In a speech last month, Raul Castro admitted that “the life of the Cuban Revolution is in the balance. We rectify or we sink.”
“Cuba will be bankrupt in 2011,” added a WikiLeaks cable quoting the Italian ambassador to Cuba.
Last Friday, President Obama threw the desperate Castro regime a lifeline. He signed an executive order further easing travel and remittance restrictions from the U.S. to Cuba. Note that the president waited until after the November elections (such a Democratic initiative would not have helped Democratic candidates in crucial Florida) to sign the executive order. Also note that he announced it on a Friday afternoon, the slowest news period of the week.
As presented by the media, the order sounds pretty innocuous—downright sensible, in fact. After all, the goal is simply to increase “people-to-people” contacts between Americans and Cubans.
But Cuba-watchers weren’t fooled and America’s “Tea-Party Candidate,” Senator Marco Rubio, reacted promptly:
“I strongly oppose any new changes that weaken U.S. policy towards Cuba,” he said Friday afternoon. “I was opposed to the changes that have already been made by this administration and I oppose these new changes…It is unthinkable that the administration would enable the enrichment of a Cuban regime that routinely violates the basic human rights and dignity of its people.”
Note that I wrote “further easing” above. And Senator Rubio mentions “changes that have already been made by this administration.”
From constantly hearing the term in the media, most Americans probably think the U.S. actually “embargoes” Cuba. But in fact:
The U.S. has transacted more than $2 billion worth of business with Castro’s Cuba in the last decade. Until last year, the U.S. served as Castro’s Cuba’s biggest food supplier and fifth biggest import partner. Furthermore, the U.S. has been Cuba’s biggest donor of humanitarian aid, including medicine and medical supplies for decades. Last year, a defector from Castro’s regime revealed that, owing to Obama’s earlier loosening of remittance restrictions to Cuba, almost $2 billion a year in remittances were succoring the cash-strapped Castro regime. This ranks the U.S. right between Red China and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela as Castro’s lifeline. At this rate, we’ll soon be number one. Some “embargo.”
Last year, Castro’s Cuba also received 200,000 visitors from the U.S.—legally. Global Travel Industry News reports that another 200,000 Americans visited Cuba illegally. Every euro, peso, lira, pound, dollar, etc. spent in Cuba ultimately lands in the pocket of the regime.
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