Three Basic Questions on Cuba-U.S. Rapprochement

Jesús Arboleya  (Progreso Weekly)

cuba_eeuu_acuerdos-685x342HAVANA TIMES — What happened?  I don’t know a single analyst who predicted the magnitude of the accords reached in the negotiations between Cuba and the United States, and for that we should thank both governments.

The discretion maintained is proof of the interest of the parties involved, including Pope Francis and the Canadian government, a reflection of the world’s desire to solve the problem.

The negotiations were conducted with a high degree of professionalism and in a climate of sovereign equality and mutual respect, as the Cuban side had demanded, making sure that all details reflected those conditions.

Both governments achieved their objectives:

  • The release of people who were a popular concern and constituted a problem for the foreign policy of both countries.
  • Obama seized the moment to redesign his policy toward Cuba, establish a historic legacy for his administration, strengthen his image at home, and eliminate an obstacle to his international relations, especially in Latin America.
  • For its part, Cuba won a political victory with an international resonance that contributed to lift the morale at home. It also freed itself, at least partly, of obstacles that weighed heavily on its chances for economic development.

Why did it happen?

The U.S. government acted for reasons that transcend the case of Cuba and respond both to its national interests and, specifically, to the interests of the Democratic Party as it looks to the 2016 elections.

Although the official U.S. version emphasizes the need to change the methods of its policy toward Cuba, objective factors show that it wasn’t only the inadequacy of its methods that made that policy unsustainable.

For more than half a century, Cuba has demonstrated its ability to resist an integral subversive policy where the only element missing was direct military intervention. That possibility was always present in the U.S. foreign policy but, for diverse reasons, the U.S. did not dare apply it to Cuba.

As acknowledged by Obama himself and his Secretary of State, John Kerry, U.S. policy against Cuba ended up isolating the United States on an international scale, particularly in Latin America. It endangered the very existence of the Pan-American system, through which U.S. hegemony has been articulated in the region.

In addition, it became an unpopular policy in the United States, contrary to economic groups interested in the Cuban market. It even lost a majority support from the social base that supported that policy within the Cuban-American community, opening opportunities for the Democratic Party with a view to the 2016 elections, especially in the state of Florida.

What can we expect?

The main question is the possible repeal of the steps taken by the Obama administration, either by the action of the Republican majority in Congress or by a change in the political scenario, if the Republican candidate wins the next elections.

President Obama acted within the executive powers granted to him under the Helms-Burton Act. Although certain legislators, especially the Cuban-American far right, will try to raise as many obstacles as possible to the implementation of his policy, the Congress will find it difficult to bar the President from acting as far as he deems convenient within the framework allowed to him by law.

In fact, the Republicans won’t be able to present a cohesive bloc against Obama’s decisions because important Republican sectors also support the change of policy toward Cuba. Therefore, it does not seem likely that the issue of Cuba will be chosen by the GOP to articulate a front against the President, as will happen in other issues in the country’s domestic and foreign policy.

However, Obama cannot proceed any farther either, unless the Helms-Burton Act is repealed, and here the Republican sectors that oppose the changes have a chance to keep the topic from being included on the Congressional agenda. Logic indicates that the Republican leaders in both chambers will act in that manner to prevent a split in the party, and have stated so publicly.

As a result, the most likely scenario for the next two years is that the Cuba policy will proceed within the limits imposed by Helms-Burton, and its advances will depend on the President’s will.

Although it is true that this policy may be modified by a stroke of the pen by whoever becomes president in 2016, diplomacy by executive action is not strange in U.S. foreign policy, where the president generally enjoys that faculty.

Holding on to the achievements will depend on the advances to be made in the next two years and the economic and political interests that, as the result of such advances, develop in the U.S. regarding Cuba, influencing the behavior of whoever becomes U.S. President.

The challenge of Cuban policy will be to facilitate such progress without undermining its sovereignty and its own national interests.

One problem will be the conflicts resulting from the persistence of the blockade in many aspects, pending problems between the two countries and the insistence of the U.S. in maintaining a policy of “promotion of democracy” that implies meddling in the domestic affairs of Cuba.

Other confrontational issues will inevitably emerge from the differences resulting from each country’s foreign policy. This will be a factor on almost all the international stages, but especially in Latin America, where U.S. policy remains very aggressive against the progressive governments and movements.

The meaning of the recently achieved “normalization” of relations will be to establish a climate of coexistence between two opponents who, in the negotiating process, never concealed their differences.

With all the inconveniences this implies, the “normalization” has been a civilized step forward that hopefully will serve as an example to the rest of the world and will prevail in the future ahead.
* Jesús Arboleya Cervera, Ph.D. in history, is the author of numerous books on U.S.-Cuba relations and the Cuban-American community. He is a regular columnist in Progreso Semanal/Weekly.

46 thoughts on “Three Basic Questions on Cuba-U.S. Rapprochement

  • I was not specifically accusing you of defending Castro, but I have read many comments here at HT by Americans and Canadians defending Castro and accepting actions by the Castros toward the Cuban people which they would never accept at home.

    I am sure you too have heard many people praising the Cuban revolution, (i.e.; Free healthcare!!!) or refusing to acknowledged the atrocious hunan rights record of the Castro regime.

    That is tantamount to defending the Castros.

  • What you done is reasoned inductively. You assume that because the candidate with the most money wins, it is reasonable to assume the candidate with the most money WILL win. Consider this: as a candidate begins to move up in the polls, his or her fundraising prowess improves. People WANT to support the winner. Likewise, as a candidate begins to drop in the polls, his fundraising sources dry up. When Romney’s 47% remark was exposed, his ability to raise money was became more arduous. Likewise, when Obama beat Clinton in the Iowa primary, his fundraising soared. Winning horses at the track earn more money. Not the other way around.

  • Moses, in 100% of US presidential elections the candidate with the most amount of money to spend wins. Why bother holding the elections? Just send the accuontants to audit their books and declare the winner without all the hypocricy.

  • The recent poll on US public opinion on the Embargo was funded and designed by the Cuba Study Group. It was part of their recent #CubaNow public relations campaign to lift the embargo. The questions were designs to elicit the responses they wanted, and that’s the results they got. The survey has been thoroughly debunked.

  • You have to read Helms-Burton in its historical context. When introduced, it was stopgap legislation to stave off a political swell to invade Cuba. The Castros had just shot down an unarmed Cessna airplane with 4 Americans. Their organization, Brothers to the Rescue had been guilty of dropping paper printed with anti-Castro information over Havana. Paper! Castro scrambled Soviet-made jets and shot the little plane out of the sky, allegedly in international airspace. Powerful Senator Jesse Helms wanted to scramble US bombers to retaliate but settled for this legislation. You have a keen grasp of the obvious. Of course, it is personal for me. I long for the day that my wife’s Cuban family can enjoy the same if not better freedoms than I enjoy. Freedom of speech and assembly to begin with. I hope my in-laws can live and enjoy the fruit of their labors without holding out hope for the monthly care package my wife and I send them. Yes, it is personal for me.

  • You would be wrong. Most of the candidates are less well known to their neighbors than the prostitute or the guy who sells illegal beef or the woman who delivers the weekly “package”. They are fairly quiet law-abiding (to the extent possible in Cuba) folks who are party members because of the jobs they hold more so than ideology. I am glad we have a system that vets candidates. I wish it didn’t cost so much to get the message out but what options are there really? Do you check off the box on your tax return to give $1.00 to help finance national campaigns? See my point?

  • Who the heck is defending Castro? I don’t remember saying anything that resembles defending Castro or his Government.

    That is not the point. The point is that why do we have selective enforcement with governments that are as bad or worse.

    Who are we hurting with this embargo — the Cuban people or the government of Cuba? I don’t believe it is our right to intervene in another countries business, unless they are a threat to our country. What happens in Cuba must be decided by the Cuban people who stayed in the country and not those who left.

    By the way Cubans are not the only people who left their country and came to the United States for the same reasons you mentioned.

    Why does the rest of the world believe this embargo is illegal and a cruel burden on the Cuban people?

    Also from the statistics I have read the majority of people in the US are in favor of lifting the embargo.

  • Amen to that brother!

  • When you say represent their State, you mean the people of their states — don’t you? So if the majority of the people in the State of Florida are for lifting the embargo shouldn’t they support that?

    Also, what myths about the embargo are you referring to? It is no myth that this 50 year plus embargo has not achieved it’s goal of overthrowing the current government or providing a government that is satisfactory to the United States.

  • That is a joke — Yes they spend millions of dollars on campaigns making promises they never intend to keep just to get elected — so this is a better system then one sheet of paper with a tiny photo of the candidate and their name, address and place of birth? I am sure those are local candidates that are known by the people.

  • The Helms Burton act is a joke. Some people that are making comments should read this act — it is the most arrogant piece of legislation ever written. How come these same conditions are not placed on other countries that we do business with? Would you please explain this to me.

    You cannot convince me that this embargo is nothing but a failed policy with political motives. If it hasn’t worked for over 50 years why would we want to continue it? Mr Patterson, you cannot convince me that your intentions are only to help the Cuban people — I am convinced that somewhere along the line you have a personal axe to grind.

  • You don’t understand the difference between a Constitutional Republic (which is what Canada’s political system is called, although for historical reasons, we call it a Constitutional Monarchy) and a direct democracy.

    In a direct democracy, all political matters are decided by a pure majority of voters. Such a system may appeal to the childish as “fair” and pure, but it is completely unworkable in a large modern and diverse nation. No work would ever get done, no decisions ever made. It would lead to the tyranny of the majority of the moment.

    In a Constitutional Republic, the institution of representative democracy is employed to form an elected government. The government is subject to the Constitution, or laws of the land. No majority can over-rule the Law. No political leader is above the Law. The Constitution protects the rights and freedoms of all citizens, not just empowers the will of the majority.

    In the Canadian Parliament are the representatives of five major political parties (Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Bloc Q, and the Greens). Together they certainly do represent the wills and interests (plural!) of the majority of Canadians.

  • I am from California. A state of 35 million citizens. How else can a candidate get their message out to that many people without TV, radio, Internet and newspaper promotion? That costs money. Have you seen the campaign literature in Cuba? It’s one sheet of paper with a tiny photo of the candidate and their name, address and place of birth. Nothing about what they believe in or what they plan to accomplish. Of course it doesn’t matter much since the Poder Popular is a rubber stamp for the Castro dictatorship but there should be more information about the candidates. Disseminating a candidate’s message is costly. By the way, in case you misunderstood, by “free elections”, I mean “free” to all political parties and candidates from all political beliefs.

  • Well said John

  • Moses, free elections like in the US were you need millions to even run?

  • Melendez and Rubio were elected by money nothing else

  • Republicans and democrats are both the same

  • Your government is run by a minority of the voting public and does’nt represent the will of the majority in any way.

  • The Cubans have one escape rout from the old communist path that they can employ, this is the legal formation of cooperatives and they have to seize the oportunity to run these buisinesses and live by the fruits of their own participation and effort but they have to sieze this opportunity on their own initiative. This is socialism, were everyone involved has input and shares equally in the outcome.

  • I certainly work long hours John, and have set hours that my employees must work. However they are free to leave my employe and go elsewhere should they wish. I certainly did when I started my company. The kind of world you wish can not exist John. Nothing would get done!

  • So that’s the crux of the issue, love of man or love of money? You see John I did ask the right question and I already know the answer….one I noticed you didn’t answer.

    Your anarchist and communist ideas fail because it does not take into account human nature. Capitalism succeeds because it harnesses the drive an ambition inherent in human nature. The same human drive, ambition and creative nature set lose within Capitalism, providing you with all those wonderful tools that are at your disposal. Certainly I, and many others wouldn’t go through all he effort and expense to start a business to create something if I would not receive an gain from it. This has nothing to do with love of man vs love of mammon…as Christ said “give onto Caesar what is Caesar, and God what is God’s.

  • Absent a democratic workplace, you have massive income disparity and half the world in dire poverty AS IS THE REALITY under capitalism . both free enterprise and state forms ( as in Cuba) .
    An individual entrepreneur can gladly work 100 hours a week if he/she so CHOOSES but to force a subordinate worker to do so requires capitalism and a dictatorial operation.
    Justice Brandeis said something to the effect that ” you can have the massive accumulation of wealth by individuals under capitalism or you can have democracy.
    but you can’t have both. ”
    Individual entrepreneurs are not either a serious problem or anywhere near aj solution to the problems of any society.

  • IC,
    If making money is paramount , then your thinking holds.
    If providing the necessities of life to the world’s people is paramount , then capitalism is not a suitable vehicle.
    “Ye cannot worship both God and mammon.”
    When the love of money overrides our feelings of brotherhood as unfettered capitalism has forced us to do , then humanity always comes second after profits and this has half the world living in poverty.
    IMO, you are asking the wrong questions.

  • Yeah , I know all about it.
    Fox News is, by far, the most popular source of info for Americans .
    An illuminating story as to why Americans think as they do and why they cannot accept reality.
    About 20 years ago producer Jeff Greenfield ( Frontline or some such hour-long documentary style news show ) was asked why, given that “Frontline” ( or whatever) was a premier /heavy duty news show dealing with U.S. foreign policy , did he never have Noam Chomsky on the show .
    ( Chomsky, for the uninitiated is and has been the top intellectual critic of U.S. foreign policy and has published about 50 books on the subject.)
    Greenfield said ” He’s from Pluto ”
    meaning Chomsky’s thinking was/is so far removed from mainstream thinking that he’s not believable.
    The reporter went to Noam Chomsky and told him what Greenfield said about him being from Pluto and Chomsky said that Greenfield was correct.
    Chomsky explained why ( paraphrased) :
    “Were I to tell you that Moammar Khaddafy (sp?) was a murderer, a terrorist, a war criminal who should be brought to trial at the World Court etc, you’d know immediately what I was talking about and agree with me because that is what the public has been told exclusively for decades.
    It would take me less than the five minutes allowed for responses to each question on these shows “.
    However , should I say that (then Secretary of State ) George Schultz was a murderer, a terrorist, a war criminal who should be put on trial etc, you ( and the watching public would have no idea what I was talking about , would immediately tend to disbelieve that idea and it would take me well over twenty minutes just to begin to list the facts, figures, times and places in which Schultz could be shown to be the criminal he is.”
    It’s only one more reason the top intellectuals in the country MUST be ignored by the corporate media but it is undeniably true and it reflects the enormous gap between what the public is fed by the corporate media , the comfortable and facile lies that MUST follow the long string of lies that have made those lies reality for so many.
    The truth presented to such a disinformed ( deliberately misinformed) public CANNOT appear to be anything other than untrue or, at the least unacceptable and too much trouble to research.
    Further, as explained many times before, several studies have found that those who have erroneous beliefs in which they have a strong need to believe , will always reject facts that contradict those “Necessary IlIusions” and retreat ever deeper into the falsities they rely upon so heavily.
    It is either intellectual laziness or willful ignorance but either way, the public just does not want to know that the Earth is round.
    Believe me, I have a very good understanding of just how and why the public thinks.
    It does not invalidate the accuracy or factuality of my stated beliefs because they are not intellectually capable of challenging me on any of those stated beliefs.
    They lack the necessary facts to do so because their info comes only from the corporate media which I use only to see the depths of the lies and to understand the ignorance and disinformation of the general public.
    As an antitheist, anti-imperialist, futurist, anarchist, I have been in a tiny minority most of my adult life .
    I’m quite used to it.
    And I am the most optimistic person when it comes to my thoughts on humanity and its future.
    It’s the best of all worlds for me.
    I’m always looking for people to prove me wrong on what I believe and have seen and heard little from them over the past 45 years or so that could do so.
    It is only by constantly questioning what we believe , by constantly questioning (top-down) authority that we can assure the truth.
    You need to think about questioning the corporate media and the government spokespeople more than you do..

  • Speaking of the Canadian system of parliamentary democracy, it is majority run. Our parliament is freely elected by the people, the overwhelming majority of Canadians support our Constitution, and the overwhelming majority of Canadians support our free enterprise capitalist economy. A majority of Canadians also support an extensive social welfare state to help the needy, but not to the point that it destroys the productive.

    The problem with “finely designed and defined systems” such as you propose, is that the real world does not fit into neat little systems designed by activists and academics.

    Moderation, balance and fairness make for a pretty good way of life. Radical programmes always run away from their masters and create misery, either by design or unintended consequences.

  • Diaz-Balart and the other Cuban-American representatives DO SUPPORT lifting the embargo, but only under the conditions set forth under current Federal law. By the way, this law passed with bipartisan support. I have no vendetta against Cuba, yet I support continuing the embargo until the conditions set forth under the Helms-Burton Act have come to pass. These conditions are simple: No Castro dictatorship, free speech and free assembly, open elections and a ‘market-oriented economy’. Which of these conditions, all of which I am sure that you currently enjoy, do you disagree with? Would you be willing to give any of the freedoms up? Why do you believe that the Cuban people are any less deserving of these freedoms?

  • Guys like John always seem to believe that because others do not share their beliefs it must be owed to lesser intellect or a lack of awareness of their ‘enlightened’ beliefs. It never occurs to them, that guys like me have thoroughly considered their ideas and rejected them. It certainly doesn’t help their cause when their ‘marketing’ plan is to disparage the beliefs of others rather than promote their own beliefs. Have you noticed that John always chooses to criticize the current US system rather than highlight the values of whatever the heck he thinks should replace it? His “ideas get so little play” because there is likely so little to his ideas.

  • I am replying to John Goodrich and to Informed Consent. John, I see that I misread your reference to “a democratic economy.” I thought you were using that as a synonym for “free enterprise” and for the system we have in Canada and other capitalist countries. You were referring to something we aspire to, not to something we have now.
    Informed Consent asks a good question. If we agree that small entrepreneurs can contribute to the well-being of Cubans, what legal climate should they work under? Entrepreneurs are often totally consumed in their work. Never mind a 40 hour week. They are lucky if it is limited to 80 hours. People are not likely to do that if their business can be swept away by the stroke of a pen. How much of their accumulated wealth should they keep for themselves? How large should they be allowed to grow? What rights should their employees have?
    The benefits of individual entrepreneurship must be balanced against the dangers of social differentiation and the shortcomings of investment solely for profit.

  • A thoughtful question for you. I’ve actually been thinking about this. Why would someone start a business if they were not to own it? Why would someone invest the sweat and capital and go through all the headaches necessary to start a business if in the end they would not own it? It’s usually the vision and drive of the entrepreneur/ owner that allows a business to succeed.

  • Have you ever stopped to consider that few Americans agree with your position? Perhaps that is why these ideas get so little play.

  • I hate to tell you this but the U..S. has been intervening in the affairs of sovereign states since its invasion ( with a couple of European nations) of the just-born Soviet Union in 1918.
    As a badly disinformed Republican you need to look up the “Killing Hope” website , read the INTRODUCTION to the book along with perhaps the second chapter on Guatemala .
    If you think it is not the business of the U.S. to change governments and systems against the will of the people in those countries, you’re living in a serious state of denial.
    And no, it wasn’t just a few countries or movements and no, it was not just bad decisions by a few bad presidents.
    It was and is a nearly 100 year old policy that has resulted in close to 100 interventions since 1918.
    My bet is that you will be unable to get through the 29 page introduction without experiencing some serious cognitive dissonance.

  • Ken,
    Thanks for your thoughtful response.
    If the workers- from the bottom up -have no say in how things will be run , how the profits from their labor will be shared , it is either free enterprise capitalism or state capitalism and either is totalitarian and neither can ever be defined as a democratic economy.
    It IS that simple. .
    A system is either majority run or it is not democratic .
    For a good example of what a democratic economy would look like , I suggest going to ZNet and look up Parecon ( Participatory Economics) which is Michael Albert’s finely designed and defined system of a democratic economy and how it would operate.

  • Griffin is correct. In a way.
    This is not a partisan issue.
    The embargo devised by Under Secretary of State Thomas Mallory to starve the Cubans into submission to free enterprise capitalism ( U.S. imperialism) was initiated under Eisenhower (R) and continued under Kennedy (D) , Johnson (D) , Nixon (R) , Ford (R) , Carter (D), Reagan (R) , Bush I (R) , Clinton (D) , Bush the Lesser (R) and now Obama (D).
    Six Republicans, five Democrats all solidly following the path set in 1918 by Woodrow Wilson when he invaded the Soviet Union with some European nations .
    Imperialism, U.S. hegemony are bipartisan policy and always has been.
    As has been said, there is really only one party in the United States and it is the Capitalist Party with its two wings and the foreign policy of the Capitalist Party is and must be imperialism, : forcing capitalism upon the world that often doesn’t want it as the 50+ U.S. interventions since the end of WWII clearly illustrate to those not willfully blind to historical fact. .

  • I’m quite familiar with the family history of the Diaz-Balarts.

    You dismiss those who oppose lifting the embargo as people with “a personal vendetta against Cuba”.

    To clarify the issue for you: Menendez, Rubio, Diaz-Balart and millions of other Cubans inside and outside of Cuba oppose the Castro regime, not Cuba. Do not confuse the two: one is a country, the other is a brutal dictatorship which seized power in that country.

    If you don’t understand why these Cuban people hate the Castros, then consider this: suppose a group of revolutionaries took over your country by force of arms and under false pretences. Suppose they nationalized all private property including your home & business. Suppose they arrested you or your family members for speaking out against the tyranny. Suppose they jailed, tortured, and executed your family members for opposing them. Suppose you had to flee your country and go live as an exile in a foreign country, learn a new language and build a new life. Suppose tens of thousands of others of your country also had to flee, many of them drowning in the sea along the way. Suppose you watched as your country collapsed and decayed into misery, tyranny and corruption.

    That’s how millions of Cubans feel about the Castro regime and what they did to Cuba. Would you not feel a personal vendetta against those who did that to you and your country? I think you would. Or at least you should.

    I am Canadian, with no Cuban heritage, and yet it seems quite understandable to me that many Cubans oppose the Castro dictatorship. What I don’t understand is how other Canadians and Americans, who enjoy freedom, democracy and human rights, can defend the odious Castro regime.

  • No, he cannot. The Helms-Burton Act specifically declares that the executive branch cannot annul the law without the consent of Congress.

    Given that Obama blind-sided his own party members in Congress, he hasn’t a hope in hell of getting a majority vote on anything in his appalling deal with Castro. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said that Obama never bothered to consult with him and that not only won’t Obama get the embargo lifted, he will have a very hard time even getting his ambassador confirmed.

    Obama will discover that when he treats his own party members in Congress as comemierda, he can forget about getting any help form them. Once again, Obama’s hubris has been his undoing.

  • Obama can circumvent it, leaving in place “Prohibited to sell jigsaw puzzles to Cuba”, for example, and allowing to trade with everything else. There is a lot he can get done through executive orders without Congress actually lifting the embargo.

  • John Goodrich refers to “a democratic economy.” What would a democratic economy look like? For example, if an automobile manufacturer tells some of the workers that they are laid off, would they have a vote on this?
    I am retired now. But when I was working I did what I was told to do. Granted, there were legal restraints on the employer as to what he could tell me to do. And my union placed further restraints on the employer. Even so, i did what I was told.
    You may recall the report on this list of a Cuban woman working in a US supermarket. She was not allowed to go to the bathroom when she needed to. Was she working in a “democratic economy?”

  • You missed the point, Richard. This is not a Republican vs Democrat issue. There are people in congress in each party who support the embargo. Obama does not have the votes to get it lifted. The fact that he blind-sided his own party member, Robert Menendez will not help Obama get his deal approved by congress.

    I’m not telling anybody what they must or must not do. I am explaining what the real situation is, for the benefit of people who believe in myths about the embargo.

    By the way, the US did have embargoes on Vietnam & China. These embargoes were lifted when those countries entered into serious, substantial negotiations which resolved the outstanding issues between them. In case you haven’t noticed, China & Vietnam are still dictatorships which routinely abuse the human rights of their people. Trade with the USA did nothing to help bring democracy to China or Vietnam.

    In the case of Obama’s deal with Raul, there does not seem to have been any sort of substantial negotiations. Obama gave Raul everything he wanted, in return, Raul let one old American hostage go.

    Obama’s “historic” deal with Castro is stillborn.

  • This is not a Republican vs Democrat issue. Democratic Senator Robert Menenedez, (D-NJ), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has spoken out strongly against this deal by Obama. He declared that Obama didn’t even consult him about the negotiations.

    Menendez said there are not enough votes in Congress to lift the embargo and that Obama will even have a hard time getting his ambassador to Havana confirmed. It’s not smart politics to blind-side your own team.

  • Enough – Who are you or Senator Rubio and Senator Robert Menendez to decide what is good for our country. This embargo that has gone on for over 50+ years has accomplished nothing but build disdain for the U.S. in Europe and Latin America .. Every nation in the United Nations has voted against it for over 20 years with the exception of the U.S, and Israel. I also believe that Israel does trade with Cuba.

    I am a Republican and I hope they don’t fight this for the sake of the Republican Party.

    It is not our business to change the system of Government in Cuba unless we carry that policy thru with China, Viet Nam and any other country we have a problem with their system of government or human rights. How about placing an embargo on these countries.

    It appears the only people against lifting this embargo are those with a personal vendetta against Cuba or Politicians that get funding from those that do.

  • This was probably one of the most positive diplomatic efforts that the U.S. has undergone in a long time. It showed sensitivity and understanding of both cultures. Cuba’s internal politics are as complicated as U.S. internal politics. The timing of this move was masterful. Let’s hope the Republicans don’t try to dismantle what was apparently at least a 2-year effort in constructive negotiations.

  • Now, most Americans recognize the stupidity of their relations with Cuba….Now,most of the international community realize how retarded the US Congress is…..Now, Latin American countries will require the presence of Cuba at all meetings…..Now, European countries will accelerate a new ouverture with Cuba…….Now, it is time to identify those who have been and are still working against the overall interest of 330 million citizens…

  • With Raul as president, Cuba has made few steps toward democratic systems beginning with the state capitalist economy . Absent a democratic economy, there is little difference in the control of the society in Cuba- FROM THE TOP and in a manner antithetical to democratic worker ( bottom-up) control of the economy and society as required by a socialist and/or communist society between Cuba and the likewise totalitarian free enterprise economy and top-down oligarchic government forms in the USA.
    It appears that Raul and the current leadership of the government are going down the path of the Communist Party dictates that were followed by the Soviet Union , China which all communist/socialist traces of a worker-led society were forcibly removed and replaced by an elitist ( Leninist) leadership that dictates to the electorate rather than listen to and obey its wishes as done in a democracy.
    As such; a totalitarian state with a small elite in control, the GOUSA and its owners; the very wealthy have not only nothing to fear in the democratic example a socialist/communist state would represent in Cuba but have much more in common with Cuba’s totalitarian systems than most in the USA would understand or if they did, care to admit.
    Obama’s (the oligarchy’s) move toward warmer relations with Cuba might well represent a recognition of Cuba’s intent to remain a state capitalist dictatorship therefore losing the raison d’etre for any continuing hostilities.
    Retaining much of the embargo is the carrot and stick approach to ensuring that continued elitist-led society in Cuba so essential and so central to U.S. foreign and domestic policy.
    Had Cuba taken steps to democratize its economy in the past six years under Raul & Co. , there would have been no easing of pressure from the USA to conform.
    Those who maintain that a democratizing of Cuba’s economy and society is what the US policy is and has been about are simply ignoring the far more than fifty examples of past invasions, coup d’états, subversion and overthrow of democratically elected governments just since WWII.
    All these were subversions of democratic systems .
    ( source for corroborating data: ” Killing Hope” website for one)

  • The prospect of direct military intervention in Cuba was specifically removed from US policy options when Kennedy agreed to the treaty banning such actions, which ended the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although the Castro regime has continued to use that threat as a centre piece of their propaganda, a US military intervention in Cuba has been out of the question since November, 1962.

    The opposition to lifting the US embargo is not a simple Republican vs Democrat issue. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez is just as adamantly opposed to Obama’s deal with Castro as is his Republican counterpart, Senator Marco Rubio.

    As of today, there is no evidence that the Cuban government has released the 53 Cuban political prisoners which Obama stated in his speech was part of the deal reached with Cuba. Significantly, Raul Castro did not mention this condition in his speech announcing the deal. Who are these political prisoners and when will they be released? Will they be re-arrested shortly after?

    As it stands, President Obama extended several concessions in an agreement which many US observers and Cuban dissidents have denounced as a foolhardy betrayal. Already, the Castro regime has demonstrated they have no interest in improving their human rights record. There seems to be much less to this deal than was originally announced.

    Consequently, the most Obama can hope to achieve from this deal is the opening of embassies in Havana & Washington. Congress will not vote to lift the embargo. In fact, Obama may encounter a great deal of pressure obtaining funding from Congress for his new embassy in Havana.

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