Wednesday, December 17, 2014

U.S. Moves to Normalize Cuba Relations

He gets to see it befioe he dies.
The U.S. expects to begin discussions with Cuba on normalizing relations after more than 50 years of enmity, a U.S. official said, a step that came alongside the release Wednesday of Alan Gross, the U.S. contractor who has been held in a Cuban prison for five years, reports WSJ.
The U.S. plans to lift many of its existing travel and money-transfer restrictions affecting Cuba, the official said, and the U.S. will return three people convicted on charges of espionage to Cuba. The Vatican played a key role in negotiations for Mr. Gross’s release, the official said.
Under the deal, Cuba will free 53 political prisoners, the official said, and the U.S. will review Cuba’s status on the U.S.’s terrorism list.
U.S. debit and credit cards will be allowed in Cuba, the official said, and the U.S. will allow the export of telecommunications equipment to Cuba, while Cuba agreed to greatly expand its citizens’ access to the Internet.
Good move. Free trade is the only way. The embargo was always a mistake.
The measures against Cuba have a long history. The U.S. arms embargo had been in force since March 1958 when armed conflict broke out in Cuba between rebels and the Fulgencio Batista regime. In July 1960, in response to Cuba's new revolutionary government's seizure of U.S. properties, the United States reduced the Cuban import quota of brown sugar to 700,000 tons, under the Sugar Act of 1948 the Soviet Union responded by agreeing to purchase the sugar instead, as Cuba's new government continued to take further actions to nationalize American businesses and privately owned properties
Wikipedia notes:
In response to the Cuban alignment with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy extended measures by Executive Order, first widening the scope of the trade restrictions on February 8 (announced on February 3 and again on March 23, 1962). According to his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, Kennedy asked Salinger to purchase 1,200 Cuban cigars for his future use immediately before the extended embargo was to come into effect. Salinger succeeded, returning in the morning with 1,201 Petit H. Upmann cigars, Kennedy's favorite cigar size and brand. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy imposed travel restrictions on February 8, 1963, and the Cuban Assets Control Regulations were issued on July 8, 1963, under the Trading with the Enemy Act in response to Cubans hosting Soviet nuclear weapons. Under these restrictions, Cuban assets in the U.S. were frozen and the existing restrictions were consolidated.
The restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba lapsed on March 19, 1977 the regulation was renewable every six months, but President Jimmy Carter did not renew it and the regulation on spending U.S. dollars in Cuba was lifted shortly afterwards. President Ronald Reagan reinstated the trade embargo on April 19, 1982.

The 1963 U.S. embargo was reinforced in October 1992 by the Cuban Democracy Act (the "Torricelli Law") and in 1996 by the Cuban Liberty and Democracy Solidarity Act (known as the Helms–Burton Act) which penalizes foreign companies that do business in Cuba by preventing them from doing business in the U.S. (via Wikipedia)


Obama says US will establish embassy in Cuba.


Obama calls Cuba embargo a failure--and he is correct.


Looks like House Speaker John Boehner considers Obama's move to normalize relations with Cuba a good opportunity to play politics and solidify Castro-hating American-Cubans for the Republicans:


  1. It's about time. If we had relations with the USSR and China why not Cuba?

  2. The Cuban trade embargo is el stupido. It never should have existed in the first place.

    I also note JFK'S hypocrisy ordering 1200 cigars before telling everyone else they can't have one.

  3. It's all politics (GOP style).
    As the Cuban-American vote goes, so goes south Florida. As South Florida goes, so goes Florida. As Florida goes, ...well you get the idea. That's a LOT of Electoral College votes.

  4. fox news reader's head s explode. Already over 5000 comments of pointless old man rage.

  5. Top 10 new import items from Cuba:
    1. Baseball players
    2. 1956 Buick trunk lids
    3. 87-year old Conga sidemen

  6. "Hurry up with them cigars, Cuba." signed, Bill Clinton

  7. Governor Scott Walker opposes normalizing relations since he has seen on improvement in the way Cuba is run. So, we try something for 50 years, he admits it doesn't work but still wants to keep trying it? Walker for President!!! Heaven helps us from neo-cons.