Thursday, February 18, 2016

Obama Will Visit Cuba

Official Announcement Today
     As we have been saying for days, President Barack Obama has a strong desire to visit Cuba, the nearby island that he has treated more decently and more bravely than any other American, including U. S. presidents dating back to 1898 when the Spanish-American War was concocted to make Cuba a U. S. colony, not a Spanish one. Today -- Wednesday, February 18th -- the White House will bravely, triumphantly, and officially announce that President Obama plans to visit Cuba...next month!!
     Mr. Obama has twice been elected President of the United States and over seven years ago he entered the Oval Office, as had nine Presidents before him, marching to a Cuban policy dictated for over half-a-century by the ousted remnants of the brutal-thieving U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba. But President Obama, with uncompromising decency and bravery, has chosen not to march to the self-serving and vile dictates of the Batistianos and their easily acquired sycophants in the U. S. Congress.
       More than anyone else, Mr. Obama resented this image of America, a diabolical image shared by the rest of the world as indicated yearly by a vote in the United Nations, a 191-to-2 vote propagandized Americans are told to ignore. Mr. Obama's enemies, and sadly many decent but intimidated American citizens, have not been shamed or embarrassed by the definitive image vividly depicted above.
        President Obama has the guts and decency to admit that Cubans on the island, like these two ladies, are not America's enemies but they have been punished for over half-a-century by U.S.-based Batistianos and their Congressional acolytes. The cowardly justification has been that it hurts Fidel Castro. When vicious and well-protected anti-Castro terrorists cowardly blew up the child-laden Cubana Flight 455 civilian airplane, cowardly Americans were advised by the Miami media that it was the biggest blow yet against Castro. And to this day that is why Americans are not supposed to know or surely not comment on such atrocities or their aftermaths. But President Obama knows and has the guts to loudly comment.
        On Dec. 17-2014 President Obama, after behind-the-scenes discussions with decent people like Pope Francis and Cuba's Josefina Vidal, told the world of his plans to normalize relations with Cuba. He well knew that a handful of belligerent members of the U. S. Congress have long dictated America's Cuban policy to suit their revenge, economic, and political motives related to Cuba. And he knew Congress would forever maintain anti-Cuban and anti-democratic policies such as the Embargo, which has existed since 1962...or right after the 1961 Bay of Pigs attack failed to recapture Cuba. But, using his Executive Powers, President Obama has bravely and astutely sliced deeply into the Batistiano and Congressional stranglehold on Cuba. He removed Cuba from the Sponsors of Terrorism list that had enabled Miami courts to successfully sue unrepresented Cuba for whatever they wanted to accuse Cuba of. He opened embassies in Havana and Washington for the first time since 1961. He has greatly eased travel restrictions to Cuba that have made everyday Americans the only people in the world without the freedom to visit the island, a shameful and undemocratic law designed to make sure everyday Americans continue to not be able to make their own judgments about a Cuban policy opposed by America's friends around the world and by a majority of Cuban-Americans even in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. Yet, a handful of remnants from the Batista dictatorship have been allowed to make America look like a Batista-style Banana Republic, an abomination that President Obama has sliced into. Just this week he defied the embargo by authorizing an Alabama company to build much-needed tractors in Cuba using Cuban workers. And just this week President Obama has authorized U. S. airlines, barred for half-a-century from making commercial flights to Cuba, to make up to 110 daily commercial, not charter, flights to and from ten Cuban cities.
       While President Obama has been determined to visit Cuba for a long time, either as President in 2016 or as a citizen in 2017, the graphic and photo above affords him the chance to visit the island next month as President. The graphic headlines these words, translated to English: "PEACE TALKS IN HAVANA, CUBA. Shaking hands, with a smiling President Raul Castro looking on, are: Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Colombia, and Rodrigo Londono, the leader of FARC. No one ever expected such a handshake to take place, in Havana or anywhere else. For a half-century the Colombian government and FARC have been waging a bloody Civil War. It has cost 250,000 lives and an untold amount of injuries. It has also cost American taxpayers billions and billions of dollars. President Barack Obama, on his visit to Cuba next month, plans to witness in person the signing of a Declaration of Peace between Colombia and FARC, a Peace Treaty brokered by Cuba where the discussions have been hosted for many months at Cuba's expense. Americans, of course, are not supposed to give Cuba any credit, but well they should.
         Last week Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, visited the soon-to-be 90-year-old Fidel Castro. The Patriarch, a friend of the Cuban Revolution, had also visited Fidel in 1995, 2004, and 2008. But last week's visit was far more historic, easing a 1000-year-old schism that needed correcting.
       While Patriarch Kirill was in Havana last week, Pope Francis -- who had visited Fidel's home in 2015 -- flew back to Cuba to meet the Patriarch. As shown above, they signed a very, very historic Joint Declaration. Incredibly, it marked the first time in a thousand years that a Pope had met a Patriarch. Of course, Americans are not supposed to give Cuba any credit for that history-making and peace-loving gesture, but they should, even if they are frightened by the scary Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
      Not surprisingly, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have been all over the airways in the past 24 hours railing against President Obama's upcoming trip to Cuba. Their tirades began last night on CNN during a Town Hall hosted by Anderson Cooper. In a right-wing dominated Republican Party that has driven conservatives like me to seek more decent political havens, Cruz and Rubio, incredibly, are serious presidential contenders in this pivotal year of 2016. Cruz in Texas and Rubio in Miami got their political starts by being Bush dynasty and Tea Party darlings. Most significantly, both Cuban-Americans put gigantic "For Sale" signs on their chests and backs to propel them to the U. S. Senate. They immediately, as first-term Senators, showed disrespect for everything except their acute presidential ambitions. Even when key bills were coming up in the Senate, they were busy begging billionaires for money to fund their presidential bids. Now both Cruz and Rubio are awash with money from right-wing, Jewish, religious, and other billionaires -- enough money to purchase the White House for years to come. While there are many Cuban-Americans that should be in the U. S. Congress or the White House, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio are not among them.
        Cruz and Rubio are not only unfit to be President, they would be dangerous. Not because they are the most bought-and-paid-for major candidates; and not because they have displayed gross disrespect for the Office of President and not just President Obama himself. Donald Trump is not the only one who has labeled both Cruz and Rubio liars and dishonest. Their lies have been so dishonest it is amazing they, or their handlers, believe the American people are so naive and stupid to believe them...but many Americans do believe them in a political milieu in which well-funded propaganda machines overwhelm the media. Thus, Rubio can lie about whether his parents escaped the tyranny of Batista or Castro for the freedom of Miami. And, thus, Cruz can incessantly claim, as he did with Anderson Cooper on CNN again last night, that his father fought for Castro in the revolution but that somehow he conveniently blames Castro for his father being tortured by Batista thugs because blaming Batista, I guess, wouldn't be accepted by the sufficiently propagandized American voters who live in a nation where the Cuban narrative is dictated by remnants of the long-ago Batista dictatorship in Cuba. Not surprisingly, in the heated Iowa caucus voting, two campaigns -- Cruz's and Rubio's -- embarked on shady practices, standards even lower than past very low political campaigns -- such as saturating that state with government-like sheets apparently designed to scare the voters into voting for them, and propagating such last-minute lies as claiming Ben Carson had dropped out of the race so be sure to vote for TED CRUZ!! While a Marco Rubio-Nikki Haley Republican ticket would be far more electable, a ticket headed by Ted Cruz would be far more dangerous. And while both Cruz and Rubio are totally bought-and-paid-for, Cruz is even more of a right-wing extremist and he is much smarter than Rubio. And therefore, Cruz is much more dangerous but Rubio is much more electable.
         Ken Silverstein is a respected investigative journalist with an easily scrutinized background from his many years working at Harper's Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, etc. He recently turned his investigative skills on Marco Rubio, resulting in a major article entitled: "MARCO RUBIO: Poor Little Rich Boy Runs Into Real Estate Trouble." His very first sentence was/is: "When it comes to sheer brazen corruption, chicanery and dishonesty there is one candidate who stands head and shoulders above everybody else and that is the right-wing Cuban-American and Tea Party darling Senator Marco Rubio." I remind you of that article with this caveat: Even superb investigative print journalists these days are easily smothered and overwhelmed by politicians who have millions and millions of dollars to pay high-priced publicists/lobbyists/propagandists and who have total access to television news networks who will readily accept lies and distortions because to challenge them might discourage the Talking Head politicians and pundits they need to fill their airtime and also save them from having to send real reporters out to actually cover important news.
        So, yes, in that milieu -- a pundit-crazed media and a money-crazed political system -- Marco Rubio can be elected President of the United States, which means he could probably name three new Supreme Court justices and, as Commander-in-Chief, exploit his views of Cuba and other bought-and-paid-for topics.
       Barack Obama, now in his 8th year as U. S. President, has had to battle a money-driven political system and a pundit-driven media to accomplish many things on behalf of democracy and the American people. While right-wing Republicans like Rubio, Cruz, and Jeb Bush assail Mr. Obama from all sides, and mostly behind his back, they are being opposed in the current presidential sweepstakes by a flawed but extremely astute politician named Hillary Clinton, who is smart enough to be campaigning on Obama's record of achievements. Fifty years from now, the highlight of Obama's legacy will likely be his brave overtures to Cuba. While sufficiently proselytized and completely propagandized Americans today cannot be expected to see through many fog-dazed lies, it does appear that a young generation of Americans -- based on the amazing presidential support even Bernie Sanders is receiving -- are verily desperate to restore sanity and decency to the greatest form of government, the U. S. democracy, ever devised by men and women. When Obama's brave and sane Cuban policy is supported by the entire world and even by almost all of the young Cuban-Americans in Miami's Little Havana area, it should be evident that America's democracy is in dire trouble when right-wing, highly financed Cuban-American thugs can vow to destroy Obama and his Cuban policy and still be considered legitimate presidential candidates to succeed him.
         Cuba, an island, says more about the United States, the world's most powerful nation, than it says about Cuba. One thing it says is...the American citizens in 1952 should have objected when right-wingers so soon after World War II aligned the United States with the Mafia to support the brutal and thieving Batista dictatorship in Cuba. Another thing it says is...the American citizens in 1959 should have objected when the overthrown Batista-Mafia dictatorship reconstituted itself on American soil from which, since the 1950s, it has dictated America's shameful Cuban policy. And yet another thing in 2016 it says is...Americans should object to putting Batistiano/Mafiosi-types in the White House as President of the United States. If it happens, we Americans in 2016 will be as shameless, as stupid, and as guilty as were the Americans who in 1952 insanely helped, for 8 more brutal years, the likes of Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano and Fulgencio Batista to rape and rob Cuba at will. In the above graphic, that's Mafia kingpin Lansky upfront flanked by Mafia kingpins Luciano and Batista, depicted when they were in charge of Cuba. It is interesting to note, I think, that in 2016 Lansky heirs are demanding that the U. S. government help them get financial restitution for things, like hotels, Lansky left behind in Cuba in 1959 when he fled back to his safe soil, American soil.
          Meyer Lansky, before he died of old age in Miami in 1983, famously said that the Mafia was "bigger than U. S. Steel." In being allowed to construct such a criminal enterprise in the United States and Cuba, it is interesting to note, I think, that Mr. Lansky didn't have to worry about the U. S. government but it seems he was very scared, for some reason, when the Cuban Revolution overthrew the Batista dictatorship.
        It is also interesting, I think, that fictional movies based on real life have been far, far more truthful in the U. S. about telling the truth about the remnants of Cuba's Batista dictatorship. Tony Montana, as famously depicted in the movie Scarface, is a prime example. Tony, you see, was a Batista remnant. The famed movie opens with live and real footage of Tony arriving in Miami via U. S. laws that, then and now, entice Cubans to leave the island and, once in the U. S., they are instantly legal residents, with benefits. Tony Montana, as played by the great Al Pacino, quickly became the richest and most vicious drug kingpin Miami ever saw...although, for sure, real life documentaries such as "Cocaine Cowboys" and great crime reporters such as Edna Buchanan of the Associated Press documented true Tony Montana-types that ruled Miami for decades, with Ms. Buchanan at one point in "Cocaine Cowboys" pointing back at Miami's impressive skyline and saying, "It was built with drug money."
Tony Montana and the "Scarface" Miami mansion.
Edna Buchanan, now 76, Miami's greatest crime journalist.
Marco Rubio, Miami's usually absent Senator.
Have a nice visit to Cuba, Mr. President.
And by the way:
       Calvin Coolidge in 1928 was the last U. S. President to visit Cuba. That is President Coolidge and his wife Grace on the left and Cuban President and General Gerado Machado and his wife Elvira on the right. The photo was taken on January 19th, 1928, at Machado's estate.
Jimmy Carter as ex-President visited Fidel Castro in 2002.
Jimmy Carter also visited an ill Fidel Castro in 2011.
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