Obama’s Cuba policy of embracing apartheid regime was the antithesis of Reagan

It was no doubt an excruciatingly painful experience for liberals when they found themselves having to invoke Ronald Reagan to defend Obama’s Cuba policy. Unfortunately for them, their pain was for naught.

John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

On Cuba Policy: President Obama was no Ronald Reagan

Differing foreign policy legacies

reagan gorbachav obama castro

Some are trying to equate President Obama’s approach to Cuba with President Reagan’s approach to Eastern Europe in the 1980s. The policies of the two Presidents could not be farther apart. This is not a question of Mr. Obama falling short, but actively going in the opposite direction from the policies of Mr. Reagan.

Ronald Reagan entered the White House in 1981 and re-imposed the Cuba travel ban, toughened economic sanctions undoing Jimmy Carter’s detente with Fidel Castro, in 1982 placed the Castro regime on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and started Radio Marti to break through the communist monopoly with uncensored information for Cubans on the island.

Ronald Reagan was an unapologetic anti-communist who empowered dissidents and engaged in acts of solidarity to underline their importance. Lastly, President Reagan went to Russia in the midst of Perestroika and Glasnost which meant improving human rights standards and greater freedoms along with dissidents empowered.

In stark contrast, Barack Obama repeatedly loosened economic sanctions, marginalized dissidents and downplayed their importance early on in 2009 refusing to meet with them; the Obama State Department threatened the daughter of a martyred dissident in order to protect the sensibilities of the Castro regime’s foreign minister in 2015. Not to mention claiming that there was no room for dissidents at the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana later that same year.

President Obama went to Cuba in the midst of a human rights crackdown following the 2012 murders of high profile opposition leaders Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, and Harold Cepero Escalante. Less than a year after a fleeing refugee was shot in the back in the spring of 2015 by a Cuban state security agent.

President Obama’s Cuba policy is straight out of the Jimmy Carter playbook that Ronald Reagan rolled back in 1981. This can be seen by the aftermath of both policies. Whereas Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, declared Reagan “a great president” in stark contrast in January of 2017 Cuban troops marched before Raul Castro insulting President Obama and offering to make him a hat out of bullets to the head.

Why the different outcome? President Reagan did engage the Soviet Union in a dialogue but it was one based on hard truths and often language that was not diplomatic. He understood who and what he was dealing with and identifying the regime for what it was in 1983.

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