In her new book, "Hard Choices," former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reveals how late in her term (2012) she advised President Obama to reconsider the Cuban embargo.
Of course, the whole premise is somewhat silly as only Congress can lift the embargo. Moreover, Hillary knows this, as it was her husband who signed into law the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act ("LIBERTAD Act"), which codified the embargo.
However, what media reports have overlooked is that Hillary pressed President Obama pursuant to being lobbied by her old friends and supporters, Alfy Fanjul and Paul Cejas.
Fanjul and Cejas traveled to Cuba with the Brookings Institution in April 2012. During the trip, they purposefully shunned courageous democracy activists, so as to not offend their "hosts." However, they met with plenty of Castro regime officials.
As The Washington Post reported, "after returning from his first trip (April 2012), Fanjul met with his good friend, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to express his changing views on Cuba."
Those views obviously had nothing to do with the democracy activists Fanjul and Cejas ignored, but plenty to do with the business they discussed with Castro regime officials -- positioning themselves like "Cuban-American Barbarians at the Gate."
Thus, Hillary's efforts to sway President Obama late in her term, on behalf of Fanjul and Cejas (and against the wishes of Cuba's courageous democracy leaders), should not have come as a surprise.
Moreover, let's not forget her husband's record, as relates to Cuba policy.
Here's a look back:
In 1993, President Clinton intervened at the last minute to impede federal prosecutors from indicting General Raul Castro as head of a major cocaine smuggling conspiracy.
In 1994, President Clinton succumbed to Castro's migratory blackmail and green-lighted secret talks with senior regime officials in Toronto, Canada.
In 1995, President Clinton adopted the infamous "wet-foot, dry-foot policy," whereby preventing Cubans from reaching a U.S. beach became a perverted sport. (Why was it acceptable for President Clinton to label Cubans as "wet-feet"? Shouldn't it be just as insulting as calling Mexicans "wet-backs"?)
In 1996, President Clinton refused to tighten sanctions against the Castro regime. As a consequence for the murder of three Americans and a permanent resident in international airspace -- the shoot-down of the "Brothers to the Rescue" planes by Cuban MIGs -- Clinton was compelled to sign the LIBERTAD Act as the least aggressive of the responses he was presented. Nonetheless, he waived the main section tightening sanctions. As such, the LIBERTAD Act codified the embargo and authorized funding for democracy programs, but did not tighten sanctions.
In 1998-1999, President Clinton eased travel sanctions towards Cuba and created the insulting "people-to-people" travel category, whereby NGOs hosted by the Castro regime lead salsa, baseball and cigar tours of the island, while frequenting the Cuban military's 4 and 5-star tourism facilities.
In 2000, Clinton contemplated lifting tourism travel restrictions towards Cuba, which at the time was Castro's main source of income. Cuba charter companies even hired the President's brother, Roger Clinton, to lobby him. In anticipation, Congress preemptively codified the travel ban to prevent any further Presidential expansion of travel.
In 2000, President Clinton supported the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSREEA), which authorized the sale of agricultural and medical products to Cuba. Due to Congressional intervention, a caveat was included that these sales must be cash-only. Since then, over $4 billion in agricultural products have been sold to Cuba -- all to Castro's food monopoly, Alimport. Not one penny has been transacted with regular Cubans.
In 2000, President Clinton sent armed U.S. Marshals into the Little Havana home of Elian Gonzalez's family, in order to forcefully return him to Cuba. Rather than having an impartial family judge decide what was in the best interests of the small boy, whose mother died for his freedom, Elian's fate was decided by President Clinton. Today, Elian is a young Communist militant, paraded during propaganda outings, while hailing Fidel Castro as "his God."
As Cuban democracy leader, former prisoner of conscience and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, wrote this week, President Clinton missed a historic opportunity to pressure the end of the Castro regime in the 1990s, amid the profound crisis it faced from the end of its Soviet benefactor.
Instead, he did the opposite.
Today, amid a similar crisis resulting from the downward spiral of Castro's Venezuelan benefactor, Hillary seeks to make the same mistake.
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