The anti-“embargo” mantra stresses that a flood of rich Western tourists will magically smother Cuban Stalinism, whereupon the island nation will quickly mutate into a bigger (and more historic and picturesque) Cozumel. This reasoning seems to go something like this: rewarding and enriching the KGB-trained and heavily armed guardians of Cuba’s Stalinist status quo will magically convert them into instant opponents of that same Stalinist status quo.
As two decades of such tourism have amply proven, any trickle of foreign currency that reaches the Stalinist regime’s subjects (primarily from prostitution) is offset a thousand-fold by the millions ($2.4 billion last year, for instance) crammed into the regime’s military and secret-police coffers.
In a presentation on November 18, 2010, at a hearing by the House Foreign Affairs Committee debating travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Simmons, a recently retired Defense Intelligence Agency Cuba specialist, explained the issue in detail. He showed how Raul Castro’s military owns virtually every corporation involved in Cuba’s tourism industry, the regime’s top money-maker.
Nowadays, the so-called U.S. embargo merely stipulates that the Castro regime pay cash up front through a third–party bank for all U.S. agricultural products; no Export-Import Bank (U.S. taxpayer) financing of such sales. Enacted by the Bush team in 2001, this cash-up-front policy has kept the U.S. taxpayer among the few in the world not screwed and tattooed by Fidel Castro. But for how much longer?
President Obama’s executive order will also boost cultural, scientific, religious and educational travel with Cuba. The Clinton administration also made a fetish of fostering such travel—with disastrous results.
The deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Defense Department by an enemy agent resulted precisely from “cultural exchanges” by the Clinton team with Stalinist Cuba. During the Clinton administration, Ana Belen Montes, a champion of cultural and educational exchanges with Cuba (in which she partook abundantly), was promoted to head the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Cuba division. She was also awarded the “Certificate of Distinction,” the third-highest honor awarded by any U.S. intelligence agency
Thus honored under Clinton, Montes today serves a 25-year prison sentence for “conspiracy to commit espionage.” On September 20th 2001, (under Bush) Ms. Montes was arrested by the FBI as a Castro spy and accused of the same crime as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. After conviction, only a plea bargain allowed the Clinton administration’s top “Cuba Expert” and champion of “people-to-people” contacts to escape the fate of the Rosenbergs. The Montes case is widely considered to be the most damaging espionage case since the “end” of the Cold War.
These Clinton-era “people to people” exchanges with Cuba reached a point where, in the mid 90s, Mobile, Alabama and Havana became official “Sister Cities.” Then in 2003, Castro’s “cultural ambassador” to Mobile, Oscar Redondo, was nabbed by the FBI as a Castro espionage agent and booted from the U.S. For years he’d labored diligently as one of Ana Montes’ top lieutenants
In May 2003, 14 more Cuban spies were uncovered and booted from the U.S. Most had worked under diplomatic cover while gleefully “culturally-exchanging” with their American hosts.
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