Monday, December 20, 2010

US-CUBA relations at a deadly crossroad, Part I

Alberto N. Jones
December 18, 2010

During a highly anticipated campaign speech in Miami in May 2008, Barack Obama drew a thunderous applause from a large audience, when he denounced president George W. Bush failed isolationist policy towards Cuba.

He went on to say, if elected, he would name a special envoy to Latin America, invest millions of dollars in a region that had been neglected, open travel to Cuba especially for Cuban-Americans, because they would be the best ambassadors of democracy and he further expressed his willingness to discuss existing political differences with the Cuban government.

Two years after, the only promise kept by now President Barack Obama has been, relaxing the Cuban-Americans travel regulations, a boost to Miami’s Cuba-related economy and an incredible 64% approval rate in that city, in a recent Bendixen poll.

At the same time, Cuban-Americans from across the United States have expressed their total support for these new regulations, by voting in mass with their feet, as they travel to their homeland in droves, despite lingering, unfriendly, quasi hostile treatment by some Immigration and Customs officials, who continue to perceive Cuban-Americans as potential enemies.

It therefore becomes an imperative to improve the Cuban-Americans visitors and Cuban airport officials relations, in order to consolidate this new development, by creating a more friendly, welcoming atmosphere, as it is elsewhere around the world.

Another very serious issue that should not be ignored because of the negative impact it exerts on thousands of elderly and low income Cuban-Americans, who are denied the opportunity to visit their country, because of the onerous processing fee for their Passport and Visa and for having to purchase the most expensive airline ticket in the world.

Proof of the above, is the fact that a round trip ticket Miami-Dominican Republic or Miami-Haiti, which is twice the flying time Miami-Santiago de Cuba, can be purchased regularly for $225.00 as opposed to $500.00 for the latter.

Additionally, thousands of senior citizens and others fearful of flying, could benefit immensely with the introduction of a Fort Lauderdale-Habana and a Fort Lauderdale-Santiago de Cuba Ferry Service, which could double or triple the passenger/cargo volume immediately, at a substantially lesser cost.

For some, these thoughts may suggest I have digress from the main topic. Rather, they are intended to foster, develop and expand on the only US-Cuba measure that President Barack Obama have enacted.

The disastrous results that the November 4, 2010 mid-term election have had on the Democratic Party and on President Barack Obama, in which, Councilmen, Mayors, State Legislators, Governors, Judges, US Congressmen and Senators, were swept out of office like garbage, have turned out to be the worst Democratic Party political debacle in over sixty years.

Demoralized and weakened beyond belief, none of those campaign promises that the President had enunciated and failed to enact because of his indecisiveness, fear to step on toes and a propensity to compromise although he had the majority in Congress and in the Senate, will not be brought up, during the second half of his presidency.

Conversely, the Republican Party and the Tea Party strength and authority have grown exponentially, enabling them to elect across the nation, the most reactionary, religious fundamentalist, xenophobic and backward politicians to high offices in recent US history.

The right-wing Cuban-American Congressional delegation, have never before been in such a strong, challenging, leadership position, from which they will be capable with the aid of many radical newcomers, to reformulate the views, approach and direction of a large and important section of the United States government.

With the appointment of US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lethinen as Chair of the all-powerful Foreign Relations Committee, we can only imagine the bellicose, aggressive, war-like bills that will be coming out of her office, while no one proposing understanding, dialogue or friendship with a host of government she hates and is obsessed with their destruction, will ever see the light of day.

The net result of the US-Cuba relations following the disastrous mid-term election, maybe recorded as the greatest political setback in the past fifty years, which can easily escalate into a political, military confrontation, similar to the tragic days of the Missile Crisis in 1962.

For half a century , Cuba have defended herself against these brutal aggressions, by denouncing these crimes in the media, appealing to every reputable international organization, solidarity groups, high profile international scholars, Nobel Prize winners and children organizations in vain. Not even nineteen consecutive year condemnations by the United Nations General Assembly, demanding the United States cease and desist it’s wicked blockage against Cuba, have moved this President or any of his predecessors to uphold this worldwide demand.

The only thing we are sure of at this moment, is that the Cuban people have suffered too much, they are exhausted and they are demanding a moment of peace, happiness and tranquility for their homeland and their children.

After carefully reviewing this new terrifying scenario, it is no exaggeration if we conclude, that if the embargo is not effectively dismantled and brought to a crashing, deafening end, it may well live with the Cuban people for the next fifty years.

In the name of peace, harmony, love and understanding among the people of the United States and Cuba, I will offer to the world, some unsolicited, lay, empirical, never tried, nothing to loose suggestions, that if they were to work as anticipated, they would shatter the support base of the genocidal embargo imposed upon our people.

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JG: Airfare tickets for a U.S.-Cuba airplane flight are one of the biggest ripoffs in the world. Capitalists love monopolies, and there are just a few companies that fly to Cuba. Ripoff # 2 are the exorbitant fees that the Cuban government imposes on Cuban-born people to fly to the island.

I will not patronize those capitalist monopolists, like Marazul and the other companies, which are riping us off, and I will not bow to the chantaje in fees that the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C. imposes and demands.

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