Obama gets closer to Castro and Castro gets closer to Putin and Assad
Who would have believed this on the day that President Obama reversed our policy toward Cuba? It looks like Raul Castro is now Assad's big buddy, a relationship that has confounded all of the Cuba experts who thought that "hope and change" was the key to change the island's gangsters.
According to Capitoll Hill Cubans, the Cuba-Syria relationship is more than a handshake:
For those -- wittingly or unwittingly -- asleep at the wheel, here's a look back at Castro's ties with Assad and Putin within the past year (of Obama's extended hand) alone:
- Major event in Damascus hosted by the Syria-Cuba Friendship Association at the Regional Leadership of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries (September 2015).
- Russian intelligence ship, Yantar, targeted a U.S. nuclear missile submarine base and underwater transit routes off the eastern seaboard, as it headed for safe-harbor in Cuba. Throughout the year, the Castro regime has continued to host and harbor Russian spy ships tasked with monitoring sensitive U.S. defense networks (September 2015).
- A group of senior Syrian regime officials, led by the Secretary General of Assad's Baathist Party, Hilal al-Hilal, traveled to Havana to visit with the Castro regime. Al-Hilal stressed how the current U.S.-Cuba negotiations have taught Assad's regime "to continue resisting in our war, in the same manner as the Cubans have triumphed in their war against imperialism" (May 2015).
- As Russia restores military-industrial cooperation with Cuba, it may soon reopen the Lourdes signal intelligence center near Havana, announced a senior member of the State Duma Security Committee (May 2015).
- Cuban dictator Raul Castro visited his "dear friend Putin" in Moscow (May 2015).
- "We intend to continue cooperation in supplying the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces with modern weapons and military hardware," Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at a meeting in Moscow with Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Cuba Ricardo Cabrisas (April 2015).
- A Russian spy ship, The Viktor Leonov, returned to the Port of Havana during a visit by European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. Her visit to Cuba also "coincided" with a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. "I am absolutely convinced that nothing threatens our close, partner and strategic relations with Cuba. We see no signs that someday everything will be different," Lavrov stated (April 2015).
- A Russian spy ship docked in central Havana on the eve of a visit to Cuba by the first U.S. delegation for "normalization" talks. The Viktor Leonov, an armed intelligence-gathering vessel that monitors US communications, arrived at a passenger cruise terminal in full public view for what a Russian embassy official called a “friendly” three-day stay (January 2015).
- Assad's terrorist allies, Hezbollah, celebrated Obama's new policy towards Cuba. “The achievements of Cuba, which was firm on its principles, is a lesson for all people of the world who are suffering from American hegemony,” Hezbollah official Ammar Moussawi said after a meeting with the Cuban ambassador to Lebanon (December 2014).
- Cuba led an effort (along with Algeria, China, Russia and Venezuela) to protect Syria's Bashar al-Assad from a U.N. human rights inquiry for crimes against humanity (September 2014).
It's possible that Castro and Assad would have developed this relationship with or without the U.S. embassy in Cuba. After all, Fidel and Raul Castro have had friends in low places for quite some time.
At the same time, why didn't President Obama warn Raul Castro that restoration of relations was subject to some behaviorial changes? We remember how President Ford and Secretary Kissinger ended talks with Cuba when Castro sent 25,000 troops to Angola.
We say it again. U.S.-Cuba talks under President Obama have been a one way street in favor of Havana. How can anyone deny that today?
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