Thursday, September 29, 2016

Our Man In Havana

The United States restored diplomatic relations with Cuba last year, but the embargo on business dealings by private citizens is still in place and won’t be lifted until Congress repeals it.  Donald Trump may have already been dabbling in Cuba in violation of the U.S. embargo.

A company controlled by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, secretly conducted business in communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal, according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings.

I wonder how that will go over with his supporters in Little Havana.

Speaking of Cuba, President Obama has nominated an ambassador to Cuba, but if Marco Rubio has his way, he’ll never get the job.

Obama has picked Jeffrey DeLaurentis, who serves as the country’s top diplomat in Havana, the White House announced Tuesday.

“There is no public servant better suited to improve our ability to engage the Cuban people and advance U.S. interests in Cuba than Jeff,” Obama said in a statement.

The president said that having an ambassador would make it easier for the U.S. to advance its interests in Cuba and convey objections over its “differences with the Cuban government.”

“He is exactly the type of person we want to represent the United States in Cuba, and we only hurt ourselves by not being represented by an ambassador,” Obama said.

It’s unlikely the GOP-controlled Senate will confirm DeLaurentis before Obama leaves office in January.

Republicans, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), have vowed to block anyone Obama nominates as ambassador.

It’s an effort to rebuke Obama’s decision to reopen ties with Cuba, a move they believe rewards the communist island nation, which still commits human-rights abuses against its citizens.

“A U.S. ambassador is not going to influence the Cuban government, which is a dictatorial, closed regime,” Rubio, a Cuban-American, said in a July interview.

If we were to not send ambassadors to dictatorial and closed regimes, we wouldn’t have them in about half the countries in Africa, Saudi Arabia, and China.

Democracy in Cuba didn’t exist before Castro came to power in 1959; the Batista regime was just as dictatorial as Fidel and his gang.  They were just in the pay of the Mafia and U.S. corporate interests.  That’s about the only difference.

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