Cuba’s wrongdoing goes unchallenged

By Frank Calzon in The Miami Herald:

Cuba’s wrongdoing goes unchallenged

http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/nqn22a/picture13134776/ALTERNATES/FREE_960/Frank-Calzon-01-040507.jpgA few days after American negotiators met with Cuban officials to continue talks to reestablish formal diplomatic relations, a Chinese ship bound for Cuba was intercepted near Colombia’s Port of Cartagena carrying 100 tons of gunpowder, almost 3 million detonators and some 3,000 cannon shells to Cuba.

On Monday, a Colombian judge ordered that the Chinese captain of the Hong Kong-registered Da Dan Xia be placed under house arrest.

It’s not yet known whether President Obama has been alerted to Havana’s arms purchase. If he has, he’s not likely to say anything in this new era of aggressive niceness. He didn’t say anything about Cuba’s attempt in 2013 to smuggle two warplanes, missile parts and 240 metric tons of war materiél from Cuba into North Korea. Certainly, he wouldn’t say anything resembling his negative response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

As negotiations with Cuba and Iran continue, however, the president might want to seek a briefing by the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies, which tracks Cuba’s foreign policy and describes it as “a close and cooperative relationship against the United States and in support of terrorist groups and states.”

Reporting this month on the relationship among Iran, Cuba and Venezuela, it writes, “Cuba plays a strategic role in terms of geography…intelligence gathering (both electronic eavesdropping and human espionage) and logistics.” Iran’s president is quoted as saying, “The Islamic Republic of Iran and Cuba can play a significant role in international organizations. Teheran and Havana share [a] common viewpoint on major international issues” and “the Hamas-funded Turkish ‘charity’ known as IHH continues to operate in Havana.” In 2014, Castro’s banks were holding accounts for al Qaida affiliates.

Like many, President Obama has bought into the idea that whatever happened between Cuba and the United States, it was many years ago. The president is committed to moving forward and implementing the same failed Cuba policies of the European states, Canada, and others: full diplomatic relations, millions of tourists filling resorts and unrestricted trade facilitated by export insurance and loans that aren’t repaid.

Washington will say as little as possible about the regime’s beating Cuban dissidents that peacefully demonstrate against the lack of civil rights, free elections and economic reforms, and the jailing and killing of human-rights activists.

While Netanyahu’s words are seen as a threat, Raúl Castro’s actions during Obama’s tenure in the White House — not what happened 50 years ago — are not.

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