Live-blogging the Cuban thaw-mageddon

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obama-castroThe decades-old feud between the US and Cuba is coming to an end. After exchanging political prisoners – one Alan Gross in exchage for three Cubans held in the US – Presidents Obama and Castro will make major announcements today. Sources are confirming they will announce the end a major easing of the embargo, and future diplomatic relations between the two countries.

This is a major development for Venezuela. It points to the seriousness of Venezuela’s economic situation – finding itself unable to support Cuba for much longer-, and it potentially leaves Nicolás Maduro as Washington’s main antagonist in the continent. After all, the US has not had an Ambassador in Caracas since the last decade.

We’ll be live-blogging the events, and also linking to interesting analyses that we find.

10:34 AM: Who knew? There is a mutual fund that is closely tied to the easing of the Cuban embargo. Bloomberg is saying that it is soaring today.

10:37 AM: Nothing yet from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Nothing yet on the webpage of Sen. Marco Rubio. Sen. Bob Menendez has released a statement blasting the prisoner swap, saying that “[t]rading Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent.  It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips.  I fear that today’s actions will put at risk the thousands of Americans that work overseas to support civil society, advocate for access to information, provide humanitarian services, and promote democratic reforms.”

10:41 AM: The Granma webpage (official news outlet of the Cuban government) is kaput. This is probably the most traffic they’ve had in ages.

10:42 AM: Cigars! Cigars for everyone! (According to the AP)

10:51 AM: Sen. Marco Rubio, as quoted by the AP: “This is going to do absolutely nothing to further human rights and democracy in Cuba,” Rubio said in an interview. “But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.” Pushback from Cuban-Americans in Congress, as expected.

10:53 AM: Venezuelan pro-government website Aporrea talks about “the Obama regime.” Funny!

10:56 AM: From the New York Times: “Today marks the beginning of a major new chapter in U.S.-Cuban relations,” said Julia Sweig, director of Latin American studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Finally we have an American president willing to do the right thing for the national interest, for American standing in Latin America, and for the Cuban people.”

10:59 AM: An amazing piece by the brave Yoani Sánchez. She says Gross was a pawn, a bait to get the Cuban agents freed, and that it worked. The highlight: “El castrismo ha ganado, aunque el resultado positivo es que Alan Gross ha salido con vida de una prisión que amenazaba con convertirse en su tumba. Ahora, nos esperan largas semanas de vítores y consignas, en las que el Gobierno cubano se proclamará vencedor de su última batalla.”

11:02 AM: Some commenters who are wiser than I am are saying that lifting the embargo would require one (or more) acts of Congress. Obama can ease it, but can’t do away with it.

11:11 AM: Peter Maer of CBS: “US officials reveal Pope Frances played a key role facilitating US-Cuba contacts. Pres. Obama spoke with Cuban Pres. Raul Castro yesterday.”

11:15 AM: Commenting from Tokyo, a jet-lagged Quico says that Venezuelan government news outlets are asleep at the switch. They have been blindsided with these news.

11:38 AM: Alan Gross has landed.

12:25 PM: Sorry, I went to lunch. What happened…?

12:26 PM: The White House has released a long-winded paper. Diplomatic relations with Cuba, baby!

12:27 PM: This bit jumped out at me: US credit and debit cards will be permitted for use by travelers to Cuba.

12:30 PM: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen publishes a statement saying Obama may be breaking the law. “This misguided action by President Obama will embolden the Castro regime to continue its illicit activities, trample on fundamental freedoms, and disregard democratic principles.”

12:31 PM: Significant efforts by Pope Francis and by Canada in these developments.

12:32 PM: Maduro applauds Obama’s “bravery.”

12:35 PM: Sen. Marco Rubio pulls no punches: “While business interests seeking to line their pockets, aided by the editorial page of The New York Times, have begun a significant campaign to paper over the facts about the regime in Havana, the reality is clear. Cuba, like Syria, Iran, and Sudan, remains a state sponsor of terrorism. It continues to actively work with regimes like North Korea to illegally traffic weapons in our hemisphere in violation of several United Nations Security Council Resolutions. It colludes with America’s enemies, near and far, to threaten us and everything we hold dear. But most importantly, the regime’s brutal treatment of the Cuban people has continued unabated. Dissidents are harassed, imprisoned and even killed. Access to information is restricted and controlled by the regime. That is why even more than just putting U.S. national security at risk, President Obama is letting down the Cuban people, who still yearn to be free.”

12:38 PM: Reading the NY Times story, it’s clear that Obama wanted to do more, but that this is as far as his Executive powers let him go. It’s significant that he says the embargo should be lifted … unconditionally.

12:40 PM. Eva Golinger claims this was all Chávez’s doing! Let the propaganda wars begin…

12:41 PM: Alright, that’s all for now. This is a historic event, one that will have wide-ranging consequences in Miami, Havana, and Caracas. Regardless, I keep coming back to the idea that Washington’s #1 nemesis in the Hemisphere is now … Nicolás Maduro.

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1 COMMENT

    • Obama gave the Castros everything they asked, and more

      Dec.17 – Everything Obama said he wasn’t going to do, he did today.

      He traded Allan Gross, who had been a hostage in Cuba for 5 years, for 3 Cuban spies including one directly involved in the murder of the Brothers to the Rescue pilots.

      He is re-establishing relations with the Castro brothers without asking anything in return.

      He will increase trade relations, travel, tourism, and everything that would bring money to the Cuban dictatorship, so they can continue to enslave, exploit, torture and oppress the Cuban people.

      As Raul Castro said in his speech at the same time Obama was speaking to the American people: “We didn’t make one single concession”.

      They didn’t have to since Obama was willing to give them everything they wanted and more.

      It is a shameful day for America.

      • The Castros won’t last much anyway, so maybe Obama is just speeding up things for the transition. But I confess that I share of your feelings, it’s always a sad day when crime pays and criminals are treated as respectable and decent people.

      • “As Raul Castro said in his speech at the same time Obama was speaking to the American people: “We didn’t make one single concession”.”

        The imbecile could be diarrheaing to death in his deathbed, and yet he would say he got away with everything he did.

        Every megalomaniac tries to keep their invincible facade until they inexorabily break and die.

      • What do you think Raul is going to say? Of course they made concessions.

        We got back a critical spy that had been held for decades, for starters. (I’m not talking about Gross)

  1. AP

    “Among the expected changes as a result of the improvement in U.S.-Cuba relations is that licensed American travelers to Cuba will now be able to return to the U.S. with $400 in Cuban goods, including tobacco and alcohol products worth less than $100 combined. This means the long-standing ban on importing Cuban cigars is over, although there are still limits, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the official White House announcement.”

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/7f7f6bba9d934897a07b09039fd25e38/ap-source-cuba-releases-us-prisoner-alan-gross

  2. There won’t announce the end of the embargo. Obama can’t do that, because it’s enshrined in law and he’s never going to get that through Congress.

    • Phil is correct. There are several different pieces of legislation that will need to be undone in order to fully end the embargo, the two primary primary ones being the Cuban Democracy Act and the Helms-Burton Act. I would not bet against a success in the Congress on this issue. Nearly everyone knows this is long overdue. Congress will ride the Executive Branch’s momentum on this.

  3. The embargo is a series of federal laws that would have to overturned/modified/ or nullified by US Congress. Executive Orders/actions/memorandums cannot change this.

  4. Hey, *having* diplomatic relations and multi-billion dollar trade links has never stopped the Venezuelan regime from using anti-Americanism as a cornerstone of its rhetorical strategy, why should it stop Cuba’s? Why deprive yourself of these things when you can have them and *still* blame the gringos of everything?

    Perhaps the pupil has taught the master.

  5. Panic on the Streets of SiBCI!

    This is hysterical, the Venezuelan propaganda state has NO IDEA what to do with this. Caracas Chronicles readers heard about it hours before VTV’s…

    Coordinating the response with your closest allies much?

  6. If I was a Cuban, I would do ANYHTING to get into the US now now now, before they start their visa show in Havana.

    Their visa fetishism is enough to turn anyone anti-American.

  7. Two quick impressions: One Castro knows help from Venezuela is going to dwindle as oil prices drop to critical levels making it convenient to improve economic relations with the West. Two: For US Diplomacy this is a huge propaganda hit , The victimhood histrionics of Castro because of the embargo will stop being a PR bankable story specially in Latam.

  8. You’ve got to think that anti-american fundamentalist in the Chaverment must feel like a jilted lover, passed her prime and abandoned for the new titillating hottie.

    Billete mata galan.

  9. Could the Castro brothers foresee Maduro and Company sinking and sinking fast? Are they looking to replace all the money and oil Venezuela gives Cuba? Are they going to open the country up to Capitalism? Just thinking out loud.

    • Just what I was thinking. The Castros know the cash cow they’ve been living off is about to croak and they need to move fast to make new friends while they can.

  10. The Republican party seems to have been caught off base. Funny.

    The Venezuelan government is now running to the hospital with a kitchen knife sunk in its back. It appears it also lost, in the the pool of blood, their self-respect: the Castros never informed Maduro about this insignificant change in policy.

    This is histerical.

  11. Dilma Roussef built that new port in Cuba by using the argument that the “embargo would fall soon” and that Brazil would be “compensated” when that happened, she didn’t really explain the details, but it was something about using Cuba as a major hub for Brazilian exports en route to the US. It would negatively affect Panama, btw. Everyone thought that she was crazy back then, but it seems that she was right, after all. The “Bolivarian Family” obviously knew about all this for ages, let’s not be naive, comrades. They might be everything, but disorganized they are not.

  12. Hannah Arendt said that, immediately after Hitler’s fall, you could hardly find any nazis in Germany. It all had been a bad party everyone wanted to forget.

    Funny how, after decades of enmity, tomorrow there will be no anti-imperialists in Cuba.

    And hear you me: the day chavismo collapses for good, you will not find anyone willing to show you a red shirt.

    • Chavistas basically dissappeared from the map in april 11, they only got out from under the rocks they were hiding when they heard the corpse was sitting again in chimpanflores.

    • They’ll keep drowning in their own vitriol.
      The fat pigs will as usual continue being douchebags, like pimentón, who lately’s been grunting idiocies as usual like “The gringo menace’s coming for you too, escuálidos!”

  13. I’d just ask Senator Rubio, what distinguishes the actions of the Cuban regime from, say, the actions of the Chinese regime? Is he advocating an embargo on China? Because if he is, I’d be more sympathetic to his rhetoric.

    • Marco Rubio is a Cuban-America and speak mostly to the Cuban-American electorate living in Florida, who, in turn, have helped elect him. Thus, Cuba’s human rights violations are, for him, more important than the equally terrible human rights violations taking place in China. And I don’t see any “hypocrisy” from his part, as he has never hidden his Cuban affiliations and his issues with the Castro regime as being a very important aspect of his political platform

      • I do think it is hypocritical and inconsistent to criticise Cuba and cuddle with (among others) China, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

        No matter who votes for you and what your platform is.

        • When did he “cuddle” with China, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia?

          Please provide the evidence, but yeah, definitely, to “praise” such kind of regime while criticising Cuba would be very hypocritical of his part, if we assume that you are saying the truth and have evidence to base your thoughts on, obviously.

          • He didn’t really “cuddle” with China there, he just made the sort of obvious statement that any bureaucrat/politician would have done in his place. To “cuddle with” means that he approves the sort of regime China has, and I don’t believe that it is the case.

            “He could go on criticising human rights in Cuba, and trade with them, don’t you think?”

            He could, but as a Cuban-American he won’t do that, because he sees the Castro regime as a mortal enemy of his own family. Humans beings tend to have, you know, preferences. He is not as concerned about Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations as he is about the atrocities happening in Cuba, but again, he has never hidden that.

          • yeah, yeah, deep down I just think Rubio is lamenting the demise of his punch-line.

            He will have to find a new enemy to get the voters out.

            Good luck Marco! Contra Cuba se vivia mejor!

            (Vietnam was the literal mortal enemy of millions of Americans, they still trade and maintain relations, why not Cuba?)

          • Bingo. I think Marc’s point is essentially, though perhaps inadvertently: Marco Rubio’s position is not hypocritical because it is politically expedient.

            On balance, a good day, I think. And no reason to stop criticizing the Castro regime.

      • Anyone wanting to wing the Presidency has to win Florida. And appearing the toughest on Casta gets the Cuban Americans behind you, which helps you win Florida. However, this is far less the case than before. In 2012, for the first time in 40 years self-identified Cuban Americans in Florida voted Democratic (52-48).

    • “He will have to find a new enemy to get the voters out.”

      there is a big and prosperous Venezuelan community in Florida just begging to be “adopted” by Rubio, just saying, hehe.

  14. For once, Eva Golinger is somehow right. It is because Venezuela can no longer sustain Cuba’s economy, that this is happening. So, in a contorted way, it was “Chávez doing”.

    • but that was not her intended message, Bruni, and you know it. Eva Golinger just wants to keep Chávez “alive” in people’s memories so that she’ll not be devoid of buyers for her book(s), principally, the Chávez Code. #self-interestrules

  15. Just read Yoani Sanchez’ take.

    http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2014/12/17/actualidad/1418834649_657639.html

    I deeply disagree with her, when she says that “totalitarianism defeats democracies because they control internal public opinion, and democracies don’t”

    I would say democracies mostly win (as shown in WW II and 1989) and in any case, freedom of expression is one of their main strengths, certainly nor a weakness.

    But I understand that, having been born and raised in a closed totalitarian world, she thinks that dictators are winning, when they actually are an endangered species.

    • I know people who lived inside China under Mao. Their first impression was that nothing would change if the U.S. recognized China. They thought Nixon made a big mistake.

      • I actually know, and have worked, with a LOT of Chinese people. Most of them do not dare criticise the regime but dislike Mao with a passion. They think the best that ever happened to them was Deng Xiaoping. They return to China having lived in democracy. Don’t you think that is going to help more than having them isolated in the Chinese countryside?

  16. I must say, I read about all this before via Rafael Poleo months back.

    Brazil, Spain, the Vatican, and now it turns out Canada and other parties have worked behind the scenes to broker this deal. today was just announcements day, the whole play has been set for months/ years.

    I feel bad for the bate quebrado PR people in all venezuela’s public institutions and media, trying to make the scripts for the next few weeks, and the also clueless spokespersons around.

    The cubans have sucked dry venezuela and are moving on to their new thing, opening the island to the world markets full scale.

    • “The cubans have sucked dry venezuela and are moving on to their new thing, opening the island to the world markets full scale”

      Tienes mas razon que un santo.

  17. LuisF, I agree. Venezuela was not even in the loop. They were “more catholic than the pope”, in this case, being more anti-american than the cubans. To me it is clear that the Cubans are now to open to a China-style “communism” and the Venezuelan government did not even realize it.

    • I think he actually debunked the biggest excuse the regime had to shit their people: The so-called embargo that wasn’t an actual embargo save for its name from decades ago.

  18. And just after all those fiery speeches about telling the Americans to shove their visas and sanctions up their ass…I’m laughing just thinking about how Maduro must be scrambling to get an explanation from Castro.

  19. Today:

    1) curiosity detected a variable source of methane in Mars, suggesting the presence of carbon-based life.

    2) Cuba and America are friends again

    3) Hamas are not terrorists anymore (according to the EU, at least)

    Interesting times.

  20. Perhaps Cuba is looking for a new source of income, as Venezuela is having a lot of trouble with collapsing oil prices, and that medical slave trade with Brazil may become a thing of the past, as Dilma Rousseff’s situation getting worse on a daily basis.

  21. Bottom line is that the Castros assassinated without trial over 20,000 Cubans to get and retain power. Moreover, over 70,000 Cubans have died trying to leave Cuba. They have blood on their hands. Instead of normalizing relations, the U.S. should be implicating the Cuban leaders for mass murder. It is wrong to do business with the Cuban regime.

    The only hope for Obama’s plan is that the Island is opened to freedom of the press, freedom of dissent, and freedom to leave the island.

    Ever since Obama shook hands with Raul at Mandela’s funeral, I have felt that Obama drank the Cuban Kool-aid. Obama showed his ignorance and appeared to feel that Cuba and Che deserved respect.

    Mark down another foreign policy failure for Obama. The Republican Congress will be waiting.

    • Ronaldo,

      if you think American foreign policy towards Cuba has had any positive effect on the Island, well, you are deluded. On the contrary, nothing has helped more the Castros than the embargo.

      Concerning justice for those killed, forced into exile or ostracised by the Cuban government let me tell you this: the best way to not get it is to keep Cuba snuggly isolated.

      Obama is not an ignorant. Bush was. I haven’t seen Obama paying respect to Che, have you?

      Why is it wrong to do business with Cuba? Doesn’t America do business with equally (or more) unsavoury regimes in Vietnam, China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Myanmar (recently)?

      Moral indignation is, sometimes, akin to masturbation. Only the person doing it enjoys it. The Cuban exile was (not now) addicted to moral indignation and that kept in place a mishappen policy that helped no one, but felt good. In practice it is better to integrate the Cubans in interamerican trade and let them see the lies of the regime.

  22. In todays world interest almost always trumps heroic principles , always been that way , except that if someone proclaims himself your undying enemy for dignitys sake you have to take a stand. Castros Cuba has made the US its arch enemy , in contrast Vietnam , the saudis and China have not , in fact they do quite a bit of brisk trade in valuable commodities with the US . Stands to reason that the US ( aside from the internal political factor) would find it difficult to start friendly relations with a regime which spits in its face ( and gets applauded for doing so) . Same thing Iran , also Cuba has nothing to offer in terms of trade or business to the US , its a ruined country. So if you look at it from an interest point of view , The difference between cuba and the saudis , China and Vietnam makes sense. Look whats happening to Russia and Iran , they too are getting embargoed only by the more sophisticated way of international sanctions. whats common to all of them , they are very bad boys wreaking havoc in the intenational stage which is a no no for US interests. .

    Fukuyama recently did an article which explains this very lucidly , he said there was one country that could always get away with murder and yet retains the US govt undying loyalty , that was Israel and added ( for obvious internal US reasons ) couldnt understand what he meant.

    • Cuba has an educated work force, accustomed to being paid $20.00 per month. Eventual US investment there will have transformative consequences, as will the ability of Cuba to sell products into the U.S. market. It’s easy to keep the lid on things when no one can aspire to a better life.

        • Cheap labour and geographic proximity can appeal to US investors , educational standards are higher than in other latam countries but Im not sure about the quality of that education nor about the caribbean work ethic of ordinary cubans specially after several decades of ‘socialism’ . Remenber that when west and east germany were united there was a gap between the very demanding work ethic required in west germany and the more relaxed work ethic in east germany, that took some time to brook . Still the money incentive is strong and may work wonders. Cuba however will have to drop its usually virulent anti US capitalism stance , jut like they did in China and Vietnam , wonder what they will replace it with..

          • Bill,

            I worked in Cuba once on a construction project. I was actually impressed with the work ethic of the construction workers. As for the education, I was appalled. People with only a high school education are typically incapable of using any tenses other than present, preterite, and present progressive. Their knowledge of world history and geography is deplorable.

  23. Does that mean that by the next time I visit Key West I will be able to take a boat and go to Cuba to lunch and return on the same day? Wow, that will be cool.

  24. First blush reactions:

    1. Cuba is resigned to Venezuela collapsing and losing the economic support. They know that they are going to need the trade with the U.S. to survive.

    2. Obama is doing what has needed to be done since the end of the Cold War. He is a lame duck and doesn’t need to get reelected. He can afford to take some flack on this issue.

    3. The Venezuelan government somehow senses that that they are getting thrown under the bus, but aren’t’ smart enough to figure out why or how.

  25. Early reaction from a young Cuban:

    Arturo, de unos 30 años, decía: «Ahora esto se va a llenar de McDonalds, gente mascando chicle y diciendo No entender y seguro que los americanos quitan la Ley de Ajuste y se va a acabar todo lo bueno que nos daban a los cubanos cuando llegábamos a Miami huyendo. Nos jodimos.»

    Jejeje.

    • Reaction from some stick-stuck-up-the-rectum-cuban:
      “¡Ahora esos mariconsones van a poder montar un negocio y no podremos darles una paliza y quitarles todo lo que se ganen!¡Se van a creer que son dueños de sus propias vidas esos gusanos!”

  26. See if I get this right. Cuba loses Russian support because the latter’s communist system failed but Venezuela comes to rescue the Castro regime with its petro dollars. Thereafter, Venezuela collapses at a particularly bad time for an aging dictatorial Castro dynasty faced with succession issues. At this critical juncture Obama decides he will throw a much needed psychological life line to the Castro regime at a time when it is most vulnerable and after 50 year record of brutality and what does he get in exchange. Absolutely nothing is the answer. The Castros agreed to change nothing. A Republican Congress will not ease the trade embargo unless there are fundamental changes in Cubas governance but the Castro dictatorship will sputter on. The next stop on the Obama agenda is Iran which will be allowed to build nuclear weapons and in exchange Obama will drop the economic sanctions but Iran’s own version of clerical terrorism will continue in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon. Maduro should join the crowd of countries lining up to pick Obama’s pockets in his quest to be president of the UN or even his second Nobel Peace Prize.

    • Very pessimistic you are, young padawan.

      Obama is not giving Cuba anything, except a cup of sweet poison (called dollars, greenbacks or hard currency) that will slit the Cuban regime open like a hanging pig. And anyway, nothing has been more useful to Castro than the embargo. Nothing. This is excellent news.

      By the way, did Vietnam change anything to trade with America? (answer is, no) However, it is now changing, thanks to trade.

      Concerning Iran: its nuclear programme now is under more vigilance than ever, it has no weapon capability and Iran is now fighting ISIS along with the US.

      Conservatives get many things wrong.

    • “… but Venezuela comes to rescue the Castro regime with its petro dollars…”
      The mummies invaded Venezuela to suck all of its petro dollars, that was their plan since the 60s.

  27. I agree with LuisF above that Rafael Poleo has given hints and/or information on the negotiations for quite a while in his “Corto y Profundo” comments. He claimed that the Castros were negotiating their “surrender” to the EU with the US in the background but that the agreement would be presented such that they would at the same time save face and keep they honestly hard won money. This is exactly what Raul did today, saying that they did not negotiate any point with the US Government. They are indeed backing down but by stealth.

    One of the last articles from Poleo on the subject was that Venezuela as a good colony would follow suit and open its market to foreign capital and obviously the return of the Boliburgueses’ honestly hard won money. Time will tell how right he was. But to claim the Venezuelan Government was taken by surprise is a bit ingenuous, they knew indeed but as a colony what can they do? Zilch! Just follow suit.

    Another round of negotiations was to take place next January between Cuba and the EU. Cuba has just put it on hold. They claim their new investment law guarantees the right of investors. The EU claims that unless full human rights are established in Cuba, this is malarkey. Looks like all the capitalist roaders, US, EU and Canada are working hand in hand to turn Cuba’s economic system around. It also looks like, if some people were left in the dark, they belong either to the US Senate and/or Congress

  28. The notion that dollars from American tourists will help Cubans is delusional. A Cuban who is lucky enough to come into possession of am American dollar has two altetnatives. He can engage in risky black market transactions or he must exchange it with the government at the official government exchange rate which I believe is a 1 for 1 exchange. So dollars are not going to help ordinary Cubans but they will further enrich the Castros and the communist elites which is quite different than a throat slitting.

    • Nah. I don’t buy it. If dollars were that harmless the Castros wouldn’t have avoided them for so long.

      If free trade was only riches for the elite, they wouldn’t have it limited and controlled.

      If dollars did not help ordinary Cubans, they wouldn’t be entering the private sector in droves.

      What I do think is this: if I don’t depend on you, what should I respect you? believe you are immortal and omniscient? You truly leave home the day you become financially independent from your parents.

      • “… if I don’t depend on you, what should I respect you? believe you are immortal and omniscient?”
        Well, the bullet-in-the-face-anol hasn’t failed them yet, it did wonders here in Venezuela.

  29. At the beginning of the 70ties the western german Liberal-Socialdemocratic coalition started a policy of détente against the east. All important negotiations on our side were lead by a very intelligent politician: Egon Bahr. Brand was Mayor of Berlin, when the Berlin Wall was built. He was a hardliner during the events in 1961. Bahr was from Berlin. They knew the evil nature of the Eastern German Government very well. But they came to the conclusion that permanent confrontation only consolidates the dictatorship in the east. 18 years later the GDR dictatorship was history.
    Conceding the oppressor some little PR victories doesn’t mean loosen the war. Its the opposite way round, because the US politicians will gain respect from the population by ending the sanctions and their cuban politicians will loose their excuse. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are absolutely right on theoretic principles, but politics doesn’t work that way. During and after “largas semanas de vítores y consignas, en las que el Gobierno cubano se proclamará vencedor de su última batalla” the cuban people will still experience every day that the experiments of their oppressors have failed.

  30. Hollywood is already on this– a follow-up to the very successful Cold War pre-Missle Crisis movie titled “Dr. Strangelove-How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Bomb”–the new movie in development is “Castro’s Obama Strangelove- How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Evil Empire.” Anyone who watched last Sunday’s pathetic Castro-hosted Havana Alba Meeting of Petro-Caribe lackeys mostly blaming the Evil Empire for their woes will be sure to see the humor in this situation.

  31. I am drunk again, but I think everyone, left right,Cuba, US, etc., is forgetting the reason for the embargo.

    The embargo was not created because Castro was an asshole, he was and is.
    The embargo was not created because Cuba is a dictatorship. It was and is, but the US has traded with a lot of dictatorships.
    The embargo was not created because of expropriations or human rights or democracy.

    The embargo exists because Cuba expropriated and then refused compensation.
    US companies built the ports, refineries, electric generation and distribution, phone systems, factories, hotels, restaurants, farms.

    These were expropriated. The US recognized the Cuban right to expropriate.
    Castro recognized that compensation was required.
    $2 billion in claims 1960. $16 billion today (inflation).
    Then Castro refused to compensate.
    Then the partial embargo came in effect 1961.
    Then Castro buddied with the Soviets.
    Then the full embargo came in 1963.

    GE. Ma Bell, United Fruit, Exxon, etc. are still owed.
    Its 50+years later.
    Sovereign debt never “disappears”. (something which will haunt Venezuela’s grandchildren and the US grandkids)
    Many lawyers were contacted today.
    Someone wants Grandpa’s money back.

  32. This is huge! Great news for Cuba, for Venezuela, CELAC and the US. Typical for you escualidos to dwell on negativity and think Maduro is somehow screwed by THIS. I celebrate all those who will benefit and the possibility of a US that respects the rest of the continent. Go Obama go! Yea

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