Reporters caught up in the 'historic' aspect of Obama's Cuba trip
Have you checked the media's coverage of President Obama's trip to Cuba? Many reporters seem invested in the "historic" nature of the trip – i.e., the first president since Calvin Coolidge to visit the island. It's been treated like the "historic" first game at Wrigley Field between the White Sox and Cubs!
Why has it been so long since a U.S. president visited Cuba? The answer is that Cuba was hostile to U.S. interests since the early 1960s. It wasn't that U.S. presidents did not want to go. It's the exact opposite. It was Cuban policy toward the U.S. that kept presidents away. Cuba was not an ally of the U.S. Cuba was a thorn on the side of the U.S., from sending troops to Africa in the 1970s to supporting guerrillas in Central America in the 1980s.
The Boston Herald hit the right note:
This week President Obama made the world a safer place for those who used to worry about smuggling their Cuban cigars back from Canada or their favorite Cuban rum from the Bahamas (and, yes, you know who you are).
And from now on American tourists can feel free to enjoy their people-to-people “educational” exchanges on a beach outside Havana so long as they certify on a U.S. government form that indeed their trip was for educational purposes and not just tourism. (Does a comparative taste test of mojitos count?)
All of which would be amusing on the eve of Obama’s Sunday trip to Cuba, if it weren’t just another presidential end-run around a congressionally imposed trade embargo that Obama refuses to exert the political capital it would take to actually have repealed.
So instead he takes matters into his own hands, gets nothingin return from the Cuban government, makes a total muddle of U.S. policy (which, of course, could be reversed at any time by a future president) and once again mocks the Constitution.
Now we have maintained for years that the trade embargo with Cuba is simply bad policy. The Castro brothers have surely made a mess of their island’s economy all by themselves, but this way have managed to blame their woes on the United States for five decades. And while Raul Castro now continues to preside over a police state, his is not the only police state on the planet, plenty of which the United States does a brisk business with.
Yes, President Obama will make it possible for you to bring Cuban cigars into the U.S. The media may or not explain that many of those Cuban cigar trademarks and Cuban rum originated in private companies stolen from Cuban families. Perhaps the reporters will do some background work and learn that the hotels they are staying in were once stolen from Cubans. Consider the story of the old Havana Hilton:
The Hilton corportaiton [sic] was not the owner of today’s Habana Libre hotel – it only managed it. The Havana Hilton was built with the money from the retirement savings of the Cuban Food Industry Workers’ Union. The money wasn’t stolen from those savings accounts: it was a legal business deal through which the union invested the money from the workers’ retirement quotas to build the hotel. Once in operation, as the property of the union, the establishment would generate more money for their pensions, under a management contract signed by the union and Hilton.
As such, the post-insurrectional State didn’t take the hotel from the “Americans” – it took it away from the Cuban union.
You probably won't hear much about President Obama going around Congress on the embargo or these cases about property law in the courts. Instead, the media will tell you that the trip is so "historic."
From JFK to Bush 43, U.S. presidents resisted negotiations and demanded something from Cuba before signing off on re-establishing relations. They were right, and Obama's historic trip is wrong.
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