A Thaw in Relations Between the United States and Cuba -- What Will It Mean Between the Two Close Next-Door Neighbors -- One Communist, One Free?
Who knows what may happen between now and midnight EDT on the U.S. Atlantic Coast? But for now, the big news is the United States and Cuba are toying with restoring diplomatic relations, and opening trade and travel to make nice with one another. What will it mean between the two close next-door neighbors -- one communist, one free?
Verne Strickland (USA DOT COM)
National and international news sources, and social news reporters like myself are all grappling with how how all this will play out. But, in the interplay between the Cuban communist government and the global powerhouse USA, some tectonic shifts are already taking place.
While NBC dealt with the expected headlines -- diplomatic relations, military adjustments, trade and travel -- reporters like Jose Diaz Ballard tackled some of the more personal issues that American conservatives and patriots -- including me -- are concerned about:
JOSE DIAZ-BALART: MRC
And just within the last hour, this from the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee on the Senate. This is New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez among the things he says in his comments, his statement:
“President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government. There is no equivalence between an international aid worker and convicted spies who where found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage against our nation...
"Trading Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips. I fear that today’s actions will put at risk thousands of Americans that work overseas to support civil society, advocate for access to information, provide humanitarian services, and promote democratic reforms.” Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey releasing that statement just moments ago.
HuffPo: Among the expected changes as a result of the improvement in U.S.-Cuba relations is that licensed American travelers to Cuba will now be able to return to the U.S. with $400 in Cuban goods, including tobacco and alcohol products worth less than $100 combined. This means the long-standing ban on importing Cuban cigars is over, although there are still limits, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the official White House announcement.
the right scoop: John Bolton says that even worse than the mistake of dealing with Cuba bilaterally is the message this sends to the world:
The president for his own ideological reasons has reversed 55 years of American policy. So our adversaries all around the world will be saying ‘two years to go in the Obama administration; now is the time to line up and get what we want.’Regarding Cuba itself, Bolton says it is a mistake to think that giving Cuba a benefit will suddenly turn it into a free society. And he plainly calls Obama’s policy on Cuba ‘appeasement’.
This is a very, very bad signal of weakness and lack of resolve by the President of the United States.
But Obama says it's time to change the policy. He says it was obvious to him that it hadn’t made a difference in changing the status of democracy in Cuba.
“I do not believe we can keep doing the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result,” he said, “Moreover, it does not serve America's interests or the Cuban people to try to push Cuba towards collapse.”
Obama urged Cubans who were concerned about America’s attempt to “colonize” the country to put their grievances behind them.
“Let us leave behind the legacy of both colonization and communism, the tyranny of drug cartels, dictators and sham elections,” he said. “A future of greater peace, security and democratic development is possible if we work together. Not to maintain power, not to secure vested interests but instead to advance the dreams of our citizens.”