Cuba state of emergency extended ahead of Obama’s Havana visit

Ahead of President Obama’s Havana visit, the first such trip by an American president in 88 years, President Obama has extended the life of the blockade against Cuba, a barrier in existence since 1996 under the National Emergencies Act.

Subject to Mr. Obama’s Proposition 9398, U.S.-registered maritime vessels and aircraft traffic are prohibited to travel to Cuba without authorization.

Mr. Obama renewed the two-decade-old law on Wednesday with one caveat:  Coast Guard vessels are directed to stop, inspect and seize ships suspected of violating the blockade.

On the same day Mr. Obama signed the proclamation to renew the blockade, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), Foreign Relations Chairman, dismissed the possibility of an end to the decades old embargo, although he did admit he saw U.S.-Cuban relations “gradually moving along this year.”

Accentuating “tremendous human rights abuses” which persist in Cuba, Corker dismissed the notion the trade embargo against Cuba would be ended during President Obama’s final year in office.

“It’s not going to happen this year.  It’s something that could happen as we move into a new president,” Corker told reporters.

Concurrent with Mr. Obama’s actions and Senator Corker’s comments on the embargo, Cuba announced a reduction of restrictions on select dissidents.

Skeptical, one dissident, Marta Beatriz Roque, a member of Black Spring, stated:

“It appears to be some kind of gift they want to present to Obama, but in reality it is nothing concrete because when we come back we will return to legal limbo.”

Analysis

Ms. Roque is accurate in her estimation of Havana’s “big-hearted” gesture.

Cuba can posture itself in any way imaginable; however, the tyrants in Havana have neither the sufficient devices to conceal its atrocious human rights record, nor do they possess the facility to stifle those who broadcast the harm it inflicts to the world.

President Obama and his allies are laboring to frame this forthcoming trip to the island nation held hostage by communist hoods as a historic opening indistinguishable from President Nixon’s voyage to China in 1972 and President Reagan’s May 1988 trip to Moscow.

Such comparisons are inexact:  The February 1972 mission to Beijing was designed to normalize relations with China, draw China away from further obliging its communist friends in Hanoi during the Vietnam War and to deepen the Sino-Soviet divide.

President Reagan’s journey to Moscow when Soviet communism was in its twilight was for the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a discussion on human rights and a conversation regarding the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

Nothing about this trip to Havana will encourage the Castro regime to reform, become a more democratic nation or reverse its human rights abuses.

Worse, Obama is likely preparing to bow to Castro:  Havana continues with the preposterous demand Washington settle in the sum of $180 billion for alleged “crimes” against the Cuban regime, all the while Cuba continues to shelter over 90 fugitives from American justice including several hijackers, terrorists and one, Assata Shakur, who is wanted for escaping an American prison after her conviction for the 1973 murder of a New Jersey State Trooper, Werner Foerster.

That these issues and others, particularly legal claims American citizens have against Cuba, remain unresolved are of no concern to Mr. Obama.  This trip to Havana will be little more than a weekend getaway for golf.

 

[USA Today] [BBC] [Yahoo News] [federalregister.gov] [Washington Post] [Photo courtesy The Telegraph]