Saturday, June 11, 2016

Cuba's Survival Plan

  It Remains A Priority 
{Monday, June 13th, 2016 -- Up- dated}
       While the U. S. media is totally obsessed with making sure that upstart Donald Trump doesn't win the presidential sweepstakes, there are actually a vast litany of other important news items that are being ignored. The photo above courtesy of South Korea's YONHAP News Agency is a prime example this week. On the left is Yun Byung, South Korea's Foreign Minister. On the right is Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. The two men, at the behest of South Korea, held vitally important talks this week in Havana, marking the first time in history such a high-level South Korean has been to Cuba. As warlike tensions mount in the South China Sea, South Korea is a vital military and economic ally of the United States. For all these reasons, the photo depicted above is a major news item that deeply concerns South Korea, Cuba, the United States and the world. Yun Byung said, "For an exceptionally long time, our talks were very friendly, serious and candid. We had a broad exchange of views on bilateral, regional, and global issues." Yun Byung's mission to Cuba reflects the desire of South Korea and the U. S. to loosen Cuba's ties with North Korea, a dangerously unpredictable nuclear power who is a player in the China-dominated South China Sea skirmishes. But Bruno Rodriguez, speaking for Cuba, frankly replied to Yun Byung with these stoic and vidal Cuban positions: "I respect South Korea's concern and appreciate the offer to help Cuba with economic and other considerations. But understand that we are not for sale. In 1959, after our revolution ended America's imperialist control of Cuba, our revolutionary leaders, Fidel Castro himself, went immediately to the U. S. to propose friendship and democracy. Nixon told Castro that the Cuban exiles and the U. S. would recapture Cuba soon. Cuba turned to the Soviet Union and other avenues that respected and supported our sovereignty. When the Soviet Union faded, we sought other friends...along with vowing to defend our independence with a do-or-die fervor. It's been that way since the 1950s. Cuba will be America's friend if our sovereignty is respected. Cuba will be South Korea's friend if our sovereignty is respected. We are not criminals and we are not stupid. We well know we would be much better off if America was our friend and if South Korea was our friend. Having said that, our sovereignty is not for sale. To understand us, please know that you must understand that."
       This photo shows Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, second from the left in the white shirt, hosting South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung, in the black suit, in Havana this week. It was big news, and very topical. Non-American international news agencies -- such as Yonhap News -- treated it as big, topical news...especially considering the possibility that World War III might be evolving in the South China Sea disputes. Of course, the U. S. its role as an anti-Cuban propaganda not about to impartially inform Americans about Cuban issues, even if it might have a bearing on World War III, which, if possible, should be avoided in this nuclear-age.
        Ben Rhodes, a 39-year-old New Yorker, is America's Deputy National Security Advisor. He has been a key advisor and negotiator during President Obama's historic efforts to normalize relations with Cuba. This week Mr. Rhodes told Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post that the openings to Cuba "are irreversible." He also said, "The trade embargo and the removal of travel limits to Cuba will be lifted sooner than people think. The fact of the matter is that the American people and the Cuban people overwhelmingly want this to happen." He believes that the commercial and cultural ties wrought by his boss, President Obama, will prevent the Republican-Miami-Congress zealots from reversing most of Mr. Obama's sanity and decency.
          Ben Rhodes is also a major speechwriter for Mr. Obama. This Wikipedia photo shows Rhodes and Barack Obama on Air Force One as the President reviews the text of a key speech that Ben wrote.
        After Air Force One landed in Cuba in April, a palpable sentence written by Ben Rhodes and then approved and famously delivered by President Obama was: "Cuba does not need to fear a threat from the United States." At least, of course, Cuba does not have to fear a threat from the United States as long as a Republican does not succeed him in the White House in January, 2017. The world understands that logic.
         With President Obama now openly and powerfully campaigning for Democrat Hillary Clinton, it appears his popularity and speaking prowess will indeed keep the Republicans out of the White House. Amazingly, in the closing months of his two-term presidency Mr. Obama's approval rating exceeds 50% while the norm would be in the 20-to-40 percent range, at best. He inherited from the Bush dynasty a financial depression, a warmongering foreign policy, a decades-old Cuban strategy designed to recapture the island that shamed America's best friends all around the world, and other right-wing disasters. President Obama has corrected much of those evils and, in the process, turned many lifelong conservative Republicans, like me, into staunch Democrats. No matter what the Miami and Congressional zealots do next, Cuba will loom in the decades to come as a catalyst in varnishing Obama's pro-democracy legacy to create a bright, shiny glow. In the pantheon of Great American Presidents, I now rank him #1, which drops FDR to #2 and Abe to #3
Up, up and Cuba!!
       In 1962 the U. S. embargo was created for the stated purpose, according to declassified U. S. documents, to starve and deprive Cubans on the island to induce them to overthrow their revolutionary government. That cruel policy has existed ever since but President Obama has sliced remarkably into it despite the Batistiano-directed mandates to enforce it. The embargo for all those decades has, for example, prevented cruise ships from leaving the U. S. for Cuba. But Obama has boldly arranged for Cardinal Cruise Lines to make regular jaunts from Miami to Cuba with other cruise lines continuing this week to arrange their Cuban cruises. Also since 1962 everyday Americans have been the only people in the world denied the freedom to travel to Cuba, but Obama has carved up that congressional absurdity too and now there are 12 rather easy excuses for Americans to visit the island. Just this week American and five other major airlines were given permission to begin commercial flights to Cuba from Miami, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis. Since 1962 only charter flights have been allowed.
  Up, up and awayyyy...indeed!!!
      President Obama hasn't erased all of the inequities of U.S.-Cuban relations but, more than any person since 1492, he has corrected many of the imperialist and militaristic stains against America related to its Cuba policy. From 1492, when Columbus discovered Cuba and the U. S., foreign powers coveted and fought over the island, with Spain being Top Dog for 400 years prior to the 1898 Spanish-American War when the U. S. gained control. Cubans could do nothing till 1952 when right-wingers in the Eisenhower administration -- Vice President Nixon, the Dulles brothers, etc. -- teamed the U. S. democracy with the Mafia to support the brutal-thieving Batista dictatorship in Cuba. That outrage inspired the historic Cuban Revolution, which shocked the world by finally gaining independence. But by daylight on January 1, 1959, the Batistiano-Mafiosi leaders used their getaway planes, ships and boats to escape to safer havens -- namely South Florida. In the ensuing six decades, two generations of Batistianos-Mafiosi have used Congress and Republican presidential administrations to dictate whatever they want to dictate regarding Cuba and yet they have not been able to recapture the island. Hiding behind the skirts of the world's superpower, and benefiting drastically from the propagandized apathy of U. S. citizens, two Batistiano-Mafiosi generations dictated America's Cuban policy, at least till President Obama bravely challenged it.
        This REUTERS photo, I believe, emphasizes just how much President Obama has defied the Batistiano-Mafiosi dictation of America's Cuban policy. In April he arrived in Cuba aboard Air Force One, the first sitting U. S. President to visit Cuba since 1928 when President Coolidge appropriately arrived on a warship. While in Cuba, President Obama even persuaded Cuban President Raul Castro to join him at a news conference, which involved taking questions from the media. Obama was used to that; Castro wasn't. In the above photo Castro was pretending he didn't understand a question regarding dissidents. Obama was amused, at least considering the Q & A session something Cuba needs to start getting used to.
       These Cubans never expected to see Air Force One flying low over Havana with the President of the United States aboard. But this iconic ABC-TV photo was taken in April of 2016. It indeed happened!!!!!!
President Obama about to peacefully land in Havana.
      In stark contrast to Obama's peaceful flight to Cuba in April of 2016, back in 1960 the U. S. airplane flights to Cuba were by warplanes based in nearby Florida {study the above photo-caption} to mercilessly bomb Cuban farms. Of course, to this day Americans are supposed to deny the AP photo and caption above. That's because, beginning on January 1 of 1959 the overturned Batista-Mafia dictatorship fled to South Florida and, from that day to this day, the Cuban narrative in the U. S. has been mostly controlled by the transplanted Batistianos and Mafiosi. If you still deny that, re-study the above photo and caption.  
        On April 15, 1961, a squadron of B-26 bombers like this one took off from Nicaragua to bomb Cuba into oblivion. The pilots and Cuban exiles, at great expense to taxpayers, had trained in Nicaragua where the U.S.-friendly Somoza dictatorship ruled supreme. The B-26 bombers were to soften up Cuba for the Bay of Pigs ground attack which commenced two days later. The cowardly attack even had disguised the B-26 warplanes as Cuban planes so the U. S. could claim the attack was strictly by Cuban forces. The neophyte President Kennedy had inherited the attack plans devised by right-wingers in the Eisenhower administration. The CIA, led by Allen Dulles, had assured Kennedy that {1} Fidel Castro would run for his getaway airplane the moment he heard the bombs dropping on Camp Colombia at the edge of Havana; and {2} the Cuban people would turn against Fidel when they realized the attack had begun. Of course, unlike the Batistianos, Fidel didn't have a "getaway airplane" and he raced to the front-lines to defend Cuba. And no Cubans turned against him. But as far as Americans know, the attackers and not the defenders were the righteous heroes. The Bay of Pigs losers have dictated the Bay of Pigs narratives.
 Fidel Castro on the front-lines at the Bay of Pigs. 
      This AP photo was taken on April 15, 1961. It shows Cubans bravely holding their ground and firing back at a U. S. warplane flying very low on a strafing and bombing run. It was a quick and easy defense for Cuba, shaming the U. S. once the facts were quickly exposed, starting at the United Nations in New York where Adlai Stevenson, the respected U. S. ambassador, had been famously caught in cover-up lies. Later, the duped President Kennedy screamed: "If I could, I would blow the CIA to smithereens!!" History also registers the fact that, in the week prior to his Nov.22-1963 assassination in Dallas, Kennedy had told Pierre Salinger and his other close aides that his "top priority" was to normalize relations with Cuba. Kennedy and all of his successors in the White House since 1963 never came close to reining in the Cuban exile/right-wing control of America's Cuban least till Obama. That attests to Obama's presidential greatness.
      This week President Obama was a superstar guest on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show on NBC-TV. They talked and did some skits. At one point, Obama mentioned Cuba as one of his great successes. Obama's skills as an orator and communicator are unequaled by his vast array of political opponents. So, of course, are his guts, intelligence and decency. And that's why I rate him #1 with FDR sliding to #2 and Abe to #3.

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