Archive for the ‘Trump and Cuba’ category

Nikki Haley Uses A Blowtorch On Barack Obama At The United Nations

November 3, 2017

Nikki Haley Uses A Blowtorch On Barack Obama At The United Nations, Red Statestreiff, November 2, 2017

(So much for UN “virtue signaling” by supporting the Castro regime. I wish Ms. Haley were our Secretary of State. — DM)

When the United States abstained on this resolution last year, its decision was explained by saying, “We recognize that the future of the island lies in the hands of the Cuban people.” There is a casual cruelty to that remark for which I am profoundly sorry. Regrettably, as of today, the future of Cuba is not in your hands. It remains in the hands of your dictators. The United States opposes this resolution today in continued solidarity with the Cuban people and in the hope that they will one day be free to choose their own destiny.

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One of the many parts of Barack Obama’s strategy of dismantling US foreign policy and influence in the world was his attempt to “normalize” relations with Communist Cuba.

Much like his decision to allow Iran build nuclear weapons and establish itself as the main regional power in southwest Asia, Obama’s sucking up to the Castros was based on the theory that the US has been a meanie pants and if we are good, they will reciprocate. Just like with Iran, we gave our part up front and relied on reciprocation at some point in the future. Just like with Iran, they got financial relief and we got porked.

Yesterday marked the twenty-sixth time that the United Nations General Assembly has taken up a Cuban resolution condemning the United States for its economic and financial embargo on Cuba. In every year except last year, the US has vetoed against the resolution. Every year it passes because the US cannot veto a resolution by the General Assembly, but last year, for the first time, the US abstained.

The U.N. General Assembly votes every year on a resolution calling for an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba. The U.S. has always opposed the symbolic measure.

But today, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N Samantha Power told the General Assembly that for the first time, the U.S. would abstain.

It’s part of a new approach by the Obama administration, she told the member states: “Rather than try to close off Cuba from the rest of the world, we want the world of opportunities and ideas open to the people of Cuba. After 50-plus years of pursuing the path of isolation, we have chosen to take the path of engagement.”

The vote was 191-0. Israel joined the U.S. in abstaining.

Yesterday was not last year.

Ambassador Nikki Haley came out loaded for bear and her aim was not only on the Castro regime, it was on Barack Obama, himself, for allowing last year’s vote against freedom to prevail. Haley’s speech and entire transcript are at the end. Here are some of the highlights:

For over fifty-five years, the Cuban Regime has used this debate In the United Nations General Assembly as a “shiny object” to distract the world’s attention from the destruction it has inflicted on its own people and on others in the Western Hemisphere.

For this, each year, this assembly’s time is wasted considering this resolution. And the United States is subjected to all manner of ridiculous claims. Anything to deflect the blame from the regime that is truly responsible for the suffering of the Cuban people. But the United States will not be distracted. We will not lose sight of what stands between the Cuban people and the free and democratic future that is their right.

No doubt there will be some here who do not understand how we can take such opposite positions, separated by just twelve months. They will wonder how we could passively accept this resolution last year and energetically oppose it this year.

To those who are confused as to where the United States stands, let me be clear: As is their right under our Constitution, the American people have spoken. They have chosen a new president, and he has chosen a new ambassador to the United Nations.

This Assembly does not have the power to end the US embargo. It is based in US law which only the United States Congress can change. No, what the General Assembly is doing today, what it does every year at this time, is political theater.

When the United States abstained on this resolution last year, its decision was explained by saying, “We recognize that the future of the island lies in the hands of the Cuban people.” There is a casual cruelty to that remark for which I am profoundly sorry. Regrettably, as of today, the future of Cuba is not in your hands. It remains in the hands of your dictators. The United States opposes this resolution today in continued solidarity with the Cuban people and in the hope that they will one day be free to choose their own destiny.

We might stand alone today. But when the day of freedom comes for the Cuban people — and it will come — we will rejoice with them as only a free people can.

There has probably never been a clearer repudiation of the foreign policy of a previous administration than what Haley delivered. From telling the UN to bugger off, to reminding them there is a new president, to referring to Samantha Power’s comments as “casual cruelty” the condemnation could not be more stark.

I think I need a cigarette.

 

I’ve included time hacks to the best parts of the transcript.

Transcript (please credit, this was a lot of keyboarding.)

For over fifty-five years, the Cuban Regime has used this debate In the United Nations General Assembly as a “shiny object” to distract the world’s attention from the destruction it has inflicted on its own people and on others in the Western Hemisphere.

Even during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Castro dictatorship allowed the Soviet Union to secretly install nuclear missiles in Cuba, the Cuban regime and Soviet allies claimed that the real threat to peace wasn’t the missiles aimed at America, the real threat, they said, was the United States discovery of these missiles. At the time, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, identified the Cuban regime’s habit of pointing fingers anywhere but at itself. He said, “This is the first time I’ve ever heard it said that the crime is not the burglar but the discovery of the burglar. And the threat is not the clandestine missiles in Cuba, but their discovery and the limited measures taken to quarantine further infection.”

Today the crime is the Cuban government’s continued repression of its people and its failure to meet even the minimum requirements of a free and just society. Out response has been to stand with the Cuban people and their right to determine their own future.

For this, each year, this assembly’s time is wasted considering this resolution. And the United States is subjected to all manner of ridiculous claims. Anything to deflect the blame from the regime that is truly responsible for the suffering of the Cuban people. But the United States will not be distracted. We will not lose sight of what stands between the Cuban people and the free and democratic future that is their right.

For that reason, and for the twenty-fifth time in twenty-six years the United States will vote against this resolution.

One year ago, the United States abstained when voting on the same resolution. The reason given was that the continuation of the embargo was not isolating Cuba but was in fact isolating the United States. It is true that we had been left nearly alone in opposition to this annual resolution. (time hack 2:34) No doubt there will be some here who do not understand how we can take such opposite positions, separated by just twelve months. They will wonder how we could passively accept this resolution last year and energetically oppose it this year.

To those who are confused as to where the United States stands, let me be clear: As is their right under our Constitution, the American people have spoken. They have chosen a new president, and he has chosen a new ambassador to the United Nations.

As long as the Cuban people continue to be deprived of their human rights and fundamental freedoms — as long as the proceeds from trade with Cuba go to prop up the dictatorial regime responsible for denying those rights — the United States does not fear isolation in this chamber or anywhere else. Our principles are not up for a vote. They are enshrined in our Constitution. They also happen to be enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. As long as we are members of the United Nations, we will stand for respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms that the Member States of this body have pledged to protect, even if we have to stand alone.

The resolution before us aims to end the United States economic, commercial, and financial embargo against Cuba. But let’s be honest about what we really see going on here. (time hack 4:16) This Assembly does not have the power to end the US embargo. It is based in US law which only the United States Congress can change. No, what the General Assembly is doing today, what it does every year at this time, is political theater.

The Cuban regime is sending the warped message to the world that the sad state of its economy, the oppression of its people, and the export of its destructive ideology is not its fault.

In the spirit of sending messages, I would like to direct the rest of my comments towards the Cuban people. The American people strongly support your dreams to live in a country where you can speak freely, where you can have uncensored access to the Internet, where you can provide for your families, and where you can determine your leadership. We know that many of you have been made hopeful by the opening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. That status is not changing. Our friendship and good will toward the Cuban people remain as strong as ever.

What you probably don’t know is that your government responded to this gesture of goodwill, not by joining in the spirit in which it was offered, but by expanding its politically motivated detentions. Harassment of those who advocate for political and economic freedom in Cuba. What you can’t know, because your government won’t let you know, is there were credible reports of almost 10,000 politically motivated detentions in Cuba in 2016 alone. That’s a massive increase in detentions over recent years.

We had hoped outreach to your government would be met with greater freedom for you. Your government silences its critics. It disrupts peaceful assemblies. It censors independent journalists and rigs the economy so the government alone prospers.

Your government has exported its bankrupt, destructive ideology to Venezuela. It has taught the Maduro regime how to silence journalists, crack down on political opposition, and impoverish its people. Now millions of Venezuelans join you in being denied their basic rights.

As we speak here today, your government is busy choosing the successor to the Castor dictatorship. It is hoping to fool you into believing you have a voice by holding local and regional, so-called, elections. But the process you engaged in are not freedom. The results were determined before the first vote was cast.

(time hack 7:20) When the United States abstained on this resolution last year, its decision was explained by saying, “We recognize that the future of the island lies in the hands of the Cuban people.” There is a casual cruelty to that remark for which I am profoundly sorry. Regrettably, as of today, the future of Cuba is not in your hands. It remains in the hands of your dictators. The United States opposes this resolution today in continued solidarity with the Cuban people and in the hope that they will one day be free to choose their own destiny.

We might stand alone today. But when the day of freedom comes for the Cuban people — and it will come — we will rejoice with them as only a free people can.

Trump on Cuba: ‘Communism Is the Past, Freedom Is the Future’

October 6, 2017

Trump on Cuba: ‘Communism Is the Past, Freedom Is the Future’, Washington Free Beacon, October 6, 2017

 

President Donald Trump slammed Cuba’s communist government on Friday, saying that “communism is the past” and “freedom is the future.”

Trump spoke at the White House at a gathering for Hispanic heritage, where he said the United States hopes for freedom in the entire Western hemisphere, including Cuba and Venezuela.

“As I announced before a wonderful crowd in Little Havana earlier this year, we will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until it delivers full political freedom for the Cuban people,” Trump said. “The same failed communist ideology that has brought oppression to Cuba has brought nothing but suffering and misery everywhere and everyplace it has been anywhere in the world.”

“Communism is the past; freedom is the future,” Trump said to applause from the audience.

Trump then turned to Venezuela, saying its socialist government is responsible for the South American country’s turmoil.

“We also stand with the people of Venezuela who are suffering under the ruthless socialism of the Maduro regime,” Trump said. “We reject socialist oppression and we call for the restoration of democracy and freedom for the citizens of Venezuela.”

The crowd in the White House cheered loudly during Trump’s remarks.

Now is the Time. A Bad U.S.-Cuba Policy With a Good U.S.-Latin American Policy

December 16, 2016

Now is the Time. A Bad U.S.-Cuba Policy With a Good U.S.-Latin American Policy, Center for Security Policy, Luis Fleischman, December 16, 2016

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Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor warned President –elect Donald Trump that reversing the normalization process with Cuba could have harmful consequences.

Mr. Rhodes gave a number of reasons including that the death of Fidel Castro  offers an opportunity for a political transition as  Raul Castro, the current president announced he will retire in 2018. He also added that closing off Cuba now is likely to embolden the hardliners. In addition, Rhodes believes that closing the doors to Cuba at this juncture could harm relations between the United States and other Latin American countries.

Interestingly enough, President –elect Trump never spoke of stopping the normalization process or specifically returning to the situation before December 17, 2014. Mr. Trump, through his spokesman pointed out that he will demand religious and political liberalization for the island including liberation of political prisoners.  However, Rhodes suggested that insistence on demanding respect for human rights in Cuba has only led to more repression.

The arguments brought by the Obama Administration are difficult to sustain.  According to Pedro Roig, a Cuba expert, who published a detailed report in 2014, there is an entire structure in place aimed at guaranteeing the continuity of the regime even after Raul Castro leaves office or dies.

The regime secured key supporters in the armed forces and in the government bureaucracy. The armed forces control 65% of the economy. More than half of the 14 members of the Politburo are military men. Furthermore, there is a younger generation of people in high office that are also part of the central committee of the Communist Party. By the same token, Fidel and Raul’s children as well as members of their extended family and children of other high officers, occupy important positions. Many of them are in their fifties. As such they are likely to keep the regime in place for many years, if not decades to come.

Therefore, neither Raul’s retirement nor his eventual death can secure a transition as the Obama Administration asserts.

By the same token, Obama’s contention that relations with countries in Latin America would be at risk if the normalization process changes course is false.

For more than a decade and a half the left dominated the political scene in Latin America and indeed they pressured to de-isolate Cuba and reintegrate it into the family of the Americas. However, the political scene has now changed.

Most recently, Cuba’s strongest ally in the region, Venezuela, was suspended from MERCOSUR, the South American common market trade block.

The suspension was due to Venezuela’s lack of compliance with MERCOSUR’s rules and violations of human rights and democratic governance.

In two other key countries, Brazil and Argentina, the left is no longer in power. In Uruguay a moderate left-wing government also voted to suspend Venezuela.

The bottom line is that Venezuela has become isolated after 16 years of stealing the limelight. Therefore, it is logical that Cuba may no longer enjoy the regional status it once did. The MERCOSUR decision on Venezuela is a powerful sign of this development. The countries that still remain zealous supporters of Cuba are Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, all part of the Bolivarian Alliance and led by authoritarian leaders.

A Trump Administration is in a position now to take the upper hand in relation to Cuba as well as to Venezuela and their allies. This is a perfect moment to apply pressure on Cuba to change human rights policy. It is also a great moment to develop an overall new strategy aimed at neutralizing countries that still maintain the legacy of Castro and Chavez. Such a legacy is still highly problematic, to say the least, as these countries maintain relations with Iran, with terrorist elements and with drug cartels.

Trump’s appointment of General John Kelly as head of the Department of Homeland Security is an encouraging sign. Kelly has denounced a Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards presence in Latin America which are mostly harbored by countries associated with Cuba and Venezuela. He also understands very well that ISIS can take advantage of the vulnerable American Southern border. Most recently Southern Command confirmed the infiltration of Sunni Arabs to the U.S. through that border.

A new policy in the Western Hemisphere will require a strong diplomatic effort and cooperation from Latin American countries.

We do not need to treat the Western Hemisphere as a battlefield. Latin America is about more than this. However, treating the hemisphere only in commercial terms, ignoring all the issues mentioned above, or making a reconciliation policy with Cuba a centerpiece of what requires a much larger approach, should not continue to be our official policy.