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Posted May 26, 2008 by publisher in Cuban American Politics

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Huffington Post

Obama Will Give Reform in Cuba a Nudge if Not a Shove

Barack Obama’s gutsy appearance Friday in Miami before the Cuban-American National Foundation was of course a refreshing change of pace from the lame and stale “stay-the-course” boilerplate that’s been passing for a John McCain foreign policy vision. Unlike McCain, who despite the baby-step reforms in Cuba is stubbornly holding out for the status quo unless the Castro brothers’ regime basically rolls over and dismantles itself—sure, like that’s going to happen—Obama enunciated more clearly than ever that “after eight years of the disastrous policies of George Bush, it is time to pursue direct diplomacy, with friend and foe alike, without preconditions.” He continued, “every four years [pols] come down to Miami, they talk tough, they go back to Washington and nothing changes in Cuba,” pointing out, “that’s what John McCain did the other day. He joined the parade of politicians who make the same empty promises year after year, decade after decade.”

In declaring his administration would meet with the Raúl Castro régime without preconditions, Obama was not being naïve but impeccably realistic—and in fact following in the footsteps of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, who, after all, never insisted that Communist China, Vietnam, and the Soviet Union hold free elections and essentially give up their dictatorships before negotiating with them. At the same time, he hasn’t pronounced himself ready just yet to let go of the entire embargo, except for immediately lifting the limits on Cuban-Americans traveling to see their families. Can’t frighten the horses by deep-sixing the whole shebang too suddenly, you understand, but a campaign insider told me earlier this year that this is more a question of timing and tactics than intention.

The very fact that he was giving this spiel in front of an outfit whose late leader… READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

  1. Follow up post #1 added on May 26, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    I’m feeling cynical tonight and will say that I think what will give the embargo a “shove” is the price of oil, which Cuba has and which US companies haven’t been able to touch.


  2. Follow up post #2 added on May 27, 2008 by Cubana with 282 total posts

    Cuba does not have sufficient oil for its own purposes at present, let alone for export. It MIGHT have oil in its unexplored parts of the Gulf of Mexico but this is a big might and only Dr Drillbit will know for sure.


  3. Follow up post #3 added on May 27, 2008 by bernie with 199 total posts

    The USA has always been pointing the finger at Cuba to reform always Cuba to reform.  When you point a finger at someone and if you look closely you will see that three fingers are pointing back at you.  The USA should see that they are the one who should be reforming.  Perhap Obama is not blind like the other leaders we have had in the past?????


  4. Follow up post #4 added on May 27, 2008 by J. Perez

    Enormous progress will be made in the first couple of years of an Obama administration,providing the Cubans cooperate, which I’m thinking they will.

    Aside from the renewal of family travel and remittances, I believe we will see much increased trade and by the end of his first term (Obama’s) we could see an end to the embargo as we know it.


  5. Follow up post #5 added on May 27, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that even if the castros were both gone from the scene, that anything dramatic would change in Cuba immediately, so the Bush stand that both must be gone is naive in itself.
    Interesting time ight be waiting over the horizon.
    I really dont know if the Bush position is really because he believes its the way to go, or if it’s been teh price to get the Florida Cuban’s vote - sad either way.


  6. Follow up post #6 added on May 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    “... providing the Cubans cooperate..”  Interesting choice of words.


  7. Follow up post #7 added on May 27, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    isnt “providing .....cooperate”  teh same as saying “do as we say”
    Sad as the chapter of America in Iraq is, I’m glad its happened, for Cuba’s sake; otherwise I’m sure plans would have been dusted off to help the Cubans co-operate.


  8. Follow up post #8 added on May 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    “... help the Cubans co-operate.” Good one. grin


  9. Follow up post #9 added on May 27, 2008 by J. Perez

    Let me clarify, my statement to the effect that “providing the Cubans cooperate” was meant to convey the thought that in any negotiation there has to be a willingness on both parties to reach an understanding, which is far from “do as we say”, that’s not going to happen and if Mr. Obama has that in mind, which I doubt, then nothing will happen and that would be OK. with me


  10. Follow up post #10 added on May 27, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    sorry, mr perez, i wasnt trying to put your post down, its just that , although i have a lot of respect and hope for mr obama with regards to cuba as well as other areas, he won’t be running the government by himself, and for far too long too much of america’s bargaining approach has been to “do as we say”.
    I hope you’re right and that mr obama will use a different approach, because both countries can gain a lot.


  11. Follow up post #11 added on May 27, 2008 by J. Perez

    Of course you’re right, our foreign policy particulary for the last eight years has been “do as we say” but since that has never worked with Cuba I believe Mr. Obama is intelligent enough to try a more respectful approach. No offense taken.


  12. Follow up post #12 added on May 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    For the most part, US foreign policy approach has always been “do as we say.” It’s just less apparent and/or more refined in some cases.


  13. Follow up post #13 added on May 27, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    This was on Reuters yesterday:

    HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban leader Fidel Castro on Monday called Democrat Barack Obama the candidate most advanced on social issues running for U.S. president but said his speech on Cuba last week was a “formula for hunger.”

    In one of his periodic newspaper columns published in Communist Party newspaper Granma, Castro said he had “no personal rancor” toward Obama, but “if I defended him I would do a huge favor for his adversaries.”

    Obama, speaking before an influential Cuban-American group in Miami, said Cuba deprived its people of civil liberties and free elections, and vowed to maintain, with modifications, a 46-year-old U.S. trade embargo against the island.

    Obama has called for lifting restrictions on travel to Cuba and the amount of money people in the United States can send to relatives in Cuba.

    “Obama’s speech can translate into a formula of hunger for the nation (Cuba), the remittances like alms and the visits to Cuba as propaganda for consumerism and the unsustainable lifestyle that he sustains.

    “How is the very grave problem of the food crisis going to be confronted? Grains must be distributed among human beings, domestic animals and fish, which year by year are smaller and more scarce in the over-exploited seas,” Castro said. “It’s not easy to produce meat from gas and oil.”

    “Obama overestimates the possibilities of technology in the struggle against climate change, although he is more conscious than (President George W.) Bush of the risks and the little time available,” he said.

    Obama “without doubt is, from the social and human point, the most advanced candidate” running for the U.S. presidency, Castro said. But he accused him of reviving the Monroe Doctrine, which stated in 1823 the United States would not permit European countries to further colonize or interfere in the Americas.

    Last week, Castro blasted Bush and Republican presidential candidate John McCain in a newspaper column for their criticisms of the Cuban government. McCain, he said, showed why he finished near the bottom of his class in college. 

    Castro, 81 and not fully recovered from intestinal surgery in July 2006, took power in a 1959 revolution but stepped aside in February and was succeeded as president by his younger brother Raul Castro. He is still head of the Communist Party and said to be involved in governing.

    (Reporting by Jeff Franks; editing by Jackie Frank)


  14. Follow up post #14 added on May 28, 2008 by abh with 244 total posts

    I personally was relieved that Fidel criticized Obama.  This criticism can help Obama avoid being characterized as doing Fidel’s bidding.

    As far as Obama’s power to change the embargo, it is my understanding that it would take an executive order to abolish it?  This in my view gives him quite a bit of power.  However, I tend to err on the safe side and I think that change will be slow and hopefully steady.


  15. Follow up post #15 added on May 28, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Obama wins, the USA finally gets a foreign policy of reason and compassion toward Cubans. McClain or Clinton (almost impossible for her now) get the nomination. the same failed policies of the last 50 years will prevail. 
    Raoul and Bernie Have lost the hearts and souls of the younger generation.You see it in the steeets and you see it in their eyes. The regimes final chapaters are about to be written.
    “WEEK END AT BERNIES” Will happen before New Years 2009


  16. Follow up post #16 added on April 07, 2009 by Wilson

    Power it’s still in the goverment in cuba even if the fidel’s are gone there will be someone from the old regime to take over , I doubt they will fall but change would happen.


    People fear change even for the good of the economy, “Do as we say approach” will go no where. U.S past leader’s try to apply it for almost 50years. Cuba is more power stable than many predict.


  17. Follow up post #17 added on June 08, 2009 by Filan Tropico cubano

    I think the embargo is just nourishing the communist haters. It is a anyway a royal failure, symbolic, and serves as justification for the green uniforms to explain the mediocrity that’s overwhelmingly present in the island.
    Despite this embargo, many countries came to invest in Cuba in the nineties and most of them are gone. The lack of rights for cubans, the low salaries and consequent corruption, the irregularities of bills and debts payments to investors and the whole investing law were not really an invitation to growth and capitalism. It was rather some sort of convenient adaptation to the crisis after loosing the supplies received for so many years from the socialists during the cold war. 
    The embargo has served to explain so many lies, and has been the major alibi for the green uniforms to explain their sickness for power and war. It all comes to that and if it would be removed, they’ll find their-selves naked and having to deal with the capitalist world to survive.
    I dont think USA should be using the embargo to make political changes inside Cuba. Cuba belongs to Cubans and the states is by no means an example of democracy to follow… 
    Lifting the embargo will leave the Castro’s without make-up and the Cuban people will be able to see clearer: no more embargo? Now what?


  18. Follow up post #18 added on June 09, 2009 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    Completely agree, if there is no embargo, Castro would run out of explanations for all the Cuban maladies.


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