Relations with Cuba.
It is something Cubans struggle with. Why? Because the Castro regime has destroyed thousands of families, including my own. If you’re a Cuban American, born in the United States or a citizen of the United States that was born in Cuba, relations with the Communist country is something that is hard to grasp. Americans see it as another island that they can go party in and do business with. But the Cuban American community views relations with Cuba, especially the Obama-Castro Deal, as something that can’t be done without true change on the island. Let’s also not forget the love that Obama showed to the Cubans the day he ended the wet-foot, dry-foot policy just days before leaving office.
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS & TERRORISM
Besides it human rights violations, which has increased dramatically since the Obama-Castro Deal, the Communist regime is still a state sponsor of terrorism, which makes the fact that Obama pulled them from the state-sponsored terrorism list, very disturbing. Obama, who was fond of releasing individuals from prison who did not deserve to be released, pardoned a man last year by the name of Oscar López Rivera. Lopez Rivera was a bomb maker for the FALN, which was a terrorist organization from Puerto Rico and was responsible for over 130 bombings from 1974 to 1983. How does this have anything to do with Cuba? The Wall Street Journal reported that,
“The full extent of the FALN’s Cuba connections is unknown. But they may be more enduring than has been publicly reported. According to an NYPD document I discovered at the Hoover Institution archives at Stanford—undated, but apparently circa 1977—by that time officials had come to believe that “the FALN was started in the mid-1960’s with a nucleus of Puerto Rican terrorists that received advanced training in Cuba. . . . After their advanced training in Cuba they returned to Puerto Rico and a wave of bombings and incendiary incidents struck the [latter] island. Within the last few years they have shifted their activities to the mainland. . . . It is believed that they have maintained close links and may in fact work closely with Cuban intelligence operatives.”
Some may argue that, ‘hey that was 50 years ago, they don’t do anything like that anymore.’ Cuba may not be flooding our shores with terrorists or bomb makers, but the dangers that Cuba poses to the international community are abundant and real. The UN Watch last year reported that,
“Internationally, Cuba has strong political and economic alliances with totalitarian/autocratic and rogue regimes with shared anti-U.S. agendas –North Korea, Iran, Russia, China, Syria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Saudi Arabia, etc., as well as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Ecuador, the Latin American countries on the path to the neo-communist “Bolivarian alternative” they call “21st century socialism.”
In regards to Cuba and its human rights violations, the “Cuban government increased its violations of religious freedom “tenfold” according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, with 2,300 violations in 2015, up from 220 in 2014,” reported The Daily Signal. This was during the time of the Obama-Castro deal.
UN Watch, Human Rights Foundation, and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights host a press conference at the United Nations to launch the campaign to oppose the absurd re-election bids of Saudi Arabia, Russia, China and Cuba to the UN Human Rights Council.
Also according to the UN Watch, “In the last ten years of Raúl Castro’s tenure as head dictator, twelve human rights’ defenders have been killed or disappeared, some quite evidently at the hands of authorities, state agents, others in circumstances that suggest an extrajudicial killing by state agents.”
“In its monthly repression report, the CCDHRN stated that in the year 2016 a total of 9,940 arbitrary detentions (practically 10,000) were documented, “a figure that places the Government of Cuba in the first place in all of Latin America” in these issues,” reported Diario de Cuba.
Diario de Cuba also reported that “in 2017, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation has documented 2,240 cases of political detention,”
“The control exercised by the ubiquitous secret political police over teachers and students of Cuban universities is stricter and has led to numerous politically motivated arbitrary expulsions,” concluded the CCDHRN.
“There is no such thing as a private sector in Cuba,” said Ana Quintana, policy analyst for Latin America and the Western Hemisphere at The Heritage Foundation. “If it isn’t state-owned, what you have is the black market. The Cuban government owns and operates the rum and the cigar manufacturing.”
According to The Heritage Foudation, which has Cuba at #178 out of #180 in their 2017 Index for Economic Freedom next to Venezuela(#179) and North Korea(#180), “most means of production are owned by the state. Seizures of property by police without legal justification are common.”
Also according to their 2017 index,
“State control of Cuba’s economy is both pervasive and inefficient, hampering any meaningful development of a job-creating private sector. As the largest source of employment, the bloated government sector soaks up much of the labor force. After decades without effective economic reform, the government has eased the rules on private employment in an effort to reshape the economy and improve efficiency.
Cuba’s potential entrepreneurs have long been shackled by tight government control and institutional shortcomings. No courts are free of political interference, and private property is strictly regulated. Excessive bureaucracy and lack of regulatory transparency continue to limit trade and investment.”
Many news organizations tout the fact the there is now a thriving private sector in Cuba and the that Cuban government is being more accepting of free markets. This is far from the truth. Free markets equal free people and that is something the regime in Cuba does not want.
The Los Angeles Times reported that if Trump does in fact reverse much of the Obama-Castro deal, “it could dull a boom in tourism by Americans to Cuba and hurt a burgeoning cottage industry of private enterprise on the socialist-ruled island. And it could allow Russia and China to more easily step in to fill the void.”
If you don’t know the history of the island you would think that those countries don’t already do business with Cuba. In fact, before Obama stepped foot in Cuba or even dared to shake the hand of one of the most notorious criminals of our time, the relations between Cuba and Russia have been at their strongest ever since the Cold War.
“Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has visited Cuba twice since February 2008 while Vladimir Putin visited in July 2014. Meanwhile Raúl Castro has been to Moscow three times in recent years,” reported The Conversation.
In his July visit to Cuba, Russian Dictator Vladimir Putin said that “We are talking about the possibility of creating in Cuba a grand transportation hub with a possible modernization of the maritime port of Mariel and the construction of a modern airport with its respective cargo terminal.” This after the two countries “signed about a dozen accords in areas such as energy, industry, health and disaster prevention. Russian companies will participate in petroleum projects around Boca de Jaruco on the island’s north coast, and that cooperation will extend to offshore oil deposits.”
Now you may say that not of that is relevant to the United States, or that that is why the United States should take charge and continue their relations with Cuba, but to say that is ignorant.
“We are grateful to South Americans for the support of our international initiatives, including outer space demilitarization, strengthening international information security and combating the glorification of Nazism,” Putin said in an interview with Prensa Latina before the trip.
Again, you might be scratching your head at why I am mentioning anything between Cuba and Russia. It is important to understand that we have already been beaten to the punch, in fact, not only did we get beaten but we got kicked and dragged when Obama himself, just a month before the 2016 election signed a directive which told “the U.S. intelligence community to share sensitive U.S. intelligence with Cuba’s communist government.“
“The Obama administration put some flesh on the bones of the October 2016 directive by signing a January 2017 law enforcement agreement with Cuba officially committing the U.S. to sharing sensitive intelligence with the island nation’s communist regime,” reported The Federalist.
Also from The Federalist,
Several lawmakers noted at the time that the intelligence-sharing deal with Cuba could result in the communist regime sending U.S. intelligence to Iran.
James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, testified to Congress just months before Obama inked his deal with Cuba that the Castro regime represented one of the top global espionage threats against the U.S.
“Targeting and collection of US political, military, economic, and technical information by foreign intelligence services continues unabated,” Clapper said in prepared remarks before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February of 2016. “Russia and China pose the greatest threat, followed by Iran and Cuba on a lesser scale.”
This might raise some eyebrows, especially when we think about the fact that it is being reported that Russia was somehow involved in our 2016 election.
If the Obama and the United States knew that Russia was involved in the hacking our of elections, as they say that Russia is, why would you share intelligence with a country that for the past decade has been sleeping side by side with Russia.
To make matter worse, the signing of these directives by Obama and his administration occur just several months after the President of Iran Hassan Rouhani met with Raul and Fidel Castro in Havana on how the two countries can further strengthen their relationship.
You can put the pieces together.
The Obama-Castro deal is wrong, unethical and has endangered the security of this country.
WILL CUBA EVER CHANGE?
Until the leadership in that country is stripped away from their thrones and placed inside the same decrepit jails that they stick innocent people in the country will always stay the same. Unfortunately.
- There would be no democracy in Cuba;
- Cuba will remain a single party state;
- There would be no change in governmental leadership;
- Communism will continue;
- Political prisoners would not be released;
- There was no hint of allowing greater Internet access
- No discussion of more Cubans visiting the United States;
- No liberalization of the media;
- There was no suggestion of restitution for the $8 billion in stolen American property; and, by-the-way
- Cuba wants the naval base at Guantanamo Bay returned.
“Cuba could not return to capitalism. The Cubans remember all of those dark experiences (because of capitalism) and what they have generated in Latin America and the world. On the other hand, they have known positive and successful experiences under socialism, and not only in our geographical area,” said Alejandro Castro Espín, 49, son of Cuban president Raul Castro and nephew of Fidel Castro in an interview with the Peruvian-Greek journalist Lasonas Pipinis Velasco back in 2015. Alejandro is considered to be next in lie to the throne when his father steps down in 2018.
WHAT WILL TRUMP DO?
Trump will be heading to Miami this week and will make an announcement on Friday on the Cuba policy. We have a strong Cuban-American community here in Miami and it is no better place to come, especially when speaking of any policy that has to do with Cuba.
“All of the concessions Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order which means our next president can reverse them,“ Trump said. “And that I will do unless the Castro regime meets our demands.”
“Those demands include religious and political freedom for the Cuban people, and the freeing of political prisoners,” Trump added.
While details on the changes to the policy have yet to be fully revealed, a U.S. official suggested that Trump would call for Cuban President Raul Castro to push for more political freedom and to release democratic activists in Cuban prisons, among other initiatives.
Trump is at the same time expected to announce a reversal in some areas of former President Barack Obama’s previous steps toward normalizing relations including the opening of embassies between the two countries and the easing of flight restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba.
The final actions have not been set as the review over the specifics of the plan continues. However, there will likely be steps in restricting travel from the U.S. to Cuba; there are now daily flights from Florida to Cuba. Another directive being weighed is taking steps to limit American companies from dealing with businesses owned by the Cuban military, U.S. sources confirm to Fox News.
If just a portion of this is true, then it will be a good day for the Cuban-American community here in Miami and the United States. It will also be good for our national security. Change will not come to Cuba by allowing the Cuban government to stay the same. Change will not come until the people of Cuba stand up and against the regime.
We must put pressure on the Cuban government to change its policies, both economic and social, in order for there to be any concessions from the United States.
Follow me at twitter @MiguelAGranda