Correcting Obama’s wrong turn on Cuba

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Cayman Compass is the Cayman Islands' most-trusted news website. We provide you with the latest breaking news from the Cayman Islands, as well as other parts of the Caribbean.

By Antonio Benedi

U.S. President Donald Trump announced his Cuba policy in Miami last week. I commend him for many of his efforts. He unveiled a replacement policy for the disastrous Cuba policy President Obama put into place. The highlight of Mr. Obama’s policy was lifting an economic embargo that was placed after the Communist revolution of Fidel Castro brought the world to the brink of nuclear war with the Missile Crisis in 1962.

Ten U.S. presidents were faced with John F. Kennedy’s embargo on Cuba. Five Democrats and five Republicans had upheld the embargo. By the end of the fifth Democratic presidency, Mr. Obama decided to break with tradition. He did this without any concessions or reforms by Communist Cuba. Mr. Obama threw the Cuban people under the bus. The policy ensured no guarantees on human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to assemble or have free and fair elections. The Cuban people received nothing in return for this new U.S. policy. Nada.

Now we have a “new” policy endorsed by Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, and Sen. Marco Rubio, both Cuban Americans. The policy states that the United States will no longer deal with the Cuban military or government; now we will deal with the Cuban people directly.

This is a farce. I was shocked when I heard this naive idea that the “Cuban people” are free to do business and be entrepreneurs inside Cuba and deal with the United States and U.S. companies directly. Do we remember anything about communism?

I traveled to communist occupied countries under the Soviet Union. I visited Belgrade, Yugoslavia. I was traveling with Vice President George H.W. Bush in the early 1980s. The secret police followed us everywhere prior to his arrival. Total control of the citizens there was blatant. They had no freedoms at all. Could we have dealt directly with them?

My family fled Cuba just after Castro and his communist misfits came down from the Sierra Maestra with the Argentinean killer Che Guevara. They violently went through the countryside killing everyone they felt were not supportive of the revolution. They took control of the people to secure their obedience and conformity with the new revolution. They suspended the Cuban Constitution of 1940, very similar to the U.S. Constitution. They replaced it with a Soviet style manifesto. They suspended habeas corpus and all rights of the individual putting in its place mandatory allegiance to the Communist Revolution.

© 2017 The Washington Times.

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