"The life of the Cuban revolution is in the balance! We rectify or we sink!" (Raul Castro Dec. 18, 2010)
“Cuba will be bankrupt in 2011.” (Italian ambassador to Cuba, Wikileaks Cable)
“Here I come to save the day!” (U.S. President Barack Obama, Jan. 14th 2011)
But unlike Andy Kaufman on his first Saturday Night Live skit, President Obama hoped to keep his Castro-rescue quiet. He waited till after the November elections (Florida Democrats could be besmirched by a Democratic bail-out of Castro) to sign the executive order, then announced it on a Friday afternoon, slowest news period of the week. His Presidential order further loosens travel and remittance restrictions to Castro’s fiefdom from the U.S., which sounds pretty harmless and innocuous as presented by his chums in the media. After all, the goal is simply to increase “people-to-people” contacts between Americans and Cubans.
But Cuba-watchers weren’t fooled and America’s “Tea-Party Candidate,” Senator Marco Rubio, reacted promptly:
"I strongly oppose any new changes that weaken U.S. policy towards Cuba,” he said Friday afternoon. “I was opposed to the changes that have already been made by this Administration and I oppose these new changes...It is unthinkable that the administration would enable the enrichment of a Cuban regime that routinely violates the basic human rights and dignity of its people."
Note that I wrote “further loosens.” And Senator Rubio mentions, “changes that have already been made by this administration.” Because they hear the term alongside every mention of Cuba by the MSM, most Americans probably think the U.S. actually “embargoes” Cuba. Can’t blame them. But in fact:
The U.S. has transacted more than $2 billion worth of business with Castro’s Cuba in the last decade. Until last year, the U.S. served as Castro’s Cuba’s biggest food supplier and fifth biggest import partner. Furthermore, the U.S. has been Castro’s Cuba’s biggest donor of humanitarian aid including medicine and medical supplies for decades. Last year a defector from Castro’s regime revealed that owing to Obama’s earlier “loosening” of remittance restrictions to Cuba, almost $2 billion a year in remittances were succoring the cash-strapped Castro regime. This ranks the U.S. right between Red China and Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela as Castro’s lifeline. At this rate we’ll soon be number one. Some “embargo.”
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.