As syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer alluded to during a panel discussion on Fox News, Obama’s position on Castro is consistent with the President’s position on dealing with any tyrannical leader. From examples of ignoring Putin invading Ukraine, downsizing our nuclear program and the lack of supporting opposition towards Iran’s regime in 2009, Krauthammer asks, “Is there no tyrant or Anti-American center in the world that Obama will not appease for nothing in return?”
What could be behind the decision for calling for a “new direction” with our relationship with Cuba? Would it appear more fitting to suggest that Obama’s ever changing position of Cuba lies with whether his party is gearing for the next election? What could the United States possibly gain from giving Raul Castro everything he wants?
In 2004 as state senator, in attacking Bush foreign policies, Barack Obama was once for the repeal of the embargo against Cuba citing:
“The embargo failed to provide the source of raising standards of living and it has squeezed the innocents in Cuba.”
However, between his time as state senator and as a Presidential candidate in 2008, Obama changed his mind of lifting any sanctions within weeks of one another depending on the speech venue as evident below:
Oregon, May 18, 2008– “I think it’s a good time for us to reassess what our Cuba policy is. Cuba has been a dictatorship; it has suppressed a free press, free exercise of religion. Obviously there are a lot of Cubans who moved to the U.S. and still have horrendous memories of the Communist takeover there.”
Miami, May 23, 2008– “I will maintain the embargo”, “It provides us with the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice: if you take significant steps toward democracy, beginning with the freeing of all political prisoners, we will take steps to begin normalizing relations. That’s the way to bring about real change in Cuba – through strong, smart and principled diplomacy.”
Then presidential candidate Obama would never sway Miami voters with heavy Hispanic populations to support him as President if he suggested that giving in to the demands of a tyrant would be a great idea. If you remember, John McCain gained more votes in the Hispanic population than Obama in 2008.
In addition, Obama must realize the dire conditions people of Cuba have been living with for decades under tyrannical leaders such as the Castro brothers, will not be elevated by placating to their demands. Why should we now as a country place trust that humanitarian behavior will prevail in the hands of such evil?