If you read the speech Pres. Obama gave in Havana yesterday, you’ll find that he dedicated all of two paragraphs to the usual platitudes he resorts to after every terrorist attack,
We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally, [insert country name here] in bringing to justice those who are responsible . . . We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.
We have heard it before, and will continue to hear it. Just this year there have been 22 Islamist attacks around the world, leaving hundreds dead and thousands wounded. Notice how “those who threaten the safety and security” are never called what they are, Islamists, since it does not fit the narrative. As Andrew McCarthy points out,
The dangerous flipside to our government’s insistence on making up its own version of Islam is that anyone who is publicly associated with Islam must be deemed peaceful.
However, Obama – in his pursuit of a legacy – went to Havana to bury the Cold War, but not the Communist Castro regime, so he rolled out his speech.
Unlike Antony, who went to bury Caesar and not to praise him, Obama (who elevated Communist tyrant Raul Castro to the title of “president”) praised the “system of education which values every boy and every girl,” while ignoring that the purpose Cuba’s educational system is to indoctrinate every Cuban child to the service of the government into reporting any anti-regime activity of their parents to the neighborhood Comité de la Revolución.
Likewise, Obama believes that lifting the so-called embargo will magically mean that,
It should be easier to open a business here in Cuba. A worker should be able to get a job directly with companies who invest here in Cuba. Two currencies shouldn’t separate the type of salaries that Cubans can earn. The Internet should be available across the island so that Cubans can connect to the wider world and to one of the greatest engines of growth in human history.
The embargo was put in place after the Communist regime expropriated private property – for which American citizens have never been compensated. Dozens of foreign countries have transacted business in Cuba ever since.
The facts are that to this day all commercial, civic, and public activity is tightly controlled by an oppressive regime. All business activity must be funneled through the government, including the tourism industry, which is owned by the military. All lawyers in Cuba work for the government. All foreign business proposals are reviewed in the light of what will benefit the government. You do business in Cuba, you pay the government, which in turn pays the workers a legal maximum salary of about US$20/month.
And, by the way, the two currencies Obama mentioned remain firmly in place.
As for the Internet, Cuba continues to have some of the most restrictive internet access in the world.
Following the speech, Obama met with 13 Cuban dissidents:
At least three of those on the list were arrested on Sunday: dissident leaders Antonio Rodiles and Jose Daniel Ferrer and Ladies in White chief organizer Berta Soler.
One dissident on the list, Elizardo Sánchez, told international media that the Cuban government had threatened those on a larger list of invitees not to attend the meeting, but most defied it.
In Obama’s dream world, his speech has turned Raul Castro’s regime into a wonderland. In reality, the regime is perpetuated and legitimized while the oppressed are ignored.
So Obama can “bury the Cold War” all he wants; the facts, in this case, are not “better than dreams,” like Churchill said.
The facts are, and will continue to be, much worse.
[If you would like to listen to a discussion on business conditions in Cuba, please listen to Silvio Canto’s podcast (sound starts right away).]
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.