FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fixing U.S. Intervention Capabilities in Cuba

by

What people think seemingly has little effect on ending what Cubans say is the longest and cruelest economic blockade in human history.  Polls show overall U.S. disapproval, Cuban-Americans included. The UN General Assembly has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected the blockade. The prestigious Atlantic Council NGO recently disapproved. Former high-profile blockade defenders in Florida, notably gubernatorial candidate Charley Crist and Cuban-American sugar baron Alfonso Fajul, changed their thinking.  U.S. food producers, Illinois corn producers most recently, have called for new regulatory arrangements allowing exports to expand.

Even President Obama, fundraising in Miami in November 2013, lectured Cuba’s enemies. “[T]he notion that the same policies that we put in place in 1961 would somehow still be as effective as they are today …  doesn’t make sense.”   Yet those in charge don’t budge.

Nevertheless, Josefina Vidal, head of the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s U.S. department, was in Washington on May 16 to discuss unspecified topics with Roberta Jacobson, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. AFP news noted that previous bi-national contacts, technically oriented, “are not comparable to Vidal’s visit to Washington, which constitutes high-level diplomatic dialogue.”

Then a real breakthrough seemed to materialize. According to a report, “44 former high U.S. government officials on May 19 … sent an open letter to President Barack Obama asking for an improvement in Washington’s relations with Cuba.” They included John Negroponte, former Director of National Intelligence, Deputy Secretary of State, and veteran ambassador, including at the United Nations.

Joining him were five former deputy or assistant secretaries of state, two former heads of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, a former NATO supreme commander who once headed the U.S. Southern Command, an ex – U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States, three former cabinet members, several former ambassadors, and David Rockefeller. Financiers, businesspersons, and NGO heads signed on.

In fact, the letter conveyed interventionist recommendations as to new ways to make the blockade effective. “Now more than ever,” it claimed, “the United States can help the Cuban people determine their own destiny by building on the U.S. policy reforms that have already been started” by the Obama administration. The United States should “deepen contacts between the U.S. and Cuban society [and] help Cubans increase their self-reliance and independence.” “[T]his window of opportunity may not remain open indefinitely,” the letter cautioned. Now “public opinion on Cuba policy has shifted toward greater engagement with the Cuban people.” And, “the U.S. is finding itself increasingly isolated internationally in its Cuba policy.”

Rather than engage with Cubans through ending the blockade, or bow to international opinion, the signatories remain faithful to old U.S. purposes. They urged the President to take executive actions, because “In the current political climate little can be done legislatively.” The 1996 Helms Burton Law did leave the fate of the blockade up to Congress.

The President is urged to “Expand and safeguard travel to Cuba for all Americans,“ specifically “licensed travel to include exchanges by professional organizations including those specializing in law, real estate and land titling, [also] financial services and credit.” “NGOs and academic institutions” having gained “expanded travel” could “open Cuban bank accounts with funds to support their educational programs in Cuba.” Travel suggestions are lacking for other Americans.

Obama should, “Allow unlimited remittances to non-family members for the purpose of supporting independent activity in Cuba,” also grant “new licenses for the provision of professional services to independent Cuban entrepreneurs.”

The long list of recommendations includes: U.S. loans “directly to small farmers, cooperatives, self-employed individuals, and micro-enterprises in Cuba,” sales of “telecommunications hardware,” and scholarships for “exceptional Cuban students.”

The President should authorize “the import and export of certain goods and services between the U.S. private sector and independent Cuban entrepreneurs.”  Presidential discretion would be used for implementing this far-reaching proposal which presumably would exempt it from congressional authority.

Miami-area Congressperson Joe Garcia, former head of the counter-revolutionary Cuban American National Foundation, commented. “The president’s policy of allowing more travel and remittances to Cuba,” he said, “has produced more change in Cuba in the last five years than the previous 50 years.“  He thus articulated the establishment notion evident in this letter that a dependent Cuban people aren’t capable of shaping their own destiny, and shouldn’t have tried.

Former high officials of the national government fashioned the letter. They were reacting, one assumes, to the threat of a near-by social revolution, one reverberating through the centers of U.S. power for half a century. The list of names below the letter documents where parties primarily responsible for U.S. counter-revolutionary policies may be found. That would be in and around Washington, not in southern Florida where Cuban exiles, who supplied the proxy warriors, often take most of the heat for the blockade’s long duration.

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a retired pediatrician and political journalist living in Maine.  

 

 

 

 

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a retired pediatrician and political journalist living in Maine.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail