Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cutting loose the shackles of the past


Obama spoke today about Cuba policy.

OUTDATED: “we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests”. What date was it when this approach actually did work? Outdated seems to be the word Obama uses when he wants to change a policy without admitting it was stupid.

“year after year, an ideological and economic barrier hardened between our two countries”. Funny how that happened all about itself.

“this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions”. Killing Castro, subjugating the Cuban people to the will of American politicians and corporations, you know, the best of intentions.

“no other nation joins us in imposing these sanctions, and it has had little effect beyond providing the Cuban government with a rationale for restrictions on its people.” Oh, and worsening the living conditions of millions of Cubans for decades, you know, “little effect.”

“While I have been prepared to take additional steps for some time, a major obstacle stood in our way –- the wrongful imprisonment, in Cuba, of a U.S. citizen and USAID sub-contractor Alan Gross for five years.” Because one white American guy is more important than... oh, that’s just too silly. Along with the “wrongful imprisonment” thing and the “USAID sub-contractor” thing.

Then he pretended that Gross was released “on humanitarian grounds,” because Gross was important enough to keep the US’s Cuba policy in limbo for 6 years, but not important enough that we’ll admit to having bargained with Cuba for his release. Our release of 3 Cubans was, purely coincidentally, in exchange for a super-secret US super-spy no one’s ever heard of (and still haven’t, since no name of this alleged super-spy has been released). “This man, whose sacrifice has been known to only a few...” Or, you know, none. “Having recovered these two men who sacrificed for our country...” Wait, I thought you said Gross wasn’t a spy?

“Going forward, the United States will reestablish an embassy in Havana, and high-ranking officials will visit Cuba.” Except Congress will never fund an embassy, much less confirm an ambassador.

“But I believe that we can do more to support the Cuban people and promote our values through engagement.” How about not trying to promote “our values” (a phrase he uses three times) at all? Maybe Cuba’s seen enough of our values over the last 116 years and maybe Cubans don’t need to be taught values by us.

“After all, these 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked. It’s time for a new approach.” Or 5 years, really. Also, it’s not really isolation if we’re the only country not interacting with Cuba. But look at that word “worked.” He’s not saying that the goal of changing Cuba’s government for it is wrong, just that we need to find a “new approach” to accomplishing it.

“I’ve instructed Secretary Kerry to review Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.” Not that such designations aren’t entirely objective, of course.

“With the changes I’m announcing today, it will be easier for Americans to travel to Cuba, and Americans will be able to use American credit and debit cards on the island. Nobody represents America’s values better than the American people”. Except for MasterCard.

US companies will be allowed to sell them the Internet now. Everyone send any extra cat videos you have lying around to Cuba.

Talking about the Summit of the Americas: “Let us leave behind the legacy of both colonization and communism, the tyranny of drug cartels, dictators and sham elections.” You’ll notice he doesn’t mention anything bad the US has done except direct colonization (unless by sham elections he meant Bush in 2000).

“Countless thousands of Cubans have come to Miami -- on planes and makeshift rafts; some with little but the shirt on their back and hope in their hearts.” And with hope on their back and a shirt in their hearts, but they never lived very long.

“Today, America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past so as to reach for a better future”. And I’m sure the Cuban people will be profoundly grateful that you’re cutting those shackles that we put on them in the first place.


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1 comment:

Ronald C Couch said...

Now, now you forgot the obligatory: "Even though Cuba's human rights record blah, blah, blah this is a good idea."