Saturday, March 12, 2016

Cuba and U. S. Republicans

Right-Wingers May Lose
Photo Courtesy: Yamil Lage/Getty Images.
      The above photo was taken in Havana Friday, March 11th, 2016. It reveals why right-wingers in charge of America's Republican Party might not bring Cuba to its knees, after all.
           Federica Mogherini, the Foreign Policy Chief for the European Union, is shown holding a news conference with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. The 28-nation EU and Cuba had just signed an agreement to normalize relations. A little over a decade ago the EU, capitulating to America's Cuba-bashing George W. Bush administration, had essentially severed all ties with Cuba. Taking full advantage of President Barack Obama's efforts to normalize U. S. relations with Cuba, Ms. Mogherini has worked tirelessly to help the Cuban people as well as assist European nations who desire commercial relationships with Cuba. Ms. Mogherini said, "This accord opens a new chapter in the history of relations between the European Union and Cuba." Her friendly overtures to Cuba are important to the island's future.
          In the closing months of President Obama's second term in the White House, he and Federica Mogherini have teamed up to finalize ties with Cuba that they hope will be irreversible even if a right-wing Republican takes over the White House in January of 2017 to buttress the right-wingers in Congress who desire another half-century of hostility with the pugnacious nearby island. The photo above shows a 1950s convertible in Havana with side-by-side U. S. and Cuban flags on the dashboard. It's a typical sight across the island as Obama's overtures have given them hope for the future. Thanks to Obama and Mogherini, the next few days on the island will reflect that optimism. President Obama himself will be in Cuba from March 20th till 22nd. A U. S. Major League baseball team, the Tampa Bay Rays, will play a Cuban team in Havana on March 22nd. Mick Jagger and the world-famed Rolling Stones band will gift the Cuban people with a free concert on March 25th. AND THERE IS MORE. President Obama, prior to visiting the island, will announce more Executive Actions to chop down another set of right-wing barriers that prevent most Americans from freely visiting the island. Also, in the next few days major U. S. companies and enterprises will try to forge commercial ties with Cuba, and that includes A T & T, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Marriot International Hotels, and Major League Baseball. Marriott spokesman Thomas Marder said, "We are optimistic that we are going to get a green light soon from the U. S. government to have hotels under the Marriott flag in Cuba." The 30 Major League baseball teams in the U. S. have created a bonanza for human traffickers by signing just about every Cuban star, including 16-year-olds, to huge and guaranteed bonus contracts. This has encouraged a new influx of defections. But MLB is now trying to sign a deal with Cuba that would allow the American teams to sign coveted Cuban players without them having to defect.
       Yet, the best efforts of decent leaders like President Obama and EU Chief Mogherini might fall victim to either the revitalized right-wingers in the U. S. or to Cuba's labyrinthine bureaucracy that is very, very wary of trusting the imperialist nature of the United States. Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution over the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship in 1959, Cuba has traditionally put more trust in faraway friends than the nearby United States. While many of Cuba's most important friends -- Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, etc. -- now have dire problems of their won, Cuba must engage in the coming week with the key overtures from major U. S. companies like A T & T, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, and MLB. But it had much rather do business with Federica Mogherini.
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