Obama Administration Codifies US-Cuba Moves: How about Third Cousins?

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cuban face.jpgThe Obama administration today lightened travel and remittance restrictions for US-based relatives of Cuban citizens residing in Cuba.
The limit on relatives is noted at “second cousins.”
Hooray! — not.
OK — it’s some progress. But this is progress that the Cuban-American right wing wanted.
What I and other sensible national security strategists wanted was for President Obama to stand by his moral and ethical fiber that engagement is good, that people to people exchange makes sense, that the Cold War is over, and show some understanding today that Cuba is exporting not revolution and arms today — but doctors.
I remember very well during the height of the Cold War how my father — who was a US Air Force service man — used to comment on all the things that the Soviet Union would do to constrain and control the lives of its citizens.
I remember well how he said everyone was required to carry “their papers” and how they couldn’t travel without government permission.
It is outrageous and simply unacceptable that Barack Obama, the first ethnic mix of any sort who wonderfully defies categorization residing in the White House, is creating a class of opportunity and privilege for one class of ethnic Americans and perpetuating an anti-American, anti-human rights restriction by the US government on the movement of non-qualified US citizens.
The travel restrictions on Americans have always been wrong — and have been more consistent with a totalitarian, Communist government than they have been with a traditional American democracy.
Obama and his team should find a way to step back and realize that while they have made progress on Cuba — this is embarrassing progress, ridiculous progress — that is anti-American in spirit and at its core.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

22 comments on “Obama Administration Codifies US-Cuba Moves: How about Third Cousins?

  1. samuelburke says:

    Surprise! Neocons Dislike End the Fed
    Posted by Lew Rockwell on September 8, 2009 07:35 PM
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/035402.html
    Writing for David Frum’s neocon website, New Majority (oh sure), Kenneth Silber is outraged at Ron Paul’s End the Fed. How dare he blame so many ills on this wonderful institution? Sure it inflates, but so what? How dare Ron be a ‘conspiracy theorist’? Sure, wealthy political-bankster members of the power-elite designed it to their own profit. But that’s just public service. How dare he use the economically accurate definition of inflation? We must use the obfuscating one. How dare Ron try to limit government spending by abolishing the printing press? We must have the printing press to wage endless war. How dare he want to weaken the Fed? It must be strengthened. How dare Ron call this federal agency private? Well, Ron has always patiently explained that the DC Fed is a federal agency dedicated to the state and the banksters, a public-private fascist outfit like the other Progressive Era ops, in other words. But instead of being transparent, the Fed is private. That, however, is about to change, thanks to Ron Paul, his HR 1207, and his book. Now let’s take it to #1 on Amazon and the NY Times (if the Times is still in existence) on September 16th, one week from tomorrow. Messrs. Frum and Silber need to see it there. But we have our work cut out for us, since End the Fed is #13 on non-fiction bestsellers (though up from #16 over the weekend).

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  2. samuelburke says:

    afghani election fraud not on the radar screen of american political wannabees …russian intelligence needs to pass out phones so these afghanis can learn to tweet…we can call the afghan revolution the twitter induced poppy revolution.
    http://news.antiwar.com/2009/09/08/afghan-election-commission-clear-and-convincing-evidence-of-fraud/
    With the first round of vote counts nearly completed Afghanistan’s incumbent Presdient Hamid Karzai has 54.1% of the votes, seemingly enough to avoid a run-off vote with top rival Abdullah Abdullah though well short of the nearly 70% of the vote his supporters claims he had gotten. But Karzai’s victory celebration is going to have to wait, potentially for quite some time.
    Karzai’s apparent victory has come in the face of an almost impossible number of fraud claims, including that the president’s supporters created 800 fictious polling places to stuff ballot boxes and claims that Karzai got 10 times as many votes in some districts as their were registered voters. Afghanistan’s Election Complaints Commission says that there is now “clear and convincing evidence of fraud” on an enormous scale, and has ordered a “partial recount” of the votes.

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  3. samuelburke says:

    among the signers of the FPI letters is one David Frum
    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2009/09/08/when-satire-becomes-reality/
    As the debate over domestic politics, such as healthcare legislation, reaches an impasse, look for some sort of grand compromise – a tradeoff. It’s no accident that the neocons are now urging the Republicans to back away from populist “extremism,” and among the signers of the FPI letters is one David Frum, who has become a vocal opponent of Rush Limbaugh and other intransigents, seeking to moderate the radical populism that energizes the GOP base. Frum, a Canadian who excoriated conservatives and libertarians – myself included – as “traitors” for opposing the Iraq war, is now turning on his erstwhile friends at National Review and has started his own “New Majority” Web site, where he regularly inveighs against right-wing populism (especially Ron Paul) and urges Republicans to compromise when it comes to healthcare. But he is ready to go to the barricades to uphold the Republican “principle” of mass murder as the preferred way of dealing with our problems overseas.

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  4. easy e says:

    SPANISH JUDGE DESERVES NOBEL PRIZE FOR GIVING THE GREEN LIGHT TO PROSCECUTE BUSH LAWYERS….
    Spain to proceed with torture prosecution of Bush lawyers: Report
    By Daniel Tencer, September 8, 2009
    A Spanish judge has decided to go ahead with the prosecution of six Bush administration lawyers — including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales — who were the architects of the legal framework for President George W. Bush “enhanced interrogation” program, according to a report in the Spanish newspaper Publico. (Original article here; Google translation here.)
    The six Bush administration alumni targeted in the prosecution are former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; John Yoo, author of the “torture memos”; Douglas Feith, then a deputy defense secretary; Pentagon lawyer William Haynes II; former assistant attorney general Jay Bybee; and David Addington, a former chief of staff to then-Vice President Dick Cheney.
    According to Andy Worthington at AfterDowningStreet.org, Judge Baltasar Garzon has rejected prosecutors’ request, made last April, to throw the case out. Prosecutors had argued the case was politically motivated.
    But under Spanish law, criminal charges can be brought by anyone, not just prosecutors, and in this case it was private lawyers and civil-rights organizations that pressed the charges. The case is being brought on behalf of three former Guantanamo Bay inmates: Jamil El-Banna and Omar Deghayes, both British residents, and Sami El-Laithi, an Egyptian national.
    As RAW STORY reported in June, the case appeared jeopardized by the Spanish parliament’s decision to overhaul its human-rights laws.
    Spain had adopted the principle of “universal jurisdiction,” allowing its courts to prosecute violations of human rights and crimes against humanity that occurred anywhere in the world. But an outcry from Israel over an attempted prosecution of Israeli soldiers for the Gaza bombing campaign last winter convinced legislators the law was too broad.
    However, the judge appears to believe that Spain’s updated laws don’t affect the “Bush six” trial. Phillippe Sands, an international-law professor at University College London who has testified before Congress about torture, told Publico that “there is no legal barrier” to the case. (Original article here; Google translation here.)
    Because cases like this are rare, it’s unclear what impact the Spanish trial will have on the Bush administration staffers who face prosecution.
    Sands told Publico that he believes Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate CIA torture practices shows that the Spanish prosecution is on the right track.
    However, Holder’s investigation will be limited to instances where interrogators overstepped the boundaries set out by Bush lawyers for “enhanced interrogation.” By contrast, the Spanish case challenges the legality of the entire program.
    http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/09/08/spain-prosecution-bush-lawyers/
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Wouldn’t it be nice for this development to grow some legs.

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  5. Outraged American says:

    Rick Reyes, the Winter Soldier John Kerry of the anti-Afghan war
    movement, will be on the What Really Happened show this
    Thursday 5-6 PM Central (3 PM Pacific , 6 PM Eastern) Stream it
    at WhatReallyHappened.com
    Here’s the website:
    http://rethinkafghanistan.com/
    The New America foundation is listed on it, to my surprise. Look
    under “groups”
    Here’s Reyes testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations
    Committee that got him the Kerry comparison. Kerry’s a blood
    thirsty, old, shrew now, but we’re talking about the young Kerry
    who asked, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for
    a mistake?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypwrq4mbiQw
    BTW: years ago a friend brought the guy who directed Kerry’s
    film biography to my birthday party. He’d won an Oscar for
    some Jewish Holocaust doco, and I think it was still stuck in his
    ass. I read an interview with the director a few years later: he
    said he had a lot to work with because Kerry was carrying
    around a camera the whole time he was in Vietnam. Perhaps in
    the knowledge that one day he could use it to run for office?
    Cemented my dislike for Kerry, actually Kerry wanting to expand
    the war in Iraq cemented my dislike for Kerry.

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  6. JohnH says:

    Agreed. China got American support via Arkansas based WalMart. Then the flood gates opened to anyone sourcing from a sweat shop. China’s approach was smart–not letting American business control any of the commanding heights of the economy or strategic industries, yet allowing enough investment to provide protection and a nice market. But, if I recall correctly, the Chinese were major underwriters of the Clintons (along with Indonesia), so I’m sure their largess amply greases the Congressional wheels in Washington, too.
    Contributions to the Clinton Library are probably only the tip of the iceberg–
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1208/16707.html

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  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “There’s nothing intrinsically worse about these countries than say, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Azerbaijan or Angola. They just haven’t bought their protection.”
    There is more than one way to “buy” protection. The United States now has garnered 68% of global arms sales. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE are three of our biggest customers.
    With all the furor about supposed Iranian arms proliferation to states less than friendly towards Israel, its Ironic that we are the globe’s foremost exporter of death.
    And imagine, white phosphorous, land mines, cluster munitions, and DU weaponry are on our most prominent sales racks. The gifts that just keep giving. Makes ya proud to be an American, don’t it?

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  8. JohnH says:

    If Turkey can buy the Speaker of the House, anybody can. The American Turkish Council is only the tip of the iceberg. AIPAC is just another visible part. Bacardi/Otto Recih is a third.
    Amazing how domestic and foreign special interests have totally corrupted American “foreign policy.”
    Russia, Iran and Venezuela have problems only as a result of their leaders being too dumba** to buy into the system. There’s nothing intrinsically worse about these countries than say, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Azerbaijan or Angola. They just haven’t bought their protection.

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  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here is yet one more mainstream blog taking up the issue of Sibel Edmonds.
    http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2009/09/foreign-infiltration-of-united-states.html
    The Sibel Edmonds story is “on topic” to ANY foreign policy discussion, about ANY foreign nation. How can the American people trust that the United States’ foreign policies, in any arena, are founded in our best interests when sworn testimony and evidence is being presented of blackmail, bribery, and treason being used to shape foreign policy?
    What assurances do we have that foreign policy towards Cuba is not based on the same kind of criminally coercive incentives? The silence of the mainstream media, and the silence of insiders like Steve, who have friends right in the middle of Sibel’s accusations, only lends credibility to Sibel’s accusations and assertions. If this woman is fabricating this sensational story, than she needs to be exposed. And if not, and we continue to ignore it, than this nation’s very backbone is shown to broken beyond repair.
    Steve, this IS NOT going to go away.

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  10. Larry Martin says:

    Steve, you said: “What I and other sensible national security
    strategists wanted was for President Obama to stand by his moral
    and ethical fiber…”
    The moral and ethical fiber you cite came through clearly in
    Obama’s campaign speeches but is just a clearly lacking in too
    many of his actions. On warrantless wiretapping, preventive
    detention, banking reform, health care reform, war in the Middle
    East, and on Cuba, what we’re experiencing is a continuation of
    Bush/Cheney policies that are not only anti-progressive but too
    often anti-constitutional.
    The eloquent constitutional scholar in the White House is AWOL
    when it comes time to translate pretty words into action.

    Reply

  11. JohnH says:

    Gotta love Karzai’s fake election. I’ve watched a lot of fake elections over the years, and this one is the mother of all fake elections! Nary a shred of legitimacy! Guess Karzai’s American handlers forgot to tell him the part about putting up appearances, like everywhere else. The whole situation is worthy of a Fellini film!
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/07/world/asia/07fraud.html?_r=1&hp
    It’s obviously time to discard that canard about America being in Afghanistan to promote a stable democracy. What a joke! The next person to utter that nonsense should be laughed out of the country.
    So what are America’s reasons for occupying Afghanistan now? Afghanistan’s nuclear program? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Human rights? (Oops–bombed another hospital.)
    Unfortunately, like Iraq, America is too important to need a reason to occupy another country. But let’s hope the other NATO partners do.
    And to think that TWN managed to work itself into all sorts of righteous outrage about how bad Iran’s election was. And here we have a doozy presided over by the folks down the street in Washington, and TWN has barely anything to say!
    Hopefully, this will give people something to think about when America conducts another one of its best elections money can buy.

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see Morrow has found a rock to crawl under; The ASI.

    Reply

  13. samuelburke says:

    democacy in afghanistan, american style.
    Afghan Election Officials Disqualify 447 Polling Stations
    ‘No Idea’ When Final Afghan Vote Will Be Released
    by Jason Ditz, September 06, 2009
    http://news.antiwar.com/2009/09/06/afghan-election-officials-disqualify-447-polling-stations/
    Afghan electoral officials today admitted that they “have no idea” when the results of last month’s disputed election, previous scheduled to be released on September 17, will actually be made public. The count has been slowed by reports of massive fraud across the nation.
    The officials have also decided to throw out the results from some 447 polling stations, citing irregularities. Roughly 6,600 polling places opened for the vote. Incumbent President Hamid Karzai reportedly got every single vote in multiple polling places, and the turnout was larger than the number of eligible voters in many others.

    Reply

  14. samuelburke says:

    democracy in afghanistan, american style.
    800 Afghan Polling Sites ‘Existed Only on Paper’
    Western Diplomats Confirm ‘Fraud en Masse’ in Afghanistan
    by Jason Ditz, September 06, 2009
    http://news.antiwar.com/2009/09/06/800-afghan-polling-sites-existed-only-on-paper/
    Western diplomats tonight are confirming that there was widespread voter fraud in Afghanistan, with most perpetuated on behalf of the campaign of incumbent President Hamid Karzai. Though such reports have been persistant since last month’s vote, the scope of the fraud is sure to surprise even the most hardened skeptic.
    For one thing, officials say about 800 polling sites, nearly 15% of the overall number in the election, never actually opened and indeed “existed only on paper.” That didn’t stop the sites from reporting thousands of votes. Unsurprisingly, President Karzai did remarkably well among fictitious voters.

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  15. Robert Morrow says:

    One of the reasons that JFK was murdered was over US/Cuba policy which the CIA and the anti-Castro Cubans did not like.
    Here is a fabulous column by Walt Brown on that topic:
    http://www.manuscriptservice.com/DPQ/dparchiv1.htm#CUBA

    Reply

  16. WharfRat says:

    Your analysis of US Cuba policy (i.e, calling out the moves as somehow racist) is so uncharacteristically absurd and illogical that it makes me wonder what your real stakes in Cuba are. You get so frothy and appear so divorced from historical and consensual reality on this issue that I get the sense that you must have a lot of money at stake in Cuba’s opening.
    You gotta go back to the drawing board…

    Reply

  17. Outraged American says:

    Link to Philip Giraldi on Sibel Edmonds and AIPAC.
    http://tinyurl.com/krsvaj

    Reply

  18. brigid says:

    Lots of longing here for the good old Bush days…I see, no room for disappointment there. Doesn’t matter what incremental steps happen, it will be another reason to heap contempt on the president. Well, y’all can look forward to Huckabee in 2012. He will really create a dramatic opening to Cuba, and ethnic cleansing in Palestine.

    Reply

  19. John McAuliff says:

    Agreed, and Americans, especially those who worked for Obama’s election need to insist the President follow his own values of dialogue and mutual respect, not Sen. Bob Menendez’ exile extremism.
    If enough of us tell the White House, they may notice: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ope/contact/
    The proper tone was set by Governor Bill Richardson in his press conference in Havana a week ago. His opening statement can be heard here
    http://rprogreso.com/index2.html
    Click on Viernes 08-28-09
    His statement begins at 05:22 of the program and is in English with translation to Spanish
    John McAuliff
    Fund for Reconciliation and Development

    Reply

  20. ... says:

    steve, i agree with your view here… it is really too bad that the usa continues to slip in any role of leadership it might have had, but one need look no further then its interaction with cuba to know just have far removed the usa is from any real leadership role in the world today.. i know this is dear to you and must be really discouraging to see how things appear to be moving backwards instead of forward… however the usa is doing the same in so many areas, that this is just one more nail in it’s own coffin with people like yourself having little of any influence on any of it…

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  21. Carroll says:

    The OB adm can kiss my American ass. Sorry to be so blunt but there it is.
    Special rules for Cuban US exiles…?But NO travel for ordinary Americans? Why shouldn’t I go travel to Cuba if I please?
    Who the hell do these people think they are?
    Wake Up America…BWTTGASO.
    POA was right about Obama.

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  22. DonS says:

    Absolutely right! Living in Canada (as an American citizen) for the Summer and hearing stories from neighbors about traveling to Cuba makes one realize that it is the American people who are being deprived of freedom of travel. No more, no less. The thoroughly bankrupt and anachronistic idea that there is an American policy on travel to Cuba that has any credibility is laughable. It’s another area in which Obama needs to wake up!

    Reply

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