News and Facts about Cuba

Castros the beneficiaries of perilous policy shift

Castros the beneficiaries of perilous policy shift
12/20/2014 2:00 PM 12/20/2014 7:00 PM

Obama just blew oxygen into the moribund Cuban — and
its governing elite — by announcing the reestablishment of full
diplomatic relations and economic concessions, a dramatic shift in
diplomatic relations between the two countries. The change is huge, but
not for the rank-and-file in Cuba who are denied basic ,
free elections, the rule of law and free speech.

Raúl Castro did have to return American aid worker Alan Gross, who was
imprisoned for helping Cuban Jews. This cost him five years of freedom
and as many teeth, which says something about life in a Cuban .

Gross’ release is celebrated, especially by Cuban exiles, who know all
too well what it means to be a . Four other families,
however, whose loved ones were murdered when their planes were shot down
over international waters by Cuban MiGs in 1996 feel betrayed; Raúl
Castro supervised that military operation, and a Cuban spy involved in
the operation was set free. Three of the dead were American citizens;
one was a legal resident.

Obama released three Cuban prisoners who received a hero’s welcome in
Havana, including Gerardo Hernandez, who was found guilty of some of the
most egregious crimes, including penetrating U.S. military
installations, espionage and involvement in the shootdown of three
American airplanes. For these crimes, he received two life sentences;
today, he is free. The story gets worse.

In dual speeches to the world, in what President Cristina Fernández de
Kirchner of Argentina cooed was a “romantic day,” Castro and Obama spoke
about this new relationship, which includes the reestablishment of
diplomatic relations; the opening of embassies in both Havana and
Washington D.C.; the loosening of regulations by the Treasury Department
to get licenses to do business in Cuba and to to the island; the
ability of U.S. banks to facilitate debit- and credit-card purchases in
Cuba; and increased remittances to Cuba up to $8,000 a year, a huge
source of income for the government.

These are extraordinary giveaways to a country that is a state sponsor
of terrorism, according to the State Department. Apparently, even that
status is negotiable for Obama.

The president has instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to review
Cuba’s status as a terrorist state, even though it was caught red-handed
sending military armaments to North Korea, violating international law.
The regime is desperate to be removed from the list in order to be able
to access certain international credits, which terrorist states are
rightly denied. What does Cuba pledge in return? Very little.

Cuba says that it will release 53 political prisoners (whom Castro will
likely re-incarcerate), increase access (which
Yoani Sánchez will tell you will not amount to much — if
anything) and allow U.N. officials and the International American Red
Cross to return to the island.

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio rightly calls Obama the worst negotiator
in his lifetime, and what Rubio says about this issue matters. Come
January, Rubio will the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee’s Western Hemisphere Subcommittee.

It is no secret that President Obama is struggling worldwide where
adversaries such as Russia, Iran and Syria regularly cross his red
lines. He badly wants a victory in foreign policy, but Obama won’t find
it with the Castro regime. If the is a failed policy, as the
president says, what can be said of a band of brothers that has led the
island to ruin for more than five decades and are directly responsible
for countless human-rights abuses — and outright murder?

The Obama administration’s concessions fly in the face of history and
political reality, and the Castro regime is the beneficiary. It is also
an assault on American values as communist dictators are rewarded.
Castro is given an economic lifeline just when ’s significant
economic support is challenged by falling oil prices and bad policies.

This all comes at a time when the Obama administration has strengthened
sanctions against Venezuelan officials.

President Obama can’t seem to get his story straight.

A number of opposition leaders in Cuba feel betrayed by Obama. “I feel
like I am a soldier that has been abandoned on the battle field,” said
human-rights advocate Oscar Elias Biscet, who spoke from Cuba on
Univision’s popular Radio Mambi.

Too many feel the same way.

Source: Castros the beneficiaries of perilous policy shift | The Miami
Herald –

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