OPINION

Opinion: Freedom will not come to the Cuban people under Obama’s watch

Today’s U.S. government announcement lifting more trade restrictions on Cuba shows just how one-sided Obama’s deal with Cuba really is. Ever since the U.S.-Cuba rapprochement was announced last December, the only side making concessions appears to be the United States. Cuba continues to beat and imprison dissidents, they’ve showed little willingness to relax the rules for investment or trade, and they’ve done nothing to lessen their stranglehold on free expression, the political process, or the ability of Cubans to travel without government scrutiny. 

It will be up to the next President to undo the dangerous follies foisted upon us, and the entire world, through President Obama’s inexperience and ineptness at foreign affairs. The damage he has caused has been long-lasting, including to the cause of a free and democratic Cuba.

- Raúl Mas Canosa

Donald Trump can be criticized for a lot of things (including his reversal on Cuba) but he has been absolutely on point when it comes to the stupidity shown by this president in negotiating with foreign powers. President Obama deserted Iraq and caused a major power vacuum that was filled by that “JV” team known as ISIS. He drew a “line in the sand” with Syrian President Assad … and then backed away when Assad crossed it using chemical weapons. Obama traded five known Taliban terrorist leaders for one hapless and suspected US Army deserter. He also sent Secretary Clinton to happily push the “reset” button with the Russians ... only to have Vladimir Putin invade the Ukraine and threaten the Baltic States. The president supported Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, only to see them deposed in a coup when they quickly alienated both the Egyptian people and its military. 

Most recently, Obama capitulated to the Iranians on nuclear negotiations with major – and some would say incredibly dangerous – concessions on when and how to confirm Iranian compliance. And the ink wasn’t even dry when Iran’s top terrorist, General Qassem Soleimani, flew to Russia (in defiance of UN sanctions) to start buying Russian arms to prop up their Syrian puppet.

The situation is no different with Cuba. The president and Secretary Kerry have talked a great deal about human rights and freedom for the Cuba people. However, even those who were willing to give this administration the benefit of the doubt, including many dissidents on the island, are quickly realizing that the whole thing is one huge charade. 

For example, when presented with an opportunity to highlight the dissidents, by inviting them to the U.S. embassy re-opening, this administration deferred. Heaven forbid that the world’s greatest superpower should offend the sensibilities of two ruthless, octogenarian dictators.

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Truth be told I don’t think President Obama cares one iota about freedom for the Cuba people. He cares about two things and two things only: 1) the dismantling of American power around the globe as contrition for what he views as the past sins of our foreign policy, and 2) his own legacy.

Period. Full stop. That’s all you need to know.

Freedom will not come to the Cuban people under Obama’s watch. Neither will an improvement in the country’s dire economic straits. Those who think otherwise are simply deluding themselves. Those who aren’t are going along just because they will benefit financially.

It will be up to the next president to undo the dangerous follies foisted upon us, and the entire world, through President Obama’s inexperience and ineptness at foreign affairs. The damage he has caused has been long-lasting, including to the cause of a free and democratic Cuba.

Raúl Mas Canosa is a businessman and a frequent commentator on radio, television and digital media. The opinions expressed are strictly his own. He can be reached at rmas@mba1986.hbs.edu   

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