What’s Next After Obama’s Historic Trip to Cuba

Alberto N Jones

President Obama announces a new US policy with Cuba.

HAVANA TIMES — Long before President Barack Obama thought of running for political office, the seed of discord was sown in Miami in 1998 with the creation and training of anti-Cuba groups disguised as Independent Journalists, Independent Librarians, Independent Farmers and Independent everything else, with the sole purpose of highlighting existing racial disparities in Cuba.

Managed, financed, trained and directed into battle by Frank Calzon’s subversive Free Cuba organization under the watchful eyes of US-AID, NED, IRI and the Cuban American National Foundation, these predominantly black men and women were recruited in an attempt to succeed where Miami lily-white counterrevolutionaries groups had failed.

Newly anointed leaders emerged out of nowhere and were hailed, failed, replaced or devoured in vicious verbal battles on Miami airwaves. Most of them today wander the streets of Miami demoralized, despondent, driving a cab or running a family cleaning business.

Raul Castro on December 17, 2014.

Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro shocked the world with their simultaneous announcement on December 17, 2014, that they had agreed to begin a process of normalizing relations between both countries. For Cubans this meant for the first time in half a century, they would be able to go to bed knowing they would not be strafed or bombed.

For the United States this was a first step forward to restore its shattered relation with Latin America and to clean up its tarnished image around the world, by proposing peace rather than war, hope rather than dope, harmony, love and development.

When this time bomb detonated in Miami, historic Cuba-haters assembled tens of defunct groups and urged them to rise and denounce Obama’s betrayal. The effect was immediate, when the handful of “Ladies in White” who marched regularly on Sunday’s on 5th Avenue in Havana, grew exponentially as if they had been fertilized with Miracle Grow and they metastasized across Cuba as any malignant tumor.

Leaders of these groups became frequent fliers into Miami where they delivered their activity report, picked-up instructions, visited Radio Marti and TV Marti, Radio Mambi and Mega TV to address their local and foreign constituency.

Cuban workers returning home after a day's labor on the US Guantanamo Naval Base.
Cuban workers returning home after a day’s labor on the US Guantanamo Naval Base.

President Barack Obama’s difficult relations with an obstructionist Senate, a “do nothing Congress” where he was called a liar and endless accusations made of him being weak and giving everything to Cuba in exchange of nothing and questioning his birthplace, prompted him to prove otherwise to his constituency in the US.

His unfortunate decision to call upon the Cuban Government to improve their Human Rights record and the sensitive race-relation disparity publicly after hours of private conversations, raised his political standing in the US, but left a discording message among many in Cuba.

Supporting this hypothesis was his different approach to Argentina horrendous Human Rights violations during the military dictatorship of which he said nothing and chose to avoid a memorial march of the coup d’état, by relaxing in Bariloche.

Cuban civilian workers being searched as they leave GITMO after work.
Cuban civilian workers being searched as they leave GITMO after work.

Many Cubans were rightfully offended and others smelling blood in the water and not understanding American dirty politics, jumped on the bandwagon and stridently denounced Obama’s poor ethics for meddling into Cuba’s internal affairs.  Some, who had never asked for an apology from visiting dignitaries from Spain, England, France, Denmark or the Pope, demanded one from president Obama.

Fortunately, both Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro statesmanship have remained above the fray, their initial agreement seems to come out unscratched and they are prepared to deal with these unavoidable hurdles that are willing to obstruct the way to peace.

After half a century of a vicious, suffocating embargo that has caused so much hunger, suffering, sickness and deaths in Cuba, no one can expect that rectifying so much hostility, anger and distrust, will be a walk in the park. The United States image is severely tarnished around the world through GITMO, Abu Ghraib and others. Honesty, goodwill and the pursuit of a better world, demands that GITMO be returned to its legal owner, close that wound in the hearts of Cubans and in conjunction with the Cuban people, convert that heinous symbol of abuse, torture and death into a permanent memorial to peace, harmony and humanity.

Millions of narrow-minded, short-sighted individuals in the US, will question or oppose this necessary investment that will reverse decades of hate and destructive policies, while most of these individuals happily support spending billions of dollars in useless aircraft carriers, sophisticated fighter/bombers, maintenance of nuclear weapons and fleet, other weapons systems and armies in modern asymmetrical warfare.

If these thoughts would be considered and evaluated impartially, most would agree this could become a tremendous healing tool for millions of people and the only tool in our arsenal that can instill hope of a better life for millions of men, women and children living under injustices, warfare, hatred and the uncontrollable rise of extremism around the world.

Guantanamo_Bay_map

    Here are some alternatives for the Cuban territory housing the Guantanamo Naval Base and other municipalities in the far eastern province of the island.

  • Return GITMO to Cuba, pay a fair market price for its illegal use during 113 years, decontaminate bombing range and pay reparations for Cubans tortured, wounded and killed because of this conflict.
  • Transform jointly GITMO into a Beacon of Light for Human Relations, with the US financing a huge High School/Medical/Nursing School and Hospital with Cuban and American staff, for thousands of minorities and the poor of this hemisphere.
  • The US could finance and build the world largest Tropical Medicine Institute and Research Center, a huge Environmental Health Institute and Marine Biology Research Center in GITMO, staffed jointly by Cuban and American professionals and technicians.
  • The US could construct and finance a large mental health facility for tens of thousands of deranged veterans and everyone else suffering from PTSD, drug addiction and other mental illness.
  • Propose to the Cuban government to declare the Province of Guantanamo as a demilitarized zone of peace human, development and harmony.
  • Dedicate 500,000 acres of land and deliver it in usufruct to 50,000 Haitian families in the municipality of Maisi, Yateras and Baracoa for coffee and cocoa production which would help mitigate the intractable poverty afflicting that neighboring country.
  • Dedicate 500,000 acres of semi-desert land in usufruct to 50,000 Palestinian families in San Antonio del sur, for the development of olive, figs, goats, sheep and other typical agricultural staples of their country.
  • Relocate 50,000 refugee families from war torn Iraq, Syria, Libya, Pakistan and others and assign them plots of lands in usufruct for the development of citrus, fruits and vegetable gardens in the municipality of El Salvador.
  • Finance and construct 250,000 low income homes for retirees in Niceto Perez and Imias municipalities.
  • Finance and construct large Rehabilitation Centers in Tres Piedras for non-violent, unjust sentencing of juveniles and expose them to the Cuban proven correctional methods, from where thousands can regain their morale, education and values to become worthy men and women to society.

These and other reasons demand that President Barack Obama’s historic reopening and trip to Cuba should not fail.


17 thoughts on “What’s Next After Obama’s Historic Trip to Cuba

  • August 27, 2016 at 7:06 pm
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    Never realised before that the Bush family and Dick Cheney were on Cuban soil, but knew that both Castros unfortunately for their fellow Cubans are.
    When did the Bush family and Cheney arrive?

  • August 27, 2016 at 11:37 am
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    No, I am including the Bush family and Dick Cheney.

  • August 26, 2016 at 6:11 pm
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    By “terrorists” are you including the Castros?

  • April 14, 2016 at 1:38 pm
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    Your first argument is purely semantics. The question you need to ask is whether the embargo affects trade between Cuba and other countries adversely. That is what is plain and simple.

    Here are some links on the offer of compensation.

    For lands taken over compensation was offered in the form of Cuban currency bonds to mature in 20 years at 4.5% interest.[6] Bonds were based on land values as assessed for tax purposes.[6] During Batista’s reign American proprietors had lands assessed at very low rates.[6]. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_reform_in_Cuba also

    Other countries that had holdings in Cuba—including Switzerland, Canada, Spain, and France—were more amenable https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/04/18/cuba-you-owe-billion/jHAufRfQJ9Bx24TuzQyBNO/story.html

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=37LopzbPotYC&pg=PA99&lpg=PA99&dq=cuba+compensation+bonds+expropriation+japan&source=bl&ots=vsHzqUCCHt&sig=FYnZN_JHr9qGobRNX0Uo0oBvjcY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwirvLye7o7MAhVBkiwKHZlkDvEQ6AEIIDAA#v=onepage&q=cuba%20compensation%20bonds%20expropriation%20japan&f=false.

    In one of the Cuban submissions to the UN on the embargo debate they state that the offer is still on the table.You’ll have to find that one yourself.

    The assets frozen is here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2846301/Bay-Pigs-vet-families-seek-billions-Cuba.html.

    I don’t see any evidence that Cuba is unwilling to negotiate. But they obviously point out their requests more forcibly.

  • April 13, 2016 at 9:10 pm
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    Dani: The US has no authority of any two other countries doing business with each other. Plain and simple. It is only when it involves US products or US dollars that the US has any input, then it becomes a choice. Best example is Canada, which has a free trade agreement with the US, doing much business in Cuba.

    Please furnish some links to where the Cuban government offered compensation for expropriated assets as I have no information that such has ever happened. I am open minded knowing I have been wrong before, just not often. Please realize this is not a challenge but an honest request for information.

    Ditto furnishing some links to where the US is holding $3.5 Billion in Cuban assets.

    I certainly agree that the Guantanamo lease needs to be renegotiated. Same for trade embargo. Same for Cuban Adjustment Act. Same for payment for expropriated assets. Same for many other things. The problem is that Cuba has offered nothing in negotiation but only demanded what the US give up. Understand that I am not totally pro-US and anti-Cuba here at all. This whole situation needs to be resolved. But so far, Cuba’s unwillingness to negotiate but only demand what the US must do is the barrier.

  • April 13, 2016 at 3:32 pm
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    They do prevent other countries from trading with Cuba and it is done by the use of blackmail. ie if you trade with Cuba you will lose business or get fined. That is not a free choice. If they are so sure of the merits of their policy, why don’t they try and persuade foreign companies and countries to voluntarily join the embargo.

    I think you should go back and research the subject before saying I am wrong. The Cuban government offered compensation in the form of bonds the same as was offered to other countries. On better terms than the US did with Japan. Cuba has also offered on numerous occasions to deal with this issue.

    The US holds about 3.5 billion dollars of assets. They seized around 250 million just in 2012 as it is an ongoing process of freezing inheritance of Cuban Americans with descendants on the island. I believe about 170 million has been used. Either way this is far from being insubstantial.

    The Guantanamo treaty was unfair but symptomatic of the era and should be renegotiated. In fact all the financial issues need to be addressed by negotiation.

  • April 13, 2016 at 2:15 pm
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    Dani, sorry but I believe you are wrong, wrong, and wrong.

    The US has no authority to prevent any other country from trading with Cuba. They can give someone the option of trading with Cuba or with the US, but not both. Then it becomes that country option if they would rather trade with the US or Cuba. It is a free choice.

    Cuba never attempted to negotiate compensation for expropriated assets belonging to US citizens. The reason was simple, Cuba had no money to pay for what they had taken.

    The US has no frozen Cuban assets of substance. There was little to start off with and what there was was sold off to pay claims.

    No question the Cuban government regrets the lease they signed in 1903. Most of us have done deals that we later regretted. I personally speculate that the US would be willing to cede control of the Guantanamo Naval Base back to Cuba as part of a negotiated settlement. But so far, Cuba has only demanded the US do things without making any reciprocal concessions.

  • April 12, 2016 at 3:01 pm
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    On point 1) you are forgetting that the embargo doesn’t just block trade between Cuba and the US it also blocks trade between Cuba and other countries. Any company from Europe will be reticent to trade with Cuba if they have any business dealings with the US as well. Just show you how pervasive it is. The UK Cuba Solidarity Committee’s bank account was closed due to the embargo. So much for free speech.

    Cuba offered generous compensation terms for the American properties that were nationalized. Eleven or more other countries accepted the same terms without any fuss.

    The US has also frozen a lot of Cuban assets. Finally Guantanamo is held unfairly. Most other open ended colonial era agreements have been ditched. Take the example of Hong Kong where the UK ditched their original treaty in favour of a lease back. Do you really think it is right for the US to keep hold of this area paying the same original price regardless of inflation for the rest of time.

  • April 12, 2016 at 1:18 am
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    Hahahahaha! Don’t hold your breath.

  • April 11, 2016 at 10:03 pm
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    I believe if the US did abandon its lease on the Guantanamo Naval Base that Cuba would still let the US Coast Guard use it for drug interdiction purposes. Drug interdiction is one of those areas where the US and Cuba have had total cooperation for a long time. As early as 1996 Cuban authorities allowed the US Coast Guard to enter Santiago de Cuba harbor to gather evidence from a drug ship.

    Realistically, I cannot see where the US has any use for the Guantanamo Naval Base in the modern era. Of course Cuba would like it back. But Cuba wants the US to do many things but is unwilling to do anything in return. Cuba has been successful in convincing some uninformed people that it has never done anything wrong and simply has been victimized forever by the US.

  • April 11, 2016 at 7:30 pm
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    lynn: I am certainly not anti-Cuban. I live there part time with a Cubana who is communist. I do know there are problems created by both sides. But let’s look at your points individually

    1) embargo? It is a simple legal fact that no one is required by law to sell or buy from anyone else. Not a country or a local merchant. Does the guy with the store on your corner owe you something because he refuses to sell to you?

    2) years of fear from the Bay of Pigs? Do you remember who won? decisively? Do you remember the US paying Cuba $53 Million for return of prisoners after that?

    3) Cuban Missile Crisis standoff? Just which country was it that invited the Soviets to come and install nuclear missiles? The US owes Cuba something for that?

    then, lets consider that the Cuban owes US citizens $15 Billion (billion with a B) in internationally recognized claims for all the proprieties expropriated or seized with payment immediately after the Triumph of the Revolution.

    It is time to let the past slide into history and move forward. But if anyone owes the Cuban people something, it is not the US but Fidel who for 25 plus years was too obstinate to acknowledge his political structure was not working to the detriment of the Cuban people.

  • April 11, 2016 at 6:26 pm
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    Wow! These Americans are so bitter toward Cuba. They sound very heartless and right wing. I can’t imagine why unless they are so deluded that as one says they actually believe our U.S. reputation has not been tarnished by all the imperialist regime change warmongering by the likes of Hillary Clinton in Iraq, Serbia, Ukraine, Libya and Syria, Honduras, Guatemala, et al.

  • April 11, 2016 at 12:21 pm
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    Here is another GITMO alternative: Cuba pays the US the $15 BILLION for the internationally validated claims for the property expropriated following the Triumph of the Revolution PLUS the income those properties would have earned in the last 56 years (not in the $15 billion number) or Cuba simply returns all those properties including the Cuban telephone company, the railroads, the hotels, the houses, the farms, the sugar cane fields, the sugar refineries, and the nickle mines PLUS what they would have earned in the last 56 years, and PLUS the decrease in value from use / no maintenance. And in return, the US would agree to terminate the GITMO lease the Cuban government signed 113 years ago but now wishes they had not.

  • April 11, 2016 at 10:09 am
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    Jajaja! There’s a kind of Cuban, created by the failed Castro revolution, that’s always looking for someone else to to give them something for free. Why doesn’t Dr. Jones ask his own government to do these projects that he unabashedly wants the US to fund? I know many Cubans who are industrious and hardworking. The kind of Cuban that this writer maligns. Cab drivers and small business owners who work hard every day without looking for handouts. Then there are the ‘Dr. Jones’ types who the Castros have made to feel entitled because of some real or imagined wrong done to them in the past. Dr. Jones accuses the US of having a “severely tarnished” image around the world? Even if that were the case, returning Gitmo won’t untarnish it. What a fool to declare US military might as “useless”. What do you expect from me guy who never served his own country and lives in his adopted country enjoying the full benefits of our democracy. Albert Jones, like so many Castro bootlickers, recognizes that Cuba’s survival depends on future US relations. Venezuela’s days as ‘sugar daddy’ are coming to an end. If Russia, China or Brazil were interested in helping Cuba, they would have stepped up already. Jones realizes that the necessary relations with a strong US all but guarantees that a socialist Cuba must be set aside. So Jones, like so many of the Castro sycophants, would like to see a weak and morally compromised US lend Cuba a hand. That’s what is behind the outcry for an apology. Well, Dr. Jones, we may send a McDonald’s to Cuba. We may send Starbucks. But we will NEVER send an apology.

  • April 11, 2016 at 9:19 am
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    The base will more than likely stay an American base. It’s necessary for drug interdiction and occupies the perfect place along shipping lines.
    A new lease will be negotiated which I would hope includes removal of terrorists form Cuban soil.

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