Obama sends an aide to sign a “counternarcotics, counterterrorism” agreement with a narco-terrorist regime

The Washington Times
With five days remaining in office, President Obama dispatched a top adviser to Cuba Monday for the signing of an agreement governing law enforcement issues such as counternarcotics operations between the two countries.

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes is meeting with Cuban officials about cultural engagements and establishing a legal framework for “counternarcotics, counterterrorism, legal cooperation, and money laundering, including technical exchanges that contribute to a strong U.S.-Cuba law enforcement relationship,” the White House said

Mr. Rhodes’ trip to Cuba follows last week’s announcement that the administration is ending the so-called “wet-foot/dry foot” policy that accepted any Cubans who made it ashore in the U.S. after fleeing the Communist country.

The White House said Mr. Obama’s goal is “to help the Cuban people achieve a better future for themselves and to advance the interests of the United States.”

When Obama dropped the ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy, he also snuffed out another program few Americans knew about

Los Angeles Times

When President Obama killed the 22-year-old policy giving preferential, fast-track citizenship to Cubans who could make it to the U.S., his administration nixed another program, too. Not well known to most Americans, it sought to undermine the Cuban government through a form of brain drain.

The Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program, created in 2006 under then-President George W. Bush, aimed to lure away some of the tens of thousands of doctors, nurses and other medical workers the island nation dispatched around the world, in what the Castro government touted as Cuban Medical Internationalism.

The U.S. strategy was an appendix to the “wet foot, dry foot” policy created in the 1990s. Under “wet foot, dry foot,” Cubans who reached American soil on their own could stay in the U.S. But the medical parole program offered a path to American citizenship through any U.S. embassy and consulate abroad, according to a 2009 U.S. Department of State fact sheet.

“If you were a Cuban doctor and bumped into some guy from the U.S. Embassy in Johannesburg, South Africa, and told him you wanted to take advantage of the medical parole program, then you’d be taken to the embassy and eventually be flown to the U.S., get residency — citizenship — and a job,” said Al Fox, founder of the Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation, which has advocated for the normalization of American-Cuban relations.

Fox, speaking Sunday from Tampa, said the medical parole program was pushed by hard-liner anti-Castro Cubans in Miami. He also said the program was a smear campaign meant to discredit any actual good Cuba’s medical community was doing abroad.

Since the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power, Cuba has sent medical workers to countries across the globe, mostly in Latin America and Africa, to gain allies and heighten its humanitarian profile. Those efforts, some subsidized by the United Nations’ World Health Organization, also became lucrative, according to Sebastian A. Arcos, associate director for the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University’s campus in Miami.

He said Cuba’s exportation of skilled medical workers has become one of the most important sources of revenue for the communist government, bringing in billions of dollars over time. Critics have denounced Cuba’s export of doctors, nurses and other medical professional as conscription.

“The Castro regime keeps 95% of the doctors’ salaries that are paid for, even by the WHO,” Arcos said. “Then these doctors and nurses work essentially under slave-labor wage conditions. In countries like Brazil and Venezuela, which have very friendly relations with Cuba, those countries pay Cuba directly, sometimes in oil, and often times medical staff working in those countries get nothing.”

When Cuban medical professionals arrive in another country, Arcos said, the Cuban embassy typically confiscates their passports in hopes of preventing them from fleeing.

Arcos’ sister, a doctor, was sent to Eritrea, a deeply isolated nation in the Horn of Africa run by a former-rebel-leader-turned dictator named Isaias Afwerki, accused of human rights abuses domestically and state-sponsored terrorism in the region.

Arcos’ sister fled Eritrea and entered the medical parole program in what he described as a highly coordinated and secretive plan. He did not wish to release details because it could put other medical workers around the world at risk, but said her escape was aided by people in Eritrea.

Obama scrapped the medical parole program and “wet foot, dry foot” policy Thursday, the latest step to normalize relations between the U.S. and its old Cold War adversary. The moves sent shock waves through many anti-Castro Cuban communities in Florida and beyond.

“He shouldn’t have gotten rid of that,” said Omar Lopez, human rights director with the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami. “It served as something comparable to America’s own Underground Railroad and now the doors are closed to doctors around the world working under those conditions. It’s a paradox. I could say it’s a criminal paradox.… That’s been a main priority of the Cuban government for years with the U.S. because Cuba needs to keep selling its doctors abroad.”

Arcos was critical of Obama, too.

“All this brouhaha over wet foot, dry foot is a smoke screen to hide the fact he eliminated the medical parole program — he didn’t have to do that,” Arcos said. “Now Obama has slammed the door shut for the entire Cuban medical community from escaping the Castro regime. The only reason President Obama eliminated the medical parole program was to appease Raul Castro.”

Lopez added, “It was a last-minute decision by the president, obviously, but we have to wait and see what happens.”

Why?

“Because President-elect Trump may erase President Obama’s decision,” Lopez said.

Normalizing The Communists Who Run Cuba Makes This Survivor Sick

The Federalist, by Armando Simón

Totalitarianism touches every aspect of every person’s life, and Cuban communism has been traumatic for adults and children not drunk with fanaticism.

Ever since the death of that psychotic dictator Fidel Castro, I have been experiencing déjà vu. At age ten, I fled my native Cuba after the Communists took over and proceeded to trash the nation to make it conform to their totalitarian ideology. You may think that a ten-year-old would be ignorant of politics and not remember much, but totalitarianism touches every aspect of every person’s life, and it was traumatic for adults and children who were not drunk with fanaticism.

Aside from the constant persecution, militarism, censorship, indoctrination in schools, and idiotic slogans pasted everywhere, there was a complete vanishing of books, comic books, good films, food, clothing, household items, you name it. Not only were the Communists psychotic murderers, they were stupidly incompetent at running the economy, something that they boasted of benefitting the population. In fact, the only ones who never lacked for anything were the Communists. You see, “some animals are more equal than others.”

Continue reading Normalizing The Communists Who Run Cuba Makes This Survivor Sick

Prominent Cuban dissidents detained by state security agents

The Miami Herald

Cuban dissident Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet, recipient of the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, was taken into custody by police and state security agents Wednesday morning in Havana and briefly detained.

Miami-based Inspire America Foundation, a super PAC that supports pro-democracy leaders and policies in Cuba and the Americas, said Biscet, a former political prisoner, was picked up outside his Havana home by four police operatives and two state security agents and put into a patrol car.

By Wednesday afternoon, he was released with a warning about his activities, said Inspire America founder Marcell Felipe, who spoke with Biscet via telephone.

“While in custody he was told to give up his work and that he was getting old and that he was being watched and would go to prison if he continued,” said Felipe.

Three other dissidents — Eduardo Quintana Suárez, José Omar Lorenzo Pimienta, and Yoan Álvares — also were detained.

Inspire America said they had planned to meet in a Havana park to distribute a newsletter celebrating the 4th anniversary of the Emilia Project, a campaign to gather signatures on a document that asks for a new democratic and free parliament to be created to replace Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power and demands that a new constitution be drafted on the principles of democracy and freedom.

Biscet, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2007, is one of the directors of the Emilia Project and was arrested in 2002 as part of the “Black Spring” roundup of dissidents. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison but was released in 2011.

The independent Cuban news service 14yMedio also reported that Karina Gálvez, an economist and member of the editorial board of the magazine Convivencia, was detained Wednesday morning and taken to state security headquarters in Pinar del Río. Her home was reportedly searched for nearly four hours.

During his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, said that since the Obama administration’s opening toward Cuba and the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, Cuba hasn’t done enough to defend human rights.

Obama final gift to Castro: Stop slave doctors from seeking political asylum in the US

On Thursday January 12, less than two weeks after thousands of Cuban soldiers marched in front of Cuban dictator Raúl Castro chanting: “Obama! Obama! With what fervor we’d like to confront your clumsiness, give you a cleansing with rebels and mortar, and make you a hat out of bullets to the head,” Obama handed Raúl his final gift just eight days before his presidential term ends. There is no doubt that Obama’s love affair with the Cuban dictator is only one way and unconditional.

At the same time that he signed an agreement with the Cuban regime to end the “wet foot dry foot” policy, Obama also eliminated the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program, which allowed slave doctors forced by the Cuban regime to serve in foreign lands seek political asylum in the United States.

For decades, the Castro brothers have sent thousands of doctors to serve in remote areas of Venezuela, Brazil and other countries, in exchange for hard currency. Those governments pay the slave traders in Havana directly and the Cuban dictatorship pay the slave doctors only a small portion of what they get and pocket the rest.

Thousands of slave Cuban doctors have fled the countries where they were sent and come to the US. They will not be able to do that anymore after Obama’s decision yesterday.

It is ironic that the US first Afro-American president is helping  Cuba’s slave traders to continue their shameful exploitation of Cuban professionals.

Lets hope that the upcoming administration will reverse Obama’s final gift to Raúl Castro.

Official Statement from the Obama Administration

Statement by the President on Cuba Policy Changes

Cabinet Room

12:01 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.

In the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years, we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people, and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas.

There’s a complicated history between the United States and Cuba. I was born in 1961 –- just over two years after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, and just a few months after the Bay of Pigs invasion, which tried to overthrow his regime. Over the next several decades, the relationship between our countries played out against the backdrop of the Cold War, and America’s steadfast opposition to communism. We are separated by just over 90 miles. But year after year, an ideological and economic barrier hardened between our two countries.

Meanwhile, the Cuban exile community in the United States made enormous contributions to our country –- in politics and business, culture and sports. Like immigrants before, Cubans helped remake America, even as they felt a painful yearning for the land and families they left behind. All of this bound America and Cuba in a unique relationship, at once family and foe.

Continue reading Official Statement from the Obama Administration

BREAKING NEWS – Obama ending the wet foot dry foot policy

USA Today

The Obama administration is ending the 20-year-old “wet foot, dry foot” policy that allows most Cuban migrants who reach U.S. soil to become legal permanent residents after one year.

The decision was confirmed by a congressional staffer who was briefed by the administration but was not authorized to publicly discuss the plan.

In exchange, Cuba has agreed to start accepting Cubans who have been issued a deportation order in the U.S., something they have refused to do for decades.

The decision comes as President Obama tries to cement his historic opening with the communist island and one week before President-elect Donald Trump takes office. Trump has said he would renegotiate the deal with Cuba.

Secretary of State Nominee Tillerson: “Cuban leaders received much, while their people received little”

NBC6

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, criticized the United States’ normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba saying the communist island has not made enough concessions.

Appearing at a Senate confirmation hearing, Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, said Cuba’s leaders haven’t done enough on human rights for their citizens.
“We did not hold them accountable for their behavior, and their leaders received much, while their people received little,” he said. “That did not help Cubans or Americans.”

Tillerson did not specify whether he wants to reverse executive actions taken by President Obama to ease the trade embargo Washington imposed on Cuba in 1961. Obama has taken several administrative steps since the two governments resumed diplomatic relations in 2015, but only Congress can overturn the embargo.

During his election campaign Trump raised the possibility of reopening negotiations with Cuba to seek concessions from Havana.

After everything he has done for them: Cuban troops chant: We’ll make Obama ‘a hat out of bullets to the head’

The Miami Herald

In a particularly absurd display of military might and tropical folklore, Raúl Castro presided over a military parade in Havana on Monday to honor his dead brother and mark the 58th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

But instead of railing against the Republican winner of the U.S. presidential election, who has already taunted and threatened the Cuban government with his infamous tweets, the theme was anti-Obama.

Apparently everybody loves a winner, and Raúl Castro is no exception. He’s ready to ditch President Barack Obama, who opened up to Cuba like no other U.S. president before him.

The parting is ugly.

Listen to the war chant the marching troops were shouting in the parade:

“Commander-in-Chief, command us. Command over this land. We are going to make war if imperialism comes. Obama! Obama! With what fervor we’d like to confront your clumsiness, give you a cleansing with rebels and mortar, and make you a hat out of bullets to the head.”

Nothing like a little santería jargon — una limpieza, a cleansing! — to go with the fatigues, rifles and a threat to do the U.S. president harm.

Even by Cuba’s Kafkian standards, threatening to shoot an American president in the head is way out there. Too reprehensible for words. But the ungrateful display is even more remarkable because Obama has been nothing but a friend to Cuba, unilaterally lifting so many trade and travel restrictions that it worked to his political detriment at home.

Obama’s grave crime against Castro: The American president is more popular in Cuba than Raúl — and his visit last March awakened great hope and expectations in the Cuban people, who welcomed Obama with joy and displays of solidarity with the United States. Cubans heard Obama’s message that there could be a better Cuba if they believed in it, worked for it, embraced change and America’s peace offering.

Continue reading After everything he has done for them: Cuban troops chant: We’ll make Obama ‘a hat out of bullets to the head’

Cuban Interior Minister Fernández Gondín just became a “good communist”

International Herald Tribune

Cuban Interior Minister Carlos Fernandez Godin died on Saturday in Havana after a lengthy battle with a “chronic illness,” authorities announced. He was 78.

Fernandez Godin, who fought in the Cuban Rebel Army before the Revolution, was promoted from first deputy interior minister to head the ministry in October 2015, replacing Abelardo Colome, who had served in that capacity since 1989 but who had resigned due to health problems.

According to his will, Fernandez Godin will be cremated and his ashes will be honored at the Pantheon of Veterans in Havana’s Colon cemetery until they are interred in the Second Front Mausoleum in Santiago de Cuba, where the minister will receive military honors.