Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Castro, Kissinger, Carter, Clinton, Obama and the Long Game

The New Cuba Policy: How did we get here?  Pt. 3

Carter and Clinton have done more than Obama to normalize relations
 President Barack Obama's claim on December 17, 2014 that he was making "the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years" is patently untrue when he says that they would begin the normalization of relations with the Castro regime. The two men who have achieved the most significant changes on Cuba policy to date are Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. President Obama still has a way to go in terms of policy but has achieved one significant and shameful change: swapped three of the Castro regime's terrorist spies (one of which was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder of four Americans) for Alan Gross, an innocent man who should have never been arbitrarily detained for five years in a Cuban prison.

Fidel Castro and Jimmy Carter
On March 19, 1977 President Jimmy Carter allowed the US travel restrictions to lapse. Six months later on September 1, 1977 Carter opened the U.S. Interests Section in Havana where the old U.S. Embassy had been and the Castro regime opens an Interests Section in Washington, DC. If  Jimmy Carter had been re-elected President in 1980 he would have completed normalizing relations with the Castro regime. American voters decided differently and elected President Ronald Reagan in 1980 who on April 19, 1982 re-established the travel ban and tightened trade sanctions against Castro regime. Restoring full diplomatic relations would entail changing stationary, business cards and appointing an Ambassador in practical terms. Jimmy Carter did all the heavy lifting 37 years ago. None of this changed the behavior of the Castro regime which succeeded in overthrowing the Somoza regime in Nicaragua and installing the Sandinista regime, a Marxist dictatorship while at the same time assisting in a genocide in Ethiopia. Twenty five years later Jimmy Carter was the first president to visit Fidel Castro in Cuba.

Bill Clinton and dictator Fidel Castro shake hands in NY

Bill Clinton shook hands with Fidel Castro in September of 2000 and a month later signed the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act and opened cash and carry trade with the Castro dictatorship at the end of his Administration.  At the time of its passage,  Fidel Castro said "his country would not buy 'even a grain of rice' under the current terms."  The Cuban dictator ended up buying much more than a grain of rice under those terms. Between 2000 and 2013 American companies have sold $4.689 billion dollars in goods to the Castro regime on a cash and carry basis.

According to Raul Castro in a December 2008 interview with Sean Penn under the Clinton Administration a new relationship was initiated between the Castro regime's military and the United States military : "We've had permanent contact with the US military, by secret agreement, since 1994." Not only contacts but joint military exercises. Again the source is Raul Castro:
"It is based on the premise that we would discuss issues only related to Guantánamo. On February 17, 1993, following a request by the United States to discuss issues related to buoy locators for ship navigations into the bay, was the first contact in the history of the revolution. Between March 4 and July 1, the Rafters Crisis took place. A military-to-military hot line was established, and on May 9, 1995, we agreed to monthly meetings with primaries from both governments. To this day, there have been 157 meetings, and there is a taped record of every meeting. The meetings are conducted on the third Friday of every month. We alternate locations between the American base at Guantánamo and in Cuban-held territory. We conduct joint emergency-response exercises. For example, we set a fire, and American helicopters bring water from the bay, in concert with Cuban helicopters.
On Clinton's watch the Castro regime shot down two civilian planes in international airspace in a premeditated and calculated conspiracy that allegedly included members of the Clinton Administration and the Cuban Wasp spy net work that would be broken up on September 12, 1998 when it was discovered that they had planned acts of sabotage and terrorism on American soil, including the murder of an alleged CIA agent living in Bal Harbour Florida. During the Clinton Administration a threat assessment was prepared by the Department of Defense that reported Cuba was no longer a threat to the national interests of the United States, but in 2001 it was discovered that the main author of the report, Ana Belen Montes, was a long time agent of  the Castro regime. Fulton Armstrong, a harsh critic of U.S. pro-democracy programs suspected of leaking information to the Associated Press was a close confidante of Castro's spy at the Pentagon.

President Barack Obama and dictator Raul Castro
 Despite the 2003 crackdown on dissidents known as the Black Cuban Spring where the Bush Administration tightened sanctions on being able to travel to Cuba and set limits lower on remittances sent to the island. However, nothing was changed in the cash and carry sales made by U.S. companies to the Castro regime.Towards the end of the Bush Administration in August of 2008 the Cuban government announced that the United States was its fifth leading trading partner. Despite the rhetoric the joint military exercises continued through out the eight years of the Bush Administration, and not surprisingly have continued under the Obama Administration. In 2009 President Barack Obama loosened embargo restrictions and four years later shook hands with Raul Castro at Mandela's funeral in South Africa on December 10, 2013 while human rights defenders in Cuba were being beaten up and arbitrarily detained on International Human Rights day.

Dictator Fidel Castro and Vice President Richard Nixon
Ironically, the first U.S. president to shake hands with Fidel Castro was Richard Nixon on April 5, 1959 when he was President Eisenhower's Vice President. Nixon met with Fidel Castro for two and a half hours in what was supposed to be a 15 minute meeting. Fidel Castro described the meeting as "very friendly." Ironic because after Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974 to avoid impeachment in the Watergate scandal it was his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who made a serious attempt to normalize relations with the Castro regime during the Ford Administration.

Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller
At the time Secretary  Kissinger was engaged in diplomatic outreach in 1975 with the Khmer Rouge who he himself recognized were murderous thugs he was also advocating lifting the embargo on Cuba and normalizing relations with Fidel Castro.  Kissinger has also had a close relationship with David Rockefeller, a man who always opposed sanctions on Fidel Castro and hosted the Cuban tyrant at a dinner at the Rockefeller family's Westchester County, N.Y., estate in 1995. 

Fidel Castro and David Rockefeller
President Barack Obama's new Cuba policy is neither brave nor the "most significant" in the past half century but part of the Establishment's long game to normalize relations with the Castro regime that stretches back at least 39 years.

This is the third of three reflections (The New Cuba Policy: How did we get here?) in a multifactorial analysis of what is taking place on Cuba policy today. The first part looked at the state of the United States in 2014 and why it would be susceptible to the machinations of the campaign underway. The second part provided an overview of totalitarian networks and why democracies have difficulty defending themselves from them.

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