IBD Editorial: Obama Derelict In Failing To Call For Regime Change In Cuba

Friday, March 18, 2016
By Investor's Business Daily's Editorial Board:

Obama Derelict In Failing To Call For Regime Change In Cuba

Junkets: Ahead of his “historic” trip to communist Cuba, President Obama has made it clear he won’t be calling for regime change in the 57-year totalitarian dictatorship. So the trip will be little more than a U.S. endorsement of a detested military police state.

President Obama’s speech to the Cuban people, explained Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, “will address the very complicated history between our two countries,” leaving little doubt he meant “apology.” “Obama will make clear,” Rhodes said, “that the United States is not a hostile nation seeking regime change.”

Well, a sane person might ask, why not?

Sixteen months after President Obama’s “historic” rapprochement with the brutal communist military regime that took power even before Obama was born, the aim of a thaw has gone badly awry. Obama stated he was normalizing relations to improve conditions for Cubans. He’s instead achieved the exact opposite, with dissident arrests up dramatically to 8,616 in the year following normalization. Mob beatings and harassment are back with a vengeance.

Business licenses fell by 10,000 in 2015, too, Mauricio Claver-Carone of Cuba Democracy Advocates told Congress this week. The private sector has shriveled even as Castro’s military has seen its profits go up with an influx of Obama business money, he noted. That’s at odds with Rhodes’ recent justifications on the White House website for the trip, where he claimed private business was on the upswing. Internet connectivity is down, too, Claver-Carone noted on his blog Capitol Hill Cubans.

Meanwhile, as Obama heads to reassure the regime the U.S.wants no change, more than 93,000 Cubans have voted with their feet, fleeing their lives as slaves in a totalitarian regime for freedom in the U.S.

Instead of a message of hope for these Cubans, as the great Ronald Reagan once did for long-suffering Russians, Obama gives a message of hope to their oppressors instead.

The message won’t be about the values of freedom and respect for human rights that Americans hold dear, but a cold offering of gringo cash via foreign investments and cash transfers.

The Cuba trip will be one of the largest junkets of Obama’s career, a Marie Antoinette-like procession of yanqui excess. Obama is bringing four cabinet secretaries, 40 members of Congress, dozens of business people, assorted Cuban-Americans and the Tampa Bay Rays. Combined with the Secret Service, logistics specialists, diplomats, and journalists, the presidential procession will take up 1,200 Havana hotel rooms at a cost of millions — another big gift to Raul Castro’s military, which owns the hotels. The elaborate size and scope of the trip will be a de facto stimulus package for the dictatorship, while the Obama entourage will steep itself in tourist selfies of mojitos, classic cars, salsa, cigars and “quaint” tumbledown architecture as impoverished Cuban locals look on.

The arrogant message sent will be that Obama and his gilded entourage have cast the U.S. lot with the Castro brothers and the Cuban elites, not the Cuban people. Those fighting for democracy and paying the price will only have a higher uphill climb. Obama’s refusal to call for regime change amid all this excess is cowardice. It’s a disgrace.