September 25, 2021

OBAMA’S TRIP TO CUBA IS DENOUNCED BY MEMBERS IN CONGRESS AND MEDIA

 

CASTRO AND OBAMA2The White House announced on February 18, 2016 that President Barack Obama will travel to Havana on March 21, 2016 for two days to meet with bloody Cuban dictator Raúl Castro. His trip to the island-prison was immediately criticized by Republicans and some Democrats in Congress, some Republican presidential candidates and several newspapers and magazines.

Obama wants to see his friend the tyrant Raúl Castro once again. Obama hopes that the visit will help assure the move to develop closer ties with Cuba is irreversible.

The Investor Business Daily editorial

Capitol Hill Cubans explained in the organization website how President Obama’s disreputable trip to Cuba continues to be criticized by several newspapers and all Cuban Americans in Congress. The organization reported that the Investor Business Daily newspaper wrote an outstanding editorial titled “Only Castro Will Benefit from Obama’s Cuba Trip” which was published on February 20, 2016. It stated the following:

“Announcing another historic first, President Obama said he and the first lady would visit communist Cuba to help improve the lot of the Cuban people. Last time he said that, when he normalized ties, the whip came down.

No regime has been showered with goodies the way the White House has heaped them onto the Castro brothers’ 57-year military dictatorship. From cash and trade, to the prestige of a costly U.S. presidential visit, the Castros have made out like bandits. The U.S. gets nothing in return. Nada. The visit will no doubt be full of colorful celebrity-style photo-ops, perhaps driving on the Malecon in a ’57 Chevy, or sipping mojitos amid crumbling architecture, to make it all hip yet quaint for the cameras.

The president claims it’s “to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the lives of the Cuban people.” Seems he forgot his vow to not visit the island if he couldn’t say with confidence “that we’re seeing some progress in the liberty and freedom and possibilities of ordinary Cubans,” as he told Yahoo News in 2014. Because the sorry reality is that life has not improved for Cubans since the thaw in relations. Human rights groups warn that, if anything, repression has increased following restoration of diplomatic ties. The regime still harasses dissidents with beatings, harassment arrests (some 8,600 last year), mob attacks and job firings, according to Human Rights Watch. What’s more, Cubans are terrified that the thaw will end their one thin reed of hope: escape to the U.S. They have since flooded U.S. borders in dramatically escalated numbers, surely a sign they expect little change.

Sure, the White House pays lip service to human rights. And Obama’s advance men have told the press he will even speak to dissidents, although they have declined to answer press questions about how these “dissidents” will be chosen. The more likely scenario is the one that came with Pope Francis’ trip to the island recently: Dissident roundups and beatings to keep the locals from getting any ideas.

It all adds up to the same sorry picture since Obama announced the normalization of ties. Now, with a Potemkin tour in the works, the only beneficiary will be the geriatric Castro regime, which will gain more legitimacy with the presidential visit, not to mention money. Add it to the long list of Obama’s concessions to Cuba.

In 2009, President Obama loosened restrictions on remittances to the island, rapidly raising the regime’s cash flow, much of which was siphoned off through taxes by the regime. Remittances have doubled since then, to $4 billion. Then, with no strings attached, President Obama normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba (ranked No. 177 out of 178 nations  in the Heritage Foundation’s 2016 Index of Economic Freedom) and opened an embassy in Havana, pointedly banning dissidents from attending, and then falsely claiming there was a lack of seat space.

After that, Obama took Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terror — even while, at the same time, emails subpoenaed from then-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton showed that she knew Cuba had permitted the opening of an “operational” Hezbollah base on the island, a clear example of state-sponsored terror.

Meanwhile, egregious arms violations — such as the transport of Cuban missiles through the Panama Canal on their way to North Korea and another suspicious shipment to Colombia and likely its FARC guerrillas went unsanctioned. There was also the suspicious shipment of a U.S. Hellfire missile to Havana. Cuba returned it only this week, two years after it received the supposedly misdirected package.

Frankly, we doubt any change will come to Cuba with this trip. It’s just another legacy-builder for selfish aims. The Castros will gain, but the cause of freedom will be set back.”

The National Review Editorial

On February 20, 2016 the National Review wrote an editorial entitled “Obama, Cuba and Us.” Below is the text of the excellent editorial:

“President Obama has announced that he will visit Cuba next month. This is a natural follow-on from his rapprochement with the Castro regime after our midterm elections in 2014. In April of the next year, Obama said, “After the midterm elections, my advisers asked me, ‘Mr. President, do you have a bucket list?’ And I said, ‘Well, I have something that rhymes with “bucket list.” Exactly.

An opening to the Castro dictatorship was neither urgent nor necessary nor in the American interest. Obama simply wanted to do it. It was on his list. The dictatorship had been dreaming about this kind of rapprochement for well over half a century. So had the American Left.

Previous administrations had offered linkage: favors from Washington in exchange for liberalization in Cuba. Obama had next to no interest in linkage. He offered his favor to the Castros essentially for free.
Since the Obama opening, they have cracked down all the harder on democrats and dissidents. Oscar Biscet, the Cuban democracy leader, said, “I feel as though I have been abandoned on the battlefield.” Berta Soler, another democracy leader — the leader of the Ladies in White — said, “The European Union, the U.S.A., Pope Francis — they have turned their backs on us.” She also said that Obama had given “a green light to the Cuban government to crush civil society.”

It is the contention of Obama and others that U.S. policy over all these decades has not “worked.” By “worked,” they mean “toppled the regime.” Okay. But what Cuban democrats tend to say is, “At least the Americans haven’t helped the regime. That sets them apart from the Russians, the Western Europeans, the Canadians, and others. God bless them for it.”

Many of our citizens look forward to touring in Cuba. May they have a good time, sipping their mojitos on the beach and exploring what is sometimes euphemistically called “nightlife.” But remember, tourist dollars — or euros or whatever they are — are poured right into the regime, giving the Castros the oxygen they need to keep going.

That the Castros will direct much of that windfall to the persecution of their opponents seems to be of little concern to the administration. In recent months, David Thorne, a senior adviser to the current secretary of state, John Kerry, spoke of our new relationship with Cuba: “As in other parts of the world, we are really trying to also say, Let’s find out how we can work together and not always say that human rights are the first things that we have to fix before anything else.”

With that in mind, a big question about the president’s upcoming trip is whether he will meet with the dictator emeritus, Fidel. Fidel Castro is a hero to leftists all over the world. A rock star. Meeting with him, for the Left, is like meeting with Elvis. Che Guevara would be possibly better, but he is no longer available.

Arguably, Obama has an opportunity to do good in Cuba. He can insist on meeting with democrats and dissidents. He can insist on spotlighting political prisoners, if not outright visiting them. Last September, Pope Francis snubbed the democracy movement. The movement was terribly demoralized. Obama probably can’t get away with a total snub. But will he do more than the minimum? More than pay lip service?

Between Democrats and Republicans, there are many and sharp differences, including on Communism. Consider that a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders, honeymooned in the Soviet Union. And that the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, honeymooned in Cuba.

Among the Republican candidates for president are two Cuban Americans, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The latter has made an interesting proposal: to rename the street in front of the Castros’ new embassy in Washington, D.C., after Oswaldo Payá — who was a Cuban democracy leader killed in 2012, almost certainly by the regime. We hope someone who can distinguish between Cuba’s oppressed and its oppressors occupy the White House next.

Until then, there is little recourse. This is what Barack Obama does. This is who he is. In this last couple of years, he is crossing off the items on his rhymes-with-bucket list. On to Tehran.”

Florida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio letter to Obama

Senator-Marco-Rubio-told-Fox-News-Sunday-that-the-U.S.-must-move-slowly-on-Immigration-ReformFlorida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said that the Obama administration has conceded too much in its rapprochement with Cuba and only received “the regime’s empty promises of future discussions.” We need to stand with the suffering Cuban people and the opponents of the tyrannical regime who want democracy and not help their oppressors!

Republican Senator Marco Rubio from Florida sent a letter on February 18, 2016, requesting Obama to reconsider his trip to Cuba.

Below is the text of the letter:

“Dear Mr. President:

Your determination to visit the communist state of Cuba on March 21st and 22nd, regardless of the disastrous consequences, is a mistake. I strongly urge you to reconsider visiting Cuba in the absence of the government undertaking meaningful reforms including: reforming their oppressive political system, reigning in a police state that orchestrated over 8,600 political arrests in 2015, freeing all political prisoners, resolving the billions of dollars in outstanding property claims and court judgments against the Castro regime, and returning fugitives from U.S. justice.

In other words, having an American president go to Cuba simply for the sake of going there, without the United States getting anything in return, is both counterproductive and damaging to our national security interests. Any time a president visits a foreign country, it speaks volumes to the host country, to the American people and to the rest of the world.

If you proceed with this visit, you will further confirm what the Castro regime has learned throughout its negotiations with your Administration: that you are willing to give up all the leverage the United States has in exchange for virtually nothing. You will send the message to the oppressed Cuban people that you stand with their oppressors. You will send the message to the Western Hemisphere and the rest of the world, especially our enemies that the United States can grow tired of standing up for our national security interests and principles.

Furthermore, your Administration’s recent handling of its re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana demonstrated complete diplomatic incompetence that does not bode well for a future presidential visit. That event further proved to the Castro regime that it can get extraordinary concessions from your government in exchange for nothing. That episode also showed a blatant disregard for the patriotic Cuban dissidents who have toiled for years in advancing the cause of freedom only to be shut out of the public ceremony on August 14, 2015.

A presidential visit to Cuba would inevitably entail staying at hotels and other accommodations controlled by the Cuban military, providing American taxpayer dollars to the regime, in addition to the economic concessions you have been making over the past year. As you know, the island’s repressive apparatus is under the iron fist of Raul Castro’s son, Colonel Alejandro Castro, while the economy remains under the control of the lucrative military monopoly, Enterprise Administration Group (GAESA), run by Raul Castro’s son-in-law, General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas. To date, the concessions you have given to the regime have strengthened Castro’s military monopolies not the Cuban people.

In sum, I urge you to reconsider visiting Cuba and instead insist that the Castro regime finally make some serious concessions that have so far not been prioritized in negotiations. Before you announced your new Cuba policy on December 17, 2014, the United States possessed significant economic and diplomatic leverage over the Castro regime. Rather than achieving several long-standing U.S. goals and national security interests, you have methodically squandered this opportunity, legitimizing the Castro regime and enriching it in the process.”

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey statement on Obama’s trip to Cuba

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey has denounced Obama’s Cuba policy as well as the Iran nuclear agreement. Cuban-American Democratic Senator Bob Menendez has been a critic of all the moves by Obama to normalize relations with Cuba and to give the Castro regime a series of unilateral concessions without Cuba doing nothing in return.

On February 18, 2016, Senator Bob Menendez issued the following statement:

“It is totally unacceptable for the President of the United States to reward a dictatorial regime with an historic visit when human rights abuses endure and democracy continues to be shunned. This will mark the first time a U.S. President is visiting a dictatorship in Latin America since Lyndon Johnson’s 1968 visit to Nicaragua and it’s the first presidential visit to Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. Since Castro seized power, nine American Presidents – Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush – did not rush to the island to shake hands with an oppressive dictator. They instead stood firmly against a regime that represses its people’s freedoms and blatantly violates human rights just 90 miles from our shore.

The President is – again – prioritizing short-term economic interests over long-term and enduring American values. He will rue this decision, just as he will ultimately rue giving a lifeline to the Ayatollah.
As our President plans this trip with expectations that the world will watch and cheer, I remain of the belief that until the Cuban people are given the freedoms and liberties they deserve, eased relations should not be cheered.

Over a year ago when the Administration ushered in a one-sided deal with Cuba that was a win for the regime and a loss for the Cuban people, it started on an ill-fated trajectory. At every turn, I have urged President Obama to correct this course, but, unfortunately, the news of this trip is another step in the wrong direction.

This is reminiscent of the case of Burma, where amid great fanfare; we declared victory with a Presidential visit in 2012. At least in that case, we exacted 11 commitments from the government under the mantra of “action-for-action.”

We’ve seen multiple steps that have shifted leverage to the Castro regime: Travel, finance and commerce regulations have been eased, Cuba has been removed from the State-Sponsor of Terrorism List and an embassy has opened. However, since these sweeping changes started in December 2014, Cubans have been beaten, arrested, and repressed at higher rates than ever before.

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights documented over 900 political arrests by the Castro regime in the month of December 2015 and 1,400 in January 2016 alone. U.S. fugitives, like Joanne Chesimard who remains on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorism List for the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, are still enjoying safe harbor on the island and not a penny of the $6 billion in outstanding claims by American citizens and businesses for properties confiscated by the Castros has been repaid. To this day, we have not seen one substantial step toward transparent democratic elections, improved human rights, freedom of assembly, or the ability to form independent political parties and trade unions in Cuba.

And yet, despite the lack of reciprocity from a despotic and reinvigorated Castro regime, our President is rewarding this oppressive regime with a visit. In the case of Cuba, we should at the very least expect Joanne Chesimard to step off Air Force One with U.S. marshals.”

Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from South Florida statement on Obama’s trip to Cuba

Cuban-born Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from South Florida condemned Obama’s visit to the Castro brothers.

On February 18, 2016, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen released the following statement:

“It is absolutely shameful that Obama is rewarding the Castros with a visit to Cuba by a sitting American president since their reign of terror began.  For more than 50 years Cubans have been fleeing the Castro regime yet the country which grants them refuge, the United States, has now decided to quite literally embrace their oppressors. There has been no progress in regards to human rights on the Castro brothers’ island gulag nor have conditions in Cuba improved since this administration began providing the regime with concession after concession. A visit by President Obama more than one year after his unilateral concessions to the regime will only legitimize the Castros’ repressive behavior.

It is a slap in the face to the memory of the Brothers to the Rescue pilots, three U.S. citizens and one U.S. resident, who were murdered by the Castro regime and those who have fled the Castro’s oppression to see Air Force One land in Havana. Instead of standing up for pro-democracy leaders like Las Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White), Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez,’ and others, the Obama administration has decided to cater to aging autocrats who rule by denying Cubans their basic human rights. Unfortunately, this announcement encapsulates President Obama’s Cuba policy characterized by unilateral concessions and willfully neglecting to pursue American claims.”

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) statement on Obama’s trip to Cuba

Republican Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart from South Florida denounced Obama’s March trip to Cuba.

On February 18, 2016, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart released the following statement in response to reports that President Obama would be announcing a March trip to Cuba:

“Regrettably, President Obama’s planned travel to Cuba is hardly a surprise. Instead, it is the latest addition to the litany of concessions to dictators that have come to characterize this administration. The Castro brothers continue to harbor more than seventy fugitives from U.S. justice including ‘Most Wanted Terrorist’ Joanne Chesimard, Charles Hill and William Morales, smuggle weapons with North Korea and China, and even invited Hezbollah to establish a stronghold within its borders.
While campaigning for President, Senator Obama promised in Miami that, ‘I will maintain the embargo. It provides us with the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice: if you take significant steps toward democracy, beginning with the freeing of all political prisoners, we will take steps to begin normalizing relations.’ Obviously, he has abandoned that commitment. And last year, he said that his trip to Cuba would be conditioned on an improvement in human rights. That if ‘we’re seeing some progress in the liberty and freedom and possibilities of ordinary Cubans, I’d love to use a visit as a way of highlighting that progress… I’m not interested in validating the status quo.’

Yet in 2015, political arrests totaled more than 8,000 and political activists Danilo Maldonado Machado ‘El Sexto’, Vladimir Morera Bacallao, and Misael Canet Velazquez languished near death in Castro’s gulag. Cuba remains the only country in the Americas to be classified as ‘Not Free’ by Freedom House. By any objective measure, the Castro regime has not improved its human rights record. Neither has it unclenched its fist.

During his time in Cuba, President Obama should at least meet with those who risk their lives in the struggle for freedom and who have suffered most as a result of his policy of appeasement. He should meet with activists such as Berta Soler and the Ladies in White, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’ and his wife Yris Tamara Aguilera, Danilo Maldonado Machado ‘El Sexto’, and Antonio Rodiles.

The Cuban people will be free. Unfortunately, they will do so in spite of President Obama’s alliance with their oppressors.”

Conclusion

Havana continues winning and Washington losing. President Obama is so eager to normalize relations and eliminate the embargo with Cuba without negotiating any concessions, that the United States has created a situation where we now have a United States–back dictatorship in Cuba. The bloody Castro regime has increased the numbers of arbitrary arrests since Obama normalized relations with Cuba. Cuban Commission for Human Rights documented over 900 political arrests by the Castro regime in the month of December 2015 and 1,400 in January 2016 alone. There has been no progress in regards to human and civil rights on the Castro brothers’ island-prison nor have conditions in Cuba improved since this administration began providing the regime with unilateral concession after concession.

Obama has ignored the fact that the Cuban regime continuous support for terrorists organizations and continuous to assist all America’s enemies. After Obama took Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terror, the then-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, showed that she knew Cuba had permitted the opening of an operational Hezbollah base on the island. Obama also ignored how the Castro regime transported Cuban Migs aircraft and tons of weapons through the Panama Canal on their way to North Korea and another suspicious shipment to Colombia and likely its FARC guerrillas. There was also the suspicious shipment of a U.S. Hellfire missile to Havana. Cuba returned it only this week, two years after it received the supposedly misdirected package.

Obama’s trip to Cuba is another gift to the Cuban communist regime which has assassinated over 15,000 children, women, and men; imprisoned over 300,000; and forced over two million to leave the country of their birth with an estimate of 80,000 drowning or being devoured by sharks when trying to escape the island-prison. This writer and many other Cuban American anti-communists and many opponents in the Island knew that Obama’s new policy on Cuba was a failure because the mafia who rules Cuba is not going to change. The repression in Cuba continues.

The bloody regime only wants money from tens of thousands of American tourists and U.S. investments to perpetuate itself in power. Sadly, Obama has given oxygen to the Cuban regime so that it may continue to oppress the Cuban people and perhaps assist U.S. multinationals that want to use the labor of Cuban workers, who make $20 a month, to increase the profits of their future factories in that island. The multinationals from United States and from other countries want to make Cuba the China of the Caribbean. They do not care about freeing the Cubans who suffer. They only care about increasing their profits.

The many people who pushed for diplomatic recognition and the end of what is left of the embargo to help the rogue communist regime, which has established the worst and longest dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere, as well as President Obama and Pope Francis, are responsible for what is occurring on the Island today. Shame on all of these individuals who have provided assistance and encouragement to Obama for normalizing relations with Cuba, a person who has always admired the Castro brothers together with his preacher of 20 years Jeremiah Wright. Obama wants to travel to Cuba to, once again, shake the bloody hands of Raúl Castro, and perhaps have the great opportunity to meet his hero, the senile beast that is Fidel Castro!

Barack Hussein Obama’s legacy is one of appeasement to bloody the dictators in Cuba and elsewhere in the world. He has made the United States a superpower in retreat. Our allies do not respect him and even worse our enemies do not fear him. Obama is omnipotent in the United States but impotent with our enemies. Obama will go down in history as the worst president in history and the only one who hated the nation that elected him. He is the architect of the destruction of the United States!

Share
Source: