Same Cuba, same Castro regime

(My new American Thinker post)

Let’s do a quick before and after President Obama normalized relations with Cuba.

Before December 2014, there was a lot of repression in Cuba. Since then, there is still a lot of repression in Cuba. The only difference is the U.S. flag in an embassy in Havana.

We keep getting these reports from Cuba, as posted over at PanAm Post:

The Cuban police raided the national headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), a civil dissidence group in opposition to Raúl Castro’s administration.

Without giving explanation, security confiscated three computers, two cell phones, a hard drive, passports and other hardware and records.

Arcelio Molina, an activist and owner of the property, told the newspaper Martí Noticias that police also seized the luggage of the youth leader Carlos Amel Oliva Torres, who traveled from Santiago de Cuba to Havana to take a flight to Argentina.

According to Molina, Oliva can’t travel, and has since been arrested.

This is the fourth time this year that state security has raided and confiscated Unpacu’s equipment.

Molina added that what has transpired is a classic “trampling” of citizens’ rights in the country, “where there are no laws or respect for the constitution on the part of the authorities.”

It’s hard to believe that the normalization supporters thought that you could change Cuba by saving the Castro regime. Let’s look at some of the arguments for normalization:

1) Opening up Cuba will be good for the Cuban people. Really? Is that why they continue to leave? There are nowCubans in Colombia looking to travel to the U.S.

2) Allowing US businesses to operate in Cuba will bring prosperity to the island. The idea is that Cubans would get a taste of capitalism and demand more of it. Really? There is no evidence that the Castro regime is allowing Cubans to play the capitalism game.

So where are we? We are watching the consequences of bailing out a regime and demanding nothing from it.

We are where many of us feared that we’d be!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Cuba: The young leave for a better life and the old stay

Cuba became an independent country in 1902.   You can divide the island’s history into two periods: the pre-Castro years and the current regime’s period in power since 1959.

I was born in the last decade of pre-Castro Cuba.   My story is so typical of the other kids born in the 1950s.   We were the grandchildren of immigrants from Spain or elsewhere.    Our ancestors came to Cuba because it was a prosperous island, an attractive place for Spaniards seeking a better life, for Jewish refugees from Europe, hard working Asians and others.

It was a young and vibrant country with hope and a future.  In other words, the island of Cuba attracted people rather than drive its citizens away looking for a future.

It is really sad to watch Cuba today.   The young escape and look for a better life, preferably in the US.   The old get stuck behind.

It is even more painful when you realize that pre-Castro Cuba attracted thousands of immigrants from all over the world, as our friend Dr Carlos Eire wrote:

• Between 1900 and 1930, the first three decades of Cuban independence, about one million immigrants flooded into the island, mostly European, and mostly northern Spaniards.
This population tsunami also included Asians, Levantines, and Jews.
These immigrants doubled the population of the island and changed its complexion, literally.
Tens of thousands of immigrants continued to flow into Cuba every year after that, up to 1958.
Immigration from the U.S. was comparatively slight, but in 1958 there were more Americans living in Cuba than Cubans in the U.S.A.
Emigration from Cuba was minimal during this half century.
• Rates of immigration as high as this and of emigration as low require a robust and growing economy, and a considerable degree of political stability.

To wither is to shrivel, fade, decay, or lose the freshness of youth.   Cuba is indeed withering today.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

“El Caballero de Paris” gives Raul a hug but not cash

We’ve seen here in the pages of Babalu that Raul Castro is in Paris.

We’ve also heard that France is very anxious to invest in Cuba.

So why doesn’t France invest in Cuba rather than call on the US to drop the embargo? Nobody is stopping France or any other country from going to Cuba and investing in the island.

Why call for an end to the embargo?

The answer is simple.   France, like so many other countries, are not putting a dime in Cuba after having to restructure, or even forgive, debts.

France wants the US to end the embargo so that the Castro regime has credit lines to purchase French goods and services.

So what really happened in Paris?

Raul got a hug and the kind of military salute that his ego needs.   However, “El Caballero de Paris” did not give him what Castro Inc desperately needs, i.e. dinero!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

 

Raul to Obama: “El perro se comio el cohete”!

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, a “missile” has been found in Cuba:

“For more than a year, amid a historic thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, American authorities have tried to get the Cuban government to return the missile, said people familiar with the matter.

At the same time, federal investigators have been tracing the paper trail of the wayward Hellfire to determine if its arrival in Cuba was the work of criminals or spies, or the result of a series of blunders, these people said.

Hellfires are air-to-ground missiles, often fired from helicopters.

They were first designed as antitank weapons decades ago, but have been modernized to become an important part of the U.S. government’s antiterrorism arsenal, often fired from Predator drones to carry out lethal attacks on targets in countries including Yemen and Pakistan, said people familiar with the technology.

This particular missile didn’t contain explosives, but U.S. officials worry that Cuba could share the sensors and targeting technology inside it with nations like China, North Korea or Russia, these people said.

Officials don’t suspect Cuba is likely to try to take apart the missile on its own and try to develop similar weapons technology, these people said. It is unclear whether a U.S. adversary has ever obtained such knowledge of a Hellfire.”

Well, so what happened? To be fair, we don’t know but there are some interesting possibilities:

First, the Cuban government didn’t know a thing and the whole darn affair was just a simple error.   This is the Cuban version of “el perro se comio el cohete”!

Second, the Cuban government knew that they had the missile but the US negotiators did not insist on its return prior to any normalization. According to the story, the US discussed it with Cuba but nothing was resolved.

Third, and this is scary,  Cuba was trying to sell it to North Korea or trade it with Russia or China. After all, didn’t some Russian ships show up in Cuba recently?

We don’t know for sure but I think that the Obama administration dropped the ball. They should have insisted on the return of the missile prior to any moralization.

Stay tuned because there is more coming from this story.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

 

 

Why are young Cubans coming?

We’ve read several news accounts about Cubans in Central America or heading to the US.

It’s true that some want to get to the US before the Cuban act or law changes.

However, there is another reason.    They want to leave Cuba period, as we read in this article at The Telegraph:

“Yenis Rojas should be a symbol of Cuba’s future. A doctor, she has worked all her life for the state, and is full of drive, energy and ambition.

And yet, despite the announcement a year ago that America and Cuba were re-establishing ties after half a century of hostilities, she sees no promise in her homeland and has fled.

“I had to get out,” she said, speaking from the Costa Rica, close to the border with Nicaragua, where she is camped out. “I couldn’t stand it any more.””

And that’s the story!

They want to leave because they “can’t stand it anymore”.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

 

Obama thinks that Raul wants change?

According to Paul Bedard, President Obama sees Dictator Raul Castro as a pragmatic man:

“Obama was complimentary of Castro.

“I do see in him a big streak of pragmatism. In that sense, I don’t think he is an ideologue,” said the president.

He added that Castro is even a forward thinker.

“I do also think that Raul Castro recognizes the need for change. And part of the reason for the timing of these changes is his desire to help usher in those changes before he and his brothers are gone. Because I think he views himself as having the stature to move Cuban society in ways that a successor might not,” said Obama.”

Really?   A “forward thinker” puts dissidents in jail?  or refuses to give people the right to elect their own leaders?

I guess that President Obama and I just have a different definition of what a forward thinker is!

 

 

Dear Gov Abbott: Do you know that many Texans had their property stolen by the Cuban regime?

(My new American Thinker post)

Governor Abbott is in Cuba looking for “business opportunities” for Texas companies. However, the governor has already run into “the embargo problem” or a restriction placed on doing business with Cuba in the early 1960s. The embargo was created to punish Cuba for confiscating U.S. property and assets years ago. The embargo does not stop other countries from doing business with the regime.

My friend Jason Poblete, an attorney who represents several American families with claims against Cuba, believes that the regime cannot be allowed to get away with the confiscation.

Cuba has been a lawless state. The regime has been doing business with stolen property. The regime’s elite took over the homes of many U.S. citizens without ever paying rent or recognizing property law. It’s lawlessness!

This is from Will Tucker:

Before the revolution, Poblete said, “There was a positive relationship between the Cuban and American people…[W]hen the break happened in 1959, it was kind of a shock to all these people. And eventually they had to pack up and leave.”

Assets owned by large U.S. corporations were seized, too. One of the companies that had to decamp from the country was Exxon, now Exxon Mobil. The company lost $71 million as Cuba seized its Havana refinery. Office Depot owns a $256 million claim through corporate mergers.

But “the overwhelming majority of claims are not corporate or large claims,” Poblete said. And in fact, the large companies don’t seem to be pressing on the issue of property claims. When it comes to Cuba lobbying, most large U.S. corporations and trade associations have focused on easing the embargo. Exxon has never disclosed lobbying on the issue of Cuba at all. A lobbyist for Officemax, later acquired by Office Depot, did work on “foreign relations with Cuba as it relates to company interests involving electric utility” — referring to the company’s property claim, which involved an electric company — but did so for just one year, 2003.

Americans were targeted by the Castro regime because they were Americans. They became an easy target after the U.S., and many Cubans, started reminding the Castros about the promised elections. Furthermore, there is no evidence that Americans were violating any Cuban law.

Governor Abbott, and others, should remind the Castro regime that you can’t get away with stealing from Americans.

Yes, there are very limited business opportunities in Cuba. However, the Castro regime owes many Americans a settlement, a resolution to their claims.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.