Thursday, June 15, 2017

The American case for a reboot of U.S. Cuba policy

Current Cuba policy does not serve the just interests of the United States

 Raul Castro with North Korea's Army Chief, General Kim Kyok-sik
 Cuba is a communist totalitarian regime, a political model that over the past century has claimed over 100 million lives of the people they govern. Manufactured famines are a feature of this type of regime. This type of regime once installed is difficult to dislodge. Furthermore the Castro regime is hostile to U.S. interests and has allied with enemies of the United States such as North Korea, and has successfully sought to undermine democracies in the Western Hemisphere, and promote terrorism world wide.

What we are undergoing now is a debate over what U.S. Cuba policy should be and as a conservative I ask: "What would serve the just interests of the United States?" The current policy fails on several counts and needs to be dismantled and replaced.

First, during the previous Administration the effort at outreach and loosening economic sanctions coincided with an emboldened dictatorship in Cuba that invited back the Russians, was caught smuggling heavy weapons (including war planes and missile technology) to North Korea, got its hands on a U.S. Hellfire missile, used in NATO exercises in Europe, on its way back to the United States ended up in Cuba by June of 2014. Despite a request from the Administration, Cuba refused to return it until it became a public embarrassment over a year later in February of 2016. All this took place while the White House was secretly negotiating with the Castro regime.

Mystery: How did a US Hellfire missile (pictured above) end up in Cuba?
Second, the rest of the world that trades with Cuba is owed billions of dollars and the Castro regime has defaulted on tens of billions of dollars more over the years. The argument made U.S. law should be changed to provide this notorious deadbeat regime credit would end up leaving U.S. taxpayers holding the bag to subsidize the dictatorship in Cuba. This is what the citizens Canadians, Mexicans, Italians, Spaniards, Argentineans, Japanese, Russians an other nations have been doing for decades. It is also what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Ag lobby do not want Americans to know. How does it serve U.S. interests to subsidize a hostile military junta in Cuba with taxpayer dollars in order to destabilize democracies and support regimes that want to do harm to the United States?

The Chamber's dirty Cuba secret
Third, the fruits of the policy can be seen today in Venezuela where tens of thousands of agents of the Cuban government assist in the building of a totalitarian dictatorship there, killing nonviolent Venezuelan protesters, while infiltrating all levels of government.  The Castro regime's intelligence services and military have a high level and active presence in the country. Doing business in Cuba, almost always necessitates doing business with the government, at a time when Venezuelans are being killed by Cubans in Caracas, this is a profound injustice.

1975 Fraunces Tavern bombing committed by Cuban backed FALN
Fourth, Cuba despite having a track record of sponsoring and training international terrorists since the 1960s, placed on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism when it was discovered that the regime used drug trafficking to finance a revolutionary guerilla group in Colombia. Despite continued bad actions by the Cuban government, the previous Administration to satisfy demands by Raul Castro, in order to restore normal diplomatic relations removed them from the above mentioned list and freed a Cuban spy serving a life sentence for conspiracy to murder four Americans, including a retired U.S. marine.

Cocaine from Cuban ship hidden under molasses discovered in Panama 2016
 Furthermore to share drug intelligence with a government with a half century track record linked to facilitating drug trafficking into the U.S. does not serve American interests, but places in harms way countless young Americans with the explosive growth of drug smuggling.  In 2016 a shipment of 401kilos of cocaine was discovered camouflaged under molasses.

Fifth, the October 2016 Presidential Policy Directive ordering U.S. intelligence agencies to share information with the Castro regime's spy agency considering all the above is a profound threat to the just interests of the United States, endangering lives and property. It needs to be ended immediately.

Finally, the United States since its founding has been a symbol of liberty that over time has worked to build a more perfect union in which civil liberties have expanded and deepened for most of its history. The advocacy for human rights, siding with the victims of repression, and advocating for greater freedoms is an element of the soft power of the United States that is weakened by going back to the old ways of embracing dictators for economic interests. 

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