Posted tagged ‘Obama and Cuba’

Flashback: Obama Stranded Legal Cuban Travelers in Airports on Last Week in Office

January 30, 2017

Flashback: Obama Stranded Legal Cuban Travelers in Airports on Last Week in Office, BreitbartFrances Martel, January 30, 2017

(But that was different! Cubans fleeing persecution in the Castro Brothers’ Cuba weren’t potential terrorists and might become good American citizens and even vote Republican. — DM)

As the radical left organizes obstructions of airport terminals to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order enacting new security measures for travelers visiting from turbulent countries, few appear equally outraged that his predecessor, Barack Obama, issued a similar directive specifically targeting Cubans.

During his last week in office, President Obama repealed a long-standing executive order known as “Wet Foot/Dry Foot,” which allowed all Cubans legally touching U.S. soil to stay here illegally. The objective of the executive order was to give sanctuary to Cubans risking their lives on makeshift vessels trying to sail to the United States and escape the oppressive communist regime that has governed there for over half a century.

The move did not trigger widespread national protests in defense of the Cubans affected, even as U.S. immigration officials – confused by the lack of direction in Obama’s order – detained and interrogated countless travelers possessing legal visas to enter the United States. Many of these were elderly individuals, traveling to visit their children with no intention of stay.

The only activists who spoke up for them were members of the Cuban exile community, who told their stories to local press. Democracy Movement leader Ramón Saúl Sánchez – who the Obama administration threatened with deportation after 49 years in the United States – told Miami’s El Nuevo Herald that the individuals he was advocating for were stuck in airport interrogation rooms, their families panicked and receiving few updates.

“These Cuban travelers have tourism visas. They are being detained or deported,” Sánchez said on January 15. “Those being detained within the airport include people of advanced age, including one blind man, many of them ill.” He added that many elderly Cubans with whom he spoke after being released from interrogation were threatened with being detained in an immigration center, leaving them thinking, “if you’re going to throw me in jail just send me back.”

Relatives of those detained told their stories to the media. 67-year-old Justina Barroso Rodríguez, who suffers from hypertension, was placed in a jail awaiting deportation upon arriving in the United States on January 13. Her son, Danilo Alemán, told the Diario Las Americas that he had received little information on the matter, only that the repeal of “wet foot/dry foot” led to her detention.

“I would like to know, how would President Obama feel if it was his mother in the conditions my mother is currently in?” Alemán asked.

A 73-year-old Cuban woman who was fortunate enough to be released told Miami’s América TeVe that she was kept in isolation an entire day without foot. She refused to give the network her name and said she did not know when she had been initially detained, though she estimated it had occurred around 10AM local time and she had been released long after the sun had set. She possessed a legal visa, and said her crime was to mention the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act to an immigration official.

Those flying into Miami were among the luckiest Cubans following President Obama’s directive, even as their legal U.S. visas were not enough to prevent them from being detained. Cubans who had begun their journey to the United States through Central America and Mexico – who would have been able to enter the United States and legally stay there before President Obama’s last week in office, are now stranded throughout the region, held in dilapidated detention centers and threatened with deportation back into a communist autocracy.

In Panama, 18 Cuban refugees declared themselves on hunger strike this week, protesting the government’s refusal to grant them access to an attorney and forcing them into conditions with little food or basic hygienic necessities. The protest triggered another hunger strike at a detention center in Panama by anti-communist activists who fled Cuba to avoid becoming prisoners of conscience. “We are taking this measure for our freedom, because we cannot return to Cuba,” one of the individuals said in a statement.

The protesters alleged that Panamanian authorities had confiscated their passports and abandoned many in the dense forestry near the Colombian border. “They are putting us on trucks and letting us loose in the middle of the jungle,” one protester said, while another noted that those abandoned in such a way are left “without food, without water, they do not care if we are sick or injured.”

In Mexico, a country with a record of treating migrants inhumanely, Cubans seeking to cross the northern border into the United States are also stranded. “Many of us will die if we were to go to Cuba,” refugee Rodolfo Muñoz told local outlet KVUE this week. He and his wife, like many Cubans, are stranded in Nuevo Laredo, where the U.S. government has refused to let them pass. U.S. Customs and Border Protection declined an interview on the subject with the broadcast station. In a widely distributed statement, the agency said that Cubans have the option of filing a petition the enter the country based on a political asylum claim, but they risk months in a “detention facility” if they express their fear of political persecution to authorities.

Mexico has already begun to deport dozens of refugees back to Cuba, where the government executes thousands of politically-motivated arrests annually. Mexican authorities deported 70 Cuban refugees last Wednesday, with many more expected to be repatriated soon.

This appears to have been the Obama administration’s intended result. “We will have to get involved with the Central American and Mexican governments to promote the idea of a secure, orderly, legal migration or restricting or repatriating irregular immigrants,” an unnamed State Department official told El Nuevo Herald in July 2016, referring to the refugees as “immigrants.”

Some of those stranded in Mexico and Central America have protested that the treatment of Cubans under the Obama administration, which differed significantly from the welcoming attitude the administration had towards other Latin American immigrants, was a result of Cuban-Americans’ embrace of conservative values. A result of a combination of factors – from the massacre of Cuban patriots under Democrat John F. Kennedy at Bay of Pigs to the Democratic-majority Congressional Black Caucus’ embrace of Fidel Castro – Cuban-American voters are largely conservative on foreign policy issues and lean Republican. The final tally of November election results showed Cubans more likely to support Republican candidate Donald Trump than even non-Hispanic white Americans. These facts were not lost on some refugees traveling north.

“Obama, because he is leaving, suddenly takes up the idea of repealing a law that has been enforced for many years and has favored many Cubans. I think he got angry with the Cubans,” Cuban refugee Jose Enrique Manresa said, shortly after President Obama’s move prevented him from entering the country. “It is a reprisal.”

Adding insult to injury, the Obama administration presided over an unprecedented surge in recent years in Cuban refugee flows into the United States, a direct result of his policy of appeasement towards the Castro regime. In his last days in office, President Obama also signed an agreement emboldening the Cuban Coast Guard to conduct joint “rescue” operations in international waters, despite Havana’s multiple mass murders of refugees and Cuban-American activists at sea.

Off Topic? | Obama Blocks Cubans Fleeing Regime, Scraps Defectors Program

January 13, 2017

Obama Blocks Cubans Fleeing Regime, Scraps Defectors Program, PJ Media, Bridget Johnson, January 12, 2017

(Obama welcomes Islamists who hate America and all for which she stands, while rejecting Cubans fleeing a Communist dictatorship in hopes of living and prospering in a free country.  Please see also, Obama Feeds Cuba’s Firing Squads — DM)

cubanrefugeesA group of men from Cuba hug after coming ashore in Key West, Fla., in June 2016. (Mike Hentz, Key West Citizen via AP)

Menendez said the eliminated policies “reflect our commitment to the values of liberty and democracy.”

“We should never deny a Cuban refugee fleeing a brutal regime entry into the United States. We must remind ourselves every day of the continued oppression and human suffering that is happening – not only halfway around the world, but just 90 miles off our shores. The ongoing repressive behavior of the Cuban regime still haunts our hemisphere today,” the New Jersey Dem said. “The fact is the recent ill-conceived changes in American policy towards Cuba have rewarded the regime with an economic lifeline while leaving everyday Cubans less hopeful about their futures under a brutal totalitarian dictatorship.”

“And while more needs to be done to prevent the small universe arriving from Cuba who may seek to exploit the privileges and freedoms that come with the ‘wet-foot/dry-foot’ policy, those few actors should not destroy our efforts to protect the many who are forced to flee persecution.”

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WASHINGTON — President Obama today revoked the “wet-foot/dry-foot” policy that has provided refuge for Cubans escaping the communist island since the mid-1990s, prompting Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to accuse the administration of turning its back on people fleeing persecution.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), whose family fled Cuba when she was 7 years old, declared that Obama eliminated the refugee policy, and the Cuban Medical Professional Parole program that encouraged defections of doctors and nurses working abroad, “because that’s what the Cuban dictatorship wanted and the White House caved to what Castro wants.”

“Castro uses refugees as pawns to get more concessions from Washington so there is no reason to do away with the Cuban medical doctor program, which is a foolhardy concession to a regime that sends its doctors to foreign nations in a modern-day indentured servitude,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

The Department of Homeland Security said the programs were scrapped for the sake of “ongoing normalization of relations between the governments of the United States and Cuba” and “a commitment to have a broader immigration policy in which we treat people from different countries consistently.”

“The United States will now treat Cuban migrants in a manner consistent with how it treats others; unauthorized migrants can expect to be removed unless they qualify for humanitarian relief under our laws,” DHS said in a statement, adding that the Cuban government “has agreed to begin to accept the return of Cuban nationals who have been ordered removed.”

“Cuba and the United States will work to further discourage unlawful migration to the United States and promote bilateral cooperation to prevent and prosecute alien smuggling and other crimes related to illegal migration.”

Obama said the policies were “designed for a different era” and the elimination of the medical parole program was for the benefit of Cubans. “By providing preferential treatment to Cuban medical personnel, the medical parole program contradicts those efforts, and risks harming the Cuban people,” he said. “Cuban medical personnel will now be eligible to apply for asylum at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, consistent with the procedures for all foreign nationals.”

“With this change we will continue to welcome Cubans as we welcome immigrants from other nations, consistent with our laws,” the president added. “During my administration, we worked to improve the lives of the Cuban people – inside of Cuba – by providing them with greater access to resources, information and connectivity to the wider world. Sustaining that approach is the best way to ensure that Cubans can enjoy prosperity, pursue reforms, and determine their own destiny.”

On a White House call with reporters this evening, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said there has been “a continued uptick in Cuban migrants coming to the United States” since the administration’s policies to deepen relations with the regime have gone into effect, and officials “did not want to speculate publicly about the likelihood of this change for fear of inviting even greater migration flows.”

“There’s obviously an enormous number of — there’s a very large Cuban American population, and many Cuban migrants are already here. It was going to be too complicated, frankly, to significantly return people who are already here,” Rhodes said. “We wanted to get things right going forward.”

Rhodes added that “the best way” for Cubans to have opportunity “is for them to be able to pursue it at home through an economy that has continued to pursue market-based reforms.”

Menendez said Congress “was not consulted prior to this abrupt policy announcement with just nine days left in this administration.”

“The Obama administration seeks to pursue engagement with the Castro regime at the cost of ignoring the present state of torture and oppression, and its systematic curtailment of freedom,” the senator said.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said on the White House call that “the discussions leading up to this were very sensitive,” and that’s why Congress was left in the dark.

“The policy that we’re announcing today is effective immediately. We did not want for there to be a mass exodus from Cuba in anticipation of a change in policy,” Johnson said.

c2bkisxxcaiyvao

Cubans line up on Mexican border. Stopped from entering US. “I got here two hours late,” said Carlos

15 Cubans are lined up on Mexican side of border at Laredo border station blocked from entering. “Help us. Help us.”

White House official said they hoped Congress would repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act, the 1966 law allowing migration of Cubans able to escape. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) acknowledged that the law needs reform, but said “the Obama administration’s characterization of this change as part of the ongoing normalization with the Castro regime is absurd.”

“We must work to ensure that Cubans who arrive here to escape political persecution are not summarily returned to the regime, and they are given a fair opportunity to apply for and receive political asylum,” Rubio said.

He called on the incoming Trump administration to reverse the part of the executive order eliminating the medical parole program and “allow these doctors to seek asylum at U.S. embassies or consulates in other countries.”

Menendez said the eliminated policies “reflect our commitment to the values of liberty and democracy.”

“We should never deny a Cuban refugee fleeing a brutal regime entry into the United States. We must remind ourselves every day of the continued oppression and human suffering that is happening – not only halfway around the world, but just 90 miles off our shores. The ongoing repressive behavior of the Cuban regime still haunts our hemisphere today,” the New Jersey Dem said. “The fact is the recent ill-conceived changes in American policy towards Cuba have rewarded the regime with an economic lifeline while leaving everyday Cubans less hopeful about their futures under a brutal totalitarian dictatorship.”

“And while more needs to be done to prevent the small universe arriving from Cuba who may seek to exploit the privileges and freedoms that come with the ‘wet-foot/dry-foot’ policy, those few actors should not destroy our efforts to protect the many who are forced to flee persecution.”

Two left feet: Obama’s week of ‘bad optics’ really just bad leadership

March 28, 2016

Two left feet: Obama’s week of ‘bad optics’ really just bad leadership, New York PostKyle Smith, March 27, 2016

obama_us_analysisBarack Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro. Photo AP

To be a president means regularly to find oneself caught off balance. Sometimes you want to chill at the same moment your enemies move to kill. You may find yourself doing an innocent photo op reading a book to little kids when terrorists launch a coordinated attack on the country.

So let’s have a little sympathy for President Obama this week. It has to be frustrating when you set out to make nice with the leaders of a mass-murdering fanatical regime and at the exact same time a mass murder is carried out by a completely different group of fanatics — the ones you keep saying are no big deal.

It has to get under your skin when you bring a planeload of fanboy hacks with you to a tropical paradise on the understanding that they’ll write nice stories about your kicking back with one half of a pair of homicidal brothers when instead people get all distracted about the tiny detail of 31 people getting killed by a different pair of homicidal brothers.

The president whose acolytes call him No Drama Obama aren’t quite right, but they are on to something. The president does get angry, but not at terrorists, dictators or mass murderers. Every time rage sneaks into his face, he’s talking about his domestic political opponents. He’s talking about budgetary disputes, federal appointments, Constitutional interpretation.

Blood literally running in the streets of Belgium? Heads being cut off by sabers? A movement that wants to kill every Jew and Christian? Shrug. Obama spoke about the ISIS mass murder briefly.

Then he did “the wave” with Raul Castro.

cuba_obama4Obama and Castro wave to the crowd during a exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team.

As one newspaper headline put it, juxtaposing a photo of Obama doing the tango in Argentina against an image from the latest ISIS atrocity, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?” That’s the polite way of referring to the words that are ordinarily indicated by “WTF?”

There are often no great options for a president in times of strain; if President Bush had, when informed that the second plane had hit the World Trade Center, scared the kids by throwing down his copy of “The Pet Goat” and said, “Holy s–t! We’re under attack!” he would have been criticized even more heartily than he was for continuing to read for seven more minutes. (Though it’s hard to grasp exactly what exactly liberals find so outrageous about that notorious delay: Would they be happy if Bush had invaded Afghanistan seven minutes sooner than he did?)

Once Obama decided to go to the ballgame, his only choices were to stick with it and risk looking out of sync with the world’s mood, which is what he did, or ruin his fun day out with a new pal who once ordered up the execution of hundreds of political enemies.

Hey, at least Raul Castro never did anything really vile like declining to appear on a television program with Obama. (In January, The Hill reported, the president grew “visibly angry” when he mentioned the NRA at his gun-control town hall.)

Maybe Obama was invisibly angry with ISIS after the Brussels slaughter. But if you were looking for a signal that he was taking it seriously, you were disappointed. “We defeat them in part by saying, ‘You are not strong, you are weak,’” was his message, reverting to his default reasoning about how terrorism is really all a matter of adjusting your perceptions because the bad guys obviously can’t hurt us if we keep saying we’re not hurt.

usa-argentina_3Obama tangos in Argentina.Photo: Reuters

It’s the same logic you heard in high school from your highly educated feminist English teacher, the one who drove a rusted Chevette with a bumper sticker reading, “It will be a great day when schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.” She told you the best way to beat bullies was to deny them any satisfaction, i.e. to pretend they weren’t pummeling you. “Just curl up into the fetal position, Johnny, you’ll have the last laugh when their punching muscles wear out in an hour or two.” Roughly at the same time, you developed strange new respect for your meathead gym teacher, the one who taught you how to throw a punch in such a way that it would definitely make a nose bleed.

What this week really demonstrated was not that Obama has a wee problem with “the optics” of his job, but that he’s stuck forever in campaign mode, confusing rhetoric with leading. ISIS just laughs and reloads when the president chides them.

Beginning to normalize relations with Cuba is a good idea — but Obama loved the picture of himself giving a speech in Havana so much that he skipped over the part where he’d win concessions from the regime. Giving away the game was his opening bid.

We have the kind of president who would drive away from a car lot congratulating himself on his sweet deal after paying the sucker’s price — plus extra for the “protective undercoating.”

 

Cartoons of the Day

March 26, 2016

H/t Power Line

Accurate-News-Source

 

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Cuba-WaveCuba-WaveCuba-copy-2

 

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