|Clinton and Kerry: No friends of Cuban democracy activists|
First, Jimmy Carter in 1977 negotiated with the Castro regime the opening of Interests Sections in their respective countries that for all intents and purposes have functioned as embassies until April 20, 2015.
Secondly, Bill Clinton in 1994 initiated regular contacts between the U.S. and Cuban military that included joint military exercises at the Guantanamo Naval base. ( Despite his rhetoric George W. Bush continued the practice during his presidency.) Despite this improvement of relations the 1990s saw some of those brutal massacres of Cubans that are rightly remembered such as the July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre and the February 24, 1996 Brothers to the Rescue shoot down. The shoot down involved two planes blown to bits over international airspace by Cuban MiGs killing three American citizens and a Cuban resident who were engaged in the search and rescue of Cuban rafters. Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Cuban spies freed by Obama on December 17, 2014, was serving a life sentence for conspiracy to commit murder for his role in these killings. Jose Basulto, one of the survivors, who escaped in a third plane accuses the Clinton administration of complicity in the killings. Listen to what he has to say here:
Thirdly, since 1996 was an election year and the destruction of civilian airplanes in international airspace could at a minimum be considered an act of state terrorism and at maximum an act of war the Clinton administration had to do something. They had two options a military strike on Cuba or toughening economic sanctions. This is how the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 became law that toughened sanctions.
Almost immediately after being re-elected Bill Clinton sought to undermine sanctions and normalize relations with the Castro dictatorship. The first sitting president to shake hands with Fidel Castro on September 6, 2000 was Bill Clinton. One month later he signed Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TEFRA) that opened trade between the Castro regime and U.S. companies. Opposition in congress led to that trade not being subsidized by U.S. taxpayers by not providing government backed credits ensuring that business would be cash and carry.
Thankfully the future of Cuba depends on what Cubans do and not the vageries of U.S. Cuba policy because as the above history would indicate the Clinton administration sided with the dictatorship not the Cuban people. Prior to Bill Clinton, Cubans fleeing the Castro regime were received into the United States. It was on his watch in 1995 that Cuban refugees were declared migrants and began to be seized on the high seas and deported to communist Cuba.
Unfortunately, among past presidential candidates who ended up in key positions in the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton is not the worse on Cuba policy, that prize would go to John Kerry. Secretary of State Kerry while running for President in 2004 when asked by a reporter what he thought of the Varela Project, an initiative in which tens of thousands of Cubans called for democratic reforms, his response was that it was "counterproductive." Eleven years later the daughter of the man who initiated the Varela Project now martyred was treated shabbily by the Kerry's State Department spokesman. Let me also be fair and report that this is a bipartisan affair and individuals such as Henry Kissinger are equally horrible on human rights in Cuba.
Tomorrow at 9:45am I will be at Florida International University with my poster not only protesting Hillary Clinton's position on Cuba but also her husband's horrible record. It seems that every twenty years when the Castro regime is in a moment of crisis an American president comes in to bail out the dictatorship in the name of stability only making things worse and extending the life of the dictatorship.