Obama Wavers On Cuba

He Feels Pressure From Zealots
Sunday, September 6th, 2015
        On July 1st of this year President Barack Obama made the above statement at a news conference in Washington. It was a continuation of his breakthrough announcement on December 17, 2014, that he planned to normalize relations with Cuba. Since then, incredibly, the U. S. and Cuba have functioning embassies in their two capitals for the first time since 1961, the year of the Bay of Pigs attack on Cuba and the year an unending series of other attempts to regain control of Cuba commenced. In his historic efforts since December 17th, President Obama has shown more guts and more decency in regards to Cuba than was displayed by any of his ten presidential predecessors. Since 1963, or since the last days of the John F. Kennedy administration, all Democratic presidents -- Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama -- have tried to curb the animosity towards Cuba and get on the path to normalization with the neighboring island. But Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton...after making decisions toward normalization...were all blocked off or scared off by the visceral minority that, since the 1950s, has insisted on dictating an atrocious Cuban policy that, in the eyes of the world and especially North America, shames the U. S. and democracy. That is what Mr. Obama was alluding to in the above quotation about beginning "a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas." You see, President Obama cares about America's image. However, a minority of Cuban-Americans and their self-serving sycophants, such as the endless Bush dynasty, could care less. And, unfortunately, it appears the same forces that scared off Presidents Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton are now beginning to have the same effect on the brave and decent President Obama. I'll explain.
        The U. S. has within its legislative arsenal something called "The Trading With The Enemy Act" that dates back to 1917 and then, in 1963, was expanded to more severely punish unfriendly nations by banning trade with them. By the 1980s the Bush dynasty had anointed anti-Castro zealot Jorge Mas Canosa as the leader of the most vicious wing of the Cuban exiles still seeking to counter the Cuban Revolution, which had chased most of them to Miami in 1959. Canosa was advised to replicate the omnipotent Israeli lobby, AIPAC. Thus, Canosa created The Cuban American National Foundation. It's omnipotence soon rivaled AIPAC, especially when it came to total dominance of the U. S. Congress on all things related to Cuba. Canosa found no problem securing whatever support he needed in Congress...from the likes of Robert Torricelli, Jesse Helms, Dan Burton, etc. What resulted was an incredible array of U. S. laws such as The Torricelli Bill, The Helms-Burton Act, Wet Foot/Dry Foot, The Cuban Democracy Act, The Cuban Adjustment Bill, etc. By whatever name, such laws were designed to drastically enrich and empower a few anti-Castro zealots while also supporting an endless array of regime-change programs, all of which were supported by tax-payers who were/are too ignorant, too intimidated, or two unpatriotic to object. Along the way, the anti-Castro zealots leaped on The Trading With The Enemy Act as an additional way to punish Cuba and empower themselves. To do that, it was a simple matter of putting and keeping Cuba on that designation along with putting and keeping Cuba on the State Department's Sponsors of Terrorism list. With exceptional bravery, President Obama removed Cuba from that Terrorism designation prior to the opening of embassies in Havana and Washington this summer. However, that only angered the anti-Castro zealots more than ever, making them determined that Obama, in the closing months of his two-term presidency, doesn't remove Cuba from The Trading With The Enemy list. Study the above graphic and the one below.
         The reason it is so important to the anti-Castro zealots to keep Cuba on the Trading With The Enemies list is obvious: That designation enables the U. S. to maintain its incredibly long list of sanctions against Cuba even as, for the first time since 1961, the two nations have reopened embassies in the two capital cities. On the above graphic, dated Jan. 10-2012, you can see Cuba listed along with Burma {which is now Myanmar}, Iran, Sudan, Syria, "etc." The "etc" is important because a fairly intelligent American might consider a long list of countries -- Russia, China, etc. -- as enemies, competitors, or threats. BUT NOT CUBA! Cuba is not an enemy, Cuba is not a competitor, and Cuba is not a threat to the United States! But Cuba's uniqueness since the 1950s is two-fold: {1} In 1959 it became the only nation in history to overthrow a U.S.-backed dictatorship; and {2} it marks the only time in U. S. history that an overthrown U.S.-backed dictatorship was allowed to reconstitute itself on U. S. soil complete with the support of the U. S. government in trying to regain control of the island. The fact that those attempts, now decades old, have failed does not diminish the fact that dozens of expensive regime-change programs remain active and dozens of U. S. laws, such as Trading With The Enemy, continue as tools designed to demolish Revolutionary Cuba so as to, presumably, at long last allow a handful of a second generation of anti-Castro zealots to regain control of the island, which, of course, would then once again be "U.S.-friendly," just as the brutal, thieving Batista-Mafia regime was.
        The Trading With The Enemy stumbling block appears to be the tool that anti-Castro zealots will use to trip up President Obama's much-heralded detente with Cuba. Even with the opening of embassies and other advancements toward normalization of relations, the U. S. law based on the Trading With The Enemy statue remains as the basis for the embargo and other domineering acts against Cuba. President Obama has just a few more days...till September 14th...to decide whether Cuba should remain on that list. Mr. Obama is a brave and decent man. He, unlike his enemies, is concerned about how, decade after decade, America's salacious Cuban policy has adversely affected the image of the U. S. and democracy in the eyes of the world. Yet, indications are that Mr. Obama has neither the courage nor the decency to remove Cuba from the Trading With The Enemy designation. If he fails to do so between now and September 14th, there are key people in Cuba who have worked positively with him in recent months who will begin to think less and less of the reopened embassies in Havana and Washington. September 14th is very important to them.
Obama at least tried to improve U.S.-Cuban relations.
But in the end, he too will fail.
A few anti-Castro zealots will prevail, as always.
When it comes to Cuba,
3 Miamians can easily over-rule 300 million Americans.
        President Obama, sandwiched helplessly between a rock {Ted Cruz} and a hard place {Marco Rubio}, deserves plaudits for trying to bring sanity and decency to America's Cuban policy. The fact that he will fail is not his fault. It is the fault of the American people who have neither the courage nor the patriotism to support a brave and decent approach to Cuba. So, as the montage above shows, Ted Cruz has reason to chortle and Marco Rubio has reason to smile. Their dictation of a failed and obscene U. S. Cuban policy will continue long after Obama leaves the Oval Office.
         Sarah Stephens is the Founder and Director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas based in Washington, D. C. She is, beyond doubt, one of the five greatest American experts on U.S.-Cuban relations...with the other four, in my opinion, being Wayne S. Smith, Julia E. Sweig, Anne Louise Bardach, and Peter Kornbluh. But because they are America's five best experts on Cuba, don't expect to see them on your favorite U. S. news programs, which cater only to visceral anti-Cuban propagandists such as Nick Castellanos, Ana Navarro, Alan Gomez, Jose Diaz-Balart, Jorge Ramos, etc. Sarah Stephens, on her CDA website, each Friday writes the Cuba Central segment, which is each week's best summation of U.S.-Cuban news. This past Friday, September 4th, one of her most pertinent sentences was: "U. S. policy toward Cuba is often used as a classic definition of insanity." No sane, unbiased person can dispute those words. But thanks, Sarah Stephens, for repeating them.
Photo of the week:
      On Saturday, September 5th, a young Syrian mother and her baby were all smiles in Salzburg, Austria. They were at a train station with permission to travel through Austria and Hungary to reach their destination, Germany. Earlier this week the photo of the 3-year-old Syrian boy whose body had washed ashore went viral around the world, touching hearts. This mother and baby received clothes, food, candy, and toys to make their journey from their war-torn homeland more palatable. Humanity in a war-crazed world is more important than ever. This young mother and her baby, and others like them, received some humanity this weekend. This Associated Press photo was taken by Kerstin JoenssonThe baby's joyous smile is precious, heart-warming, and appreciated; and so is the prideful smile of the young mother.


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