Richard Olivastro

Within days, Mr. Obama received the “good will” he requested directly from Fidel Castro. The father of the Cuban revolution wrote in an essay posted on a government Web site that Obama "without a doubt misinterpreted Raul's declarations.”

The elder Castro apparently was throwing cold water on the orchestrated attempts to change bilateral relations. Those attempts started shortly after the election, and the seeds were fertilized further by Congressional Black Caucus members during their recent visit to Cuba.

Fidel Castro blasted the new U.S. president for showing signs of "superficiality." He also defended Cuba's right to levy a 10 percent fee on every U.S. dollar sent to relatives on the island by Cuban-Americans.

Bingo. It’s the money.

The 10 percent fee is a pirates’ tax on dollars that heretofore have found their way into Cuba. In reality, the Castro pirates get their part of the ‘skim’ off the total dollars sent by U. S. relatives.

It’s the ransom that all of the real-life “Pirates of the Caribbean” exact on others.

If President Obama wants to cut through the diplomatic clutter, here is a clear and concise message he should publicly communicate in response directly to pirate Fidel – and simultaneously to all of the other “Pirates of the Caribbean”: “No Fidel, I did not misunderstand Raul”. “And, neither should you or he misunderstand me. Here is our offer: Free all prisoners unconditionally and remove any and all taxes, fees, or surcharges on U.S. dollars, or any other money, coming into Cuba. Do these things, unequivocally; and bilateral relations will improve.”

Richard Olivastro

Richard Olivastro is a professional member of the National Speakers Association, president of People Dynamics, an executive leadership development company, and founder of Citizens For Change.
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