Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Barack Obama: A New Cuba Policy!

Guts + Vision + Eloquence = Leadership!
I just gotta like this guy. The return of Kennedy tradition in Democratic Party, without the family estate and compound. Here is his Op-Ed in the Miami Herald:
When my father was a young man living in Kenya, the freedom and opportunity of the United States exerted such a powerful draw that he moved halfway around the world to pursue his dreams here. My father's story is not unique. The same has been true for tens of millions of people, from every continent -- including for the many Cubans who have come and made their lives here since the start of Fidel Castro's dictatorship almost 50 years ago.

It is a tragedy that, just 90 miles from our shores, there exists a society where such freedom and opportunity are kept out of reach by a government that clings to discredited ideology and authoritarian control. A democratic opening in Cuba is, and should be, the foremost objective of our policy. We need a clear strategy to achieve it -- one that takes some limited steps now to spread the message of freedom on the island, but preserves our ability to bargain on behalf of democracy with a post-Fidel government.

The primary means we have of encouraging positive change in Cuba today is to help the Cuban people become less dependent on the Castro regime in fundamental ways. U.S. policy must be built around empowering the Cuban people, who ultimately hold the destiny of Cuba in their hands. The United States has a critical interest in seeing Cuba join the roster of stable and economically vibrant democracies in the Western Hemisphere. Such a development would bring us important security and economic benefits, and it would allow for new cooperation on migration, counter-narcotics and other issues.

Advance Political Reform

These interests, and our support for the aspirations of the Cuban people, are ill served by the further entrenchment of the Castro regime, which is why we need to advance peaceful political and economic reform on the island. Castro's ill health and the potentially tumultuous changes looming ahead make the matter all the more urgent.

Unfortunately, the Bush administration has made grand gestures to that end while strategically blundering when it comes to actually advancing the cause of freedom and democracy in Cuba. This is particularly true of the administration's decision to restrict the ability of Cuban Americans to visit and send money to their relatives in Cuba. This is both a humanitarian and a strategic issue. That decision has not only had a profoundly negative impact on the welfare of the Cuban people. It has also made them more dependent on the Castro regime and isolated them from the transformative message carried there by Cuban Americans.

In the ''Cuban spring'' of the late 1990s and early years of this decade, dissidents and human-rights activists had more political space than at any time since the beginning of Castro's rule, and Cuban society experienced a small opening in advancing the cause of freedom for the Cuban people.

U.S. policies -- especially the fact that Cuban Americans were allowed to maintain and deepen ties with family on the island -- were a key cause of that ''Cuban spring.'' Although cut off by the Castro regime's deplorable March 2003 jailing of 75 of Cuba's most prominent and courageous dissidents, the opening underscored what is possible with a sensible strategic approach.

We in the United States should do what we can to bring about another such opening, taking certain steps now-and pledging to take additional steps as temporary openings are solidified into lasting change.

Cuban-American connections to family in Cuba are not only a basic right in humanitarian terms, but also our best tool for helping to foster the beginnings of grass-roots democracy on the island. Accordingly, I will grant Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island.

But as we reach out in some ways now, it makes strategic sense to hold on to important inducements we can use in dealing with a post-Fidel government, for it is an unfortunate fact that his departure by no means guarantees the arrival of freedom on the island.

Bilateral Talks

Accordingly, I will use aggressive and principled diplomacy to send an important message: If a post-Fidel government begins opening Cuba to democratic change, the United States (the president working with Congress) is prepared to take steps to normalize relations and ease the embargo that has governed relations between our countries for the last five decades. That message coming from my administration in bilateral talks would be the best means of promoting Cuban freedom. To refuse to do so would substitute posturing for serious policy -- and we have seen too much of that in other areas over the past six years.

We must not lose sight of our fundamental goal: freedom in Cuba. At the same time, we should be pragmatic in our approach and clear-sighted about the effects of our policies. We all know the power of the freedom and opportunity that America at its best has both embodied and advanced. If deployed wisely, those ideals will have as transformative effect on Cubans today as they did on my father more than 50 years ago.
I cannot explain why, but when I listen to Senator Barak Obama, I hear the voice of Robert F. Kennedy. If not his words.

15 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Yellow Dog said...

"There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

8/21/2007 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Oh really, ?
I thought Obama was just another political stooge, for special interest, big business Globalism.

I didn`t know that a 'real' candidate could actually be put up that was other than that.

Are you sure that you are not just romanticising this person ?

Perhaps trying to reconcile an idealistic notion, that has not really existed in this country since the late 1940`s ?, and even then was not really real ?

I can not really tell the difference from one to the other.

It seems that both sides of these players endorse the same basic concepts that will insure our destruction.

System change ?
Maybe that would break the spell.

8/21/2007 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger MadMike said...

Excellent Kennedy quote Yellow Dog. Truly one of my favorite. I certainly agree Vigil that Obama is a refreshing change from the dullwarts that have plagued for years. He has good ideas and knows how to express them. He is my guy in 2008.

8/21/2007 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger TomCat said...

Good article, Vig. The US got off on the wrong foot with the new Castro government in the early 1960s, by demanding that US corporations continue their domination of the sugar industry and refusing to go along with the agrarian reform Castro had promised in his rise to power. What followed was a game of one upsmanship that virtually forced Castro into the Soviet camp. Had the US been willing to take a progressive populist approach then, much of suffering of the last 50 years could have been avoided, because Castro was open to a positive relation with the US at the outset. He's probably too set in his ways now to budge, but he's running out of time, and the more positive inroads we make now, the better the chances for a more moderate Cuba after Castro's death. I'm not an Obama supporter, but on this issue, he's on the right track.

8/21/2007 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Anybody here know that Castro was trained along with Che` and Raul, at the beginning, and supported with money ? , by the C.I.A.?
When he 'turned', because of information he received, by a certain person, from a certain group, he became public enemy number 1.

Like Saddam , they never forgive that. Saddam was C.I.A. trained/sponsored originally.

8/21/2007 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...

A prediction:

Obama will be someone's running mate. He's going to the White House.

8/21/2007 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

A prediction :

It won`t make any difference.

He is a fraud politician, as are the Repub counter candidates.

He is a deluded religious fanatic, also.
They pick em like that.

He is another holder of the colors of Globalism. Another standard bearer of that.

8/21/2007 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Boris said...

Prediction: Here's the way it's going to be, unless there's an act of God:

Rove says HRC is going into the general election as seriously flawed candidate. That's of course, is a lie. She is not going into the general election. she's going into the primaries. It's also Rove's bluff: he's really sizing up HRC as the eventual primary winner and he's trying to get a start on sticking her in her eye.

Democrats should ignore the son-of-a-bitch. In the Primaries we fall in love. In the general election we fall in line. In the meantime, everything that Rove says should be ridiculed. If he attacks Clinton, then attack Rove; if he attacks Edwards, then we attack Rove. If he attacks Obama, then attack Rove.

Act like this political season is a war. Against terror. Because it is.

8/21/2007 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

I'm not going along with Tomcat on his pro-Castro trip. No need to give Fidel a pass on anything, IMO. But now, both he and brother Raul are basically toast. I think liberalizing relations with Cuba will tend to isolate Venezuela. There's a closer tie - potentially - between Cuba and Florida than between Cuba and Venezuela. (Both Cuba and Florida speak Cuban Spanish!) Besides, Hugo is the next Fidel. He should not get satellites pushed into his arms.

8/21/2007 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger GetaLife-ReadUrNews said...

In my book Hugo Chavez is a left-wing Dubya and Dubya is a right wing Hugo. There is plenty of extra-constitutional egotism and demagogic envy between them. Both of them are predatory imperialist executives. Both should leave office with their heads on spikes.

8/21/2007 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger Suzie-Q (S-Q) said...

Great post Vigil!

I like Edwards but I will vote for the Dem who will be running.. before I vote for any Repig!

8/21/2007 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger adynaton said...

There's eloquence in this nice, symmetrical piece of writing alright. It seems like something written for Miami immigrants and I can't really relate to much of what it says, but just imagining hearing a US president begin a speech with "when my father was a young man living in Kenya" makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

8/22/2007 12:40:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

The candidates in general, are a reflection of the system, and not really creatively looking for functional governance.

The U.S. is a patch work of special interest groups, driven forward by greed and fear.

The system spits out these candidates, and carefully screens them to maintain the real control.

A little variety is offered now and then, but not much.

The divide and conquer aspect of our fake political system must be maintained.

8/22/2007 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger TomCat said...

Skip, while Castro did get CIA support, it was not until relatively late in his campaign. I think the CIA tried to jump on the bandwagon in an attempt to influence the apparent winner.

Messenger, whether you go along or not does not change the facts of the matter. Take a look at the history. You might learn something. :-)

8/22/2007 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Your wrong Tomcat.
Castro and crew were trained while in the mountains by C.I.A. --

Weapons, money, etc.

This is not well known.

8/22/2007 06:16:00 PM  

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