U.S.-Cuba Talks Recap: Castro Coerces, Obama Acquiesces

Saturday, January 24, 2015
This week's "normalization" talks between the United States and Cuba were akin to the secret negotiations that preceded them. Namely, the Castro regime seeks to coerce the U.S., while the Obama Administration plays along.

Let's not forget that this entire process stems from the Castro regime taking an American hostage, development worker Alan Gross, in order to coerce the United States into releasing Cuban spies and easing sanctions.

And, as we all know -- once you cave to coercion, you will be coerced time and again.

Prior to the U.S. delegation arriving in Havana, Castro's mouthpiece, Granma, listed (as Cubans say, "con cara dura") its conditions for "normalization." They are:

1. Repealing the Cuban Adjustment Act.
2. Lifting the embargo.
3. Removing Cuba from the "state-sponsors of terrorism" list.
4. Recognizing the Castro regime's "official NGOs" -- e.g. Committees for Defense of the Revolution, Youth Communist League.
5. Compensating "damages" caused by the embargo.
6. Ending the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.
7. Opening embassies in Havana and Washington, D.C.

So what does the Cuban regime have to do in return for all these demands of the Obama Administration?

Nothing, of course.

Asked whether Cuba's regime might at least examine how to expand freedoms to help Obama pitch Congress on lifting the embargo, Castro's top negotiator Josefina Vidal said:

"Absolutely not. Change in Cuba isn't negotiable."

After all, they haven't needed to do anything for all the concessions they've gotten -- thus far -- from the U.S.

Instead, the Obama Administration has also decided to role play and give credence to Castro's rhetoric: the brutal totalitarian regime is the "victim" worthy of concessions and the world's greatest democracy is the "victimizer" that shouldn't ask for freedoms in return.

No wonder Vidal was all smiles.

Moreover, upon concluding the first round of talks, the lead U.S. negotiator, Assistant Secretary of State, Roberta Jacobson, admitted she wasn't very sure whether the Obama Administration's new approach would be successful.

In other words, the Obama Administration's new strategy policy boils down to acquiescing to coercion, handing over all the U.S.'s economic and diplomatic leverage to the Castro regime and its monopolies -- leverage that will be nearly impossible to pull back once given -- in the hopes that it will play nice (or nicer).

That's not a strategy. It's wishful thinking (based on a dangerous premise). It's being a push-over.

Meanwhile, the talks took place under the watchful eyes (and ears) of The Viktor Leonov, a Russian spy ship docked in Havana.

Quite a week.