Today, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testified in two Senate hearings -- and contradicted himself.
In the morning, Kerry told a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that the Obama Administration's new Cuba policy had been applauded throughout the region; that it would eliminate Castro's "blame America" excuse; and that it would remove a distraction for other nations to hold Cuba's regime accountable.
(It was also this week's Cuba talking point by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.)
In the afternoon, Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he was "perplexed" by the Venezuelan government's assault on democracy; that Nicolas Maduro was using the same old script of "blaming America"; and said nothing about the region's unwillingness to hold Maduro's regime accountable.
As background, last week Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro intensified his repressive campaign against Venezuela's opposition by violently arresting the Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma. Maduro did so after returning from "consultations" in Havana. And this afternoon, a 14-year old Venezuelan student protester was killed by security forces.
Meanwhile, regional leaders remain silent on Maduro's repressive actions. Mum's the word from Mexico and Brazil, while UNASUR nations (led by former Colombian President Ernesto Samper) are actually regurgitating Maduro's "blame America" line.
So riddle me this:
These are the nations the Obama Administration believes are going to now hold Castro's regime accountable?
The same nations that maintain a collaborative silence towards Maduro's regime?
-- There is no U.S. embargo towards Venezuela;
-- The U.S. has diplomatic relations with Venezuela;
-- The Obama Administration has refused to name Venezuela to the "state-sponsors" of terrorism list, despite its well-documented connections to Hezbollah, Hamas and the FARC; and
-- The State Department's diplomatic finesse with Maduro even resulted in Venezuela's military intelligence chief, Hugo Carvajal, getting away scot-free (after being arrested in Aruba on a U.S. warrant for narcotics trafficking).
Yet, the Venezuelan people's calls for freedom and justice continue to fall on deaf ears.
So how exactly will it be different -- if not worse -- with Cuba?
And let's look right here at home.
Where are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Farm Bureau's concern about events unfolding in Venezuela?
Where are U.S. Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Amy Klobuchar's (D-MN) condemnatory statements?
Where's House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) outrage?
After all, they've all been peddling the same White House talking points on Obama's new Cuba policy.
Why haven't any of them mentioned the over 300 political arrests in Cuba last week?
Because it would distract from their agenda. Yet another contradiction.
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