Latin American leaders made clear to President Obama the policies over the past half century of isolating Cuba have failed and it was time to explore new roads. “There is no more Cold War,” shouted Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in urging the American president to put aside old anger and deal with life in the 21st century. Prior to the meeting Obama lifted restrictions on visiting Cuba and will allow relatives to send money back to their old home. Even as the discussions progressed Raul Castro insisted his country was ready to discuss “everything” in an open dialogue with Washington. He even got specific concerning what he would discuss with the United States. “We’ve told the North American government that we are prepared to discuss everything– human rights, freedom of the press political prisoners–everything, everything.”
Which approach will lead to freedom in Cuba– isolation and anger or discussion and openness?
Fifty years ago, I sat glued to a television screen in January, 1959 watching the bearded heroes of Cuba swing joyously down the streets of liberated Havana and felt pride in the efforts of these young Cuban men and women who had driven out the hated dictator, Batista. Today, the dream of a free Cuba has long since died under the stifling control of the Castro brothers and all they represent of ancient rhetoric about freedom that exists in their minds, but not in the reality of the everyday lives of Cubans. Hundreds of dissident voices are locked in jails and gays and lesbians are persecuted by a regime that ostensibly represented the new world of freedom. Each week, the Dames de Blanco (Ladies in White) march together to St.Rita’s church in protest in protest against the imprisonment of their husbands who dared to speak out for freedom in Cuba.
The “Revolution” has brought excellent free medical care to the population and its schools produce excellent graduates in many areas such as medicine. People have sufficient, if boring, food and there are no outward differences between people as exist in capitalist nations. Hopefully, the Obama administration will restore relations with Cuba and open the door for more freedom and a better standard of living. Fortunately, the old anti-Castro crowd in Miami is now old and their children may be more receptive to dialogue.
Conflicting reports out of Russia and Cuba have added to confusion surrounding rumors Cuba will become a refueling stop for Russian nuclear military bombers. Monday’s Isvestiya, cited a “highly placed military source” as the basis for its report the Kremlin wanted to use Cuba as a base for its long range Tu-160 and Tu-95 strategic nuclear bombers. According to this anonymous source, “While they are deploying the anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic, our long-range strategic aircraft already will be landing in Cuba.” Isvestiya is regarded as an unofficial conduit of what the Kremlin is thinking.
However, Russia’s Defense Ministry poured cold water on the report yesterday. Ilshat Baichurin, acting head of the defense ministry’s information department said: “Russia, guided by its peaceful policy, is not creating military bases at the borders of other states.”
The real question is why President Bush once again created a problem where none existed. There is no rational defense for building anti-missile systems in Poland or the Czech Republic if the goal is preventing an Iranian or North Korean attack. North Korea is cooperating with the UN and other nations to halt its nuclear program. Iran lacks capability to send missiles to Europe. The more obvious question is why would Iran fire missiles at Europe knowing full well their own nation would be blasted by nuclear weapons which are in the possession of France and Great Britain?
Posted in Conservatives, Democrats, George Bush, Human Rights, Liberals, Military, Peace, Politics, Republicans, Russia, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Bush, Cuba, missile system, Russian bombers