We also know that trying to normalize relations with the United States was a worthwhile endeavor. I will never regret that we tried." Those in Cuba and America who desire peace and normalcy are indeed mired between a gigantic rock and an impregnable hard place. It's been that way since the 1950s and it won't change in 2015, even with the opening of embassies. Echoes of Josefina Vidal's most definitive words will merely be a footnote to what good people tried to accomplish in the final two years of the Obama Presidency: "I will never regret that we tried." Like she said, the effort was...worthwhile -- for Cuba and America and the entire region.
            This past weekend {August 7th, 2015} the Associated Press used this Desmond Boylan photo to illustrate an article written by Michael Weissenstein entitled: "BOAT BOOM: Luxury Ships Are Replacing Rafts Between Cuba And The U. S." The photo shows a woman jogging on the famed Malecon seawall with a luxury U. S. ship in the background. Unlike most Americans who have gotten their views of Cuba dictated to them by the most extremist elements from the long-ago {1959Batista dictatorship, this woman has a first-hand view of the gorgeous, misunderstood, nearby, historic, and enigmatic island.
       Regardless of what transpires in the coming months...and a lot will transpire...President Barack Obama's Cuban legacy will last for the ages because he at least had the guts to confront powerful and dangerous forces to try to correct a blight on the U. S. democracy. More than all of the ten Presidents that directly preceded him, Mr. Obama's decency, intelligence, and guts in regards to Cuba has far exceeded the combined overtures, or lack thereof, of the American Presidents dating back to the Eisenhower administration. In 1952 the decision was made for the U. S. to team with the Mafia to support the brutal, thieving Batista dictatorship in Cuba. That decision spawned the Cuban Revolution, which in turn gave birth to the tarbaby, as depicted above, that not even Mr. Obama can extricate the world's greatest democracy from. However, let it be noted that President Barack Obama tried. And he tried really hard.

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