Tag: Cuba

How Do Dictatorships Fall?


Asked about Obama’s foreign policy achievements, his defenders always trot out Cuba as a historic diplomatic success. In their minds, the re-establishment of relations with that small, impoverished, long-suffering dictatorship falls somewhere between Commodore Perry’s breaking down the door to Japan in 1853 and Nixon’s China gambit on the Richter scale of statesmanship.

The mantra of our Cuba policy objectives is “a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy.” According to our State Department:

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I use adblock. I recommend it. It makes ads go away. I worry sometimes if I’m not doing something stupid to websites I should be supporting–I’d like to be able to find out, I’m not too unreasonable or entitled… What I am is yellderly, only I don’t yell. I’ll get back to this later. I […]

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Cuba has been in the news recently. Perhaps coincidentally, work sent me to Havana last month to do my bit for “normalization”. If you are concerned about our political trajectory and are curious about what our future may possibly look like, you will soon be able to visit Cuba and see for yourself. For a […]

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The Liberal Love Affair with Communists and Dictators


030413-sports-dennis-rodman-visits-north-korea-Kim-Jong-Un-powerIn response to Ricochet member Mark’s post about the failure of President Obama’s Cuba policyTitus Techera, who is Romanian, left a comment that too few people born and raised in Western democracies will fully understand:

I was a bouncing baby boy when the communist tyrant was assassinated. I’m not sure it would have happened without Reagan and his foreign policy. Maybe the USSR was bound to collapse. But when? I am assured by the free-market devotees that it was born dead. What an attitude … So many people were cursed to live that death. My young miss told me the other day about how Americans go as tourists to Cuba, then go online and complain about the amenities. … We had a strange moment, again. Will no one understand what fate awaited us? Into what fate our parents were born? I’m not expecting world peace, but ridding Cuba of its communist tyrants is long overdue, and a permanent sign of American shame, of the cowardice of Kennedy and his followers.

Now, I myself understand a bit about communists, although not from first-hand experience; the first four years of my life don’t count. What I know was passed down through my own family. My family endured two consecutive communist regimes. The first was Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, followed by the Vietnamese-installed regime in Cambodia. The second was a paradise compared to the first, but it was nothing cheery to talk about, either. My grandfather did his undergraduate studies in China in the 1950s, slightly before the Great Leap Forward. He used to tell stories about his time there. He had next to nothing good to say about China under Mao. My family said the same about the Soviet Union: My uncle and a distant relative did their studies in Tashkent in the 1980s. They pretty much confirmed to me that communism only produces misery, suffering, and death. This is why it’s so infuriating for me to see people who were born into a freedom they take for granted gallivanting around with dictators and old commies.

The Libertarian Podcast: “Foreign Policy, Global Warming, and the Pope”


In the first of a two-part series responding to Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States, Professor Epstein looks at the pontiff’s statements regarding the crisis in Syria, climate change, and — that old Epstein chestnut — creating markets for organ donations. Listen in below (or subscribe via iTunes) and come back next week for a full episode on Francis’ views on economics and the poor.

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Back during the Cold War there was a phrase of “fellow traveler” used to describe someone who was so leftist that they identified with Communists but were not members of the Communist Party USA. Practically all their policy preferences on foreign policy issues coincided with those of the USSR (of which the CPUSA was a […]

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Francis in Cuba


From an editorial in the Washington Post:

A Cuban dissident is prevented by securiThe pope is spending four days in a country whose Communist dictatorship has remained unrelenting in its repression of free speech, political dissent and other human rights despite a warming of relations with the Vatican and the United States. Yet by the end of his third day, the pope had said or done absolutely nothing that might discomfit his official hosts.

Obama Finishing Plan to Close Guantanamo


gitmo1Obama promised in 2008 that, if elected, he would close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay as soon as he arrived at the White House. Of course, once elected, he learned that was much easier promised than done. Relocating inmates in the states was wildly unpopular with voters and nervous legislators, while few other countries would take the hardened jihadis.

Over his second term, President Obama has gotten much more comfortable governing via executive order. He pens a memo, tells his agencies to proceed accordingly, and hopes the courts don’t interfere too much. Republicans in Congress whine for a half-day, then get back to work passing whatever legislation Obama needs rubber-stamped that week.

Guess what, America: Obama’s going to close GITMO if it’s the last thing he does… and it just might be.

Elian Wants To Return To America


InselianIt’s been just over 15 years since federal agents seized Elian Gonzalez at the home of his Miami relatives. The story of the six-year-old boy’s escape from Cuba and the resulting high stakes custody battle dominated headlines in the first half of 2000. In the wake of Bush v Gore later that year, many pundits speculated that the Clinton Administration’s insistence on repatriating Elian may have swung Florida, albeit narrowly, over to George W Bush.

The story was largely forgotten after 9/11. In the years since, occasional interviews with Juan Miguel, Elian’s father, and carefully staged photo-ops between Elian and senior officials in the Cuban regime, acted as reminders of the Gonzalez tragedy. Typical accounts of the saga recall the story as “polarizing” and note that a majority of the American people wanted Elian returned to his father. Much of the Cuban-American community, which opposed the repatriation, was widely vilified by the mainstream press for putting ideology ahead of family.

An ABC interview aired last night is the first the now-adult Elian Gonzalez has given:

Mark Halperin’s Nauseous Bullying of Ted Cruz


Ted Cruz is a top-tier candidate who could one day be the President of the United States. Instead of getting to the bottom of how he would govern, “journalist” Mark Halperin instead tried desperately to extract a “gotcha” moment discrediting his ethnic bona fides. Halperin’s obvious hope: that the moment might go viral and compensate for the fact that he works on a program with almost no viewers. (Bloomberg TV ratings are not public, but are believed to be lower than CNBC’s — which puts them with the margin of error of having exactly zero viewers).

The Libertarian Podcast: The Way Forward with Cuba


Regular listeners to The Libertarian podcast are in for a bit of a surprise this week. Professor Epstein hasn’t pulled any punches in past episodes about his unhappiness with President Obama’s foreign policy positions. In this episode, however, Richard is sounding a slightly more optimistic note in regards to American attempts to establish a more open relationship with Cuba. Listen in below (or by subscribing to The Libertarian via iTunes or your favorite podcasting app) and tell us whether you agree in the comments.

Obama: Cuban Information Minister?


21prexy-span-articleLargeTwo relatively recent photos of Barack Obama with foreign leaders reveal much about his deep-dyed leftism. The first features President Obama and democratically-elected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, leader of one of America’s most loyal friends. Obama looks strained. His face is stiff, and his eyes are veiled. The second is a snap of Obama at the recent Summit of the Americas in Panama. He’s seated with “President” Raul Castro, leader of a bitter enemy, who has never received a single free vote. Obama is grinning, his eyes dancing with pleasure.

150411175532-02-obama-castro-meeting-041115-large-169In contrast to the bitterness with which Obama addresses Netanyahu, he is all honey with Castro.“So I want to thank President Castro for the spirit of openness and courtesy that he has shown during our interactions .  . . President Castro earlier today spoke about the significant hardships that the people of Cuba have undergone over many decades.  I can say with all sincerity that the essence of my policy . . . is to make sure that the people of Cuba are able to prosper and live in freedom and security . . . “

Did you catch that? Castro was assigning blame for the “hardships” Cuba has endured since the revolution to the U.S. — and Obama was agreeing with him! It wasn’t the first time. Back in December, when he first announced the opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba, Obama said “I believe in the free flow of information. Unfortunately, our sanctions on Cuba have denied Cubans access to technology that has empowered individuals around the globe.” So the U.S. embargo is responsible for the Cuban peoples’ denial of the “free flow of information.” Not Cuba’s iron-fisted repression? A Cuban propaganda minister couldn’t have put it better.

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In Cuba, every automobile owner is stuck with a vehicle from the 1940s or 1950s. Imagine that person’s delight at witnessing modern vehicles, even without any hope of affording one.  And imagine the delight of American car enthusiasts at obtaining access to this vast hoard of vintage vehicles. Cubans call them clunkers. We call them classics.  […]

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My Shameful Lack of Empathy


This post is about me. I am empathy-deficient. What should be a touching story leaves me feeling nothing but contempt: a United States Senator empathizing with a federal inmate serving two consecutive life sentences who wanted to father a child. Through this empathetic Senator’s efforts, the inmate has successfully impregnated his wife.

I do not feel empathy for a jailed criminal who thinks he is entitled to be a father. Conjugal visits are prohibited at the federal level, so I see no need to employ a workaround (artificial insemination) to circumvent a natural consequence of the rules, particularly for such a contemptuous character. The empathetic senator suffers no such pedant reasoning.

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Yesterday I posted my thoughts on President Obama’s plan for normalization of relations with Cuba.  As of this writing, there have been several dozen thoughtful replies.  The trend in running in strong opposition to normalization, combined with complaining about President Obama’s handling. I take no issue with complaints about President Obama’s handling of the issue, I’m […]

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More Thoughts On Normalizing Relations With Cuba


President Obama’s announcement on Wednesday that he would seek to normalize relations with Cuba reminded me of an aphorism: even a broken clock is right twice a day.

And so it is that Barack Obama — a man who is objectively terrible at his job — is right about Cuba. He is right because he is reversing (or trying to, anyway) a policy that has been an utter failure for half a century. Obama’s plan is (1) to normalize relations, (2) lift the travel and financial restrictions, (3) build an embassy, (4) seek to lift the embargo.