Barack Obama found the perfect photo-op during his trip to Cuba, posing in front of a mural of mass-murderer Che Guevara. An American president, photographed with looks of delight on his face in front of a gigantic image of a mass murderer. Obama was just as comfortable apologizing to Raul Castro and agreeing with Castro about "America's shortcomings." In 2015, Obama said he does not believe Cuban dictator Raul Castro “is an ideologue.”
The big question about Obama's trip to Cuba was whether he met with the dictator emeritus, Fidel Castro. Fidel is a hero to leftists all over the world. A megastar. Meeting with him, for the Left, is like meeting with Elvis. Che would possibly be better, but he is no longer available.
There is no sign of greater openness in Cuba since Obama forged his break with long-standing U.S. policy. Political arrests have accelerated. There were more than 8,000 in 2015, four times as many as in 2010. The exodus of desperate Cubans to the U.S. has picked up. The Castros confiscated American assets; Obama rewarded them richly.
Obama’s opening has produced a financial windfall for the regime. The Cuban military occupies the commanding heights of the economy and controls the tourism business, which has been thriving with the influx of American tourists. Starwood Hotels and Resorts just received special permission from the U.S. Treasury to operate three hotels in Havana, in a boost, not for the free market, but for the Cuban government.
Obama’s Cuba policy has been great for the Castro family and their military-state monopolies, but terrible for average Cubans and for Americans. Since the opening of Cuba to American visitors, Castro’s henchmen have taken particular delight in beating up Cubans who dare protest, detaining them or terrorizing them by other means.
One of Obama’s men said that the purpose of this trip to Cuba was to make Obama’s policy toward the Castros “irreversible.” Their appalling human rights violations would not be allowed to interfere.
It was clear from the earliest days of the Obama administration that his administration would disregard human rights. On a trip to East Asia, the new secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, described America's new relationship with China. She said human rights would not be allowed to “interfere” with important issues: such as “the global climate-change crisis.”
America used to link rapprochement with liberalization. The linkage was maintained with the Soviet Union...and Cuba. Then Obama gave them what they wanted. For free.
Since the 1960s, the Castros had dreamed of a rapprochement with the United States — on their terms. For just as long, the American Left had dreamed of the same thing. Now a president of the Left could do it. The Castros interpret Obama’s opening, and his trip, as a great victory: the capitulation of the United States, the behemoth to the north. Obama’s opening was unnecessary, and it certainly was not urgent. It was not in the American interest, but interest had nothing to do with it. For Obama, this was a personal and ideological choice.
America used to link rapprochement with liberalization. The linkage was maintained with the Soviet Union and its clients, including Cuba. The George W. Bush administration used to speak of “carrots and sticks.” America would bend toward the Castros if they bend in Cuba; that is, if they liberalized. The Castros typically opted not to liberalize. Then Obama gave them what they wanted. For free. He did not need liberalization. He did not need a Cuban glasnost or perestroika. He was determined to do it, for it was on his “ to-do list” (and that of the American Left in general).
Years ago, in Cuba, Jesse Jackson said, “Viva Castro! Viva Che Guevara!” Later, Bill Buckley asked him on television, “By wishing Castro and Guevara long lives, were you wishing short lives to their prisoners?” 16 years ago, President Bill Clinton pried little Elian Gonzalez out of a closet in Miami and sent him away from freedom into Fidel Castro’s arms.
Democrats and Republicans have many differences, including on Communism. A leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders, honeymooned in the Soviet Union, and the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, honeymooned in Cuba. Among the Republican candidates for president were two Cuban Americans, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The latter remains a candidate and has proposed to rename the street in front of the Castros’ new embassy in Washington, D.C., after Oswaldo Paya — a Cuban democracy leader killed in 2012, almost certainly by the Castros.
Communists deprive people of all political rights and leave them in extreme material want as well. In the meeting between Raul Castro and Barack Obama, Castro said the usual stuff about how food, shelter, and health care are human rights. Here is Obama's response: “President Castro, I think, has pointed out that, in his view, making sure everybody’s getting a decent education or health care, has basic security in old age — that those things are human rights as well. I personally would not disagree with that. … You know, I actually welcome President Castro commenting on some of the areas where he feels that we’re falling short, because I think we should not be immune or afraid of criticism or discussion as well.”
Obama has already met with Raul before the trip to Cuba. They met in South Africa and in Panama. Obama seemed very comfortable with the Cuban dictator. More than with, say, Benjamin Netanyahu.
If there earlier were any doubts where Obama's sympathies lie, he has made that very clear in Cuba. He is with the dictators: the Marxists in Cuba, and the terrorist-sponsoring ayatollahs of Iran.
Since his university days, Obama has had a long history of alliances with anti-Semites and anti-America radicals. Before his inauguration, Obama told a crowd of cheering supporters: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” His transformation did not end at America’s shores.
Obama alienated America’s friends and emboldened America’s enemies. He surrendered Iraq, in whose cause so many young Americans died, to America’s enemy, Iran. Obama has reoriented America's Middle East policy in favor of the ayatollahs, to make Iran the regional superpower in the Middle East, disadvantaging America’s traditional allies: Israel, Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Arab monarchies. His nuclear deal with Iran gets the ayatollahs $150 billion and guarantees Iran will become a nuclear weapon capable power after 10 years, and permits Iran to purchase and develop intercontinental ballistic missiles that will enable Iran to have the means to achieve its highest goal: “Death to America.”
During the Reagan years, Obama went to Occidental College, Columbia University, and Harvard Law School. Whom did his teachers and classmates admire more? Fidel Castro or Reagan? The Cuban dictatorship or the Republican party?
Obama launched his radical foreign policy in Cairo, now aflame with anti-American protests; he offered the Muslim world “a new beginning.” By this, he meant not a Muslim new beginning but an American change of heart.
For over seven years, Obama has been apologizing for America's "oppressive actions and hegemonic international aggression." In Cuba, he found a wonderful Marxist home.
Dr. Sheyin-Stevens is a Registered Patent Attorney based in Florida, USA. He earned his Doctorate in Law from the University of Miami.