U.S.-Cuba: Who Is To Blame?

Greed and Gutlessness Are Factors
       This photo is courtesy of Jim Wyss/Miami Herald. It shows some of the 4,500 would-be Cuban migrants stuck for weeks at Costa Rica's border with Nicaragua because Nicaragua has blocked them from continuing on to the Mexican border where, once their front foot touches U. S. soil, they would instantly be legal residents complete with welfare. That is known as Wet Foot/Dry Foot and has been a part of the Cuban Adjustment Act since 1966, one of a litany of U. S. laws that provide special privileges to Cubans, and Cubans only. While other would-be migrants throughout the Caribbean and Latin America strongly resent such laws, the proselytized American people are supposed to be too ignorant, too intimidated, or to unpatriotic to even offer an opinion. And, since January of 1959, two generations of Americans have not, for sure, had either the guts, the intelligence or the patriotism to weigh in on this affront to democracy. Thus, we are primed to pass it along to the next two generations.
              This graphic is also courtesy of Jim Wyss/Miami Herald. It shows the circuitous journey from Cuba all the way to the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border where the 4,500 Cubans are stuck. In recent months over 30,000 Cubans have used the Wet Foot/Dry Foot law to touch U. S. soil at the Mexican border. The sharp uptick is because of fear that, thanks to President Obama's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, such laws that favor Cubans and discriminate against everyone else will be ended. That won't happen, of course, because a few Cuban-Americans in the U. S. Congress can easily continue old or dictate new laws designed supposedly to hurt or seek revenge against 89-year-old Fidel Castro but, in essence, such Cuban laws drastically hurt innocent Cubans on the island as well as discriminate against all others, including U. S. democracy lovers, U. S. taxpayers, and all other would-be migrants. It has been reported that the Cubans, at least some of them, stuck at the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border have paid human traffickers up to $15,000 each to follow the above route to the U. S. Meanwhile, it has also been reported that the U. S. recently has deported thousands of destitute migrant children back to Central American nations where their parents and other observers believe their lives are threatened daily not just by poverty but by murderous gangs that control entire towns, gangs known to murder 11-or-12-year-old girls who refuse to sell drugs for them or refuse to be prostitutes for them. That dichotomy between all Cuban migrants being home-free merely if they touch U. S. soil and non-Cuban children being deported back to horrendous situations does not register with Americans but, believe me, it does register with non-Americans. Such laws that encourage and favor only Cubans, of course, are also layered with vast financial advantages and other privileges made legal for Cubans but not for any non-Cubans. "U.S.-Cuba: Who Is To Blame?" The answer to that pertinent question, in my opinion, is: Two generations of gutless, stupid, and unpatriotic Americans are to blame. If that answer seems too harsh or too exaggerated, then I invite you to use the "comment" section at the end of this essay and justify such things as Wet Foot/Dry Foot, The Cuban Adjustment Act, The Torricelli Bill, The Helms-Burton Act, and all the other congressional laws that shame the U. S. democracy merely to sate the revenge and greed motives of a few Cuban-Americans and a few of their favorite sycophants. AND I ASSUME IF YOU CAN justify SUCH LAWS, YOU CAN ALSO justify SUCH THINGS AS THE TERRORIST BOMBING OF A CHILD-LADEN CUBAN CIVILIAN AIRPLANE AS WELL AS THE LUSH SANCTUARY IN MIAMI PROVIDED FOR THE WELL-KNOWN TERRORISTS, all anti-American abominations.
Cubana Flight 455. Yes, America, it happened.
       Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The lush port was stolen from Cuba in 1903.  Oh, yes!! I know you've been told it was "acquired" via a legal treaty in 1903 and then "sanctified" anew by another legal treaty in 1934. AND, OF COURSE, YOU BELIEVE IT. Let's say...an 80-pound fifth grader hands his lunch money each morning over to a 160-pound classmate. The little kid does it because the big bully beat him to a pulp the first day he stole the lunch money. As twin continuums, if you agree that Guantanamo Bay was "legally" acquired by the U. S., I assume you also agree that the bully is "legally" acquiring the little kid's lunch money each morning.
        President Barack Obama is a very decent and extremely patriotic American. Now finishing the 7th year of his 8-year, two-term presidency, Mr. Obama has done more than any other American to normalize relations with Cuba. His motives are two-fold: {1} So the world doesn't forever view the U. S. as a big bully unfairly punishing innocent Cubans on the island; and {2} he believes in democracy and human decency.
        Astutely using his Executive Authority, President Obama has made remarkable strides in slicing into the U. S. Congress-mandated U. S. policy that the whole world strongly opposes -- from Pope Francis to all 192 nations in the UN {except Congress-dependent Israel}. Mr. Obama has eased some of the undemocratic laws that have barred Americans from visiting the island, laws apparently designed so Americans can easily be propagandized about Cuba. He has also removed Cuba from the State Department's Sponsors of Terrorism list, a designation that allowed anti-Castro zealots in Miami to sue unrepresented Cuba in Miami courts. He paved the way for opening the U. S. and Cuban embassies for the first time since 1961. And now, for the first time in five decades, he has opened direct mail routes to Cuba.
       President Obama is shown above applauding one of the positive inroads he has made regarding a bit of sanity added to America's maligned Cuban policy. But all along the way, for the past seven years, he has faced a dysfunctional, bought-and-pay-for U. S. Congress that, unfortunately, has the power to thwart much of the good he has done and is trying to do -- not only with Cuba but also global warming, gun control, attempting to correct costly Bush-era mistakes in foreign policy, etc. Mr. Obama has been criticized for not doing more, but constitutionally he is blocked by Congress from achieving more. For example, he would like to close the infamous prison at Guantanamo Bay and return the plush port to its rightful owner, Cuba. Yet, he can't do either of those things. In the U. S. Congress, incompetents or crooks can be elected from small areas of the country and then remain there for decades literally screwing the rest of the nation while pork-barreling enough tax dollars to enough supporters back home to keep them in Congress forever. Remember Jesse Helms of Helms-Burton fame? Remember Ted Stevens and his Bridge to Nowhere to benefit just one particular donor? Then, once in Congress, a dinosaur like Jesse Helms can easily, for example, reap rewards by participating in anti-Cuban legislation and solicit converts with just one line, "Support my Cuban bill and I'll support your Bridge to Nowhere." That's how, for example, literally billions of tax dollars have flowed and continue to flow from Washington to Miami to lushly finance the anti-Castro propaganda machine Radio-TV Marti, which ABC-TV News many years ago correctly and famously labeled "The Newscast to Nowhere." Another severe defect of the U. S. Congress is the process whereby a congressman can attach his own personal bill to a must-pass piece of legislation and that bill becomes as "legal" as the original intent of the bill, which might be a must-pass $700 billion defense bill or a multi-billion-dollar transportation bill. The intimidated or incompetent U. S. media didn't report it but recently such an anti-Cuban bill was attached to one of those must-pass laws. The cowardly add-on stipulated that the prison at Guantanamo Bay could not be closed and the port could not be returned to Cuba. Mr. Obama and other democracy lovers cringed when they read that add-on to the huge bill that President Obama signed into law. But let it be known that he was informed that IN A DYSFUNCTIONAL AND EASILY BOUGHT-AND-PAID-FOR CONGRESS there were enough votes to over-ride his veto. In that manner, with Americans neither smart enough nor patriotic to care, anti-Cuba laws that shame America and democracy have remained U. S. laws for decades with more added recently, such as the cowardly add-ons about Guantanamo. with nary a peep from Americans who should care enough to defend their democracy. Mr. Obama, a man who does care, has done all he can in the face of such apathy and a deeply flawed United States Congress -- a combination that is made-to-order for self-serving, greedy, self-proclaimed "patriots."
       On January 1, 1959, the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba was overthrown by the Cuban Revolution, shocking the world. It was an even bigger shock to the U. S. democracy. That's because much of the fleeing Batistiano-Mafiosi leadership quickly regrouped in nearby Miami, creating Little Havana USA and continuing to be supported and perpetuated by the U. S. government in the decades-old quest to reclaim the island. All along the way the two bywords were: DEMOCRACY BEDAMNED!! By the 1980s, the richest and most powerful anti-Castro zealots in Little Havana had aligned themselves with the Bush dynasty. In 1989, with Jeb Bush her Campaign Manager, Little Havana stalwart and Havana-born Ileana Ros-Lehtinen became the first Cuban-American elected to the U. S. Congress. She is still there. Closely behind came not one but TWO sons of Rafael Diaz-Balart, a former key Minister in the Batista dictatorship who soon became one of the richest and most virulent anti-Castro exiles. His sons, first Lincoln and now Mario, have had little problems fashioning anti-Castro laws in the U. S. Congress. More recently, Marco Rubio and Carlos Curbelo have joined the steady parade of Little Havana stalwarts as anti-Castro zealots from Miami elected to the U. S. Congress. As a democracy lover, I have a bit of a problem with that persistent, preposterous parade. THERE HAVE BEEN A SLEW OF RECENT POLLS THAT SHOW CONCLUSIVELY THAT MOST CITIZENS IN LITTLE HAVANA FAVOR AN END TO THE DASTARDLY U. S. EMBARGO OF CUBA, WHICH HAS SHAMED AMERICA AND DEMOCRACY SINCE 1962, A FACT VIVIDLY REVEALED EACH YEAR WITH A VOTE IN THE UNITED NATIONS. So, my question is this: Why is it that Miami and Little Havana only send anti-embargo zealots -- Ros-Lehtinen, the Diaz-Balarts, Rubio, Curbelo, etc. -- to the U. S. Congress? Is it because...Miami and Little Havana more resemble a Batista-like Banana Republic than a Jefferson-like democracy? 
         Two vicious anti-Castro Cuban-American first-term U. S. Senators -- Marco Rubio from Miami and Ted Cruz from Texas by way of Canada -- have emerged as the two leading "establishment politicians" seeking the red-hot Republican nomination to be President of the United States. They have a lot in common in addition to being anti-Castro Cuban-American zealots. Sure, Rubio got all the way to the U. S. Senate with his bio still making the obligatory claim that his parents escaped the Castro tyranny in Cuba when, in fact, they escaped Batista's Cuba in 1957. Rubio also got all the way to the U. S. Senate despite alarming financial deals involving credit cards, real estate, etc., back in Florida. And, of course, Rubio has shown an avowed disdain for the Senate where he and his huge staff are highly paid but he, more than any of the 100 Senators, often doesn't even bother to show up to vote. Much of the same, except for the credit cards and real estate, can be said for Senator Cruz. Both men latched on to the right-wing Tea Party to launch their political ascendancy. Both men early-on latched onto the Bush dynasty; Mario's mentor in Florida was Jeb Bush and Cruz in Texas worked for George W. Bush. Neither Rubio nor Cruz have accomplished anything of note in the Senate, except vowing to shut down the government if they didn't get their way and to block or erase any of the positive overtures made by President Obama regarding Cuba. Rubio's stump speech on the campaign trail and in the debates also includes his amazing rise from abject poverty in Miami where his dad was a bartender and his mom a maid. That goes over big with the choir and the cable news outfits but it omits one key fact: BEING CUBAN-AMERICAN IN MIAMI MEANS YOU HAVE ADVANTAGES NON-CUBANS DON'T HAVE. At one time there were 17 Republicans running in the ongoing presidential primary. Rubio and Cruz will be the last two standing. That relates to the fact that both hit the Senate running for President, which entailed something they have been extremely successful at -- begging every known conservative and Jewish billionaire for money. Rubio and Cruz each have enough such money, as three articles in USA Today confirmed last week, to purchase the White House for the next sixteen years!! With money from multi-billionaires such as Paul Singer, Art Pope, Ken Griffin, Norman Braman, Sheldon Adelson, etc., Rubio will have enough cash to buy just about anything he wants in the next 25 years, including the White House. The same goes for Cruz, whom a pair of billionaire brothers in Texas gifted with a $15 million check for starters. As for the current primary race, look for the smarter, better organized Cruz, a superb orator, to cruise past both Rubio and the front-running non-politician Donald Trump to secure the Republican nod.
      I like photos and graphics and this one is courtesy of Carolyn Kaster/AP with the Broken Heart graphic courtesy of Cliport.co/Yahoo News. Till they both ended up atop the polls, Cruz and Trump had only good things to say about each other, even while the Cable News anchors were going ballistic and devouring hour-after-hour of valuable time solely in trying to destroy Trump. But as this photo-graphic illustrates, now Cruz and Trump realize they have to attack and insult each other, even if it breaks their ever-loving hearts!!
     Nick Anderson, in a downward spiral for the U. S. media, is an example of why great Editorial Cartoonists are probably your best bet to get a real pulse on the news, including politics. Anderson won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 2007 with the Louisville Courier-Journal. Now his Pulitzer-worthy work is at the Houston Chronicle and his gems are syndicated nationally by The Washington Post Writers Group. In the past two weeks the anchors on cable news networks -- especially Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity, Joe Scarborough, Chris Cuomo, and Stephanie Sy -- have all gone ballistic -- hour after hour, day after day -- berating Donald Trump for his latest proposal, which is/was to keep Muslims out of the U. S. "till we find out what's going on." Judging the anti-Trump anchors is actually hilarious for this old former {small-time} television anchor. But I am a {big-time} newshound and I want sharp, precise, fair, balanced news coverage -- as opposed to biased rants. So, I'm mostly relegated to depending on Pulitzer prize-winning Editorial Cartoonists such as Nick Anderson. One Nick is worth all those anchors combined. A case in point is Nick's political cartoon below.
       This is a Nick Anderson gem that appeared in USA Today and other newspapers. Yes, it's anti-Trump specifically regarding his Muslim comment, but it is also precise and to the point without wasting hour-after-hour, day-after-day ranting about it.
       This Gary Varvel "Campaign Blizzard" gem is also a case in point regarding great Editorial Cartoonists. Using an economy of words, he is saying, I believe, that the poor American voters are being swamped, or literally buried, in an avalanche...more like a tsunami, really...month-after-month-after-month of furious and nauseating campaigning, even involving a host of candidates who have zero chances of winning the endless primaries that have...aghast!!...more than another whole year to go. Sure, in money-crazed America, the billion-dollar campaigns enrich candidates, television stations, networks, pundits, ad agencies, etc. BUT WHY IS THIS INSANITY ALLOWED ONLY IN AMERICA and in no other democracy? I believe Gary Varvel in the above cartoon was asking the same question, and using just five precise words to ask it. 
       Now back to Rubio-Cruz, Cruz-Rubio. I am not a pundit nor am I a political expert. That, I believe, qualifies me to be a prognosticator regarding the ongoing Republican primary. {I'm a lifelong conservative Republican not elated that my Party has been usurped by right-wingers. My passion for Cuba -- as opposed to, say, Jamaica -- relates to my belief that America's Cuban policy has and is doing more to hurt America and democracy than any other day-to-day thing}. I now hereby predict that one of the two gentlemen shown above will be the first Cuban-American to be President of the United States. AND...a drum roll might be in order here...I PREDICT THAT MAN WILL BE.......TED CRUZ!! But...hold on! I don't think that monumental event will happen in January of 2017. However...I think it will happen in January of 2021. I think Cruz, better than Rubio, will use Hillary Clinton's White House term to better consolidate and meld his cash and political forces. Both men can use their huge cash stashes to aid other politicians in a well-known ploy to buy political supporters.
       But I believe the Castro brothers from Texas will have more political success in the next 25 years than Rubio or Cruz. They are identical twins; that's Julian on the left and Joaquin on the right. You can Google their astounding meteoric rise in politics, guided by a fantastic Mexican-Texas mother. Her sons have off-the-wall intelligence, political acumen, and a genuine concern for people less fortunate than themselves. {Also the Castro twins from Texas are simply not self-serving anti-Castro zealots}.
       This montage is a reminder that Latinos from this time forward will play an increasingly powerful role in the fabric of America, including politics. ABC News recognized that fact recently when it named the three talented Latinos above to its prestigious 2016 Presidential Team. And that's a good thing. I look forward to the day when the twin Castro brothers -- Joaquin and Julian -- spend 16 years flip-flopping as President-Vice President of the United States!! {But we'll have to amend that silly old rule about the President and Vice President needing to be from different states}.  

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