Friday, June 21, 2013

Obama Works Towards Better Relations With Cuba

Cuba and The US

The Obama Administration is working again towards a better relationship with the island nation of Cuba, 90 miles off of the coast of the U.S.  Wednesday, the U.S. and Cuba finished two days of talks regarding the resumption of mail service.  The trading of postal items was suspended by the Kennedy administration as it sought to tighten the embargo of goods in the 1963.

According to the Miami Herald, the talks were held at the U.S.P.S. headquarters.

The U.S. has agreed to resume migration talks with the Cuban Government starting in July of 2013.  The talks were held twice a year until President George Bush put a stop to the talks.  Then president Bush claimed the Cubans were not interested in the same issues as were the Americans.

Havana eased travel restrictions for the first time by eliminating the need for an exit visa, a document which has been nearly impossible to get from the Cuban government when the destination is listed as the U.S.  At the same time, Cuban has granted permission for thousands of Cuban doctors to travel to Venezuela.  Those visas were granted in exchange for a liberal price granted Cuba for Venezuelan oil, which Cuba uses to raise hard currency as well as service her petroleum needs.

Despite loosening of visas to the U.S. Cuban travel to the U.S. remains difficult because Cubans need a visa from the U.S. to enter the country.  It is predicted Cubans will travel to other countries and then migrate to the U.S. through those countries.

Havana is expected to attack the current special treatment Cubans receive when they arrive on U.S. soil.  Unlike most immigrants, when Cubans place their feet from the ocean onto solid land, they are not placed into deportation proceedings under the 'wet foot, dry foot' policy'.  However, if they are apprehended in a boat or in the surf, they are subject to deportation.  The migration discussions will begin on July 17th of 2013.

This is the second attempt by the Obama administration to loosen American-Cuban relations.  The initial efforts cooled significantly when Cuba arrested American Jewish Samaritan Alan Gross.  The American was attempting to set up an Internet connection allowing Jewish residents in Cuba free access to the Internet.

Alan Gross, nearly too weak to stand

Cuba has attempted to trade Gross for several Cuban spies imprisoned in the U.S. However, Washington has not agreed to the trade because they insist Gross was never working for them.   Gross is in failing health and will serve no purpose for the Cubans if he dies, yet Havana refuses to grant him freedom.

Lost in the years of bitter relations has been the reason for the Cuban revolution in the first place.  Fulgencio Batista led a coup against a democratic regime when it appeared he was going to lose the upcoming election.  Once in power, Batista used brute force to assassinate his political enemies.  He lined his pocket with bribes and skimming from pro-western enterprises which were building Cuba as a first class tourist resort.  

Subsequently, when Castro won his reverse coop, he placed the island nation which was a stone's throw from the U.S. into communist hands.  He later allowed the Russians to place nuclear missiles on the island nearly resulting in a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia.  Rather than either government entering into rational relations, Cuba has become a political football for exiled Cubans whose property was expropriated after the Castro Coop.  

Cuba is a study in why U.S. support of dictators who claim to stand by democracy while brutalizing their people has been a dire mistake. Had the U.S. insisted on sincere democratic reforms in Cuba, in which the people had an opportunity to benefit, the revolution would never had gained power.  

Multiple Latin American countries now embrace leftist ideology because it is the only way the people can battle corrupt dictators who claim democratic ideals as window dressing to win the support of the West.  At the same time these governments foist corrupt and brutal methods of their people.  

Of course, many of these leftist regimes seize assets from the wealthy and place an even smaller set of people into the position of being the haves in society.  If the U.S. is to ever advance the cause of democracy then it must teach the people of democratic nations how democracy works.  At it's heart, it requires the death of corruption.  It requires a willingness to advocate for education and the well being of the people who must choose their leaders.

One of the best ways the U.S. can advocate for democracy is to grant it's own immigrants fair treatment.  After the 911 attack, U.S. immigrants have faced a system which imprisons them in private prisons without the right to court appointed counsel.  They face laws which are interpreted harshly against them.  They are denied the opportunity to participate in the society they help fund through their tax dollars.  

Pending a rational policy on the part of both the U.S. and Cuba, U.S. citizens and others should keep in mind the embargo against Cuba remains in force.  Those who take significant assets to Cuba, like sailboats, are subject losing those assets when they return to democracy.

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