Yesterday, in an interview with Reuters, President Obama said he would like to see diplomatic relations established with Cuba's dictatorship by April's "Summit of the Americas" in Panama.
Apparently, at all costs, as the Castro regime has made its removal (or announced removal) from the state-sponsors of terrorism list a precondition for diplomatic relations -- a statutory threshold that Cuba doesn't meet. But that's for another post.
In the interview, Obama offered the following defense of his policy:
"The very fact that, since our announcement, the Cuban government has begun to discuss ways in which they are going to reorganize their economy to accommodate for possible foreign investment, that’s already forcing a series of changes that promises to open up more opportunities for entrepreneurs, more transparency in terms of what’s happening in their economy."
Seriously? That's it?
And what exactly is Obama referring to?
Is he referring to Castro's foreign investment decree, which reiterates that all foreign trade and investment in Cuba must be conducted through the dictatorship's monopolies?
Is he referring to Castro's foreign investment decree, which requires every foreign investor in Cuba to form a joint venture -- as a minority partner -- with the dictatorship?
Is he referring to Castro's foreign investment decree that requires every foreign investor in Cuba to hire workers via a state-employment agency ("Cubalse, S.A."), which in turn pockets 92% of the wages?
Is he referring to Castro's new foreign investment decree, which contravenes the International Labor Organization's (ILO) Forced Labor Convention (No. 29), Abolition of Forced Labor Convention (No. 105), Freedom of Association and Protection to Organize Convention (No. 87), Protection of Wages Convention (No. 05), Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention (No. 98), Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No. 111) and Employment Policy Convention (No. 122)?
As for "entrepreneurs," is he referring to the Cuban regime's official entrepreneurs, i.e., the military-owned conglomerates?
Or is he referring to the "self-employed" workers, who have no corporate ownership rights, contractual rights, property rights or capital accumulation rights?
In other words, those working for a façade of the state.
Is Obama that out of touch with Cuba's reality?
Here's a reminder of the events that have actually transpired since Obama's December 17th policy announcement:
- There have been well-over 800 political arrests.
- Many of the 53 political prisoners released, pursuant to the Obama-Castro deal, have been re-arrested on multiple occasions.
- There's been a crackdown on Cuban artists, including Danilo Maldonado "El Sexto," who has been imprisoned since the day after Christmas; rapper Maikel Oksobo "El Dkano," who was handed a one-year prison sentence for his lyrics; and New York-resident Tania Bruguera, who has been prohibited from leaving the island for a free speech performance (#YoTambienExijo).
- Digna Rodriguez Ibañez, a member of the pro-democracy group, The Ladies in White, was tied to a tree and pelted with tar for her peaceful activism.
- Eralisis Frometa Polanco, also a member of The Ladies in White, forcefully aborted due to violent blows to her stomach during a beating for her peaceful activism.
- The Castro regime has reiterated that it will not extradite any most-wanted fugitives to the United States, including Joanne Chesimard, who is on the FBIs Top Ten Most Wanted Terrorists list.
- Spain's request for the extradition of two Basque terrorists (ETA) has gone unanswered.
- Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro traveled to Havana for consultations prior to ordering the arrest of the Mayor of Caracas and the wave of repression that resulted in the murder of a 14-year old. Castro's regime has declared its full support of Maduro's actions.
- A Chinese-flagged ship was intercepted in Colombia full of undeclared "war materiel" destined for Cuba.
- The Castro regime pinned medals on the Cuban spy, whose life sentence for the murder of Americans was commuted by Obama.
- Raul Castro expanded his list of demands of the Obama Administration to include the return of Guantanamo and reparations for the embargo.
- The Castro regime welcomed a Russian spy vessel, The Viktor Leonov, to dock in the Port of Havana during normalization talks with the U.S.
- A Congressional delegation, led by U.S. Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) stayed at a hotel confiscated from Americans.
- Two other Congressional delegations, one led by U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and another led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), were coerced into not meeting with with any dissidents.
- Congressional hearings showed how Obama Administration officials lied to the families of the Americans murdered in a conspiracy by the exchanged Cuban spies.
- Congressional hearings showed how Obama Administration officials were unaware (or pretended to be unaware) of how the Cuban military exerts monopolistic control over the island's tourism industry.
- Cuban intelligence officials, some previously expelled from the United States, are Castro's top negotiators in the normalization talks.
- Paris Hilton took "selfies" with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's son, Fidelito.
- Conan O'Brien filmed a comedy show in Havana at the expense of the Cuban people's tragedy.
- At this week's inauguration ceremony for new Uruguayan President Tabare Vázquez, Raul Castro was lauded and honored with the keys to Montevideo.
- Despite numerous U.S. concessions, the Cuban people do not have any iota of greater freedoms than they had on December 16th.
- Raul Castro declared to the National Assembly - "We won the war!"
- Code Pink led a celebratory delegation of over 150 radical activists to celebrate Castro's victory over the U.S.
That's quite the achievement, Mr. President.
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