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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Trump opens chasm between himself and Hillary Clinton on Cuba policy

Obama's Cuba policy to be judged by Cuban Americans at the ballot box

Democrat Hillary Clinton versus Republican Donald Trump

Cuban American voters now have a choice not an echo on Cuba policy in the 2016 Presidential election

Cuban American voters now potentially have a reason to turn out in record numbers in the 2016 presidential election. Republican GOP nominee Donald Trump yesterday in Miami announced that he would reverse Obama’s Cuba policy if the Castro regime did not meet his demands that “include religious and political freedom for the Cuban people and the freeing of political prisoners.”

For the first time ever in a presidential election both major party candidates were backing normalizing relations with the Castro regime. This position would have hurt Republicans more than Democrats because part of their base of Cuban American voters, in Hialeah for example, are working class and vote Republican out of their anti-communism, not economic interests. Until yesterday Cuba policy was going to be a wash in the 2016 presidential election with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump supporting Obama's failed Cuba policy.

 “The last time there was a clear choice, a referendum, on U.S. Cuba policy took place between two presidential candidates in 1980, where Jimmy Carter decided to open the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, lifted the travel embargo on Cuba and began direct negotiations with the Castro regime only to be defeated by Ronald Reagan who promised to reverse the policy,” explained Augusto Monge, co founding member of the Free Cuba Foundation. Augusto, also observed that “As in 1980, like today in 2016, the fruits of the normalization policy with the Castro regime are decidedly rotten. The human rights situation in the island has worsened; the regime's subversive influence in Latin America expanded threatening democratic governments friendly to the United States.”

"Cuban American voters who care about a free Cuba now have a clear and contrasting choice not an echo on Cuba policy in this election,” said FCF member John Suarez who added “let us not forget that President Obama along with his GOP adversaries in 2008 and again in 2012 backed maintaining economic sanctions until political prisoners were freed and the fundamental human rights of the Cuban people respected.  This position was also held by previous winning Democratic nominee Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 who did well among Cuban American voters. Once they entered office and no longer had to worry about getting elected then they took on policies unpopular with their Cuban American constituents. This places Hillary Clinton in a disadvantageous position among Cuban-America voters in South Florida. She might want to join Donald Trump and reconsider her position on U.S. – Cuba policy.”

This new contrast over Cuba will test the FIU poll of Miami Cubans that claims strong support for Obama's Cuba policy among Cuban Americans.  In stark contrast, Marco Rubio who repudiated the Obama Cuba policy won the Cuban American vote in Miami-Dade County handily even though he lost the rest of Florida in the Republican primary. Trump's about face on Cuba policy is good news for the GOP in South Florida where Cuban Americans upset over the the administration's December 17, 2014 announcement now potentially have a candidate that they can support. 

Donald J. Trump addresses Bay of Pigs veterans in 1999

Back in 1999 Donald Trump wrote an OpEd in The Miami Herald on Cuba advocating maintaining the embargo:

Published Friday, June 25, 1999, in the Miami Herald


A choice for human rights

Donald J. Trump is a real-estate investor and head of The Trump Organization in New York City.

Several large European investment groups have asked me to take the ``Trump Magic'' to Cuba. They have ``begged'' me to form partnerships to build casino-hotels in Havana. With the influx of foreign tourists, we would make a fortune, they promise, and they are no doubt right. They are also right to say that this type of arrangement would allow me to skirt the U. S.-imposed embargo. 
But rushing to join those who would do business in Cuba would do more than that. It would place me directly at odds with the longstanding U. S. policy of isolating Fidel Castro. I had a choice to make: huge profits or human rights. For me, it was a no-brainer.
I fully understand the familiar arguments for lifting the embargo. The Cold War is over. Castro is on the ropes. Pumping money into his economy would benefit the long-suffering masses. This is the way to ``open up'' Cuba, export democracy, and promote entrepreneurship and independence from the state. We need to put the past behind us.
Each of those arguments is bogus.
The Cold War is indeed over, but it would be instructive to remember the role that Castro played in the struggle between -- yes -- good and evil. He turned his island over to his Soviet patrons. He was quite willing to have nuclear missiles, launched from Cuban soil, destroy American cities. He exported revolution to Central and South America. He abetted Libyan terrorism. He gave asylum to murderers. He posted troops in Africa.
More important, he turned his nation into a maximum-security prison. His regime controls every aspect of human life -- access to food, medical assistance, schools and employment. Castro has not mellowed with age. Terror continues to reign. The secret police are unrestrained. The disappearance and beatings of citizens are still tools of civilian control, as is the suppression of free speech. Castro's ruthless domination of the Cuban people has not lessened even as his regime crumbles.
The real cause of misery of the Cuban people is Castro's Marxist-Leninist economic system -- not the U.S. embargo. Castro's Cuba is a brutal police state; Castro rules through terror, intimidation and brutality.
Castro urgently wants the United States to lift the embargo because he is desperate for hard currency to keep his faltering communist economy afloat. Now, without the generous subsidies from the Soviet Union -- between $5-7 billion dollars a year -- Cuba's economy is reeling.
Of course, he would love Donald Trump to come to Havana and build casino hotels. Why? Not to raise the standard of living for the people of Cuba. Quite the contrary. Almost every dollar would go to prop up his police-state. Why? Because foreign investors cannot legally do business with private Cuban citizens. They can go into business only with the Castro government. It is highly illegal in Cuba for anyone except for the regime to employ a Cuban citizen.
Foreign investors are not allowed to hire or pay Cuban workers. They must pay the government directly for the workers. Castro then pays the workers in worthless Cuban money and keeps the rest. Under these circumstances, my investment cannot help average Cubans -- it can only replace the Soviet subsidy Castro no longer receives.
If I opened a casino/hotel in Havana, I would be required to pay Castro about $10,000 per year for each Cuban worker. But the workers would not benefit. Castro would pay them the equivalent of $10 a month. The rest he uses to pay for the brutal and violent system that keeps him in power -- and deprives the Cuban people of basic human rights. In other words, my investment in Cuba would directly subsidize the oppression of the Cuban people.
Yes, the embargo is costly. If I formed a joint venture with European partners, I would make millions of dollars. But I'd rather lose those millions than lose my self-respect. I would rather take a financial hit than become a financial backer of one of the world's most-brutal dictators, a man who was once willing to aid in the destruction of my country. To me the embargo question is no question at all. Of course, we should keep the embargo in place. We should keep it until Castro is gone.
Copyright 1999 Miami Herald

1 comment:

  1. Guess who was president during this one more evil and disgusting act against long does the list have to be before America wakes up....Cubans please do not vote for the party that brought communism to cuba....the new cuban generation has little idea how prosperous we once were nor do they know how much we suffered ...families torn apart ah that be the democratic party uggh and no one seems to care...they want that to happen here...look at the Adoption and Safe Family Act passed by bill clinton....wake up people stop falling for the media tricks....may the holy Spirit open your eyes of discernment before its too late....look how the media fooled America into kidnapping Elian Gonzales after his mother gave her life in the ocean as she drowned to free her son the democratic party janet reno at gunpoint took Elian and returned him to a life of hatred and communism...the very thing his mother was trying to free him from...please wake up people...stand with a non-politician Donald Trump...