Sunday, January 25, 2015

ObamaFail: Cuba Leaves Talks With U.S. On Normalization

In spite of President Obama abasing himself and the country by apologizing to Cuba's brutal dictatorship, the Cubans pulled out of talks with the U.S. today on normalizing relations with America.

Apparently simply normalizing relations isn't the Cubans want gimmees as well:

Following the highest-level open talks in three decades between the two nations, Cuban officials remained firm in rejecting significant reforms pushed by the United States as part of President Barack Obama's surprise move to re-establish ties and rebuild economic relations with the Communist-led country.

"One can't think that in order to improve and normalize relations with the U.S., Cuba has to give up the principles it believes in," Cuba's top diplomat for U.S. affairs, Josefina Vidal, told The Associated Press after the end of the talks. "Changes in Cuba aren't negotiable."

It's not clear if Cuba's tough stance is part of normal negotiation tactics or a hardened position that could prevent the talks from moving forward. {..}

Measures put into effect this month range from permitting large-scale sales of telecommunications equipment to allowing U.S. banks to open accounts in Cuba, but Vidal said officials on the island want to know if Cuba can buy such gear on credit and whether it is now free to use dollars for transactions around the world, not just those newly permitted with U.S. institutions.

"I could make an endless list of questions and this is going to require a series of clarifications in order to really know where we are and what possibilities are going to open up," Vidal said.

Obama also launched a review of Cuba's inclusion on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism and Vidal said "it will be difficult to conceive of the reestablishment of relations" while Cuba remains on that list, which imposes financial and other restrictions.

Even a relatively simple measure such as granting U.S. diplomats freedom of movement around Cuba, she said, is tied to reduced U.S. support of dissidents, whom Cuba says are breaking the law by acting to undermine the government of behalf of U.S. interests.

"It's associated with a change in behavior in the diplomatic missions as such and of the diplomatic officials, who must conduct themselves as our officials in Washington do, with total respect for the laws of that country," Vidal said.

She also said Cuba has not softened its refusal to turn over U.S. fugitives granted asylum in Cuba. The warming of relations has spawned new demands in the U.S. for the State Department to seek the return of fugitives including Joanne Chesimard, a Black Liberation Army member now known as Assata Shakur, who fled to Cuba after she was convicted in 1977 of killing a New Jersey state trooper.

What the Cubans obviously want here is foreign aid from America for the country's economy, an end to U.S support of any Cubans seeking freedom in their country, the ability to dump U.S. dollars overseas, to be taken off the list of countries fomenting terrorism (ridiculous for anyone who knows about the Castro Brother's history here) and a pass on turning over criminal fugitives who've found asylum in Cuba.

Will they get it? This president used up a lot of political capital shoving this through with an executive order, and given his schoolyard insults, conduct and uncompromising stance towards the new GOP dominated congress, I wouldn't bet on it.But we'll see.

Normalizing relations with the Castros and their despotic regime is more than just a  political football. It's  a U.S. national security disaster in the making.

As I wrote here:

The regime itself was on the verge of collapse, because the Maduro regime in Venezuela could no longer afford to give the Castros subsidized oil. So instead of allowing it to fall or even encouraging its demise, this president has now thrown this brutal regime a lifeline that will keep it in power.

Cuba is only ninety miles from the U.S. Think about that for a moment. It is a regime aligned with our enemies, and as Raúl Castro informed President Obama in a 30 minute lecture, nothing's changing.

The embargoes kept a lot of bad actors away from Cuba. Not only are they now free to come in, but the entire use of embargoes as a means to counteract bad behavior short of war has been undermined.

But wait,there's more. Let's revisit history.

Once President Kennedy allowed the Monroe Doctrine to be breached by backing out of the Bay of Pigs invasion after it had already started, the Soviets realized that Castro could be their entry into the western hemisphere and just a year later they had their missile bases installed on the island.The confrontation that followed once our intelligence found out about it almost started a nuclear war.

Imagine what would happen if history repeated itself? The Russians are already sniffing around. What if Iran makes a clandestine deal with Castro and we wake up one day with Iranian ballistic missiles aimed at our shores? What if China decides that Havana would be a superb spot for a naval base to extend their reach into American territorial waters? What if the Cuban regime itself receives nuclear weapons from, say, North Korea? Especially at a time when America's missile defense and nuclear weapons, just like our conventional military are already at historic lows?

And remember, the Cubans are going to get an embassy on our shores out of the deal which will be nothing but a den of spies and a security risk.

I'm afraid I have little patience with people that argue that after 50 years, we need to change policy, that trade and tourism will benefit the Cuban people and eventually lead to more freedom. These are the same arguments a number of people made when talking about the Soviet Union between WWII and the 1970's and they helped it keep going for years.

Profits from trade and tourism aren't going to trickle down to ordinary Cubans.They will go to the regime's elites, with a select few being allowed access to the goodies as the carrot for loyalty and good behavior, with the stick very much in evidence for anyone who displeases the regime in any fashion. And rest assured, the Cubans not are going to be allowed free access to the internet, to publications, to radio, to films or to anything that displeases the regime, contradicts its propaganda or undermines its iron grip on their throats.

As sickening as it is that we would betray the many Cubans whom seek freedom, it's even worse that would would betray our own interests and our national security. That's exactly what this amounts to...a major foreign policy debacle.

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