For Cubans & Americans!!
Today -- Wednesday, August 31st, 2016 -- a JetBlue A320 airplane will make a Full Flight From Fort Lauderdale in Florida to Santa Clara in central Cuba. It will write a new chapter in the turbulent history of U.S.-Cuban relations. For over five decades, as punishment for the Cuban Revolution overthrowing the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship in January of 1959, the ongoing U. S. embargo against Cuba has prevented any commercial flights from the U. S. to Cuba. Today's JetBlue flight is a product of President Barack Obama's courageous efforts to normalize relations with the nearby island. The most visceral remnants of the ousted Batista-Mafia dictatorship still dictate U. S. Cuban policy via a stranglehold on the U. S. Congress that yearly gets a 191-to-2 denunciation in the United Nations. But incredibly, President Barack Obama has sliced into the self-serving and misguided congressional dictates regarding Cuba.
But as a historic JetBlue A320 airliner like this one leaves Fort Lauderdale today and touches down in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara, proper perspectives are in order. As has been the case since 1959, any and all efforts in the United States to deal sanely with Cuba have, first of all, spawned massive resistance from the small but omnipotent and lucrative Anti-Castro Cottage Industry that flourishes on U. S. soil. Today's resumption of commercial flights to Cuba for the first time in over five decades will spawn predictable vitriol. And these forces are not accustomed to losing, and that's why even the historic JetBlue flight to Cuba today will not have many American passengers, just mostly Cuban-Americans. For decades Americans have been the only people in the world without the freedom to visit Cuba, but such discriminatory laws also discriminate strongly in favor of Cuban-Americans. After the JetBlue flight on this final day of August, in September American and Silver airlines will begin regular flights to Cuba from Miami. Soon, plans call for 110 daily flights from the U. S. to Cuba. The U. S. and Cuba are discussing 20 daily flights to Havana, the most coveted prize, but they have not been assigned yet because the capital city's Jose Marti Airport is already strained by a sharp uptick in tourism to Cuba. Several major U. S. airlines are willing to start flights to remote Cuban cities if they can compete for HAVANA!!
America's Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, will be aboard today's historic JetBlue flight to Santa Clara. Before joining the Obama administration, Mr. Foxx was the Mayor of Charlotte from 2009 till 2013. He says, "This flight to Cuba opens a new and positive chapter in the annals of United States and Cuban relationships. Commercial, as opposed to just charter flights between the two neighboring nations, will benefit most Americans and most Cubans, as will many other fresh overtures orchestrated by President Obama."
There is no Cuban-American more expert on U.S.-Cuban relations than Alberto Coll. He came to the U. S. from Cuba at age 12. He graduated with honors from Princeton University and then from the University of Virginia Law School. He taught law at Georgetown University, then was a top official at the Pentagon, and now is a renowned Law Professor at DePaul University. Today's USA Today quotes Mr. Coll regarding JetBlue's history-making flight to Cuba today. Mr. Coll said, "This is truly transformational." He knows that the resumption of commercial flights to Cuba will help Cubans and Americans, telling USA Today that "The money will go into the pockets of Cuban families that are going to use those resources to expand their small businesses and improve their lives, over time, that is going to transform Cuban society in a more open, more pluralistic manner." Most Americans, most Cuban-Americans and for sure most people all around the world wholeheartedly agree with Alberto Coll that punishing everyday Cubans for over half-a-century in the misguided, revengeful guise of hurting Castro has shamed the United States long enough. And yet, a visceral minority of Cuban-Americans based in Miami and/or the U. S. Congress stringently oppose the viewpoints of Cuban-Americans like Alberto Coll...to the detriment of Cubans, Americans, Cuban-Americans and especially the worldwide reputations of both the United States of America and its great democracy.
Today's USA Today article about today's historic JetBlue flight to Cuba also lavishly quoted anti-Castro zealots like Dr. Jaime Suchlicki, the head of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami. Dr. Suchlicki has long been one of the most powerful anti-Castro zealots in the United States and thus he opposes anything President Obama or anyone else tries to do to normalize relations with the island. Concerning the start of commercial air traffic to Cuba, he told USA Today today, "Even well-intentioned travelers to Cuba will enrich the struggling Castro regime." That mantra has been shoved down the throats of Americans everyday since January of 1959, at least till President Obama intervened.
For many decades, Americans have been told that the only opinions regarding Cuba must come from anti-Castro zealots like Dr. Jamie Suchlicki, who indeed is one of America's most notable consultants about Cuba in both the private and public sectors. Americans are not supposed to realize that most Cuban-Americans even in Miami agree with President Obama's sane Cuban approach. The aforementioned Alberto Coll certainly disagrees with Dr. Suchlicki, as do most Cuban-Americans whose opinions you are not supposed to know about. For example, in this age of Google you can easily dial up pertinent and unbiased contrasting views. Punch in a long article written by Alvaro Fernandez entitled: "Fog of Lies About Cuba Damage University of Miami's Reputation." If you do so, you will discover that the recent article starts out by excoriating the Miami Herald because of its standard policy to "dare not delve into the web of deception created by one university professor and his staff of liars, of what some call an important educational and research center." The "university professor" Alvaro Fernandez referenced is Dr. Suchlicki. But all Americans are supposed to never challenge anything he says about Cuba, including his quote in today's USA Today.
In contrast to Dr. Jamie Suchlicki's quote, please remember Alberto Coll's beneficent words today in USA Today revealing his hope and belief that such overtures as the resumption of commercial flights to Cuba will help everyday Cubans on the island, the ones who have suffered so much for so long because of what essentially was the transfer of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship from Cuba to the U. S. in January of 1959. In fact, to comprehend the Batistiano-Bush dictation of America's Cuban policy, you should study Mr. Coll's bio. As mentioned, he came to the U. S. from Cuba at age 12, graduated from Princeton and then UVA Law School, and has taught law at Georgetown and now DePaul universities. But to understand Mr. Coll's background, you need to do a little Googling. Dial up a comprehensive article entitled "The Assassination of Alberto Coll" written by the incomparable Ann Louise Bardach, the all-time greatest expert on U.S.-Cuban relations. Ms. Bardach explains that while there have "literally" been killings, Alberto Coll was only assassinated politically, not physically, for opposing the Cuban hardliners and their sycophants in the Bush dynasty starting with, as she stated, "George H. W. Bush," and continuing on to George W. Bush anti-Castro zealots such as "John Bolton" and "Otto Reich." Ms. Bardach states that the most powerful anti-Castro Cuban-American, "Jorge Mas Canosa," once offered the brilliant Cuba-American lawyer Alberto Coll a powerful position. The Pentagon had made young Alberto Coll the Deputy Secretary of Defense during the George H. W. Bush administration. But...lo 'n behold...when the Cuban hardliners and the Bush dynasty discovered that Alberto Coll had a sane and decent concern for the innocent Cubans on the island, he was "assassinated" -- politically but not physically. As Ann Louise Bardach, the greatest of America's Cuban experts, explains, what happened to Alberto Coll was not pretty, not at all. But at least he survived...and his comment in today's "USA Today" shows that he still has dire concern for innocent Cubans on the island.
And speaking of Ms. Bardach:
If you haven't read her seminal books, essays, and articles about Cuba, I assume you don't know much about either Miami or Havana. Start, of course, with her classic book: "CUBA CONFIDENTIAL: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana." And to learn about a great Cuban-American who actually cares about Cubans on the island, be sure to Google "The Assassination of Alberto Coll" by Ann Louise Bardach.