Monday, April 13, 2009

Texting Their Way to Freedom

It must have been a bizarre day in the White House briefing room as Obama sent Robert Gibbs and his new Special Assistant to the President and a Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council, Dan Restrepo, to announce he was dropping all restrictions on the ability of individuals to visit family members in Cuba, and to send them remittances. Quoting Mr. Restrepo:
Todos aquellos que creen en los valores democráticos básicos anhelan una Cuba que respeta los derechos humanos, políticos, económicos, básicos de todo su pueblo. El Presidente Obama considera que estas medidas ayudarán a hacer realidad ese objetivo. El Presidente - El Presidente alenta a todos quienes comparten este deseo, que sigan cometidos a su firme apoyo para el pueblo cubano.
Loosely translated, this will help bring the freedom through the coming cell phones and Direct TV to the Cuban peoples if the regime doesn't get upset.

Who is Restrepo? He's an advocate for reforming illegal immigration by first stopping the haters:
To achieve that control, the president will have to work with Congress to leave behind the hate-filled demagoguery that defines the immigration debate.
So there's that. At the presser a question was asked by a Colombian journalist about the kind of relationship Obama would pursue with his country coming off their favored status with the previous one. Mr. Restrepo used a diplo-punt to avoid the question, but perhaps answered it last year:
On the U.S.-Colombia free-trade pact, Restrepo said Obama believes the agreement cannot move forward until progress is made against violence committed against Colombian labor and civic leaders.
He went on to say McCain's experience in the region didn't trump Obama's image of reform (no, he didn't mention Che). Now he's in the administration and reaching out to pursue better relations with communist Cuba, who've shown very little progress on democratic reforms. Go figure. Anyway, the press soon asked the obvious question (along with asking why Obama himself wasn't out there announcing such a thing):
Q But the Cuban government would have to allow it to move forward? I mean, they could stop this if they wanted to I assume.
Well, yeah. At last check they were still a bunch of totalitarian commies who don't follow White House Executive Orders. But Gibbs and Restrepo kept hammering their message of fostering travel and money orders between Cuban Americans (who normally vote Republican and have helped carry Florida for the GOP in the past) so another reporter asked this:
Q Will you allow -- does this announcement allow direct flights between the U.S. and Cuba? How will Cuban American families get there?
And the answer was presumably yes, sort of maybe. Whether this would count as part of Fidel's "how can we help Obama" pledge is unknown at this time; or whether this might apply to new routes for Cubana Airlines is still pending. Perhaps they needed a Cuban government spokesman as well. Ok, cheap shot.

Bottom line, as with everything liberals propose this has a big upside if the stars align. Obama is apparently using his international political capital to put pressure on the regime to loosen up, perhaps taking Fidel's offer and turning it around on him. Since nothing else has worked, maybe this will. A freer Cuba is the end goal for everyone.

But there's always a nagging, underlying feeling these kinds of things are mere ruses to actually help the Marxists while appearing to hurt them. It's not as if Obama has never dabbled with, shall we say, 'different' political philosophies before. Then again, you're reading a blog written by a tea-baggin' wing nut hung up on tradition so--being as diplomatic as possible and using a helpful politically correct tool-- tendremos que esperar y ver. The Iraqis really liked their cell phone and cable TV freedoms after we eliminated Saddam.


Not sure if this is reaching out the hand or clenching the fist, but I'd say it's the latter:
Castro, in his message, said Obama can use his "talents" in creating a constructive policy that would end the embargo that "has failed for almost half a century."

"On the other hand, our country, which has resisted and is willing to resist whatever it takes, neither blames Obama for the atrocities of other U.S. administrations nor doubts his sincerity and his wishes to change the United States policy and image," Castro said. "We understand that he waged a very difficult battle to be elected, despite centuries-old prejudices."
Hopefully Obama will not leave dangling the impression that Bill Clinton committed an "atrocity" by not doing as he did (we already know what he thinks of Bush, of course).


Anonymous said...

Of course, I have to ask, “What’s wrong with hate-filled demagoguery?” At least I don’t beat around the bush about it. (I apologize for using the word bush; I’ll do better in the future). I hate anyone who violates US law by coming here, remaining here, and then demands their “constitutional rights.” I’m glad I could clear that up for Mr. Restrepo; but I hope it hasn’t impugned the integrity of this excellent blogger. If you agree with me, I’m the CEO of the Mustang Group. If you denounce me as a dirty, rotten, filthy racist, my name is LA Sunset.

A.C. McCloud said...

Of course, I have to ask, “What’s wrong with hate-filled demagoguery?” Nothing, unless you don't mind landing on a Department of Liberal Homeland Security watchlist, that is.

I’m glad I could clear that up for Mr. Restrepo; but I hope it hasn’t impugned the integrity of this excellent blogger. I'm trying to figure out if you're bragging; referring to Mr. Restrepo's blogging talents, or referring to a purported person who might one day show up here and replace me.. ;-)