Sunday, April 19, 2009

An Apology Too Far

In reference to Cuba, I have been hitherto surprised and somewhat relieved by the Presidential palaver that has talked nicely while Presidential action, it could be argued, has wielded the same big stick, mayhap clad in a bit of fleece. Until this moment, this same President has plucked the low-hanging fruit of familial remittances- throwing a bone to his constituents on the left, as well as pleasing elements of the Cuban American Miami voting bloc. Talk about your political win-win situations.

Still the pressure to rip off the suit, don love beads, and start strumming kum-ba-ya on the man are enormous. Yet, Mr. Obama has not only kept in place the embargo and travel restrictions on the masses, he has also raised the issue of human rights in Cuba. Sad that our country has reached the point at which one should have to be elated that an American administration raises the specter of half a century of Stalinist repression on the island.

Although he was true to form in his opening remarks to the Summit of the Americas- Every one of our nations has a right to follow its own path. But we all have a responsibility to see that the people of the Americans [sic] have the ability to pursue their own dreams in democratic societies- speaking out of both sides of his gob, the overall tenor of the speech really left a metallic taste in mine.

Perhaps as result of the mea culpas throughout the European progress, I confess that for the first time in my life I have felt shame for my country to see my President (whether I agree with him or not, he is such) groveling before such as Hugo Chavez, and Daniel Ortega and the like. Perhaps if he had not just sat through a 50 minute diatribe by this last before this address, it would not have been quite as bad. I doubt it.

While the United States has done much to promote peace and prosperity in the hemisphere, we have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms.
-We have been naughty

There is no senior partner and junior partner in our relations; there is simply engagement based on mutual respect and common interests and shared values.
-The three hundred pound gorilla in the room is the same as the howler monkey.

And we've heard all these arguments before, these debates that would have us make a false choice between rigid, state-run economies or unbridled and unregulated capitalism; between blame for right-wing paramilitaries or left-wing insurgents; between sticking to inflexible policies with regard to Cuba or denying the full human rights that are owed to the Cuban people.
-We've been naughty, again.

We will now allow Cuban Americans to visit the islands whenever they choose and provide resources to their families -- the same way that so many people in my country send money back to their families in your countries to pay for everyday needs.
-Cubans are just Mexicans by another name.

I think it's important to recognize, given historic suspicions, that the United States' policy should not be interference in other countries, but that also means that we can't blame the United States for every problem that arises in the hemisphere. That's part of the bargain.
-We've been naughty, revisited.

The United States will be willing to acknowledge past errors where those errors have been made. We will be partners in helping to alleviate poverty.
-We've been naughty, a fourth time. And we haven't tried to alleviate poverty before the advent of the Obama?

Every nation has been on its own journey.
- The same could have been said of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Cambodia, etc., but are they equivalent?

To be fair, he did remind these countries of their own responsibilities. And, yes, our behavior toward the lower part of our hemisphere has been less than stellar. Yet nothing we have done equals what these countries have done to themselves, to what the very men in that room, as well as the elephant in the living room, are presently engaged in doing to their countries. To see the President of the United States, equating the United States, Costa Rica, and others to such as Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia is not only specious but shameful.

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