Cuba’s ‘honeymoon’ with Obama ending

WITH CLOSURE of US President Barack Obama’s first year, the promise of any fundamental change in US-Cuba relations is rapidly fading and a short-lived political honeymoon now seems heading for the rocks.

The latest indicator emerged last week with a stinging broadside from Havana against Washington’s decision to include Cuba among 14 countries linked with alleged state-sponsored terrorism.

In the absence of any clear commitment by Obama to lift the very punitive US trade and economic embargo enforced against Cuba 47 years ago, optimism, nevertheless, has been on the ascendancy with new arrangements on remittances and travel, as well as agreements on telecommunication and postal services between the two countries.

When Obama came under some sharp criticisms for being awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, the legendary Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, came out batting on his behalf, even as reservations were being openly expressed about his expedient ’just war’ doctrine in relation to Afghanistan, as declared in his acceptance speech in Oslo.

But Havana felt it was nothing but unprovoked official hostility for Washington to blacklist Cuba among 14 countries in new security arrangements in its ’war against terrorism’, following the foiled Al Qaeda linked bombing attempt on Christmas Day by a 23-year-old Nigerian national, Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, on a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight.

It so happens that Cuba is the sole exception of the 14 countries that are known to be Muslim nations and with no regular flights into the US. Other than that is the four heavily monitored daily charters that connect Havana with Miami and two other American cities.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry was last week alerting its allies in the global community, including the governments of Caricom, of its deep concerns about the implications of being so wrongfully blacklisted by the US, and while its citizens continue to suffer from the consequences of the almost half a century old economic blockade.

’We categorically reject this new hostile action by the US government’, the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement. It claimed that the ’list was politically motivated and its only goal is to justify the US policy of economic embargo against Cuba’.

Nigeria, a country of some 151 million largely Muslim people, has, for its part, dismissed as being totally unjustified to have to bear the ’blacklisting’ burden because of the crime with which a single Nigerian, Abdulmutallab, has been charged. It has officially demanded exclusion from the listed 14 countries.

Before Obama, other Washington administrations had routinely sought to brand Cuba as a terrorist-sponsored state without offering any specific evidence of the US being a victim of such a deplorable political doctrine and practice.

On the contrary, it is Cuba, as is known to the 15-member countries of our Caribbean Community (Caricom), as well as in Latin America and other regions of the world, that have had to repeatedly expose its sufferings, at home and abroad, at the hands of terrorists, many trained and financed by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Indeed, a few of the CIA’s terrorist collaborators who have been exposed in the assassination of the former foreign minister of Chile, Orlando Letelier on September 21, 1976, on ’embassy row’ in Washington, have been linked with anti-Castro Cuban emigres involved in a series of terrorist acts in Cuba and the Caribbean.

Two of these CIA-collaborators were also involved 15 days after the assassination of Letelier with the October 6, 1976 Cubana airline bombing tragedy off Barbados in which all 73 people aboard perished, most of them Cubans, and including 11 Guyanese and five North Koreans.

One of the earliest of Cuban emigres recruited by the CIA in Washington’s obsession with crushing the Castro-led government in Havana, and who was involved in the Cubana tragedy, Luis Posada Carriles, is still enjoying protection in the US.

But the US continues to ignore all requests from Cuba and Venezuela (from where he had escaped, as a Venezuelan citizen, first to Panama) for extradition.

Located somewhere in the bosom of America also is one of Posada’s better known terrorist emigre collaborators, Orlando Bosch, who had earlier illegally entered the US as a safe haven and succeeded in getting a presidential pardon from the elder George Bush when he occupied the White House.

In the spirit of ’international solidarity’ to which all Caricom governments lay claim with Cuba, perhaps they should consider sharing their own concerns over the consequences for that Caribbean nation to be now blacklisted along with 13 others following the Christmas Day bombing scare on that Northwest airline flight.

As Agence France Press (AFP) reported out of Havana on Wednesday, US-Cuba tensions are on the rise after the foiled Al Qaeda airline bomb plot, ending Havana’s ’fleeting honeymoon’ with Obama. – Travel agency to Cuba

About Particular Cuba
Particular Cuba organizes travel to Cuba. Hotel booking, car rental, package tours, excursions, flights to Cuba.

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