Friday, September 18, 2015

Cuba Names U. S. Ambassador

The Appointment Was Expected
           Jose Cabanos yesterday {Sept. 17thpresented his credentials to President Barack Obama as Cuba's newly appointed Ambassador to the United States.
          Jose Cabanas has served as Cuba's chief at the U. S. Interests Section in Washington since 2012. He has been a highly respected diplomat since 1984 and was formerly Cuba's Ambassador to Austria.
       Jose Cabanas is now the first Cuban appointed as Ambassador to the U. S. since 1959, the year the Cuban Revolution overthrew the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship. In 1959 the U. S. ordered Cuban Ambassador Ernesto Dihijo Lopez to leave his post and then in 1961, the year of the unsuccessful U.S./CIA/Cuban exile Bay of Pigs attack, U. S. and Cuban embassies were closed in Havana and Washington. During the Jimmy Carter presidency in the 1970s, the two nations opened "Interests Sections" in the two capitals. In the last three years, Mr. Cabanas, as chief of Cuba's Interests Section, has been a very skilled diplomat. He has, for example, made several very successful speeches in Washington and Miami to convince important business people how the U. S. can also benefit from normal relations with Cuba.
         Cuba in recent years has very wisely left its ticklish relations with the United States in the talented hands of Josefina Vidal, the island's Minister of North American Affairs, and Jose Cabanas, the head of its Interests Section/embassy in Washington. This photo shows Vidal and Cabanas during one of the four diplomatic sessions this year that moved the U. S. and Cuba closer to normalizing relations than at anytime since 1959 or since 1961 when the embassies in Havana and Washington were closed. In those delicate negotiations, not only were Vidal and Cabanas key diplomats, they were also, importantly, Cuba's top decision-makers along the way. It's been assumed that the key decision about Cuba's U. S. Ambassador would be theirs, too, and no one is surprised that Josefina Vidal's preference would be Jose Cabanas.
            President Obama has not appointed a U. S. Ambassador to Cuba yet but it is expected to be Jeffrey DeLaurentis. He worked for President Obama at the United Nations from 2011 till 2014 and then, since August of 2014, has been chief of first the U. S. Interests Section in Havana and now is the acting U. S. Ambassador, or charge d'affaires, in Havana. Jeffrey DeLaurentis is a very talented and decent man.
       This photo shows Jeffrey DeLaurentis chatting with America's Roberta Jacobson and Cuba's Josefina Vidal prior to one of the four diplomatic sessions this year that led to the re-opening of embassies in Havana and Washington. During the George W. Bush administration, Vidal has admitted that the "shocking belligerence" of James Cason, Bush's top diplomat in Havana, almost "caused another Bay of Pigs attack, which I think he wanted." But Vidal is a great admirer of Mr. DeLaurentis, President Obama's likely choice as U. S. Ambassador to Cuba. "Jeffrey," Vidal says, "is a skilled, fair diplomat that understands Cuba."
       James Cason was President George W. Bush's chief at the U. S. Interests Section in Havana from 2002 till 2005, the diplomat Vidal and others believed tried to provoke a war. Recently in the Miami Herald it was opined that the only Ambassador to Cuba that President Obama could get approved by the U. S. Senate is...James Cason. Since 2011, utilizing his hard-line Cuban credentials to the fullest, Cason has been the Mayor of Coral Gables just outside Miami. That opinion about Cason and the Senate is probably correct.
        All three Cuban-American U. S. Senators -- Ted Cruz, Robert Menendez, and Marco Rubio -- have vowed to block any Ambassadors to or from Cuba as well as destroy all of President Obama's sane and peaceful overtures to the island. {Presumably, however, they would approve of James Cason being the next U. S. Ambassador in Havana}. Cruz and Rubio are first-term Senators who are both already running for President with the strong backing of at last five prime right-wing/Jewish billionaires. Menendez, the longtime Senator from New Jersey, is being investigated for allegedly taking brides from a rich Miamian. Cruz, Menendez, and Rubio are all very strongly positioned on the Senate's Foreign Relations and Western Hemisphere committees, apparently because Cuba is a foreign nation in the Western Hemisphere.
          And, of course, Miami is well represented in the United States Congress with, in addition to Marco Rubio in the Senate, three vicious anti-Castro zealots in the House of Representatives -- Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Since the 1980s when the Bush dynasty first began anointing selected Miami and Union City politicians, the U. S. Congress litany of anti-Cuban laws -- Torricelli Bill, Helms-Burton Law, Cuban Adjustment Act, Wet Foot/Dry Foot, Radio-TV Marti, etc., etc. -- have repeatedly been codified as an extremely controversial but also extremely lucrative and punitive policy regarding Cuba. That, unfortunately, will continue even as Cuba and the United States try to name Ambassadors to Washington and Havana for the first time since 1961. America's Cuban policy has been dictated since 1959 by the remnants of the ousted Batista-Mafia dictatorship that has easily acquired the necessary sycophants -- Robert Torricelli, Jesse Helms, Dan Burton, the Bush dynasty, the Tea Party, etc., etc.
         The Cuban-exile control of the U. S. Congress on all things Cuban began in the 1980s when the Bush dynasty anointed Jorge Mas Canosa as the leader of the Miami-based Cubans. If you disagree with that, it's perhaps because of one of three things: {1} You don't know how to use Google as a research tool; {2} you've never read Julie E. Sweig's "What Everyone Needs To Know About Cuba;" and {3} you've never read Anne Louise Bardach's "Cuba Confidential." At least one of those three sources, I believe, is essential to understand U.S.-Cuban relations since the 1950s when right-wingers in Washington decided the three things Cuba most needed were sweet Mother Teresa-types...Batista, the Mafia, and U. S. businessmen.
        Yet, through it all, the Cuban flag in September of 2015 is flying in front of its embassy in Washington for the first time since 1961. And, through it all, Cuba on September 17th had the audacity to name a new Ambassador to the United States.
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