Obama’s outrageous Cuba capitulations
BY JOHN BOLTON NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, July 13, 2015, 4:20 AM
President Obama’s decision to resume full diplomatic relations with Cuba
on July 20 represents the purest form of ideological diplomacy. By
exchanging ambassadors, reopening embassies and calling for Congress to
lift decades-old trade and travel restrictions, Obama has untethered our
foreign policy from any discernible American interests.
Obama may even travel to Cuba before he leaves office. Undoubtedly,
Fidel and Raul Castro will turn out cheering crowds to greet him as a
hero. Why not? Obama will feel right at home in their company.
In return for enormous U.S. concessions to Cuba’s authoritarians, the
Obama administration has received essentially nothing. Havana’s promises
to lessen its repressive domestic policies have already been violated,
and there is little chance that a more “open” American policy will aid
the Cuban people more than the caudillos running the country.
Cuba’s last “opening” followed the USSR’s 1991 disintegration. Moscow
ended its annual practice of trading oil priced well below international
levels in exchange for roughly 80% of Cuba’s sugar exports. But when the
Clinton administration loosened some U.S. economic constraints, far from
“liberalizing” Cuba, that lifeline simply abetted the Castros’
continuing authoritarian rule.
Similarly, last year’s drop in global oil prices devastated Venezuela,
which had become Cuba’s chief economic benefactor. Forced yet again to
seek help, the Castros will nonetheless ensure that Cuban citizens do
not benefit from increased economic relations with America. Instead,
Havana will rigorously control the increased flow of dollars resulting
from expanded trade and travel, providing the Castros once more with a
path to survival. Make no mistake, they know this playbook well.
Even worse is what lies ahead under Obama. While he refers blithely to
“normalizing” relations, Fidel and Raul have a different definition of
“normal.” What will emerge in the next 18 months, unless Congress acts,
is whether Obama agrees with the Castros.
On July 1, “the Revolutionary Government of Cuba” issued a statement,
distributed in New York by Cuba’s UN Mission. In the kind of Cold War
rhetoric that shows it’s still the early ’60s for the regime in Havana,
it says that in exchange for truly “normal” relations, the United States
“Return to Cuba the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo Naval
Base; cease the radio and television broadcasts, which violate
international regulations and are harmful to our sovereignty; stop the
implementation of programs aimed at promoting internal subversion and
destabilization; and compensate the Cuban people for all the human and
economic damages caused by the United States.”
Since it does not strain credulity to believe Obama would return
Guantanamo Bay to Havana’s control, Congress should move quickly through
appropriate legislation, enacting multiple prohibitions against giving
away Guantanamo, or any other U.S. “compensation” to Cuba. Moreover,
House and Senate members should remember that Obama has proven himself
all too ready to ignore or reinterpret statutory language he finds
inconvenient. A legislative belt-and-suspenders approach is entirely
Nor is there any reason to suspend or in any way reduce broadcasts by
Radio and TV Marti into Cuba. Rather, Congress should augment its
appropriations, especially for TV Marti. Given the inevitable Cuban
restrictions and surveillance, an increased number of U.S. tourists
visiting Cuba will not increase the flow of information to the Cuban
people. Instead, we should be playing on the Castro brothers’ fears of
continued U.S. information outreach to Cuba’s human-rights activists
such as the “Ladies in White” — truly the heart of the long-term threat
to the Castro regime, and why what they call “subversion” is what others
call free speech and free association.
We can only hope the Castros do not successfully use the next 18 months
to buttress their regime’s staying power. Obama’s policy is a tragedy
for the Cuban people, and a top priority for America’s next President to
Bolton served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President
George W. Bush.
Source: John Bolton: Obama’s outrageous Cuba capitulations – NY Daily