This is what the US will bring to Cuba. Welcome back, Yankees! Cubans, stay home with Castro forever! pic.twitter.com/TkroryGFBI
— OrlandoLuisPardoLazo (@OLPL) November 6, 2015
Jackson Diehl writes on how Obama’s olive branches are lifelines for authoritarian regimes in Iran, Burma and Cuba:
Since announcing the end of the 50-year freeze between the countries 11 months ago, Obama has twice loosened restrictions on U.S. travel and investment in Cuba. Thanks to that, tourism arrivals are up 18 percent this year, and billions in fresh hard currency are flowing into the regime’s nearly empty treasury. The White House has dispatched a stream of senior officials to Havana, including Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. The deputy secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, last month paid court to the general who heads Castro’s repressive internal security apparatus.
In response to this, Castro has done virtually nothing, other than reopen the Cuban Embassy in Washington and allow a cellphone roaming agreement . His answer to repeated pleadings from U.S. officials for gestures on human rights has been to step up repression of the opposition. According to the independent Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, there were at least 1,093 political detentions in October, the highest number in 16 months.
Castro has meanwhile shunned offers from U.S. businesses and dramatically cut U.S. imports. Pritzker did not sign a single deal during her high-profile visit last month. Instead, Cuban officials are using the prospect of increased U.S. trade and investment as “chum” to strike bargains with other countries, according to a report by the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council. While imports of U.S. food are down 44 percent this year, imports from China are up 76 percent.
Remarkably, the administration appears happy to accept this.
The Tower points out that Diehl’s article
followed an unsigned editorial in the Post on Friday calling for Iran to release American hostages or face renewed sanctions.
When you’re leading from behind, no such demands are likely to come from the U.S.