The U.S. is back, or at least the U.S. flag is up at the new embassy in Havana. By the way, I still have memories of the old U.S. Embassy. It was a very nice building on Malecón Drive, the avenue around Havana Bay.
As a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Cuba, and uniquely aware of the tragedy in the island, I was open to negotiations with the Castro regime.
In other words, I was open to a conversation – not the monologue that has taken us to this post.
I was hoping that we could sit down and demand a few things, especially given that Raúl Castro needs this a lot more than we do. Castro is no longer subsidized by the USSR, credit lines are not available because the regime can't pay back loans, and even Venezuela can't do the oil thing anymore at $45 a barrel.
We had all of the cards. Unfortunately, it was Obama holding the cards for our side. Yes, I'm talking about the same Obama-Kerry team that negotiated the Iran nuclear deal.
The Washington Post editorial gets it right:
What’s unfortunate about the scenario planned for Havana is that Mr. Kerry has decided to omit the very people in Cuba who embody the values that the American flag represents: human dignity, the wisdom of the individual above the state and free access to basic rights of expression in speech, assembly and thought.Once upon a time, we had a Democratic Party that did not tip its hat to dictators. I wonder what Truman, JFK, LBJ, and Scoop Jackson think of this travesty.
These people — the dissidents in Cuba who have fought tirelessly for democracy and human rights, and who continue to suffer regular beatings and arrests — will not be witnesses to the flag-raising. They were not invited.
The official U.S. explanation for excluding the dissidents is that the flag-raising ceremony is a government-to-government affair. This is lame. Inviting the dissidents would be a demonstration to Raúl and Fidel Castro of what the flag stands for: people freely choosing their leaders, a pluralism of views and a public engaging in the institutions and traditions of a healthy civil society.
Not inviting them is a sorry tip of the hat to what the Castros so vividly stand for: diktat, statism, control and rule by fear.
Furthermore, I wonder what the families of the thousands executed by this regime think of the U.S. legitimizing the Castro brothers.
It's not a good day.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.
Friday August 14: US embassy in Cuba, Clinton emails & other stories....... http://t.co/7WvqwJqOIG— Silvio Canto, Jr. (@SCantojr) August 14, 2015
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