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June 4, 2009
The OAS sham vote on Cuba
"OAS lifts ban on Cuba after 47 years," trumpets an Associated Press story. "Imposing Conditions, O.A.S. Lifts Its Suspension of Cuba," declares the New York Times.
And so it goes...
Two examples of the news media's breathless and upbeat reporting today on Wednesday's disgraceful OAS vote on Cuba. If you believe the headlines, the Obama administration has demonstrated how much can be achieved through "compromise" and "dialogue." Now, Stalinist Cuba will surely take its rightful place in the Organization of American States, the 34-member regional body supposedly committed to democratic values and human rights.
And all will be right between the U.S. and Latin America.
That's the fairy-tale ending being presented by the U.S. news media regarding the OAS meeting in Honduras. In fact, yesterday's OAS decision was a hollow vote. A sham. An embarrassment.
As a result of terms insisted upon by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's team, Cuba must meet certain "conditions" to return to the OAS -- namely, it must embrace basic democratic values and stop the thuggery that promoted Human Rights Watch, a rights group, to protest the return of Cuba to the OAS.
What's more, Cuba will itself have to initiate the process of "dialogue" that will allow it to return to the regional body. And Cuba, for its part, has said it's not interested in anything of the sort, calling the OAS a tool of the U.S.
In other words, the OAS vote maintains the status quo. Yet the Obama administration, together with the boot-licking U.S. news media, are portraying the vote as a great turning point in relations between the U.S. and Latin America. A great victory for hemispherical peace and understanding.
So just how did the Obama team succeed in putting "conditions" on the OAS vote despite the best efforts of left-wing Venezuela, Nicaragua, and like-minded OAS members to admit Cuba, no strings attached?
Chalk it up to President Obama and his magical powers of persuasion, which he brought to bear when phoning his counterparts to urge a “compromise” after tense negotiations. What could he have said? It appears there may have been some George Bush-style arm twisting going on. Or as the Times notes:
According to the Times, the "stunning" OAS compromise vote ended "an intractable stalemate that threatened to polarize the hemisphere."
My goodness! Just imagine all those American flags burning today outside U.S. Embassies in Latin American if the U.S. had dared to stick to its principles. According to the AP, the compromise vote will usher in a "more collegial relationship between the U.S. and Latin American countries.”
In reality, the OAS vote was much ado about nothing. And it certainly was no victory for the Cuban people, especially its political prisoners. These are non-issues for left-leaning elites in the OAS and U.S. news media.
"Now we know where the priorities of the OAS lie," fumed U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, in a statement regarding the OAS vote, Reuters reported.
"Rather than upholding democratic principles and fundamental freedoms, OAS member states, led by the OAS Secretary General, could not move quickly enough to appease their tyrannical idols in Cuba,” said the Cuba-born representative, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.
She added, "Today's decision by the OAS is an affront to the Cuban people and to all who struggle for freedom, democracy, and fundamental human rights."
And it certainly seemed to embolden the thugorcracy in Cuba if the opinion of an anchorman for a Cuban state TV channel means anything. He told Reuters that the vote "recognizes the political courage, the symbolism and defiance" of the OAS members. In this context, of course, he means the OAS's defiance against America!
Fidel Castro, for his part, was unimpressed by the OAS vote, calling the organization an "accomplice" to crimes against Cuba.
All in all, Fidel and little brother Raul must be laughing it up today.