Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

Obama Gave Away To Cuba Better Relations with U.S. But Got Nothing In Return

April 27, 2009

So what did President Obama get in return for the most sweeping shift in US policy toward Cuba in nearly half a century? A public kick in the pants from Fidel Castro.

The ailing despot left no doubt about who runs things in Havana — and it isn’t his brother, Raul, Cuba’s president.

NY Post Editorial

After Raul declared he was “willing” to discuss issues like human rights and political prisoners with Obama, Fidel responded with an essay on a state-controlled Web site that said, essentially, not so fast.

And, he predicted, Obama will wind up on the “path [to] sure failure, like all of his predecessors.”

Thanks for nothing, in other words, for lifting restrictions on Cuban-Americans’ ability to send their families cash. That’s more than Cuba has gotten from any US president since Dwight Eisenhower.

Which is just what Obama should have expected, after making those gestures without demanding anything of Castro.

He probably was heartened, though, by Fidel’s having asked a group of bootlicking US House members what he could do to “help President Obama.”

Well, here’s an idea from Rep. Peter King — most definitely not a bootlicker.

The Long Island Republican has reintroduced legislation demanding the extradition of 70 US criminals — including cop-killers, terrorists and airplane hijackers — who have won political asylum in Cuba.

Two of them are of particular concern to New York-area residents:

* Joanne Chesimard, a Black Liberation Army terrorist who in 1973 took part in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that left one state trooper dead and seriously wounded another. She escaped from a maximum-security prison and eventually surfaced in Havana — where she remains free today.

* William Morales, chief bomb-maker for the Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN, which staged scores of bombings, some deadly, throughout New York City. Escaping from Bellevue’s prison unit, he made his way to Mexico, where he killed a cop. But the government sent him to Cuba, where he was given safe haven.

New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram says she plans to ask Obama to seek Chesimard’s extradition.

Obviously, the best way to “help President Obama” — as well as millions of long-suffering Cubans — would be to restore democracy to the island.

But sending Chesimard and Morales back to serve their prison terms would be a concrete sign that Cuba is serious about wanting to “open a new era.”

President Obama took a significant step.

Now it’s Cuba’s turn.

Lost in Obama-Chavez Photo Ops: Drug Cartels Are ‘Number One’ Organized Crime Threat in U.S.

April 20, 2009

Just after President Barack Obama returned from Mexico and Latin America on Sunday — a trip blurred by Hugo Chavez and very bad White House stagecraft — senior Republicans are saying what the president may have said but nobody seemed to hear: the drug cartels are a really big problem….

Related:
Obama’s Hands the Venezuelan Thug Boss Propaganda Coup; Where’s The Photo With Obama and Top U.S. Ally?

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gives U.S. President Barack ... 
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gives U.S. President Barack Obama a copy of “Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina” by author Eduardo Galiano during a meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad April 18, 2009. Photo by Kevin Lamarque, Reuters.

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Fox News

Mexican drug cartels have displaced the mafia as the “number one organized crime threat” in the United States, Sen. Joe Lieberman said Monday as his Senate committee heard testimony in Phoenix on border violence. 

Lieberman, an independent Democrat from Connecticut, and Sen. John McCain, a Republican on Lieberman’s panel, told FOX News that the United States needs to step up the fight against the drug cartels. The two senators were in Arizona, McCain’s home state, to hear from local officials on their advice for dealing with the drug-fueled violence many fear is spilling across the border. 

“This is literally a war,” said Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “They’re fighting for the turf.” 

Lieberman has said he plans to seek $380 million in additional funding to help law enforcement stop the flow of guns and drugs across the border. On Monday, he praised Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s campaign to fight the cartels, but said cartels have already taken root north of the border — driving a kidnapping surge in Phoenix and operating, he said, in at least 230 U.S. metropolitan areas. 

“The Mexican drug cartels have become the number one organized crime threat in America, displacing the mafia,” Lieberman told FOX News. 

McCain said the federal government needs to approve border states’ requests for more National Guard troops, something Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said is under review. 

“I think we can have significant control of our border,” McCain said. “We should heed the governors who are having to fight this … all the time.” 

But Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said the Department of Defense has effectively denied her request to send 250 additional National Guard troops to the Arizona-Mexico border to help authorities battle immigrant and drug smuggling and related violence. 

The governor told Lieberman’s committee meeting Monday that she was disappointed with the denial of her request to bring the number of troops at her state’s southern boundary up to 400. One hundred fifty troops are already there as part of a long-standing border assistance program. 

The Bush administration sent thousands of Guard troops to the border to perform support duties so that federal border authorities would be freed up to focus on border security. Bush’s buildup began in 2006 and ended last year. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Obama, Cuba and Chavez: “The Mouse That Roared”

April 20, 2009

Go rent or buy the now aged Peter sellers film, “The Mouse That Roared.”

After viewing this film, some may gain a new understanding of the Obama foreign policy and the view taken by the likes of the castro brothers and Hugo Chavez.  Only in our current movie, nobody has to attack the United states and lose.  In Obama world, the evil dictators just roll over, the president of the united states says he’s sorry, and undoubtedly, better relations and foreign aid may follow.

Carter tried weakness as a foreign policy strategy,” said Newt Gingrich, “and it didn’t work.” 

Related:
What’s The Obama Doctrine and What Principles Guide All These Chummy Meetings, Bows and Apologies? 

A World Of Trouble For Obama

 Obama Overtures to Castro, Chavez “tells them they can get away with murder”

What’s The Obama Doctrine and What Principles Guide All These Chummy Meetings, Bows and Apologies?

April 20, 2009

Excuse us for asking because the president after all represents us all, the American people.  The American voter.

What exactly are the guiding principles behind all the president’s bows, apologies and chummy photo ops with lawless dictators?  I mean, just because the U.S. needs China to buy U.S. debt have we given up on human rights altogether and across the board for everyone?

I mean, is President Obama Madonna, Bono or the Commander in Chief of the World’s Greatest Democracy?

Obama, Chavez 
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President Obama talks with Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Photo: Alfonso Ocando / EPA

What is the Obama Doctrine?  Something read from all that Marxist literature while at Harvard?

We seem to have a one man show on our hands.  I mean the president has given at least one speech per day and has captured an already fawning media: but how are people like cabinet secretaries supposed to be guided?  By what principles and interaction?  Are they supposed to watch CNN to get the drift of the president’s policies?

The first cabinet meeting of the Obama Administration is today.  If a new CEO took over at say, GM, and he didn’t meet his department heads for three months would Tim Geithner approve?  I think not…..
Obama’s First Cabinet Meeting Goal: Cut One Ten Thousandth From Debt Owed To China

If we are going to continue hugging and bowing to thugs we have a right to ask where are we going with all of this?  What is the goal for America?

As retired Army Lieutentant Colonel Ralph Peters said today, “President Obama is using his pupularity to help tyrants.  He is empowering the enemies of democracy…”

Related:
 In search of an Obama doctrine
.
 Obama’s Popularity, Apologies, Bows Not Helping America

The President of the United States Barack Obama greets King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

The President of the United States Barack Obama greets King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.Photo: Getty Images

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By Mary Anastasia O’Grady
The Wall Street Journal

If President Barack Obama’s goal at the fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago this weekend was to be better liked by the region’s dictators and left-wing populists than his predecessor George W. Bush, the White House can chalk up a win.

If, on the other hand, the commander in chief sought to advance American ideals, things didn’t go well. As the mainstream press reported, Mr. Obama seemed well received. But the freest country in the region took a beating from Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, and Nicaragua’s Danny Ortega.

[The Americas] 

Chavez and Obama.  Photo: AP

Ever since Bill Clinton organized the first Summit of the Americas in 1994 in Miami, this regional gathering has been in decline. It seemed to hit its nadir in 2005 in Mar del Plata, Argentina, when President Nestór Kirchner allowed Mr. Chávez and his revolutionary allies from around the region to hold a massive, American-flag burning hate-fest in a nearby stadium with the goal of humiliating Mr. Bush. This year things got even worse with the region’s bullies hogging the limelight and Mr. Obama passing up a priceless opportunity to defend freedom.

Mr. Obama had to know that the meeting is used by the region’s politicians to rally the base back home by showing that they can put Uncle Sam in his place. Realizing this, the American president might have arrived at the Port of Spain prepared to return their volley. They have, after all, tolerated and even encouraged for decades one of the most repressive regimes of the 20th century. In recent years, that repression has spread from Cuba to Venezuela, and today millions of Latin Americans live under tyranny. As the leader of the free world, Mr. Obama had the duty to speak out for these voiceless souls. In this he failed.

The subject of Cuba was a softball that the American president could have hit out of the park. He knew well in advance that his counterparts would pressure him to end the U.S. embargo. He even prepared for that fact a few days ahead of the summit by unconditionally lifting U.S. restrictions on travel and remittances to the island, and offering to allow U.S. telecom companies to bring technology to the backward island.

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB
124018390302433097.html

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The president says Americans want him to interact with foreign leaders and that the U.S. has nothing to fear from Venezuela. He stresses importance of collaboration and earning goodwill.
By Peter Nicholas
Los Angeles Times
April 20, 2009
Reporting from Tobago and Port-Of-Spain, Trinidad — Rebuffing criticism of the warm greetings he exchanged with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, President Obama said Sunday that the United States, with its overwhelming military superiority and need to improve its global image, could afford to extend such diplomatic “courtesy.”

In a news conference capping a three-day meeting of leaders from the Western Hemisphere, Obama also said the U.S. must engage other countries through humanitarian gestures, not only military intervention.

Obama said it would be a mistake to measure the Summit of the Americas by the specific agreements reached. By listening to his counterparts and eschewing heavy-handed diplomacy, he said, he was creating an atmosphere in which, “at the margins,” foreign leaders are “more likely to want to cooperate than not cooperate.”

A running theme of the summit was Obama’s cordial dealings with Chavez, who once called former President George W. Bush the “devil” and who last month dismissed Obama as an “ignoramus.” The two were photographed smiling and clasping hands.

At one meeting, Chavez made a show of walking around the table as the cameras rolled and handing Obama a copy of “Open Veins of Latin America,” a 1971 book by Eduardo Galeano chronicling U.S. and European imperialism in the region.

Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, appearing on CNN on Sunday, said it was “irresponsible” for Obama to be seen “laughing and joking” with the Venezuelan president.

Obama dismissed such concerns. He said the 2008 presidential campaign proved that American voters want the president to engage with his counterparts, whether or not they are avowed friends of the U.S.

He said it “was a nice gesture to give me a book. I’m a reader.” The president added that the election was a referendum of sorts on the argument that U.S. solicitude toward foreign leaders could be seen as “weakness.”

“The American people didn’t buy it,” Obama said. “And there’s a good reason the American people didn’t buy it, because it doesn’t make sense.”

The U.S. has nothing to fear from Venezuela, a large supplier of crude oil to the country, Obama said.

“Its defense budget is probably 1/600th of the U.S.,” he said. “They own [the oil company] Citgo. It’s unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez that we are endangering the strategic interests of the United States.”

That said, Obama aides were not so charitable toward Chavez. In a background briefing earlier, one senior official accused Chavez of performing for the cameras.

The official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, said, “Anybody who’s been at international conferences with Chavez knows that if there’s a camera around, he’s going to find a way to get in it.”

Apparently impressed with Obama, Chavez seemed ready to reevaluate relations with the United States. He announced that he was considering appointing an ambassador to Washington, an idea he discussed over the weekend with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The two countries expelled each other’s ambassadors last year.

“We have a different focus, obviously,” Chavez said on Venezuelan state television. “But we are willing. We have the political will to work together.”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gives U.S. President Barack ... 
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gives U.S. President Barack Obama a copy of “Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina” by author Eduardo Galiano during a meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad April 18, 2009. Photo by Kevin Lamarque, Reuters.

Though Cuba’s fate was not on the official agenda of the summit, which included only democratically elected leaders from the hemisphere, many Latin American leaders pressed Obama to lift the United States’ 47-year-old trade embargo on the island nation and normalize relations. Obama resisted.

His administration has already announced that it is loosening travel restrictions on Cuban Americans visiting family on the island. But at this point, Obama has refused to go further, calling upon Castro to move toward a more open and democratic form of government.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworl
d/world/la-fg-obama-americas20-2009a
pr20,0,3878264.story

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Bolivian President ... 
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Bolivian President Evo Morales during the opening ceremony of the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain April 17, 2009. REUTERS/Xinhua/David de la Paz

A World Of Trouble For Obama

April 20, 2009

New American presidents typically begin by behaving as if most of the world’s problems are the fault of their predecessors — and Barack Obama has been no exception. In his first three months he has quickly taken steps to correct the errors in George W. Bush’s foreign policy, as seen by Democrats. He has collected easy dividends from his base, U.S. allies in Europe and a global following for not being “unilateralist” or war-mongering or scornful of dialogue with enemies.

By Jackson Diehl
The WashingtonPost

Now comes the interesting part: when it starts to become evident that Bush did not create rogue states, terrorist movements, Middle Eastern blood feuds or Russian belligerence — and that shake-ups in U.S. diplomacy, however enlightened, might not have much impact on them.

The first wake-up call has come from North Korea — a state that, according to established Democratic wisdom, would have given up its nuclear weapons years ago if it had not been labeled “evil” by Bush, denied bilateral talks with Washington and punished with sanctions. Stephen Bosworth, the administration’s new special envoy, duly tried to head off Pyongyang’s latest illegal missile test by promising bilateral negotiations and offering “incentives” for good behavior.

North Korea fired the missile anyway. After a week of U.N. Security Council negotiations by the new, multilateralist U.S. administration produced the same weak statement that the Bush administration would have gotten, the Stalinist regime expelled U.N. inspectors and announced that it was returning to plutonium production.

When the inspectors were ousted in 2002, Democrats blamed Bush. Now Republicans blame Obama — but North Korea’s strategy hasn’t changed in 15 years. It provokes a crisis, then demands bribes from the United States and South Korea in exchange for restoring the status quo. The Obama team now faces the same dilemma that bedeviled the past two administrations: It must judge whether to respond to the bad behavior by paying the bribe or by trying to squeeze the regime.

A second cold shower rained down last week on George Mitchell, Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East. For eight years Democrats insisted that the absence of progress toward peace between Israel and its neighbors was due to the Bush administration’s failure at “engagement.” Mitchell embodies the correction. But during last week’s tour of the region he encountered a divided Palestinian movement seemingly incapable of agreeing on a stance toward Israel and a new Israeli government that doesn’t accept the goal of Palestinian statehood. Neither appeared at all impressed by the new American intervention — or willing to offer even token concessions.

Those aren’t the only signs that the new medicine isn’t taking. Europeans commonly blamed Bush for Russia’s aggressiveness — they said he ignored Moscow’s interests and pressed too hard for European missile defense and NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine. So Hillary Clinton made a show of pushing a “reset” button, and Obama offered the Kremlin a new arms control agreement while putting missile defense and NATO expansion on a back burner. Yet in recent weeks Russia has deployed thousands of additional troops as well as tanks and warplanes to the two breakaway Georgian republics it has recognized, in blatant violation of the cease-fire agreement that ended last year’s war. The threat of another Russian attack on Georgia seems to be going up rather than down.

Obama sent a conciliatory public message to Iranians, and the United States joined in a multilateral proposal for new negotiations on its nuclear program. The regime responded by announcing another expansion of its uranium enrichment facility and placing an American journalist on trial for espionage. Obama told Iraqis that he would, as long promised, use troop withdrawals to pressure the government to take over responsibility for the country. Since he made that announcement, violence in Iraq has steadily increased.

Obama is not the first president to discover that facile changes in U.S. policy don’t crack long-standing problems. Some of his new strategies may produce results with time. Yet the real test of an administration is what it does once it realizes that the quick fixes aren’t working — that, say, North Korea and Iran have no intention of giving up their nuclear programs, with or without dialogue, while Russia remains determined to restore its dominion over Georgia. In other words, what happens when it’s no longer George W. Bush’s fault? That’s what the next 100 days will tell us.

Obama Overtures to Castro, Chavez “tells them they can get away with murder”

April 19, 2009

On March 21, 2009, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama was at best an “ignoramus” for saying the socialist leader exported terrorism and obstructed progress in Latin America.

“He goes and accuses me of exporting terrorism: the least I can say is that he’s a poor ignoramus; he should read and study a little to understand reality,” said Chavez.

“When I saw Obama saying what he said, I put the decision back in the drawer; let’s wait and see,” Chavez said on his weekly television show.

“My, what ignorance; the real obstacle to development in Latin America has been the empire that you today preside over,” said Chavez, who is a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy.

This weekend, Chavez started his education of Barack Obama in person.

Chavez gave Barack Obama a copy of “Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent,” by Uruguayan journalist Eduardo Galeano, who blames foreign interests like the United States for exploiting Latin America for centuries.

President Obama addresses reporters before leaving Trinidad for Washington on Sunday.

President Obama addresses reporters before leaving Trinidad for Washington on Sunday.

Many in the U.S. are not applauding Obama’s good grace in meeting with Mr. Chavez and accepting his “gift.”.

“This bolstered Chavez at home.  It costs people their freedom and in some cases their lives.  Obama is now serving Chavez’s interests,” said a latin American expert at the State Department, on the condition of anonymity.

“It emboldens both Castro and Chavez to have the President of the United States as their buddies and tells them they can get away with murder.  I think it sends all the wrong signals from the U.S. to Cuba and Venezuela,” he said.

“Obama allowed himself to be used by Hugo Chavez.”

President Barack Obama said Sunday that he “strengthens our hand” by reaching out to enemies of the United States.

Asked what an “Obama doctrine” would be, he declined to give a specific answer, but he outlined broad principles such as the importance of listening to other countries. The United States, Obama said, remains the most powerful nation in the world but cannot solve problems such as climate change, drugs and terrorism on its own.

“If you start with that approach, you are inclined to listen, and not just talk,” he said.

But Senator John Ensign (R-NV) said, “When you’re talking about the prestige of the United States and the presidency of the United States, you have to be careful who you’re seen joking around with.”

Ensign said the president was “irresponsible” during his Latin American trip.

Related:
In Pirate Shooting, Some say Obama Took Ownership for Somalia

 Israel to attack when and not if: nothing positive will result from the dialogue between U.S., Iran

 Obama First 100 Days: What’s Been Lost and What’s Been Gained?

 Israel Worries Obama “Cannot be Relied Upon”

Obama Loses Photo Op War To Chavez (and the Saudi King, and….): Call Oprah!

From CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLIT
ICS/04/19/obama.latin.ame
rica/index.html