Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Obama Leaves; Cuba Stays

Dissidents Win
Photo courtesy: Rolanda Pujol/EPA.
       The iconic and quixotic image of America's presidential airplane, Air Force One, flying low over Havana lingers and now becomes a part of the historic and still-troubled relationship between two enemies.
       This Steven Crowley/New York Times photo shows Cuban President Castro escorting U. S. President Obama past an Honor Guard at Cuba's Palace of the Revolution.
       This Desmond Boylan/AP photo shows the highlight of President Obama's visit to Cuba -- his 50-minute speech at Havana's Grand Theater. Cuban President Raul Castro was in attendance and the speech was carried live on Cuban television. Mr. Obama said: "I affirm that Cuba's destiny will not be decided by the United States or any other nation. Cuba is sovereign and rightly has great pride, and the future of Cuba will be decided by Cubans, not by anyone else." That would be so if Mr. Obama, most Americans, most Cubans, most Cuban-Americans, and most citizens of the world had their way. But that's not the way it is, nor the way it will be. And that's a fact.
      This Reuters photo shows President Obama meeting with selected Cuban dissidents. The lady on the left in white covering the obligatory event is Cuba's most famed dissident, Yoani Sanchez. The Huffington Post and much of the Western media used Yoani Sanchez's bylines to depict Obama's visit to Cuba, meaning the dissidents very easily triumphed. She called President Obama "Saint Obama."
      50,000 Cubans gave Obama a standing ovation when he showed up for the baseball game at Latin American Stadium in Havana. Behind ace left-handed pitcher Matt Moore, the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Cuban National Team 4-to-1. Veteran Tampa Bay first baseman James Loney belted a two-run homer and drove in 3 of the 4 runs for the Rays. A 9th inning homer by Cuba's Rudy Reyes averted a shut-out.
      Derek Jeter, upper-right, was among the notable American baseball legends who eased through the crowd to greet Obama at his last public appearance in Havana.
Presidents Obama and Castro at the baseball game.
        Mr. Obama's 3-day trip to Cuba is now over. Many of his brave and positive overtures to Cuba will try to coexist with lingering impediments from a few Miami Cubans and the U. S. Congress that they control. The President and Cuba will lose.
And yet:
        This AP photo shows the pride of the Carnival Cruise line, the Adonia. On May 1, 2016, the Adonia, which can carry 704 passengers, will begin sailing from Miami to Cuba. It will mark the first time in 50 years that a cruise ship has been allowed to sail from the U. S. to Cuba, giving President Obama another talismanic achievement. 
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