“Cuba’s authoritarian regime assumed power by force in 1959 and has severely restricted fundamental freedoms, repressed political opponents, and violated human rights. The United States imposed an embargo on Cuba in 1960 and broke diplomatic relations in 1961, following the Cuban Government’s expropriation of U.S. properties and its move toward adoption of a one-party communist system.”
— U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
This was U.S. policy toward Cuba from October 19, 1960 through noon today.
In a surprise announcement, President Barack Obama announced that he will reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba ending a 54 year embargo first launched by President Dwight D. Eisenhower that was followed by a break in diplomatic relations one year later.
I his statement, President Obama said:
“It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. At times, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba has isolated the United States from regional and international partners, constrained our ability to influence outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere, and impaired the use of the full range of tools available to the United States to promote positive change in Cuba.
Therefore, “we will end an outdated approach (to Cuba) that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries.”
“I’ve instructed Secretary Kerry to immediately begin discussions with Cuba to reestablish diplomatic relations that have been severed since January of 1961. Going forward, the United States will reestablish an embassy in Havana, and high-ranking officials will visit Cuba.”
In return, the United States – and the Cuban people who reside within this island prison – gets exactly nothing.
There is no promise that the Castro government will recognize the freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom to worship as you please. There is no promise that the Castro government will hold free elections… recognize private property… or allow the economic benefits of the president’s unilateral U.S. policy change to accrue to the Cuban people.
This policy announcement is also remarkable for what it doesn’t say.
It doesn’t say that the Castro government must atone for its’ record of political oppression of the Cuban people. It doesn’t say that the Castro government will be held to account for the murder of Cuban dissidents. It doesn’t say that the Castro government must disband the Dirección General De Inteligencia (DGI) or secret police and end the reign of terror that has kept the regime in power for more than 58 years. And it doesn’t say that the Castro government will stop exporting “the revolution” to Central and South America or break ties with the homicidal nuclear regime in North Korea.
President Obama’s surrender to the Castro Brothers instead rewards these despots for their inhuman treatment of the Cuban people – a reward that Congress will have a say on once the new Congress convenes this January.
Speaking for the new Republican Party majority in the Senate, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), said:
“The president’s decision to reward the Castro regime and begin the path toward the normalization of relations with Cuba is inexplicable” adding that he would use his Chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Western Hemisphere subcommittee in the new Congress to block the plan.