But the president’s trolling of Cuba-defending Republicans ought to result in mockery, not outrage. Because the real problem with the Obama administration’s approach to normalization with Cuba isn’t the normalization itself. It’s that this normalization came without getting the United States any of their long-stated policy priorities for the Cuban people in return. Normalization is President Obama’s gift to the Castro regime—a gift with no strings attached.
This is, not coincidentally, the exact same problem we see with the administration’s approach to negotiations with Iran (with far more at stake, of course). In both cases, an avowed enemy of the United States is handed huge strategic concessions by the Americans—in exchange for what amounts to nothing.
Unilateral sanctions on Cuba have been oppressive and largely ineffective, and that’s why the public largely supports lifting them. But rolling them back should have come through the normalization process in Congress, and it should have come in return for tangible reforms in Cuba.
The government in Havana is best understood as a cross between violent left-wing radicals and organized crime. And we are normalizing our relations with them now—for what, exactly?
Things are so bad in Venezuela that its citizens are starting to pick up rifles. A nascent guerrilla movement is rapidly forming in the western region of Venezuela, according to Reuters. Such is the desperation that comes of Cuban control of all levers of power, as well as fraudulent elections to preserve a facade of democracy.
It also has been seen before — in spontaneous rebel movements that sprang up in Central America in the 1980s and in the military “Dirty War” that gripped nearly all of South America in the 1970s. Anyone attempting to fight back was smeared by the Castro propaganda machine as a human rights violator. But people fought back anyway, and some, such as Chile, really won.
There is also terrorism, which Cuba has spread through every country in the region in the past. Incredibly, it’s still going on as two large caches of smuggled weapons from rogue states in the Caribbean show.
When I travelled for two weeks in working class areas of Cuba last year, a Cuban worker explained to me that while they hear endlessly from the government about the “American embargo against Cuba,” the real problem is the “internal embargo”—the embargo that the government elite has imposed on the Cuban people to keep them from participating in the economies of the elite and the outside world.
The internal embargo is so complete that, not only is there physical separation from the elites, but there is even a separate currency.
You can bet that embargo won’t end.
How’s this for a proposal: Stay the hell away from any Summit of the Americas and stop elevating the clowns.
Anti-government rallies drew an estimated 700,000 protesters to the streets around Brazil on Sunday amid calls for the impeachment ofDilma Rousseff
. . .
The protests were aimed at the Workers’ Party (PT), which has been beset by a massive corruption scandal within state-owned oil company Petrobras.
From the VII Summit of the Americas circus, 2 items:
Rafael Correa managed to tear himself away from Twitter to give a speech condemning the U.S., and portraying Latin America (and especially Ecuador) as a paragon of freedom and human rights. Mercifully, he did not try to inflict it on his audience in English.
Barack Obama was next, and, as you can see, he agreed with Correa (emphasis added),
I wanna make one last comment, er, addressing er, some of the points that er, president Correa raised that I’m sure will be raised by a few others during this discussion. Er, I always enjoy the history lessons that I receive, er, when I’m here.
I am a student of history so I tend to actually be familiar with many of these episodes that have been mentioned. I am the first one to acknowledge that America’s application to concern around human rights has not always been consistent. And, I’m certainly mindful that there are dark chapters in our own history in which we have not always observed the principles and ideals upon which the country was founded. Just a few weeks ago I was in Selma, Alabama celebrating the 50th anniversary of a march across a bridge that resulted in horrific violence and the reason I was there and the reason it was a celebration is because it was a triumph of human spirit in which ordinary people without resort to violence were able to overcome systematic segregation. There voices were heard and our country changed. America never makes a claim about being perfect, we do make a claim about being open to change.
Telemundo 51 (video at the link in Spanish) reports that Cuban government operatives are again harassing dissidents attending the VII Summit of the Americas.
Blogger Yoani Sanchez stated that the dissidents had to take shelter from their aggressors at the Salón Topacio of the Panama Hotel, while the police and the military try to regain control outside the premises.
On Twitter, @RosaMariaPaya THREATENED WITH BEATINGS. They told her she can not coincide >Raúl Castro!
The details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation — supplemented by millions more from Giustra himself — Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact. Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it “strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.” The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra.