Why Does Obama Reward Foes, Punish Allies in Latin America?

Sunday, March 13, 2016
By renowned journalist and author, Carlos Alberto Montaner:

It's the inconsistency, stupid

Obama will travel to Cuba. His visit is more important than the visits of the popes. Obama is the most popular person in Cuba. On the island, after 58 years of communism, there are not many Catholics and barely any Marxists remain, but there are millions of people who are deliriously pro-American.

Will Barack Obama's visit serve to shorten the dictatorship's life? The Cubans don't believe that and continue to flee the country by any means possible. By now, not even Obama believes it. He has realized that nobody should harbor any illusions about the Castro regime, a stubbornly Stalinist military dynasty. Perhaps, after many years, commerce will soften the regime and vestiges of democracy will gradually emerge, but there's not the slightest guarantee that that will happen. Almost all examples demonstrate the opposite.

The Constitution specifies that communism is irreversible and the country is condemned to be eternally led by the Communist Party. The newspaper Granma has just restated that to President Obama in a blunt editorial. Surely the next Party Congress, scheduled for mid-April, will endorse that sinister course.

The system has no cure. It's like a person who's born a halfwit, a dwarf or someone with an outsize head. No such thing as a former halfwit or a former dwarf. The system will remain the same until death. It has opened a minimal economic space but a closely watched one, whose single objective is to support the Military State Capitalism designed by Fidel and Raúl Castro.

Is Barack Obama aware of the evil genie he has removed from the lamp? I was told the following by a former Central American president, constitutionally and democratically elected, who declined (for obvious reasons) to give his name: “To be well considered by Washington, the best way is to kick the Americans around, the way Cuba does.” He said it with great bitterness.

Then he recited a long list of suspicions, which I transcribed approximately the way he spoke it but redacting his chaotic monologue.

Vice President Joe Biden came here not long ago and threatened to deny us economic aid if we didn't agree to accept the requirements of the Department of Homeland Security."

If Guatemala didn't ratify to the United Nations the presence of the CICIG (International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala), the Americans would withdraw their aid. Later, through the OAS (Organization of American States), they imposed on Honduras the MACCIH (Support Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras). In Cuba, they have renounced a regime change, but not here. They propose creating international mechanisms of justice in all countries in the region, Mexico included."

I understand that. The five issues sacred to the gringos are drug trafficking, clandestine migration to the U.S., aid to the terrorists, the use of regional banks to launder money, and the politicians' corruption."

All that is understandable, but inconsistency is not. Obama is a totally inconsistent fellow who measures us with two different sticks."

• The Castro brothers engaged in drug trafficking for years, a practice supervised by no less than Raúl Castro himself. No other Latin American government has done that so brazenly as the Cuban regime. The U.S. Congress published a book describing those links.

• Several times, the Cuban regime has propelled a massive exodus of rafters toward U.S. territory. Tens of thousands of Cubans have been publicly encouraged to emigrate by the Castros' government. They have removed criminals from prisons and insane people from asylums to send them to the U.S.

• Cuba has spent more than half a century supporting terrorists. It cultivates the friendship of Hamas, Hezbollah, the FARC and Iran while giving North Korea military aid. Terrorists from all nations have trained on that island and the murderers of Americans live there.

• The Cuban banking system (and the FBI knows this) is the world's leading laundromat for ill-gotten money. Everything from the ransom money extorted by Argentine guerrillas to the money swindled from Medicare has ended up in Cuban banks.

• Are there any politicians more corrupt than the Castros? They, their relatives and a hundred functionaries and army officers have lived like gods at the expense of a pauperized people.

To this,” he added, “you must add the Castros' permanent anti-yanqui militancy. The São Paulo Forum and the circuit of 21st-Century-Socialism countries converge and coordinate in Cuba. Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, nations that are in permanent conflict with Washington, are states counseled and directed by the Cuban intelligence services.”

He ended with a sorrowful question:

Why does Obama treat us so badly while treating so well the only country in Latin America that has been engaged for decades in deliberately harming U.S. interests? I don't understand it.”

I was tempted to tell him, in the manner of James Carville, “it's the inconsistency, stupid,” but I refrained.