Castro, 1; Obama, big zero!
My cell phone has been going off for hours with messages and angry conversations with fellow Cuban-Americans and conservatives in the U.S.
I hear this question over and over: what did the U.S. get out of this deal?
The answer is nothing, unless you are one of those who believes that the Castro regime is about to reform the economy, allow an independent media, and hold multi-party elections.
I have a dual perspective on this issue. I can address it as a Cuban-American and as a U.S. citizen. In other words, I want the best for those on the island and in my adopted homeland, the U.S.
It's great to see that Alan Gross is finally home. He was incarcerated on bogus espionage charges. I do not understand why we released three Cubans sitting in U.S. prisons for real acts of espionage. It's an insult to the rule of law to put Mr. Gross and these three spies on the same sentence.
As a Cuban-American, I can tell you that normalizing relations will have little impact on the Cuban people. Everything of consequence in Cuba is owned by the Castro family or the military, as Professor Suchlicki pointed out recently:
Money from American tourists would flow into businesses owned by the Castro government thus strengthening state enterprises. The tourist industry is controlled by the military and General Raul Castro.
Tourist dollars would be spent on products, i.e., rum, tobacco, etc., produced by state enterprises, and tourists would stay in hotels owned partially or wholly by the Cuban government.
The principal airline shuffling tourists around the island, Gaviota, is owned and operated by the Cuban military.
Why are we consolidating their hold on the Cuban economy? In other words, you are not going to Cuba to start a joint venture with a Cuban entrepreneur. Instead, you are aligning yourself with a state enterprise that benefits a small group of elites related to the Castro family or the infamous Castro Inc.
For over four decades, Fidel Castro has arbitrarily controlled and had at his sole disposal practically all of Cuba’s financial and economic resources. According to countless first-handreports by former regime higher-ups, he alone and at his discretion has the last word on all decisions affecting the political and economic destiny of the entire Cuban nation. Most Cuba experts and scholars agree on this point. Alcibíades Hidalgo, one of the highest-ranking defectors ever to flee the island, explained: “It is simply impossible to undertake any political or economic initiative in Cuba. The only option one has is to surrender to the dictates of the regimeand to the thinking of the one and only maximum leader, who is above all the citizens.” ...
“Fidel is accountable to no one and is able to live his own reality.”
As a U.S. citizen, raised here, and the father of three sons born in Texas, I don't see how this decision projects strength or promotes U.S. interests around the world. What message are we sending to the world? Will rogue states understand that it's convenient to capture a U.S. citizen and then demand concessions from the U.S.?
What about the $7 billion of U.S. investment stolen by the Communists, or the reason that the embargo was created in the first place? Who is going to compensate these U.S. investors? Did the Cuban government agree to do it?
A very bad day for freedom and the families of the thousands executed by the Cuban regime over the years.