Reprinted from Mike Malloy
Obama on Cuba -- Restoring Diplomatic Relations and opening an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century
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President Obama is not retreating into the shadows in the wake of the Republican revolution coming in January. His stance on normalizing relations with Cuba is giving his Neocon enemies fresh meat to skewer in the new year, and is not universally popular with Cuban ex-pats and exiles who oppose the Castro regime and its human rights violations.
The NY Times has this report from Miami:
"'There have been too many deaths, too much blood and too much terror, and there is no reason to throw them a life preserver,' said Alex Rodriguez, 63, describing himself as a man who wears 'two hats' -- American and Cuban. 'The Cuban people, from the human rights perspective, still won't have the freedom to vote, the freedom of expression, the freedom of assembly, the freedom to determine their own economic future. What do they get: maybe a little bit better of an economic situation.'"
But Mr. Rodriguez, the US has supported/instilled/and/or ignored bloody dictators so many times, why the surprise? We could certainly have a lively discussion about the current state of our rights and "freedoms" in this shining ship of states, couldn't we?
And for those in Cuba, they will certainly. The economic improvement will be a great benefit to the Cuban people, and might also pave the way to other freedoms, as often happens when there is an infusion of cash into a repressive system.
Perhaps one of the best arguments in favor of opening trade with Cuba is that it has so many in the Raputre Right foaming at the mouth. Marco Rubio, the Republican Senator from Florida of Cuban descent, is particularly opposed to the president's plan and will employ the usual Neocon obstructionist tactics, as Politico explains:
"'Absurd,' the Republican called the Cuba plans during a spot on Fox News, one of more than a dozen television appearances he made Wednesday. 'This entire policy shift announced today is based on an illusion, based on a lie,' he said in a special press conference.
"The White House's actions don't officially lift the embargo, because that would require Congress' approval, but they do allow for diplomatic ties and the easing of restrictions on travel, remittances and other exchanges.
"Many American business leaders are in favor of improving the U.S.-Cuba relationship; the GOP-aligned U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for instance, issued a statement welcoming the White House's move as a victory for free enterprise.
"Rubio, for his part, not only bashed the Obama administration, but also promised to use his position as a senator to stop its actions. The Floridian will chair the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere and Global Narcotics Affairs, giving him a major voice on Cuba policy.
"He suggested that Congress, both Houses of which will be controlled by Republicans in just weeks, could try to stop funding for the planned U.S. Embassy in Havana, or seek to derail the nomination of an ambassador to the island nation."- Advertisement -
What's that? A Republican Senator vowing to stop Obama at any cost? What a shock. Even if the US Chamber of Commerce welcomes the economic opportunity that would benefit both nations? Why, what a surprise.
They are nothing if not predictable, this crop of conservatives. They will oppose anything and everything that smacks of progress or improvement, be it environmental protections, normalized relations with Cuba, a living wage, universal health care, fair trade, rational immigration policies ... and so it goes.
Expect nothing new from the Neocons in the New Year. Tune in LIVE here Monday through Friday at 9PM ET for these and other soothing bedtime stories.