Editor’s Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison
“Obama gives the Castro regime in Cuba an undeserved bailout.” Was that a headline from Ronald Reagan’s favorite conservative weekly, Human Events? Or, perhaps a stiff rejoinder from the up-to-the-minute reporting of the Weekly Standard?
No! That’s the headline on an editorial in—can you believe?—the Washington Post! It gets better. The Post flays President Obama’s rationale for lifting the embargo on Cuba (the incoming GOP Congress will have something to say about this) and it dissects the President’s White House statement.
The administration’s policy is so bad that even the Washington Post has been forced to go to the ramparts in defense of truth and good policy.
At first blush, it looks like another surprising initiative from this amazing Presidency. Consider: We have had Presidents of both parties maintaining a policy of unusual consistency toward the captive island nation of Cuba for more than half a century. Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush and Bush for the Republicans. But there was little difference when the Oval Office was occupied by Democrats JFK, LBJ, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
It’s most curious that with that bi-partisan consensus of ten U.S. Presidents, it never occurred to any of them: Why not just surrender to Cuba? Why not simply run up the white flag?
That is what this policy is. As the Post editorial lays out the case, every one of the President’s arguments for this American retreat is refuted by the facts and by history.
No wonder the Obama administration hastened to get Tony Blinken confirmed in a Lame Duck Democratic Senate. The members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee must have had just such a Cuban overture in mind when they quizzed the President’s pick for No. 2 at the State Department. No hint of this in-the-works capitulation escaped as Blinken was waved through.
From now on, we’d like to see every nominee for a top spot at State or Defense asked if he or she has read The Black Book of Communism. Pages 647-665 of this volume records in dreadful detail the record of mass murder, terror, and repression of the Castro regime.
We’ve heard of a “war on women.” Would the Obama administration care to read what a distinguished woman—even a longtime friend of Fidel Castro, Dr. Martha Frayde—experienced in one of his prisons?
My cell was six meters by five. There were twenty-two of us sleeping there in bunk beds of two or three layers. The basins we had to wash in were filthy, sometimes it was impossible to wash at all. [Unable to empty the toilets] a layer of excrement formed, invading our cells.. We managed to sweep away some of [it] with the pressure hoses, but there still wasn’t enough water, and we had to live with this vile layer for another few days.
This is the regime that Mr. Obama is now rewarding.
Do we care about freedom? The press it totally controlled. Religion? “In Cuba, religious activity was only lawful if explicitly authorized by the state.” This brief statement is from the State Department’s 2013 report on International Religious Freedom. Does this White House, does this State Department even read what it publishes?
On that last point, perhaps it’s not so surprising after all. President Obama’s administration is the first in U.S. history to try to coerce Americans and their religious institutions into subsidizing the killing of unborn children. It is also the first in U.S. history to tell the Supreme Court that it and not the churches themselves is capable of deciding who is and is not an ordained minister in the denominations [see Hosanna Tabor v. EEOC]. Fortunately for us, the Supreme Court slapped down Mr. Obama’s contention—by a vote of 9-0!
Thinking of this latest diplomatic blunder, we have to recall Ron Radosh’s poignant and mordantly funny story in his book, Commies: A Journey through the Old Left, the New Left, and the Leftover Left. Young Radosh, then a Communist Party member, went to Cuba with a group of American psychiatrists. These Marxists were given a tour of one of Castro’s mental hospitals.
The American “Commies” soon raced back onto their tour bus—horrified. They had just witnessed an entire ward of Cuban mental patients—all of them had been subjected to lobotomies. This barbarous practice had been condemned for decades in the United States and most civilized countries.
Trying to quiet the uproar, the Communist Party guide for the bus tour reassured his charges. “Don’t’ worry. It’s OK. Those are Socialist lobotomies!”
So let’s not worry. It seems the Obama administration’s Cuba policy makers, too, have all had Socialist lobotomies.
Photo credit: “Vladimir Putin in Cuba 14-17 December 2000-12” by Presidential Press and Information Office – http://www.kremlin.ru/events/photos/2000/12/137684.shtml. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Ken Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union, and on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.