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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vietnam... China... Why Not Cuba?

As the crow flies, it is 90 miles from the southernmost tip of the United States to Cuba. With a little help people swim that far. From the lips of self-serving politicians that distance becomes the equivalent of Earth's distance from its furthest star. The distance between us and our Spanish speaking neighbor to the near South has grown as a result of a myriad of political and economic dysfunctions that have lasted for more than two generations starting in 1961. These dysfunctions have become almost unfathomable especially in light of our current relationship with countries like  Communist China and Vietnam. We restored trade with the latter over twenty years ago when Bill Clinton was President. Communist China is not just a trading partner, but the largest holder of US debt.

How do we rationalize the maintainance of the current state of affairs with Cuba in the light of our dalliances with the largest Communist nation on Earth, and Vietnam with whom we fought a war that cost around two million Vietnamese lives and close to sixty thousand American lives? Don't ask the political whores who "serve" in our Congress. Like typical prostitutes, their semantic flourishes are tailored to bring them the benefits of the illicit "congress" that defines their existence. Despite the hardships that the Cuban people have to withstand as a result of a senseless embargo, they continue to shamelessly display their tired political wares in the face of History's rebuke. Subsequent to President Obama's announcement of steps to end the embargo today, Senator Marco Rubio mustered up the following propagandist jewel:

This entire policy shift announced today is based on an illusion, based on a lie,” Rubio, who is the son of Cuban immigrants, told reporters on Capitol Hill. "The White House has conceded everything and gained little."

Is this guy serious? For whom does he speak, except for his political benefactors who have a vested interest in perpetuating the current dysfunction? He certainly does not speak for the Cuban people, most of whom do not look like the typical Miami Cuban or for that matter his alter ego and Senate colleague Ted Cruz. This embargo must end. People of conscience, from the Pope to the leadership of the Caribbean community of nations, have said so in no uncertain terms. The CARICOM Secretariat issued the following statement recently:
"Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda called on the United States President and Congress to end its “senseless embargo of Cuba now.” 

Prime Minister Browne was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Fifth CARICOM Cuba Summit in Havana, Cuba on Monday.  He said that CARICOM’s solidarity with Cuba was manifested by the Region’s repeated calls “in every council in every part of the world” for an end to the embargo."

In announcing the coming change in US policy President Obama said this:

“Neither the American nor Cuban people are well served by a rigid policy that’s rooted in events that took place before most of us were born. These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked. It’s time for a new approach.”

A majority of Americans agree. I have been to Cuba. It is a beautiful country with people whose human aspirations are no different from ours. We must join with the Pope and Cuba's neighbors in the Caribbean and Latin America in calling for the end of a policy that traps our brothers and sisters of this nation in an unnecessary poverty. End the unjust embargo now. As for Senator Rubio... Well suffice it to say : "In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty." Let Cuba get her share of the abundance all around. "Oh island in the sun..."

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