Hillary Clinton implies Castros like embargo, Gloria Estefan misses opportunity for change in Cuba
Friday, April 16th 2010, 4:00 AM
Pemoni/APU.S. Secretary of State Hillary impled that the Castros like the U.S. embargo against Cuba.
That's why comments last week by the secretary of state about the Cuban embargo were so surprising.
"It is my personal belief that the Castros do not want to see an end to the embargo and do not want to see normalization with the U.S., because they would lose all of their excuses for what hasn't happened in Cuba in the last 50 years," Clinton told a group of college students.
Wait, did I hear that right? Did Clinton actually imply that "the Castros" like the embargo although, sly dogs that they are, they deny it?
Think of it this way: The secretary of state has just declared that the central piece of our 50-year-old Cuba policy has done exactly the opposite of what it intended to accomplish. Washington, for all practical purposes, has been a loyal - if unwitting - ally of the communist regime.
This is big.
Someone needs to ask Clinton the question that is crying out for an answer: If the embargo is good for "the Castros" wouldn't it make sense to lift it ASAP?
Last night, pop singer Gloria Estefan, a powerful leader in the Cuban-American community, may have missed the chance to put the question to the President himself.
Obama was to visit the Miami Beach home of the Cuban-born Estefan and her husband, Emilio. The power couple, known supporters of all things Republican and staunch opponents of better relations with their homeland, seem to have undergone a political epiphany: hosting Obama at a $30,400-a-couple cocktail reception to raise funds for the Democratic National Committee.
Call it the President's most successful bipartisan effort.
At those prices what did the Estefans expect in return? According to Miami Herald columnist Myriam Marquez they expected "to get Obama's ear on Cuba."
"U.S. policy toward Cuba - flawed and failed as it is today - should reflect both the national interest of the country and the views of all Americans, not just the fortunate few," said Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas.
Yes, it should, except that the DNC is getting a nice chunk of change - $1 million some say - thanks to the songstress and her friends. Political campaigns are expensive and the 2012 presidential race is getting closer. As they say, money talks ...
"What Obama did was to thank Estefan and her group of wealthy expatriates for a cool million dollars," said Miami radio commentator Francisco Aruca. "Yet conversations with Havana are continuing and Obama doesn't want to antagonize conservatives at this time."
Recently Gloria Estefan organized a well-attended march in Miami to protest human rights conditions in Cuba, something Obama probably likes. What he may not like - and may not know about - is that one of the marchers was Luis Posada Carriles, the man behind the 1976 bombing of Cubana Flight 455, that killed the 73 people onboard, including the whole Cuban national fencing team.
"Posada Carriles continues to walk free, and the U.S. continues to list Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism," Stephens said. "And now that Luis Posada Carriles has marched with Ms. Estefan, Ms. Estefan is holding a fund-raiser for the President." Not good.
What would have been good is for the Estefans to have used their 15 minutes with the President to ask him to end the cruel and hypocritical embargo. They missed the opportunity, though, and that is a shame. After all, the secretary of state herself believes the blockade (as Cubans call it) is helping the communists next door.