Why Doesn't Obama Endorse the Cuban Military Transparency Act?

Thursday, January 7, 2016
In an interview with Yahoo before the holidays, President Obama acknowledged the following about his Cuba policy:

"There are going to be certain sectors of the economy where we think, if there’s some modification of the application of the embargo, the Cuban people will benefit directly. There are going to be some areas where it could prop up, you know, certain cronies of the regime, but not necessarily have widespread impact.”

Fair point.

So what are the top two earning sectors of Castro's cronies, namely the Cuban military (MINFAR) and intelligence services (MININT)?

Human trafficking and tourism.

Yet, as regards the first, the Obama Administration is reportedly considering an (illegal) special license to allow Major League Baseball (MLB) to directly contract with the Castro regime -- through an entity called INDER -- to traffic baseball players to the United States, in violation of sanctions, labor and human trafficking laws.

All, so that Fidel's son, Antonio Castro, who runs INDER, can take a large cut.

As for tourism, no one in Cuba benefits more than Castro's cronies, through the military-owned conglomerate GAESA, run by Raul's son-in-law, General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas. From the hotels, to the retail stores and gas stations, they are all owned by GAESA.

If Obama is serious about what he said in the interview and wants to directly help the Cuban people, but not Castro's cronies, there is a simple solution -- support the Cuban Military Transparency Act.

This legislation, introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez, and in the House by Armed Services and Intelligence Committee Chairs Mac Thornberry and Devin Nunes, would simply create safeguards so that Castro's cronies cannot benefit from the changes in Obama's policy.

Click here to read the legislation.

Unless Obama (illogically and ignoring history) believes that feeding billions into Castro's military and intelligence services ultimately helps the Cuban people, then there is no reason for him to oppose such safeguards.

Thus, he should endorse and encourage Congress to pass the Cuban Military Transparency Act, as a way of ensuring that his policy truly and directly supports the Cuban people -- not just in rhetoric, but in practice.