Ron Paul, in an exasperated tone during the Iowa debates, said: “All these trade sanctions!…This is why we still don’t have a trade relationship with Cuba.”
Ground Control to candidate Paul: according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. has transacted almost $4 billion in trade with Cuba over the past decade. Up until two years ago the U.S. served as Stalinist Cuba’s biggest food supplier and fifth biggest import partner. We’ve fallen a few notches recently, but we’re still in the top half. Furthermore, the U.S. has been Castro-controlled Cuba’s biggest donor of humanitarian aid, including medicine and medical supplies, for decades.
Ground Control to candidate Paul: For over a decade, the so-called U.S. embargo has merely stipulated that Castro’s Stalinist regime pay cash up front through a third–party bank for all U.S. agricultural products; no Ex-Im (U.S. taxpayer) financing of such sales. (You’d really, really think a libertarian would approve of this.) Enacted by the Bush team in 2001, this cash-up-front policy has kept the U.S. taxpayer among the few in the world not screwed and tattooed by Fidel Castro. Here are a few other items candidate Paul might keep in mind before any campaign stops (especially in Florida):
Per-capita-wise, Cuba qualifies as the world’s biggest debtor nation with a foreign debt of close to $50 billion, a credit–rating nudging Somalia’s, and an uninterrupted record of defaults. Standard & Poor’s refuses even to rate Cuba, viewing the economic figures released by the regime apparatchiks as utterly bogus.
Ron Paul in an exasperated tone during the Iowa debates also said: “It’s about time we start talking to Cuba!”
Ground Control to candidate Paul: In fact “we” (the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency) started engaging with Fidel Castro before he was even in “office.” To wit:
“Me and my staff were all Fidelistas” (Robert Reynolds, the CIA’s “Caribbean Desk’s specialist on the Cuban Revolution” from 1957-1960).
“Everyone in the CIA and everyone at State was pro-Castro, except [Republican] ambassador Earl Smith” (CIA operative in Santiago Cuba, Robert Weicha).
Their advice was taken, and January 7, 1959 thus marks a milestone in U.S. diplomatic history. Never before had “we” (the U.S. State Department) extended diplomatic recognition to a Latin American government as quickly as we bestowed this benediction on Fidel Castro’s that day.
Nothing so frantically fast had been bestowed upon “U.S.-backed” Fulgencio Batista seven years earlier. Batista had in fact been punished by a U.S. arms embargo and heavy diplomatic pressure to resign for a year. Batista was subsequently denied exile in the U.S. and not even allowed to set foot in the country that “backed” him.
In fact, during Castro’s first 16 months in power, “we” (the U.S. State Department) made over 10 back-channel diplomatic attempts to ascertain the cause of Castro’s tantrums and further “engage” him. Argentine President Arturo Frondizi was the conduit for many of these and recounts their utter futility in his memoirs.
The result of all of this Cuban engagement? Here’s a brief list.
Result: In July 1960, Castro’s KGB-trained security forces stormed into 5,911 U.S.-owned businesses in Cuba and stole them all at Soviet gunpoint – $2 billion were heisted from outraged U.S. businessmen and stockholders. Not that all Americans surrendered their legal and hard-earned property peacefully. Among some who resisted were Bobby Fuller, whose family farm would contribute to a Soviet-style Kolkhoze, and Howard Anderson, whose profitable Jeep dealership was coveted by Castro’s henchmen. Both U.S. citizens were murdered by Castro and Che’s firing squads.
In July 1961, JFK’s special counsel, Richard Goodwin, met with Che Guevara in Uruguay and reported back to Kennedy: “Che says that Cuba wants an understanding with the U.S., the Cubans have no intention of making an alliance with the Soviets. So we should make it clear to Castro that we want to help Cuba.” (How Che managed a straight face during this conversation requires an article of its own.)
Result: Soviet nuclear missiles locked and loaded in Cuba a year later–and pointed at Goodwin and Kennedy’s very homes.
In 1975, President Gerald Ford, under Henry Kissinger’s influence, allowed foreign branches and subsidiaries of U.S. companies to trade freely with Cuba and persuaded the Organization of American States to lift its sanctions.
Result: Castro started his African invasion and tried to assassinate Ford. You read right. On March 19, The Los Angeles Times ran the headline “Cuban Link to Death Plot Probed.” Both Republican candidates of the day, President Ford and Ronald Reagan, were to be taken out during the Republican National Convention. The Emiliano Zapata Unit, a Bay area radical group linked to the Weather Underground, would make the hits.
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter, in a good-will gesture, lifted U.S. travel sanctions against Cuba and was poised to open full diplomatic relations with Castro.
Result: More thousands of Cuban troops spreading Soviet terror (and poisonous gas) in Africa, more internal repression, and hundreds of psychopaths, killers and perverts infiltrated onto the boats on the Mariel boatlift.
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan sent Alexander Haig to meet personally in Mexico City with Cuba’s “Vice President” Carlos Raphael Rodriguez to feel him out. Then he sent diplomatic wiz Gen. Vernon Walters to Havana for a meeting with the maximum leader himself.
Result: Cubans practically took over Grenada, El Salvador and Nicaragua. (But unlike the aforementioned Democrats, Reagan responded to Castro’s response–and with pretty salutary results.)
President Clinton tried playing nice again in the ‘90s.
Result: Three U.S. citizens and one resident who flew humanitarian flights over the Florida Straits (Brothers to the Rescue) were murdered in cold blood by Castro’s MIGs. Castro agent Ana Belen Montes moled her way to head of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Cuba division, resulting in the deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Defense Department by an enemy agent in modern history.
President Obama is now playing nicest of all. In executive order after executive order, Obama abolished President Bush’s travel and remittance restrictions to Castro’s terrorist-sponsoring fiefdom and opened the pipeline to a point where the cash-flow from the U.S. to Cuba today is estimated at $4 billion a year. While a proud Soviet satrapy Cuba received $3-5 billion annually from the Soviets. Some “embargo.”
Result: U.S. citizen Alan Gross has just been sentenced to 15 years in Castro’s dungeons for the crime of distributing computer equipment in Cuba.
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