A Day of National Shame for Cuba

June 19, 2017 | Print Print |

By Alberto N Jones 

President Trump announces his roll back on United States policy towards Cuba.

HAVANA TIMES – June 16, 2017, will be recorded in Latin America and world history as a sad, frustrating day, in which Cuba was seen vacillating, insecure, having lost the initiative, vision and ability to strike back, that characterized the Cuban Revolution since the days of the rebels in the Sierra Maestra mountains.

Hoping to express his gratitude to right-wing Cuban Americans who gave him substantial political support in the recent elections, president Donald Trump mounted a two-prong show in Miami, where hurling bravado and threats against Cuba dominated his speech, as he tried momentarily to deviate attention from serious legal issues haunting his administration.

Missed opportunity

Fifteen months ago, hundreds of observers, researchers and critics in and outside of Cuba, were dismayed by a senseless diatribe that was unleashed by a poorly expressed or worse understood sentence that was included in president Barack Obama conciliatory speech that was delivered in the beautiful Grand Theater in Havana, nearly derailing the objectives of the visit.

Honest and opportunist writers, commentators and thinkers alike, could not stop feeding on this issue and a few went as far as uttering offensive expressions against a visitor, who was an example of modesty, humility and a people’s person, who was genuinely interested in advancing the bilateral relations between the US and Cuba.

Cuba missed a precious and critical moment, in which some preferred to continue to mix excretions with a stick instead of adding effective, complementary actions that would expand and strengthen new areas of distension.

The miniscule scratch that this diplomatic opening did to the embargo was obscured with grandiloquent, self-gratification speeches demanding the lifting of the embargo, knowing it was codified into US law as jurisdiction of Congress and out of reach of the president.

Barack Obama in Cuba, March 2016.

In spite of this, travel to Cuba was liberalized and commercial, health, agriculture, scientific, cultural and other exchanges was widely encouraged. Inexplicably, Cuba did not take advantage of this small opening.

Cuba could and should have promoted the formation of large Cuban-American Joint ventures in potato, rice, corn, citric, fruit, poultry, pig and cattle industries, instead of holding on to millions of fallow acres, while having to import the majority of its foodstuffs.

Cuba should have promoted the creation of Cuban-American joint Hotel Enterprises with hundreds of dilapidated hotels and villas in the hands of Isla Azul, the Camping sites, and new nationwide investments.

Cuba could and should have removed stifling Customs rules that prohibit the entrance of all sorts of goods as permitted by Customs in the US and around the world, which would have turned it into a source of material supplies, where products, equipment, spare parts and other unavailable items could have been satisfied while earning millions of dollars in taxes for the country.

Cuba could have saved millions of hours lost. due the disastrous state of public transportation, by allowing to import of used trucks, buses and automobiles without market demand in the US, the same ones that were allowed into the country in small qualtities as donations in the past.

It is imperative the Cuban government recognize its mistaken calculations and modify the survival and development strategy of the country, by relaxing and liberalizing labor, commerce, services and other productive activities in dysfunctional state hands.

And now Trump

The spectacle that took place in Miami, as we watched president Donald Trump lecture Cuba like primary school children by demanding the implementation of verifiable policies by his government, the same ones he is incapable of demanding from any municipal government in the US, was depressing, repugnant and instructive.

It was painful to watch other Cubans in Miami cheer the threats of hunger, desolation and deaths with which a US president about to be questioned by the judicial system of his country, used to try and intimidate a heroic people that have spilled their blood in defense of their independence and sovereignty and that of other brotherly people.

Cuba can knock down this momentary set-back by using the massive support it has received from dozens of presidents, prime ministers, the Pope, kings and foreign ministers that have visited the country in recent years and favorably renegotiated Cuba´s external debts, leaving substantial amount of investment and development funds in the country with which, little or nothing has been done so far.

The future of Cuba and that of dozens of small, weak and underdeveloped nations depends of the survival of Cuba.  No measure that leads to the preservation and the future of millions of islanders should be debated, doubted or its implementation postponed.

What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    Dr. Jones writes, “The future of Cuba and that of dozens of small, weak and underdeveloped nations depends of the survival of Cuba.” WTF? I think, for example, Trinidad and Tobago will be just fine regardless of what happens to Cuba. Guatemala will still be around as well. Cuba is not that important. It’s the same arrogance Dr. Jones expresses in that statement that the Castros demonstrated by not responding in kind to the former President Obama’s rapprochement. Dr. Jones is correct, however, Cuba missed an opportunity and will now suffer the consequences.

    • N.J. Marti

      Huge error, not returning the kindness that Obama demonstrated.

    • Chuck1938

      Dear Moses, why your answers are so extreme? Why choose a huge oil producing country as TT and not think about St. Kitts, the Granadines, Haiti, tens of Pacific islands and I am not so sure as you are about the future of Guatemala, Puerto Rico and the USVI who are sinking under an unbearable mountain of debt.

      • Moses Patterson

        Each of countries you have identified have unique and tangible issues to overcome. But none of these countries is dependent upon Cuba’s survival as Dr. Jones writes.

  • TurD Place, CowPatty@Lansdowne

    I would like to extend to the people of Cuba an invitation from Canada to open a dialogue on a closer relationship potentially leading to a merging of the two countries as one.
    This new closer relationship would allow a excellent solution to the problems in North America at this time!

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      As a Canadian citizen married to a Cuban citizen and with our home in Cuba, I totally reject the initiative proposed by TurD Place, (For non-Canadians, that name is a play on the Franglais spoken by one Jean Chretian when Prime Minister of Canada when he described the NDP (socialist) party as “Dat turd party”)
      Certainly my wife as a Cuban is opposed as she seeks to see a free independent Cuba not one dominated by another country. I oppose it because I too wish to see Cuba a free independent country able to maintain its own culture and to determine its own future and policies when released from the bonds of Communism.
      Thirdly, TurD Place ought to recall the overtures made by Turks and Caicos and by Aruba, to joining Canada, which Canada rejected.

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    Well at least Dr. Jones now recognizes that the missed opportunity lies at the door of the Castro regime. Some of we contributors to Havana Times have previously written of the overtures made by Obama being rejected by the Castro regime only one week after his speech at the Alicia Alonso Theatre, firstly by the so-called ‘Fidel’ letter and then the following day by Bruno Rodriguez.
    Dr. Jones clearly has not grasped – or has not accepted – that any form of genuine change is and will continue to be rejected by the communist regime because it represents a threat to their retention of power.
    As a veterinarian, Dr. Jones must also know that the millions of acres of agricultural land which he referred to as “fallow” are actually reverting to bush. He is correct in suggesting that that good land could be return to being highly productive by joint venture – but not necessarily with US businesses.
    I do know that the largest single European vegetable and potato producing company rejected that concept five years ago. The difficulty lies in the insistence by the regime that it decides who is employed and it rejects the concept of paying employees according to their worth – a measurable factor – and also the regime insists on controlling prices of product.
    The photograph of a relaxed Obama casually strolling amongst a group of Cubans is unlikely to be repeated by any other US President. Raul Castro really did screw up the best opportunity given to Cuba in fifty eight weary years but by so doing maintained total power for the Communist Party of Cuba and continued penury for Cuba’s citizens.
    All in all, despite my comments, the article demonstrates some good sense. Who can crticize critics of President Donald J. Trump(f)? The American political system elected him and Americans have to accept that – but their decision affected so many others.

  • Sally

    Every time TRUMP opens his mouth is disgusting! Nothing new here.

  • N.J. Marti

    Trump is a noise maker. Responding in kind would be a useless gesture. Best to ride out the minor turbulence for the Castro regime. They will be back at negotiating table soon enough with more gains. Trump is not an interventionist, his Cuba policy is just a domestic political gesture. He will have lots of reasons to make a deal.

    • Moses Patterson

      Give me one reason that may motivate Trump to make a deal?

  • bjmack

    Cuba missed out on a great opportunity after Obama’s visit. Bad call on the Castro brothers and perhaps the entire regime. These guys just can’t get it!