Castro Criticizes Obama's Planned Cuba Policy

Fidel Castro has written an op-ed in Cuba's state-run newspapers today criticizing Barack Obama for saying he planned to uphold the embargo against Cuba while easing restrictions on Cuban residents in the U.S. from visiting and sending money to their relatives on the island.

"Obama's speech can be translated as a formula for hunger for the country," Castro wrote, referring to Obama's remarks last week to the influential Cuban American National Foundation in Miami.....Castro said Obama's proposals for letting well-off Cuban Americans help poorer relatives on the island amounted to "propaganda for consumerism and a way of life that is unsustainable."

He complained that Obama's description of Cuba as "undemocratic" and "lacking in respect for liberty and human rights" was the same argument previous U.S. administrations "have used to justify their crimes against our homeland."

Castro didn't mention Obama's offer to meet with him or other Cuban leaders. McCain and Hillary would both continue the embargo. Hillary said this week she wouldn't meet with Cuban leaders until they've begun to enact some Democratic reforms. [More...]

I think we must see evidence of reform before we allow the current governor of Cuba to benefit from the prestige and power of a presidential meeting,” she told a group of Cuban expatriates at Casa Cuba in Carolina. “They must show their good faith and we will work with them if they do.”

Clinton called for large scale progress to justify large scale talks. “We have seen, since Raul Castro formally took power, some small measures that may improve the lives of people in Cuba,” she said. “These first steps, however, are minor compared with the giant leaps that must be taken in order to achieve genuine political reform in Cuba.”

“I would call on the new leadership in Cuba to take immediate action to demonstrate its good faith and understanding. Release political prisoners, permit free assembly, and host open and competitive elections like you have right here in Puerto Rico,” she said — vowing to work for “a free, open, democratic Cuba.”

Note: This is not an open thread. Comments must be on topic of the candidates, Castro and U.S. policy towards Cuba.

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    I feel like we should be very careful (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Kathy on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:14:55 PM EST
    because if we are seen to be interfering with the goings-on of Cuba while Castro still draws breath, we might end up directing his brother in the wrong direction.  Raul Castro could bring about great change, or he could bring more misery.  These are the sorts of instances where diplomacy is the rule.  I'm not certain that anyone should be announcing dramatic changes in policy at a political stop.  Small steps.

    It is quite interesting to me that (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:49:37 PM EST
    Fidel is writing op-eds, even though he has supposedly ceded power to Raul, who is loosening things up somewhat already.  

    Kathy...you remember (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Stellaaa on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:29:57 PM EST
    Powers and what she told us about his positions, what we hear in the campaign is not what we will get.  What we will get?  Anyone's guess.  

    Ayup. We'll get all pandering (5.00 / 0) (#31)
    by Kathy on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:29:33 PM EST
    and no action.  (tm Obama)

    And I am just waiting for the op-ed from Achminajad saying he has absolutely no intention of meeting with any Americans under no conditions.  You know it's coming.

    Amateur hour.


    Once again - (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Invictus on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:34:12 PM EST
    Obama shows the best judgement.  Cuba has begun istituting reforms, and taking a fresh approach at this time could yield substantial progress.  

    The Cold War approach of Clinton and McCain is outdated and driven by pandering.

    Obama flip flopped on Cuba (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by Josey on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:39:57 PM EST
    during his 2004 senate campaign he supported ending the embargo.
    No doubt, Rove is keeping tabs on Obama's flip flops.

    flip flopping is now fashionable (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Stellaaa on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:41:41 PM EST
    it's not a negative.  Now that a woman showed everyone how not to flip flop, why it became ok.

    If you want to see Cuba reverse (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by RalphB on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:52:34 PM EST
    the democratic reforms, then the US should get openly involved in their politics.  If you want to see the reforms bear fruit, the US should work behind the scenes but keep our mouths shut.

    George W. Bush made a few (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:37:45 PM EST
    comments about U.S./Cuba relations recently, promising to permit people in the U.S. to send cell phones and other previously-forbidden-to-most people in Cuba electronic devices.  

    George Bush (none / 0) (#6)
    by Stellaaa on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:39:15 PM EST
    allowed the Embassy officials to pass money to families illegally.  Raul was not happy.  

    No embassy. (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:42:11 PM EST
    "American Interest Section."

    yeah...that office (none / 0) (#10)
    by Stellaaa on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:42:41 PM EST
    Proof is in the pudding (none / 0) (#14)
    by nellre on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:49:05 PM EST
    If he becomes president... we'll not know whether his judgment is good until we see actual results.

    proof OF the pudding (1.00 / 0) (#29)
    by Tano on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:25:19 PM EST
    is in the eating.

    You can tell already obama's judgment is (none / 0) (#19)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:04:00 PM EST
    seriously lacking.  Why give him a chance to show
    off his bad judgment in the oval office; we have had eight years of that already.

    Cuba and Obama (none / 0) (#26)
    by JavaCityPal on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:21:54 PM EST
    I'm having a difficult time figuring out which of Obama's statements on meeting with Cuba he will actually practice.

    Second video from the top.


    Embracing the embargo (none / 0) (#36)
    by Manuel on Mon May 26, 2008 at 05:51:32 PM EST
    is a continuation of the failed Cuba policy of the last four decades.  Obama won't change things in Cuba policy in any meaningful way.

    Elian Gonzalez (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Stellaaa on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:38:16 PM EST
    Remember how Bill and Janet Reno were demonized?

    I've changed my mind on (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:44:24 PM EST
    "little Elian," w/whom I was obsessed at the time.  The power of the MSM. Now I agree with Carlos Eire: Elian, who had relatives in the U.S. who were willing to care for him, would have been better off in the U.S.  

    how can you justify (1.00 / 0) (#28)
    by Tano on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:23:14 PM EST
    the government taking a child away from his parent becuase you dont like the politics of his country? How would you feel if some government tried to take away a child of yours?

    That was one of Bill and Reno's finest moments.


    Interesting to note. (none / 0) (#39)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon May 26, 2008 at 06:58:45 PM EST
    Your remakrs in reguards to the Polygamists sect children.

    But legally and morally (none / 0) (#13)
    by Stellaaa on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:48:26 PM EST
    when a parent is alive, what do you decide?   Emotionally, yes, but I thought it was a really tough issue.  

    No, it was simple (none / 0) (#35)
    by Manuel on Mon May 26, 2008 at 05:46:53 PM EST
    Only the countries involved clouded the case.  As was pointed out at the time, many custody disputes involve other countries.  Using custody cases for political purposes does way more harm than good.  As custody cases go, the facts in the Elian case were quite simple.  Parental custody has very high priority.  Just take a look at the recent FLDS case in Texas.

    To get back on topic, being attacked by Castro can only help Obama.  The US Cuba policy has been a disaster under both Republican and Democratic administrations for decades.  Obama isn't going to change that.  


    American Policy (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by facta non verba on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:54:33 PM EST
    towards Cuba has been incongruent. Cuba is hardly the worse offender of human rights. China is far worse and yet policy towards Cuba remains caught in a time warp. And the threat to US interests and to democracy in the region these days comes from Caracas and Managua not Havana. Since the mid-1990s there has been a shift in Havana's relationship with the rest of Latin America, they sought co-existence rather than offering continuing support of insurgent movements. Cuba even cut off aid to the FARC and the ELN in Colombia. Lip service was paid to the cause but not much else. Part of this was of course Cuba's retrenchment after Soviet aid was cut off but part of it was also a realization that Latin America was on a different path with the rise of a pragmatic left (Brazil, Chile, Argentina & Uruguay). Uruguay for example has a Socialist President but the govt is pragmatic unlike Chavez or Ortega who seem hell bent on destroying their civil societies.

    For a good coverage of US-Latin America relations and for general coverage of Latin America, try this website:

    By The Fault

    There's a Latin America category there. It is also a pro-Clinton blog.

    Cuba still a mystery to the USA (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by FLVoter on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:15:48 PM EST
    Cuba has long been misunderstood by many in the USA.  Some want the embargo lifted thinking that it will make it easier for the Cuban people.  It may be hard for some to believe that even if the embargo is lifted I do not see much of an improvement for the average Cuban.  Usually the beneficiaries are party officials or others connected with the government.  Currently there are hotels in Cuba where Europeans vacation and yet the Cuban people are not better off.  I stated before that Michael Moore's documentary is very misleading.  Medicines for the average Cuban are not easy to obtain.  This is why my family must send them to family still remaining in Cuba along with toilet paper, socks, toothbrushes and other ordinary items. Unfortunately it is a pot shot whether or not the care packages reach the intended family members intact.  What happens is that items are removed by government officials prior to reaching family members.  Before any US President engages Cuba, Cuba needs to demonstrate an improvement in human rights. Political Prisoners must be released.  In the 1980s Castro emptied the Cuban jails releasing criminals to the USA but did not release his political  prisoners.  Opposition members are still jailed. Raul is looking for support and Hugo Chavez has offered some, but to what extent will Raul give up some of his power for monetary support? At this time there is no magic wand to wave and fix the problems in Cuba.  Sen. Obama's stance towards Cuba is incredibility naïve.  He will be used by a pawn by the Castro government. Cuba must be engaged with eyes wide open.  There are many pitfalls of engaging Cuba without preconditions.  Without preconditions no changes in Cuba will be achieved.

    why not give cuba a chance? (none / 0) (#43)
    by gravett on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 01:03:01 AM EST
     i mean what we have been doing is not working so let´s step back from cuba and see what they may do on their own. if it get too bad we can always jump back in right? step back because i do not believe what we have been doing has been working.

    If I am not mistaken, many of the cuban (none / 0) (#12)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon May 26, 2008 at 03:44:29 PM EST
    americans addressed by obama last week were less than enamored with him also.  He knows he is not popular in FLA and I am guessing that is the biggest reason he even went to address them.

    You are mistaken... (2.00 / 0) (#20)
    by EddieInCA on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:06:35 PM EST

    Here's the first paragraph:

    The prominent Cuban-American organization that Republican President Ronald Reagan once counted on to secure victory in Florida was electrified on Friday by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

    Obama received no less than SEVEN standing ovations before the anti-Castro Cuban exile crowd.



    Other articles had different versions (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:10:00 PM EST
    I reported them here. Including this quote:

    The annual Cuban Independence Day banquet of the Cuban American National Foundation cheered Obama's avowed commitment to fostering democracy in Cuba. But the audience showed its wariness of his talk of meeting with Cuban leaders. Mere handfuls applauded that statement from among the crowd of at least 500.

    You've also posted this same comment before. Enough.


    Yes Jeralyn, your assessment is correct. (5.00 / 0) (#30)
    by FLVoter on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:27:04 PM EST
    With All Due Respect, Jeralyn... (none / 0) (#22)
    by EddieInCA on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:11:12 PM EST
    I have not.


    First time I posted anything on this topic.


    I apologize then (none / 0) (#24)
    by Jeralyn on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:15:35 PM EST
    I saw the same links and similar text elsewhere in the comments and assumed it was you when I saw it again here. My apologies.

    Appreciated... (none / 0) (#27)
    by EddieInCA on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:22:08 PM EST
    I try very hard to stay within the Posting Rules - as hard as it is sometimes.

    Thanks for the forum to spout.


    To the contrary (2.00 / 0) (#23)
    by Invictus on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:14:25 PM EST
    Obama was very well recieved by a key dissident group comprised of the wives of political prisoners.  There's been a great attitude change among Cuban-Americans, most of whom came to the U.S. in later years - and for economic reasons, rather than political.  They are much more in favor of direct negotion and compromise.  So it's no surprise to find Obama addressing the future instead of the past.

    No one is (1.00 / 1) (#32)
    by pie on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:40:28 PM EST
    invincible, sweetie.

    Words arrtibuted to the great (none / 0) (#33)
    by pie on Mon May 26, 2008 at 05:20:37 PM EST
    Julius Caesar:

    Veni. Vidi. Vici.

    Then a bunch of senators stabbed him in the back and other places.

    Just sayin'.


    What does a weather vane show you. (none / 0) (#34)
    by wurman on Mon May 26, 2008 at 05:28:10 PM EST
    I've read some posts here commending Sen. Obama's Cuba policy & indicating rave reviews for his speech in Miami.

    Then immediately are posts that describe his views on Cuba as mistaken, wrong, mis-directed & his speech as not altogether well received by a wary audience of skeptics.

    What seems curious is how his supporters seem to discover hosannas & praises & adulations at every event.  Everywhere.  Every time.

    Perhaps there is a veiled, parallel universe for those who jump on the bandwagon & follow the pied piper of Chicago to some glorious finale which we lesser folk cannot see.

    Time to Normalize Relations With Cuba (none / 0) (#37)
    by CoralGables on Mon May 26, 2008 at 06:28:30 PM EST
    Obama's approach to Cuba is one of the few areas where I believe he trumps Clinton, Bush, and McCain in common sense. Hillary follows the Bush approach which has been used by Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush. Just how much longer we keep following this idiocy is beyond me. It is pandering at it's worst.

    As someone that works in "Little Havana", I can tell you that Cuban-Americans born here and those that came when they were young are none too happy with not being able to visit their relatives on the island.

    On the other hand, The "Castro Be Damned Brigade" wants nothing to do with Cuba except to leave the USA and move back when Castro kicks the bucket. As they continue to die off, they have become the vocal minority who would never vote for anyone that doesn't declare death to Castro anyway.

    On most of the few issues where Hillary and Obama are different I side with Hillary....not on this one.

    When it comes to Cuba, it's time we grow up. Obama's approach is better but it doesn't go far enough.

    Typical of him though (none / 0) (#38)
    by Jeralyn on Mon May 26, 2008 at 06:44:15 PM EST
    When it comes to Cuba, it's time we grow up. Obama's approach is better but it doesn't go far enough.

    So true with many of his positions, they are compromise positions, trying to give a little bit to each side and we won't get reform.

    He should have promised an end to the embargo and a lifting of travel and family aid restrictions. Chris Dodd did that.


    Cuba and China (none / 0) (#40)
    by bernarda on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:37:13 AM EST
    Which of the candidates has demanded more democratic reforms from number 1 trading partner China?

    Trade is rather a misnomer, since it all seems to be one way.

    "a free, open, democratic Cuba.", and not the same for China? It is hard for me to see how Cuba is in any way worse than China.

    Any candidate who supports.... (none / 0) (#41)
    by kdog on Tue May 27, 2008 at 02:40:22 PM EST
    the foolish, failed embargo shows me how they really care about certain voting blocs 9and winning elections), and care not at all about doing what is right.

    I believe all 3 stooges support a continued embargo.  Sad.

    flip flop on embrago_? (none / 0) (#42)
    by gravett on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 12:46:52 AM EST
     What is cuba doing so wrong that we must try to cut them off from the world? we do not have to like them and their ways right?