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President Obama’s Cuban foreign policy fails his legacy

Written By | Aug 17, 2016

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., August 17, 2016 — Donald Trump’s August 15 speech on foreign policy provided some broad elements of his foreign policy plan. Though details are to be released over time, at its heart, it is a rejection of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy.

For many Americans, the violent realities in Europe this year, abetted by the European Union’s liberal, incautious policies on immigration from terrorist lands, have taken a temporary back seat to summertime.

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The Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady reminds us of the world beyond and supposedly apart from the war on terror.

This month marks the first anniversary of President Obama’s unilateral rapprochement with Cuba. Upon making the Dec. 17 announcement, the Obama administration immediately moved to ease restrictions on American travel to the island and, by extension, boost revenues for the owners of its tourist industry: the Cuban military.

In May the U.S. removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, even though the dictator Gen. Raúl Castro harbors known terrorists, including the U.S. fugitive Joanne Chesimard, once a member of the now defunct Black Liberation Army and a convicted cop-killer.

In August the U.S. reopened an embassy in Havana. Last week it announced a bilateral agreement to restore direct flights between the U.S. and Cuba.

Cuba’s dissidents have been hard hit. Days after the new U.S. policy was announced, Danilo Maldonado, the Cuban performance artist known as El Sexto, was arrested for mocking the Castros. He spent 10 months in jail, and Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience.

There is no terrorism there, just run-of-the-mill tyranny as imposed by the Castro on their people.

But this year marks a change since the “People’s Revolution” first destroyed private control in favor of socialism 50 years ago. The difference is the imprimatur the Castro brothers, Fidel and Raoul,  can claim from President Barack Obama.

When the president normalized U.S. relations with Cuba, he followed a path trod earlier by the Hollywood left’s celebrated activists: actors like Benicio del Toro and Sean Penn; religious leaders like Jesse Jackson and Pope Francis; celebrities like David Byrne and Stephen Spielberg; and all those young people for whom revolution is sexy.

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Did Obama expect or hope that human rights would suddenly improve because he was nice to the Castro brothers? Did the plight of individuals even enter into the calculation? More likely, he wanted to bring Cuba into his fold because the logic of an all-knowing government “guiding” its citizens fits his view of civics.

According to O’Grady:

If President Obama’s December 2014 softening of U.S. policy toward Cuba was supposed to elicit some quid pro quo on human rights from Havana, it has so far failed. Independent groups that monitor civil liberties on the island say conditions have deteriorated in these 20 months since the Obama decision to normalize relations …

According to Guillermo Farinas, a 54-year old psychologist and winner of the European Parliament’s Andrei Sakharov Prize, Cuba’s state policy of torturing and arresting dissidents and confiscating their property continues unabated.

Fellow statist Pope Francis has joined Obama in turning the other cheek to the tyrants of Cuba. He has hosted Cuba’s current leader, Raul Castro, at the Vatican.

O’Grady writes,

The Holy Father might also try to lend some help to the peaceful, flower-bearing Ladies in White. On their way to Mass on Sundays trey are beaten, kicked and pelted with stones by Castro surrogates. They’re often arrested. Recently 10 were dragged off to jail because they draped a Cuban flag over the casket of a friend at her funeral.

Four members of the group have been in prison, without trial, since April 15 for participating in a peaceful protest. One of them, Yaquelin Heredia Morales, is being held in a facility exclusively for HIV/AIDS prisoners though she does not carry the virus.

Leftists never think of socialism in terms of food lines, brutality and eventual tyranny. They argue that where socialism doesn’t work well, it is because of poor implementation. The failure can never be attributed to the philosophy; it is never the result of people left unable to exercise their own free will.

President Obama has made his bed. He lies there with Raul and Fidel Castro and with the Holy Father. They all look the other way as individuals lose their freedoms. After all, if a few eggs get broken along the way making the omelet, what difference does it make?

Karen Cacy

Karen Hagestad Cacy, of Colorado Springs, is a former Washington speechwriter and transportation lobbyist. Raised in Portland, Oregon, she holds a BA degree in Russian and Middle East Studies from Portland State University (and American University in Cairo.) Her four novels are available on She is also the author of two plays.Amazon Link to Books