“Viva Cuba Libre!”
Of myriad images of former President Barack Obama’s Presidency that disappointed me, the worst was watching President Obama yucking it up with Cuban dictator Raul Castro at a baseball game in Havana. Before, during and after the baseball game hundreds, thousands, of Cubans were incarcerated for demanding freedom, liberty and free elections. Obama said nothing.
While this was going on, courageous “Women in White” were demonstrating in Havana streets. Their sons, daughters, husbands, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers had disappeared into the Black Hole of Castro prisons.
Now, at the urging of U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL), President Donald Trump is reevaluating relations with Cuba that President Obama loosened in 2014.
Pro-Cuba groups challenge any change in the Obama reconnection to Cuba.
In Foreign Policy’s The Cable, we find, “U.S. President Donald Trump may find it hard to walk back his predecessor’s historic rapprochement with Cuba, now that various businesses are invested in revived relations with Havana…Cruise ship operators, commercial airlines, hotel chains, telecommunications companies and farmers have moved to take advantage of President Barack Obama’s easing of trade and travel restrictions with the island nation…Sponsored By: Trump isn’t likely to go too far in reversing those restrictions because it would undercut his campaign pledges to create jobs, Jason Marczak, director of the Latin America Economic Growth Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, argued…There’s a cost to that reversal, and that cost is U.S. jobs…”
One word: Baloney!
In 2015 Pew Research’s survey found support for what Obama wanted with Cuba; 63% of Americans supported the decision, 66% thought the United States should lift the trade embargo. Obama could not change the embargo; most is mandated by law (Helms-Burton Act).
The Cable, “The American agriculture sector, too, is resisting changes that would walk back the opening to Cuba, and they have a strong advocate in Trump’s agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue…If our folks grow it, I want to sell it. They eat in Cuba as well…”
Secretary Purdue is ill-informed. Cubans average $20 a month in government-mandated wages. They can’t buy much. If every one of the 11 million Cubans spent one dollar on American grown or produced items a-month, what would that amount to? $11 million-a-month. Compare that to the billion and a half dollars-worth of legal trade to and from Mexico EVERY DAY.
Cuba is shrinking. Every Cuban who can, leaves by raft, boat or flies to Mexico to walk into the United States.
Cuba’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is only $77.15 billion with a per capita GDP of $11,600. On the other hand, Mexico, has a GDP of $2.2 trillion dollars and a per capita GDP of $18,900. Secretary Purdue can’t find customers in Cuba that can afford to buy much from the United States. A one (1) percent increase in exports to Mexico would bring in $2.29 billion; a one (1) percent increase in trade with Cuba would be $12, maybe.
Joining Secretary Purdue is a laughable report from “Engage Cuba, an anti-embargo advocacy group, (which) estimates that completely rolling back former President Barack Obama historic rapprochement with Cuba would cost the economy $6.6 billion and affect 12,295 American jobs over the course of President Trump’s first term in office,” so writes Melanie Zanona in The Hill.
She continues, “A number of U.S. businesses have already jumped at the new opportunity with Cuba. Seven U.S. airlines now fly direct to Cuba…the airline sector alone would lose nearly $2 billion in revenue and 4,000 jobs over four years…”
Projections by ideological partisans are nothing but projections. These are comical.
Baloney is the polite word to apply to this “report” by pro-Cuban advocates. The problems aren’t jobs, they are: Political prisoners held and tortured for political crimes; government control of economics, no free elections for over 50 years, no freedom of speech, no free ingress and egress to and from Cuba, convicted American felons in Cuba must be returned; lastly, remuneration for private properties stolen by the Castro brothers n 1959-60-61.
Cubans are our historical partners; they fought in the American Revolution for us, and we, side-by-side with them in their fight for independence from Spain.
President Trump needs to tell Raul Castro that until these problems are resolved to our satisfaction, there will be no relations. This is the deal Obama should have struck. If President Trump presents this case, I will support him on Cuba 100 percent.
Viva Cuba Libre!