Pro & Contra US-Cuba Exchange Offensive

Marco Rubio is working behind the scenes to shape the Trump administration’s Cuba policy. Photo: saintpetersblog.com

HAVANA TIMES — There are two very distinct approaches trying to influence the Trump administration’s awaited Cuba policy. An initial look at the US president’s plans for the relationship with the neighboring country is expected in the not too far off future.

One end of the divergent proposals would dynamite the bridges laid out by the Obama government. This option is promoted mainly by Florida based Cuban-American origin legislators and hardliner exile groups. Congresswoman Ileana Ros and Senator Marco Rubio are the most vociferous and politically powerful of this group.

In their effort to influence the forthcoming decisions of the new administration Ros and Rubio have worked behind the scenes with Trump appointees, many considered favorable to their anti-Castro crusade. The president himself reportedly met twice with Rubio where the situation in Cuba was one of the topics discussed and Trump praised Rubio’s expertise on the issue.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz, shakes hands with Cuba’s First Vice President Miguel Diaz Canel, at Revolution Palace, in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, June 13, 2015. Photo: Desmond Boylan / AP

In the other corner, supporting a continuation of Obama’s approach regarding openings for US businesses and support for Cuban entrepreneurs are mainly the travel and food export industries, the US Chamber of Commerce and also pro-Cuba social, cultural and economic exchange groups.

Many of the travel and agricultural interests already have investments in tourism and product sales involving Cuba and are trying to get the president to see the value in terms of US jobs of an even greater opening for trade. They hope the president’s business sense will take precedent over political issues such as the lack of many human rights on the island.

Today in Washington D.C., a large group of senators introduced a new bipartisan bill to lift the travel ban on Cuba and allow free movement of US citizens back and forth from the neighboring country. Many attempts to lift the ban have failed over decades.

Here’s a press release issued today from Engage Cuba*, one of the groups supporting expanded relations and exchange between the US and Cuba.

US Senators Introduce Bill to Lift the Travel Ban on Cuba

In a strong display of bipartisanship, today U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) led a bipartisan group of 54 Senators in reintroducing the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, legislation that would eliminate current restrictions on traveling to Cuba for tourist purposes.

Additionally, ahead of the Trump Administration’s expected release of its U.S.-Cuba policy review, which will determine whether or not to continue policies that made it easier to travel to Cuba, this legislation would completely and permanently deregulate U.S. travel to Cuba.

US Senator Patrick Leahy and Cuban President Raul Castro talk in Havana.  File Photo: granma.cu

Americans can now visit Cuba under 12 categories, including individually authorized people-to-people or educational travel. As a result, U.S. demand to visit Cuba has skyrocketed over the past two years. However, Cuba remains the only country in the world to which the U.S. government prohibits Americans from traveling as a tourist.

The increase in travel to Cuba over the past two years has contributed to economic growth and job creation in the U.S. travel and tourism sectors. U.S. travelers have also provided significant economic support to Cuban entrepreneurs and small business owners. Removing all restrictions on traveling to Cuba would further strengthen Cuba’s growing private sector.

“This level of bipartisanship is unparalleled in today’s polarized political environment,” said President of Engage Cuba, James Williams. “Removing burdensome regulations on travel to Cuba will allow Americans to exercise their right to travel freely, create U.S. jobs and support Cuba’s growing private sector. We applaud Senators Flake and Leahy for their leadership in supporting the American and Cuban people by eliminating archaic, outdated policy.”

“Recognizing the inherent right of Americans to travel to Cuba isn’t a concession to dictators, it is an expression of freedom. It is Americans who are penalized by our travel ban, not the Cuban government,” said U.S. Senator Jeff Flake. “Lifting the ban on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba can pave the way to meaningful change by increasing contact between Cubans and everyday Americans, and it is certain to have positive benefits for the island’s burgeoning entrepreneurial and private sector.”

US tourists in Havana. Photo: news.yahoo.com

“A bipartisan majority of the Senate agrees that the federal government should not be telling Americans where they can or cannot travel, especially to a tiny country just 90 miles from Florida. The restrictions in law that our bill would strike down are a failed vestige of the Cold War. The travel ban is neither justified nor in our national security or economic interests. If we don’t engage, China and Russia will – in fact they already are. While this bill doesn’t lift the embargo, it at least would restore to Americans the freedom to travel they are entitled to,” said U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.

The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, which was previously introduced in the 114th Congress with 8 co-sponsors, was reintroduced today with 46 additional cosponsors.

Expanded travel to Cuba is supported by 81% of the American public, including 71% of Republicans, and 74% of the Cuban-American community in Miami-Dade county. In 2016, 500,000 U.S. citizens and Cuban-Americans visited the island, a 70% increase from the year before.

In addition to the overwhelming majority of the American public, U.S. travel groups, over 100 U.S. agriculture groups, the National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. national security experts and almost 100% of the Cuban people support expanding travel and trade with Cuba.

*Engage Cuba claims to be the leading coalition of private companies and organizations working to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba.


29 thoughts on “Pro & Contra US-Cuba Exchange Offensive

  • You asked for proof Rich Haney. You got it and now you try to wriggle out of your erroneous statement that my comment was “self-serving fantasies from State Department warnings.”
    Just for once Rich Haney admit that you were ignorant of the facts and out of date. Secondly, I did not say that “the US Congress has a Helms-Burton bill that prevents everyday Americans from visiting North Korea.” That was yet another fiction of your wandering mind.
    I note that you also accuse Moses Patterson of being a bully. If you can’t take criticism and correction, go hide in your cave.

  • Wow. By your self-serving definition, Carlyle, “a one-time warning” is equivalent to “a decades-old law.” Not even anti-Cuban propagandists should try to make that point.

  • The Department of State warning to US citizens not to travel to North Korea/the DRPK was acttually issued on May 9, 2017.

  • Yes Bob, if the Castro’s were not communist,, one could at times excuse what in democratic politics would be described as obduracy.
    But communism has a built in inflexibility of thought. Any form of compromise is dismissed as weakness.
    The enemy is any form of thought that is opposed to communist doctrine. Even within that, there is careful differentiation between peoples – the proleteriat and the kulaks for example.
    Raul has been a dedicated communist since his abbreviated student days. He was in the USSR as long ago as May 1953, less than two months after Stalin’s death. His prolonged association with the KGB – who worked with the Castro’s in Mexico and then in Cuba, carried on into the next generation. His son, Alejandro receiving training in Moscow and now controlling MININT spying services both within Cuba and other countries.
    My personal view is that Raul Castro converted Fidel to communism, despite Fidel’s subsequent claim to have always having been one. That conversion was fortified by Dr. Ernesto Guevara.
    One only has to compare Fidel’s own speeches to observe the dichotomy in expression. That is the reason why I quote his speech of !6th March, 1959:

    “There can be no danger if we do what Cubans want, if we provide social practice and solve the substantial social problems of all Cubans, of liberty, of respect for individual rights, of freedom of the press and thought, of democracy, of liberty to select their own government.”

    In my view, that speech properly defined what Cubans wanted. But none of it was adopted. What happened to liberty? What happened to respect for individual rights? What happened to freedom of the press? What happened to freedom of thought and expression? And when are Cubans going to be allowed to select their own government.?

    Were the views Fidel Castro expressed in that speech a reflection of his thinking or were they deliberate deception and lies?

    Fidel Castro managed to engage non-communists when in the Sierra Maestra. The outstanding examples are Camilo Cienfuegos and Huber Matos, both of whom were senior figures and both of whom were opposed to communism. It was the pursuit of communism by Fidel following the revolution that caused Matos to decide to resign and return to his home. His big mistake which was to cost twenty years of his life, was to simply write in his letter to Fidel:

    “Great men begin to decline when they cease to be just.”

    That reveals that Matos had previously thought of Fidel as a great man and that it was only following the revolution that he observed the change. Fidel similarly to Stalin, Mao and more recently Kim Jung Un, turned upon any that disagreed with him. Purging is a normal practice with communist dictators.

  • Oh Bob, I am the last to suggest that the embargo has any major effect upon the Cuban economy. I have expressed the view here in Havana Times over several years, that the emargo (el bloqueo) has been of advantage to the Castro regime in that they have utilized it to explain to the Cuban people that it is the cause of their incompetence, errors and ommissions. The original purpose as declared in the CDA was to exert pressure upon Cubans to rid themselves of the Castro regime and communism. But, the content of the CDA was never revealed to Cubans being censored.
    To Presidente from the Dominican Republic, you can add Corona from Mexico, Hollande from the Netherlands and especially Heineken from Belgium. Only some three years ago, the beers on sale were some not very good local brews plus Bucanero and Cristal. But the latter became unobtainable for months on end. They sold at 1CUC per can (or bottle) whereas Heineken when introduced was 1.65 CUC – now reduced to 1.25 CUC. The shortage of Bucanero and Cristal demonstrated once again, the Castro regime’s inability to meet market demands and to create employment for Cubans – as demonstated again by the employment of Indians to reconstruct the Hotel in Havana.
    As I understand US law, the President cannot end the embargo without a 60% approval by Congress, but perhaps you can correct me upon that?

  • You obviously Rich Haney did not hear and are not aware of the US government warning of two days ago, which expressed concerns about the sixteen Americans who have over time been jailed in North Korea and the two who are currently there.
    I heard the above on CNN!
    Repetition of US news may be regarded as “bullying” by you. I certainly did not mention Helms-Burton or anything related to that Act with regard to North Korea. Yet you in your enthusiasm to criticize me, say that I did and further that the CNN news is my imagination – a reflection of your own fantasy.
    The comments I have made about Helms-Burton do not reflect well upon the US.
    I can well believe that you do not listen to or view the news in your own country.
    Sorry if you feel intimidated by receiving it second hand.

  • Rich: there is no more Revolutionary vs. counter-revolutionary divide. The Revolution triumphed in 1959 and is totally in charge of Cuba. Josefina Vidal and the Cuban government need to act in the best interest of the Cuban people. Period, end of story.

    While those US citizens holding claims against the Cuban government will never receive more than a token payment and the US trade embargo does basically nothing detrimental to Cuba any more, it is time to finally wrap up those old issues and put them to rest. But settlement will require compromise on the part of both the US and Cuba. Obama reached out. He clearly telegraphed he wanted to settle and took some unilateral actions to demonstrate his willingness. The US asked for very little. Cuba, on the other hand, essentially refused to negotiate and simply demanded the US give more and more. No dispute will ever be resolved when one side refuses to give an inch.

    One more time, give us some examples of what the US is doing today that is of significant harm to the Cuban people. The time has come to abandon those vague general statements and historical events that still too many refer to. Let’s talk about hard facts and today’s reality.

  • Some of what you say, Bob, seems fair-minded, including some of your first-hand observations in Cuba. But it seems you expect Josefina Vidal to represent counter-revolutionary factions instead of representing Revolutionary Cuba, and that is not what she is all about. And to insist THAT NOTHING that Miami, Congress, the Bush dynasty or Cuban-exile extremists have done or are doing harms everyday Cubans on the island is a joke or self-serving fantasy.

  • Your comments, Carlyle, are always bullying and meant to intimidate. Yeah, Carlyle…the U. S. Congress has a Helms-Burton type bill that prohibits everyday Americans from visiting North Korea, you say. Why not try to prove it, or at least be honest enough to distinguish your self-serving fantasies from State Department warnings related to topical incidents.

  • Carlyle: yes, the Coca Cola you see in Cuba is bottled in Mexico, and the Frigidaire refrigerators probably had final assembly in a Mexican factory. The George Foreman grills probably came from a oriental factory. But it makes no difference where the factory for final assembly is, they are US companies. And if they can sell product in Cuba, then any other country can do the same.

    Another example is Presidente cerveza which is brewed and bottled in the D.R. per the label. Same bottles available in in the US are available in Cuba.

    Certainly the trade embargo does not cover everything. Agricultural products and medicines are major exemptions. Chicken is a major US to Cuba export as you point out. Besides Tyson, Koch Foods is a major exporter. Over half the chicken consumed in Cuba comes from the US state of Alabama. Grain exports from the US exceed the value of chicken.

    Helms Burton codified (made into law) the trade embargo which previously was only a US presidential action and could be terminated by any President. I do think that is a technical legal point.

    I personally am not aware of other foreign entities beside Sherritt who operate with assets in Cuba expropriated without payment from US citizens.But I do not know everything so they may exist. Do tell us who they are.

  • Carlyle: your thinking and mine is basically in sync on those overall issues. I was greatly distressed at Raul’s response to Obama’s overtures to reconciliation. I was forced to accept the idea that Raul really did not want reconciliation. Anyone in Raul’s position needs an enemy to remain in power. Since Cuba has no real enemies, he is forced to continue painting the US as one.

    While I do not agree with everything Fidel did, I still have great respect for him overall. I cannot say the same for Raul.

  • Although I have never had the pleasure of visiting Saudi Arabia myself, I do know people that have and I’m sure that the place has it’s good points.
    However amongst it’s bad points are the following: strict monarchical system of governance, lack of Democracy, Anti-Gay Laws, Anti-Female Laws, The fount of Salifist/Wahabiist doctrine, funding for 9-11, funding for various other atrocities, public flogging etc……..
    Knowing Cuba as well as I do, I could come up with a great many criticisms of the current system of governance, it’s shortcomings and the lack of individual liberty etc……
    But comparing Cuba’s shortcomings to those of Saudi Arabia????

    US citizens can travel freely to Saudi Arabia.
    One of them did so to great fanfare this past week.
    The very weird president trump sealed some kind of big arms deal there did he not?
    It’s surely not a matter of democracy, ethics, morality or any other such high minded nonsense.
    It is a matter of the following:
    $$$$$$$

    In 2017 the embargo (and accompanying restrictions on the freedom to travel of US citizens) is surely finally a dead duck?

  • Did you check the country of origin of the products you name Bob? I can say with certainty that the Coke is produced in Mexico. But also in your TRD or Pan-Americana you will find frozen chicken from Tyson – US product. The embargo is as described, it does not cover everything. But my concern was that folks didn’t get confused between the embargo and Helms-Burton. Without mentioning their parent companies, I can assure you that the US in addition to Sherritt has banned directors from the countries I listed. Italy, Israel and the UK.

  • Rich: I try diligently to be objective about specifics and not deal in generalizations such as everything relating to the US Cuba relationship is the fault of either country. Both countries share in the problem. I also try to deal in current realities, be aware of history and learn from it, but not let current times be bound by it in a Hatfield vs. McCoy situation.

    Example is the great speech Obama gave in the Gran Teatro in March 2016 where he said we must not be constrained by the past. While it was shown live on Cuban TV, it was never repeated or quoted. But Fidel’s rant published in Granma several days later warned the Cuban people of Trojan horses and asked them to always remember all the sins of the last 50+ years.

    I followed the Vidal / Jacobson negotiations closely. While ancillary issues such as mail service or maritime agreements were resolved, there was zero progress on major issues. Josefina Vidal never offered any compromises but stuck to the position that Cuba is totally right, the US is totally wrong, and resolution is simply a matter of the US relenting. She continually put Roberta Jacobson in the position of coming back to the US saying she only gave away and got absolutely nothing in return. That clearly is not how you negotiate to resolve differences.

    Example there is the US asking for more freedom of expression in Cuba. Cuba’s response was to detain a record number of dissidents the following weekend. Raul was willing to torpedo hopes for resolution in order to show resolve.

    Cuba simply insists that the US return the Guantanamo naval base while ignoring the political realities that this is impossible because of the prison occupying a small part of the base. One should not get sidetracked into the problems of existence of the prison but the political realities are that the US congress has blocked closure of the prison. Did Cuba suggest compromises acknowledging those realities such as sharing the harbor, the US giving part of the base back, or some transitional plan? No, Cuba insisted on a total return of the entire base knowing this was a political non starter for the US.

    I do think I have accurately stated Ms. Vidal’s conveyance of the Cuban position of total unwillingness to compromise to resolve a major problem.

    I am in agreement that the US position regarding Cuba negatively impacts the US standing with a number of other countries.

    I am in total disagreement that the actions of the US currently negatively impacts the lives and well being of Cuban people. I live part time in Cuba and see nothing but positives from the US at this time. The US in no way constrains Cuban quality of life, culture, freedom, or economics. My position is based on the ground current realities not knee jerk reactions from uninformed rhetoric or what historically what once existed. Conversely, I do see great economic benefit to Cuban citizens from a large amount of foreign remittances, estimated at $6.6 Billion predominantly from US citizens. To put $6.6 Billion into perspective for the Cuban economy, it is greater than the TOTAL of exports of pharmaceuticals, nickel, sugar, tobacco PLUS total revenues from tourism, PLUS total payroll of everyone working for the Cuban government.

    None of my comments should be construed as my blanket disagreement with the actions of the Cuban government. I see them doing many things that work well for the Cuban people and causing them to have a overall sense of contentment with their lives. It is only the Cuban government’s position regarding reconciliation with the US that I believe is wrong.

  • Carlyle: I am very well aware of all those details but did greatly summarize to the key points of this particular thread.

    BTW, I also am married to a Cuban and live part time in Cuba. Cueto in Holguin province to be specific.

    I am not aware of any company other then Sherritt that has been forced to choose between doing business in Cuba or the US. This realistically is not a problem for even US companies. I see Frigidaire refrigerators (headquartered in Charlotte NC) for sale in our TRD. Also, George Foreman grills (headquartered Madison Wisconsin) Then there is Coca Cola (headquartered Atlanta GA) for sale everywhere in Cuba. Sherritt is a special case as a non Cuban company refining and selling Nickel from the mine in Moa that was expropriated from a New Orleans based company.

  • I think Bob Michaels that you are in error. The official embargo legislation is the Cuban Democracy Act. signed by John F. Kennedy. The Helms-Burton Act was not signed into law until March 6, 1996 and states that any non-US company that deals economically with Cuba can be subjected to legal action in the US.

    Section 1708(b)(3) of the CDA, 22 U.S.C (section)6007(b)(3) gives the circumstances under which the President may: “take steps to end the United States trade embargo of Cuba.”

    Without boring you with all the jargon, there are five steps:

    “including free and fair elections conducted under intternational supervision, permitting opposition parties ample time to organize and campaign for such elections, showing respect for the basic civil liberties and human rights of the citizens of Cuba, moving towards establishing a free market economic system, and committing itself to constitutional change that would ensure regular free and fair elections.”
    “Second that a Cuban government has been elected as a result of such free and fair elections.”

    It is self-evident that few if any of those who write on these pages is actually aware of those conditions. I have a translation in Spanish, and as you probably recall, I live most of the time at home in Cuba. I have yet to meet a Cuban who is aware of the conditions for lifting the embargo.

    Regarding Helms-Burton, which forced non-US companies to choose between doing business in the US or Cuba, the US has to date banned executives of companies doing business with Cuba from the US – from Italy, Canada, Israel and the UK. There is little doubt that Helms-Burton was the major factor in the change at the UN voting on the embargo to 190-2.

    As an example of the entry ban, it applies to executives of the Canadian company Sherritt International.

    Hope all that assists!

  • So, Bob, I reckon everything said against Cuba is 100% correct, regardless how far-fetched, and everything Cuba says is a bald-faced lie…even if it’s proven correct. Six decades of hiding behind the skirts of a superpower in dealing with a vulnerable nation has boldly framed much of America’s Cuban narrative in an extremely one-sided fashion. It still works, I guess, in the U. S. but on the world stage it shames the U. S. and democracy, and therefore should shame, I believe, pro-American democracy-lovers for the harm it does to the U. S. image while also enhancing Cuba’s David-vs.-Goliath fans as well as emphasizing the island’s pugnacious desire to protect its hard-earned sovereignty. The 191-to-0 UN vote sort of supports that rationale, don’t you think? At least it indicates that such one-sided slants that counter-revolutionaries espouse is not shared by more fair-minded and less propagandized souls. Plus, your misstating of Josefina Vidal’s positions and the effect the embargo has on totally innocent everyday Cubans are ludicrously self-serving…and one-sided, apparently in the belief that poor little Cuba can’t possibly present even a single reasonable case, even against Mafiosi-inspired terrorism and the theft-occupation of its soil, because the island nation is so weak as compared to the implacable wealth and power of its enemies. What you are saying, it seems, is that might makes right. Beyond how that affects innocent, helpless and vulnerable people on an island, the harm it does to America and to democracy, for such an extended period, is incalculable.

  • So Rich having roundly abused Circles Robinson andf Havana Times you are now endeavoring to ingratiate yourself.
    You are obviously out of datte regarding US policy and instructions to US citizens regarding visiting North Korea. Time o get up-to-date!

  • addendum to my other reply:

    Pharmaceuticals, Cuba’s #1 export, are permitted to be imported into the US once they pass the standard US Food and Drug Administration tests.

    The sale of US pharmaceuticals to Cuba, along with agricultural products, has been permitted by many decades.

    Once again, I am not supporting the US trade embargo. Only pointing out that it currently does nothing of significance.

  • I tend to put US travelers and potential travelers to Cuba into two groups.

    1) I have never been to Cuba because no one ever told me it was OK.

    2) I go to Cuba because I wanted to go and spent minimal time determining that I could go with no problems.

  • Circles: The limiting factor in US citizens traveling to Cuba currently is the lack of infrastructure combined with the Cuban government only promoting travel to the traditional tourism clusters. There is so much more to Cuba than resorts and Habana Vieja, yet the other 98% of Cuba receives no support from MINTUR.

    Any US travel company wanting to do tours to Cuba currently does so.

    The OFAC fines are detailed on their website. All, and I mean ALL, for over 10 years relate to large banks that have filed fraudulent documents with the US Treasury relating to dollars transferred to Cuba. These transactions could have simply been in Euros, Sterling, or Canadian and avoided any problems. None of the fines relate to commercial sales or tourist travel. And, nothing from the US cannot be purchased elsewhere. BTW, Cuba is the US’s #7 export market. And the US can now import commercial Cuban goods from private businesses, just not the government itself.

    As far as US investment in Cuba, the classic example was the proposed Cleber tractor factory in Mariel. It was approved by the US. it was the ultimate sweetheart deal for Cuba. Horace Clemmons and Saul Berenthal provided all the money. They developed a small tractor specifically for Cuba and the Caribbean. They were going to hire Cuban workers and buy materials in Cuba to build tractors for the Cuban market and export. The Cuban government could not have envisioned a better deal. Big news back when the US approved the investment. But it was disapproved by the Cuban government.

    I do get irritated with the general public who jumps up and down about the trade embargo based on what they hear from public rhetoric but not economic reality.

    I have been making the challenge to anyone who can demonstrate where the US trade embargo has any significant impart on Cuba, the Cuban people, or the Cuban economy in the modern ear. No arguments have passed the logic test yet.

    None of the above should be construed as my support of the trade embargo, only pointing out actual facts.

  • Bob, As to the travel ban, the reality is that if its lifted many times more people will travel to Cuba. Any US travel company can tell you that. Whether a flood of US tourists has more positives or negatives is another issue.
    As to the embargo, dozens of banks and corporations and individual vendors have been sanctioned for doing business with Cuba. The OFAC list of companies punished is long and the fines are large. Of course the embargo isn’t the reason for most of Cuba’s economic woes but denying its existence is foolishness.

  • The critical point that this article does not include is that travel from the US to Cuba has been permitted since the end of the Bush administration. True, one must tell a little white lie. But there has been zero enforcement of the travel ban for ten years.

    For ten years, anyone with a serious interest in traveling from the US to Cuba only had to do a bit of research to realize they could do so. A year ago, the Obama administration send a not so discrete public message to this effect.

    Actually, the trade embargo fits this pattern. Set aside the public rhetoric and do some real investigation. You will find that the trade embargo actually does almost nothing to restrict economic transactions with Cuba. I continue to challenge people to identify any significant impact to Cuba or the Cuban economy from the existing trade embargo.

  • Francisco FRAZ: While equity and fairness would dictate that Cuba paid your family’s claim of $52,643,438 and the accrued $180 million in interest for their sugar mill in Camaguey and their port in Las Tunas, economic reality dictates this will never happen. Your family claims are just part of the $1.9 billion total claims and $6.5 billion in accrued interest. Cuba does not and will never have that amount of money. Some settlement with some payment needs to be paid. Fair? No. Economic reality? Yes.

    Helms Burton (the official embargo legislation) says: “satisfactory resolution” is necessary to end the trade embargo. It does not say claims such as yours have to be paid in full, just “satisfactory resolved” or a negotiated settlement.

    Sadly when Josefina Vidal from the Cuban Foreign Ministry met with Roberta Jacobson, US Asst. Secretary of State for negotiations in January 2015, Ms. Vidal only offer was not a nominal payment to resolve these claims in order to end the embargo. Instead she requested that the US instead pay Cuba $300 Billion. She had been ordered by the Cuban government to make absolutely zero concessions on any issue even with corresponding concessions from the US.. When one side refuses to make any concessions of any kind there is never resolution to a dispute. So the embargo continues. And Francisco FRAZ has nothing.

  • The time to change the travel policy is over due. The countries have some old debts to settle up as well. Get those handled. The U.S. can better influence its neighbor by engaging. Cuba needs to self determine, change from outside can not be imposed.

  • Perhaps Cuba needs to pay-back second, after the return of Guantanamo Bay to the island for the first time since 1903, after the Batista-Mafia plus U.S. businessmen extractions are considered, etc. Hiding behind the might of a super-power in dealing with an island nation is a key factor in that 191-to-0 UN denunciation of the U. S. Cuban policy. Also, Cuba — despite the embargo, etc. — has indeed settled many claims with foreign nations, including France and Spain, not as culpable as the Batista-Mafia extractions. Also, only the U. S. occupies Cuban territory that Cuba wants back. And also, terrorist acts such as Cubana Flight 455 and deadly bombings of Cuban hotels and coastal dwellings — many documented and even admitted and bragged about — need to figure into the equation.

  • Allowing a handful of hard-line, self-serving Cuban-Americans to dictate America’s Cuban policy shames the United States and democracy in the eyes of the world, as profoundly indicated by the current 191-to-0 vote in the UN condemning America’s Cuban policy. As indicated in the above update, most Americans and most Cuban-Americans strongly want sanity and decency to finally prevail in U.S.-Cuban relations. Justifying that everyday Americans are the only people in the world without the freedom to visit Cuba is an anti-democratic joke; Americans can visit North Korea or any other nation, except Cuba. That and other anti-democratic policies are important to the Rubio-Ros crowd because it supposedly enables them to dictate the Cuban narrative in the U. S. and especially in the U. S. Congress, as opposed to Americans having the freedom to judge U.S.-Cuban relations for themselves. The assaults since 1959 on totally innocent Cubans on the island — or even in a civilian airplane, etc. — is anti-democracy, and so is the unfair favoritism accorded Cuban-Americans with very special economic, political and citizenship privileges.

    Circles Robinson and HT with this update has fairly presented BOTH SIDES of the U.S.-Cuban conundrum, and indeed it is a TWO-SIDED issue.

  • Cuba is calling missed 50 years of Paradise

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