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Trump Will Reverse Damage Done by Obama’s Cuba Policy
Jun 8th, 2017 3 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Mike Gonzalez
@Gundisalvus
Senior Fellow
Mike Gonzalez is a senior fellow at the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis
Institute for International Studies.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
The administration is about to announce it is reinstating the limits on
and trade that Obama lifted.

With Cuba’s international benefactor, ’s own despotic
government, teetering on the brink of collapse, the Obama lifeline to
Castro looms even larger.

The Trump administration is reportedly considering measures that would
block deals between American companies and the Cuban military.

If “America First” means anything, it must mean preventing a virulently
anti-American criminal enterprise from perpetuating its existence next
door and reproducing itself throughout the hemisphere. And since this is
precisely what President Obama’s opening to the Castros accomplished,
President Trump is duty-bound to reverse this mistake.

In fact, if The New York Times is to be believed—and on this we should,
as coddling the Castros is one thing the Gray Lady has been consistent
on for sixty years—the administration is about to announce it is
reinstating the limits on travel and trade that Obama lifted.

This isn’t full reversion, but I’ll take it. I don’t say this very
often, but let’s hope The New York Times is right.

President Obama always said he was helping Cubans with his opening, and
in a technical way that is true. Alejandro Castro Espin, the
ideologically unbending Leninist son of military ruler , is a
Cuban. So is Gen. Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez Calleja, the economic
czar in charge of the lucrative trade. Oh, Lopez Calleja is also
General Castro’s son-in-law and Alejandro’s brother-in-law.

U.S. recognition and sanction of the Castros helped these two Cubans
enormously in their endeavor to inherit political and economic control
when General Castro, a spry eighty-five-year-old man, effected a
transition from one communist Castro to another in a short nine months.

Cuba’s eleven million other citizens were not helped so much. They would
have had a much better hope of a real transition to a post-communist,
post-Castro, free Cuba had President Obama not promised that, in
exchange for nothing, the Castro dictatorship would benefit from selling
their products in the United States and receiving credits to boot.

With Cuba’s international benefactor, Venezuela’s own despotic
government, teetering on the brink of collapse, the Obama lifeline to
the Castro family looms even larger.

People with zero understanding of Cuba have always parroted the
Godfather stereotypes, so let’s put things in a language they’ll understand.

Raul is Don Corleone in this version, while Alejandro is Michael
Corleone, and Lopez Calleja is Tom Hagen. Sonny and Fredo are played by
any number of Miami Cuban-Americans with business interests tied to this
division of the spoils, the of their former compatriots be damned.

Alejandro is widely expected to pull the strings of power when and if
the nominal heir apparent, Miguel Diaz-Canel, first vice president since
2013, takes the title of president from Raul in February 2018. There are
precedents for this in the revolution and earlier Cuban history.

Cuba’s president from 1959 to 1976 wasn’t , but a wealthy
lawyer by the name of Osvaldo Dorticos Torrado, a nonentity who
committed suicide in 1983. From 1936 to 1940, the Republic’s official
head of state was Federico Laredo Bru, another wealthy lawyer whose
strings were pulled by Fulgencio Batista.

Both Dorticos and Laredo Bru associated with communists and let them
take part in government (yes, little-known fact: Batista was such a
communist sympathizer that even Stalin’s Chilean hagiographer, Pablo
Neruda, once wrote a poem to him). But before reading these lines, had
you ever heard of either of Dorticos or Laredo Bru?

This window-dressing fate awaits Diaz-Canel. Journalists are now
besoiling themselves by claiming all sorts of things about him. Six
months ago, Reuters said he “has already established press and
freedom as signature concerns.” It is often written that he’s a Beatles
fan (the way Andropov liked jazz).

Probably better to listen to what Alejandro Castro says and watch what
he does. This is admittedly onerous, as he’s a humorless Marxist
ideologue who would apply a dialectical analysis to a doughnut. But if
you’re interested in what’s ahead for Cuba, there is, alas, no alternative.

“Cuba will never return to capitalism,” the reclusive Alejandro,
officially an colonel and the head of military intelligence, told
Peruvian-Greek Lasonas Pipinis Velasco in a sweeping 2015
interview.

In it, he applied “the logic of history” to everything from the serfs of
the Middle Ages to John Locke, Bretton Woods and the distinction between
“participative democracy” and “bourgeois representative democracy.” (He
says Cuba practices the former because it constantly holds “popular
consultations.”)

A bit earlier, it was Alejandro, not Diaz-Canal, who conducted the
secret negotiations on the opening with Obama’s outmatched deputy Ben
Rhodes in 2014. It was also Alejandro who received the Cuban spies
charged with the murder of Americans whom Obama obligingly sent to
Havana in 2015. More recently, it was Alejandro who sat next to Obama at
the table when the forty-fourth president visited Havana. And it was
also him who accompanied Raul for the 2015 meeting with Pope Francis.

And again just recently, it was Alejandro again who popped up in Moscow
negotiating, of all things, an agreement on cybersecurity cooperation
with the head of the Russian Security Council, Nicolai Patrushev.

Known in hushed tones in Havana as “One Eye” (El Tuerto) after losing
most of his sight in one eye in Angola, Alejandro has also left his
feelings for the United States known in the book he wrote about
America’s rise, “The Empire of Terror.”

According to the The New York Times, the Trump administration is
reportedly considering measures proposed by Florida Republicans Sen.
Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart that would block deals between
American companies and the Cuban military—measures that would hit the
Castro family where it hurts.

Let’s hope it’s true.

This piece originally appeared in The National Interest

Source: Trump Will Reverse Damage Done by Obama’s Cuba Policy | The
Heritage Foundation –
www.heritage.org/global-politics/commentary/trump-will-reverse-damage-done-obamas-cuba-policy

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