In a speech last month, Raul Castro admitted that “the life of the Cuban Revolution is in the balance. We rectify or we sink.”
“Cuba will be bankrupt in 2011,” added a WikiLeaks cable quoting the Italian ambassador to Cuba.
Last Friday, President Obama threw the desperate Castro regime a lifeline. He signed an executive order further easing travel and remittance restrictions from the U.S. to Cuba. Note that the president waited until after the November elections (such a Democratic initiative would not have helped Democratic candidates in crucial Florida) to sign the executive order. Also note that he announced it on a Friday afternoon, the slowest news period of the week.
As presented by the media, the order sounds pretty innocuous—downright sensible, in fact. After all, the goal is simply to increase “people-to-people” contacts between Americans and Cubans.
But Cuba-watchers weren’t fooled and America’s “Tea-Party Candidate,” Senator Marco Rubio, reacted promptly:
“I strongly oppose any new changes that weaken U.S. policy towards Cuba,” he said Friday afternoon. “I was opposed to the changes that have already been made by this administration and I oppose these new changes…It is unthinkable that the administration would enable the enrichment of a Cuban regime that routinely violates the basic human rights and dignity of its people.”
Note that I wrote “further easing” above. And Senator Rubio mentions “changes that have already been made by this administration.”
From constantly hearing the term in the media, most Americans probably think the U.S. actually “embargoes” Cuba. But in fact:
The U.S. has transacted more than $2 billion worth of business with Castro’s Cuba in the last decade. Until last year, the U.S. served as Castro’s Cuba’s biggest food supplier and fifth biggest import partner. Furthermore, the U.S. has been Cuba’s biggest donor of humanitarian aid, including medicine and medical supplies for decades. Last year, a defector from Castro’s regime revealed that, owing to Obama’s earlier loosening of remittance restrictions to Cuba, almost $2 billion a year in remittances were succoring the cash-strapped Castro regime. This ranks the U.S. right between Red China and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela as Castro’s lifeline. At this rate, we’ll soon be number one. Some “embargo.”
Last year, Castro’s Cuba also received 200,000 visitors from the U.S.—legally. Global Travel Industry News reports that another 200,000 Americans visited Cuba illegally. Every euro, peso, lira, pound, dollar, etc. spent in Cuba ultimately lands in the pocket of the regime.
The anti-“embargo” mantra stresses that a flood of rich Western tourists will magically smother Cuban Stalinism, whereupon the island nation will quickly mutate into a bigger (and more historic and picturesque) Cozumel. This reasoning seems to go something like this: rewarding and enriching the KGB-trained and heavily armed guardians of Cuba’s Stalinist status quo will magically convert them into instant opponents of that same Stalinist status quo.
As two decades of such tourism have amply proven, any trickle of foreign currency that reaches the Stalinist regime’s subjects (primarily from prostitution) is offset a thousand-fold by the millions ($2.4 billion last year, for instance) crammed into the regime’s military and secret-police coffers.
In a presentation on November 18, 2010, at a hearing by the House Foreign Affairs Committee debating travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Simmons, a recently retired Defense Intelligence Agency Cuba specialist, explained the issue in detail. He showed how Raul Castro’s military owns virtually every corporation involved in Cuba’s tourism industry, the regime’s top money-maker.
Nowadays, the so-called U.S. embargo merely stipulates that the Castro regime pay cash up front through a third–party bank for all U.S. agricultural products; no Export-Import Bank (U.S. taxpayer) financing of such sales. 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. But for how much longer?
President Obama’s executive order will also boost cultural, scientific, religious and educational travel with Cuba. The Clinton administration also made a fetish of fostering such travel—with disastrous results.
The deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Defense Department by an enemy agent resulted precisely from “cultural exchanges” by the Clinton team with Stalinist Cuba. During the Clinton administration, Ana Belen Montes, a champion of cultural and educational exchanges with Cuba (in which she partook abundantly), was promoted to head the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Cuba division. She was also awarded the “Certificate of Distinction,” the third-highest honor awarded by any U.S. intelligence agency
Thus honored under Clinton, Montes today serves a 25-year prison sentence for “conspiracy to commit espionage.” On September 20th 2001, (under Bush) Ms. Montes was arrested by the FBI as a Castro spy and accused of the same crime as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. After conviction, only a plea bargain allowed the Clinton administration’s top “Cuba Expert” and champion of “people-to-people” contacts to escape the fate of the Rosenbergs. The Montes case is widely considered to be the most damaging espionage case since the “end” of the Cold War.
These Clinton-era “people to people” exchanges with Cuba reached a point where, in the mid 90s, Mobile, Alabama and Havana became official “Sister Cities.“ Then in 2003, Castro’s “cultural ambassador” to Mobile, Oscar Redondo, was nabbed by the FBI as a Castro espionage agent and booted from the U.S. For years he’d labored diligently as one of Ana Montes’ top lieutenants
In May 2003, 14 more Cuban spies were uncovered and booted from the U.S. Most had worked under diplomatic cover while gleefully “culturally-exchanging” with their American hosts.
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