|President Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice earlier today|
(1) describes the U.S. vision for normalization with Cuba and how our policy aligns with U.S. national security interests; (2) assesses progress toward normalization; (3) describes the current and foreseen strategic landscape; (4) describes priority objectives for normalization; and (5) directs actions required to implement this PPD.It also serves as a useful guideline for a critical appraisal that was not present today at The Wilson Center when National Security Adviser Susan Rice made the case for the President's Cuba policy without mentioning the worsening collapse in trade between the United States and Cuba over the past three years, the exodus of over a 100,000 Cuban refugees to the United States since December 2014, and the return of a Russian military presence to Cuba after a decades long absence. Not to mention rising violence and repression against Cuban dissidents during the Obama administration not seen in years.
Instead the big news was about Cuban rum and cigars, produced from factories and lands stolen from their owners, could now be brought back by Americans who had visited Cuba putting an end to sanctions initiated by President John Kennedy over half a century ago. Ambassador Rice spent a lot of time talking about the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and how they had transcended those times of distrust. She failed to mention that the same men who lobbied the Soviet Union to launch a nuclear first strike on the United States remain in power today, and asked the Russians to do it again in the 1980s.
The Obama Administration vision of normalization is guided by the following concerns:
- The security of the United States, its citizens, and U.S. allies and partners.
|Spy convicted of murder conspiracy freed by Obama honored by Raul Castro|
- A strong, innovative, and growing U.S. economy in an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity.
- Respect for universal values at home and around the world.
Second, the U.S. embassy in Cuba floated a trial balloon that announced that the United States government accepted that U.S. citizens of Cuban descent born in the United States are not recognized by the Castro regime as Americans but as Cuban nationals subject to the dictatorship's laws and regulations. Even though one was born in the United States and has never applied for dual nationality in Cuba they are treated as a Cuban born by the Castro regime in terms of responsibilities but not rights and the Obama State Department went along with it in order to have "normal relations." This also means that these U.S. citizens would be denied consular access in Cuba. The State Department had to back track in May of 2016 when this trial balloon sunk amidst negative press coverage and popular outrage.
- A rules-based international order that promotes peace, security, and opportunity.
Freedom will return to Cuba some day, but the Obama administration's engagement with the dictatorship that begin in 2009 has and will extend the life of the Castro regime as Bill Clinton's engagement with Fidel Castro in the 1990s gave another twenty years to the totalitarians in Cuba. Sadly over the past seven years opposition leaders who could have led a democratic transition, such as Laura Pollán and Oswaldo Payá, were killed in what appears to have been extrajudicial killings carried out by Castro's intelligence agents.