Obama and Cuba: All give and no take

By Les Kinsolving

On Saturday, May 30, the Washington Post’s Carol Morello reported:

“The United States has taken Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a step that authorities in Havana had insisted upon in advance of the reopening of embassies.

“U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry signed the order Friday, 45 days after the Obama administration informed Congress that it would remove Cuba from the list.”

And why was this done?

“Jeff Rathke, a spokesman for the State Department, said the decision to drop Cuba from the list ‘reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria.’

“‘While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a state-sponsor-of-terrorism designation,’ he said. …

“The State Department determined that Cuba had not supported international terrorism in the previous six months, a requirement for getting off the list that now has only three names – Iran, Syria and Sudan. Cuba had been on it since 1982.”

But what about the Castro government, which still controls Cuba?

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is the son of Cuban immigrants. He declared that removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism was “a unilateral concession. This approach, of the U.S. giving and Cuba taking, simply rewards the regime for decades of repression.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that lifting the embargo is a mistake and he added: “I call on Congress to keep pressure on Cuba and hold that administration responsible.”

An economic embargo of Cuba is still in effect. Reversing it requires a congressional vote. President Obama has said he hopes to work with Congress to get it lifted.

“Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro in December announced a historic decision to renew relations, and representatives of the two countries have met four times since the announcement to iron out issues that would allow the opening of full-fledged embassies and an exchange of ambassadors.”

Have there been any reports that still undeniably dictator Castro has in any way publicly repented for the decades of Cuban communist tyranny, which included so many imprisoned or executed who dared to disagree with the Castros?

If there had been, how could Castro possibly remain in charge?

From Maryland’s strongly liberal Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin there came the following comment reported by the Post:

“A more hopeful future is possible” with Cuba off the terror list.

“It is my desire that Cuba will, in turn, establish a more open society that values human rights, treasures individual freedoms and allows for the start of a new chapter in U.S.-Cuba relations.”

Note that wording of Cardin desire: “that Cuba will” – not “that Cuba has.”

The Post also reported:

“Washington has been particularly concerned that its diplomats have the ability to travel throughout Cuba and meet with citizens, including dissidents, without fear that those Cubans will be harassed for speaking with Americans.”

Think about that.

Why would Washington be “particularly concerned” unless the fact remains that its diplomats do not have the ability to travel throughout Castro’s Cuba; and do not have the ability to meet with citizens, including dissidents, unless such dissidents are among the large number who remain in Castro’s infamous prisons?

Media wishing to interview Les Kinsolving, please contact [email protected].

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