Archive for the ‘Cuban’ Category

What has Obama done in office?

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

I have posted a couple times addressing this question. What has Obama done so far? You can read those here and here. But… I stumbled upon a fantastic site that answers that question simply—over and over and over again– What the F*** has Obama done so far dot com. Obama has done so much for our country. He cannot fix all the years of damage the last administration did but he has done a lot towards repairing so many national wounds. From healthcare reform to rights of all people to corporate responsibility—Obama has been working hard for all of us…these are just a few examples the website cites…

For Women…

For Children…

For minorities…

 

For gay rights…

 

For students…

For Human Rights (and for restoration of political legitimacy)…

For science and research…

For the disabled…

 

For the veterans and their families…

For the elderly…

For the unemployed…

For the fiscally conservative (and the next generation)…

For the geeks, even…

 

And as I said above, these are just a few of the examples of What Obama has done so far… in one term in office. I would say he has done an outstanding job so far.

Thank you President Barack Obama.

You can read more on the website: What the f*** has Obama done so far?

The Bay of Pigs Remembered

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

I am proud of my President, Barack Obama for taking the first step towards mending the gaping wound between our country and our exotic small neighbor Cuba. It is a start, though small in light of all that has happened. It is too little, perhaps too late but it is something. There is a lot of work to be done to end the suffering we have caused for Latin American countries. Here are few of the things we could do immediately.

  1. End the embargo against Cuba.
  2. Close the School of Assassins also known as the School of the Americas or renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001. This is a school located in Fort Benning, Georgia. Latin American teachers in this training facility teach counter-insurgency, military intelligent and combat in Spanish to Latin American assassins and mercenaries. And all of it is funded by the United States. Some of its graduates includ the following Latin American dictators Manuel Noriega, Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri Castelli and Roberto Eduardo Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, and  Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia.
  3. Set the record straight on the Bay of Pigs or La Batalla de Girón.
  4. We funded, trained, equipped and sent angry Cuban exiles on a clandestine mission to invade the South of Cuba. These exiles were the same men who supported the violent dictator Fulgencio Batista who violently terrorized his people before being driven out by Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and other revolutionaries. The highly trained and armed exile mercenaries landed on a small beach, Playa Girón, erroneously believing they could easily take Cuba back by force if they entered through a small town instead of a big city like Havana. They thought they would gain support of the simple farming folk, also known as campesinos, since mostly they had been forgotten about by their own country before the revolution. However, the opposite happened. They were met with much opposition from the campesinos. These people who had long since been forgotten or relegated to the least importance in their country were now helping the revolutionaries build roads to and from their towns. They were given the opportunity to be educated and to educate others. Women and children were given freedom and responsibility but they were also given recognition and respect. The campesinos were finally involved in their country’s politics. They were actively helping to make their country a better place. They were treated like equals for the first time in perhaps their entire history. And thus, they wanted nothing more than to fight for their new found freedom and respect. The lifelong inequality they had faced was crumbling before them and they were not about to allow the same people who had kept them in such a position for so long return to power. It was not the military assistance from Russia or China that won this battle for Cuba, it was the people who had enough of political and military tyranny. We had no right to be a part of the Bay of Pigs let alone be the masterminds and financiers behind it.
  5. Repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act which unnecessarily entices Cuban immigrants to risk their own lives to get to the United States. We are building higher, thicker walls between here and Mexico—manning it with more and more armed people ready and willing to shoot—just to keep the illegal immigrants out of our country but we are all but inviting thousands of Cubans to trek the 90 miles of treachorous waters in unsafe floating devices all to spite the Cuban government? It is a political ploy to make Cuba look like the worst place to live. The Cuba of today is NOT the same as the Cuba of 1959 or 1961 or even 10 years ago. Why don’t we give the same treatment to the Haitians or Dominicans who risk their lives cross the sea to find refuge here from real political chaos? Furthermore, the Cuban Adjustment Act assists the ever-increasing human trafficking market by way of its allowing unrestricted access to the ‘poor’ Cubans who venture out into those waters. Most Cubans after the initial lot of exiles some 50 years ago leave not for political reasons but rather for financial ones. Lifting the embargo would do wonders to relieve the economic stresses it has created. (See #1)

We have harassed Cuba in so many ways for too long. It is time to stop, past time.

I can still remember the taxi driver I met in Cienfuegos whose eyes filled with tears at the thought of his brother who died at Playa Girón during the Bay of Pigs which happened almost 48 years ago (April 17-19th, 1961). I remember how despite losing his only brother in this senseless battle, he was extremely gracious and welcoming to me. He invited me to his house to meet his daughter and granddaughter. He gave me a tour of his beautiful home and told me the story of the days right after the revolution. He, like all the Cubans I encountered, were not resentful or bitter or rude but welcoming and hopeful that one day our countries could behave like good neighbors.

This week the suffering of the Cuban people is on my mind and I hope soon the United States will cease to be a continuous economic, emotional and political source of anguish. I believe Obama has a similar goal for our Caribbean neighbor but whether or not it is feasible for him to accomplish even the 3 things above, I simply do not know, but he can try. And a little effort goes a long way! Thanks again Obama for having the courage to do the right thing.

Bienvenido Vecino

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Obama has been making excellent strides towards restoring our Political Legitimacy throughout the world. This will do more to keep us safe than 7 years of fighting in Iraq. It is time we show some diplomacy. To carry a big stick is one thing, to beat people over the head to make them see things your way is another.

Cuba is not a threat to the United States. Anyone who thinks it is—simply is uneducated about the situation. Those Cuban expatriates that left Cuba out of fear because of what they allowed to happen to their people, even their students, stealing the country’s money on their way out—have been paying politicians for years to keep this ridiculous embargo going. It is time to end this nonsense. It is not keeping us safe, it is not teaching anyone a lesson. It is simply strangling relations with a country of beautiful people who have a strong sense of moral values while making it extremely difficult for them to thrive economically.

Though somehow despite this economic stranglehold these people have thrived, they have learned, they have educated their people, they have grown and helped throughout the world in crisis and in teaching thousands of people worldwide to practice medicine. One of their biggest exports is doctors, did you know that? They even offered to send doctors and aid up to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. They have given the world so much and wish to give even more. It is time we give back.

Thank you Obama for taking this first step…today many families will go to sleep or wake up thrilled, relieved, crying in happiness knowing they can freely visit or care for their loved ones, for the people they grew up with, for the people they left behind, for the people who left them behind… children who taken away from their families, parents who sent their children to a foreign place out of ignorant fear, brothers who haven’t seen sisters since childhood, grandparents, friends, old lovers… you have reunited an entire people with this decision. Thank you, Obama.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secrectary
___________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                                      April 13, 2009

FACT SHEET: REACHING OUT TO THE CUBAN PEOPLE

Today, the Obama administration announced a series of changes in U.S. policy to reach out to the Cuban people in support of their desire to freely determine their country’s future. In taking these steps to help bridge the gap among divided Cuban families and promote the freer flow of information and humanitarian items to the Cuban people, President Obama is working to fulfill the goals he identified both during his presidential campaign and since taking office.

All who embrace core democratic values long for a Cuba that respects basic human, political and economic rights of all its citizens. President Obama believes these measures will help make that goal a reality.

Cuban American connections to family in Cuba are not only a basic right in humanitarian terms, but also our best tool for helping to foster the beginnings of grassroots democracy on the island. There are no better ambassadors for freedom than Cuban Americans. Accordingly, President Obama will direct the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Commerce to support the Cuban people’s desire for freedom and self-determination by lifting all restrictions on family visits and remittances as well as taking steps that will facilitate greater contact between separated family members in the United States and Cuba and increase the flow of information and humanitarian resources directly to the Cuban people. The President is also calling on the Cuban government to reduce the charges it levies on cash remittances sent to the island so family members can be assured they are receiving the support sent to them.

Specifically, the President has directed the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Commerce to take the needed steps to:

  • Lift all restrictions on transactions related to the travel of family members to Cuba.
  • Remove restrictions on remittances to family members in Cuba.
  • Authorize U.S. telecommunications network providers to enter into agreements to establish fiber-optic cable and satellite telecommunications facilities linking the United States and Cuba.
  • License U.S. telecommunications service providers to enter into roaming service agreements with Cuba’s telecommunications service providers.
  • License U.S. satellite radio and satellite television service providers to engage in transactions necessary to provide services to customers in Cuba.
  • License persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to activate and pay U.S. and third-country service providers for telecommunications, satellite radio and satellite television services provided to individuals in Cuba.
  • Authorize the donation of certain consumer telecommunication devices without a license.
  • Add certain humanitarian items to the list of items eligible for export through licensing exceptions.

REACHING OUT TO THE CUBAN PEOPLE

Supporting the Cuban people’s desire to freely determine their future and that of their country is in the national interest of the United States. The Obama administration is taking steps to promote greater contact between separated family members in the United States and Cuba and increase the flow of remittances and information to the Cuban people.

Lift All Restrictions on Family Visits to Cuba

We will lift all restrictions on family visits to Cuba by authorizing such transactions by a general license, which will strengthen contacts and promote American good will. We will ensure the positive reach of this effort by:

  • Defining family members who may be visited to be persons within three degrees of family relationship (e.g., second cousins) and to allow individuals who share a common dwelling as a family with an authorized traveler to accompany them;
  • Removing limitations on the frequency of visits;
  • Removing limitations on the duration of a visit;
  • Authorizing expenditure amounts that are the same as non-family travel; and
  • Removing the 44-pound limitation on accompanied baggage.

Remove Restrictions on Remittances

We will remove restrictions on remittances to a person’s family member in Cuba to increase Cubans’ access to resources to help create opportunities for them by:

  • Authorizing remittances to individuals within three degrees of family relationship (e.g., second cousins) provided that no remittances shall be authorized to currently prohibited members of the Government of Cuba or currently prohibited members of the Cuban Communist Party;
  • Removing limits on frequency of remittances;
  • Removing limits on the amount of remittances;
  • Authorizing travelers to carry up to $3,000 in remittances; and
  • Establishing general license for banks and other depository institutions to forward remittances.

Authorize Greater Telecommunications Links with Cuba

We will authorize greater telecommunications links with Cuba to advance people-to-people interaction at no cost to the U.S. government. This will increase the means through which Cubans on the island can communicate with each other and with persons outside of Cuba.

  • Authorize U.S. telecommunications network providers to enter into agreements to establish fiber-optic cable and satellite telecommunications facilities linking the United States and Cuba.
  • License U.S. telecommunications service providers to enter into and operate under roaming service agreements with Cuba’s telecommunications service providers.
  • License U.S. satellite radio and satellite television service providers to engage in transactions necessary to provide services to customers in Cuba.
  • License persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to activate and pay U.S. and third-country service providers for telecommunications, satellite radio and satellite television services provided to individuals in Cuba, except certain senior Communist Party and Cuban government officials.
  • Authorize, consistent with national security concerns, the export or re-export to Cuba of donated personal communications devices such as mobile phone systems, computers and software, and satellite receivers through a license exception.

Revise Gift Parcel Regulations

We will expand the scope of humanitarian donations eligible for export through license exceptions by:

  • Restoring clothing, personal hygiene items, seeds, veterinary medicines and supplies, fishing equipment and supplies, and soap-making equipment to the list of items eligible to be included in gift parcel donations;
  • Restoring items normally exchanged as gifts by individuals in “usual and reasonable” quantities to the list of items eligible to be included in gift parcel donations;
  • Expanding the scope of eligible gift parcel donors to include any individual;
  • Expanding the scope of eligible gift parcel donees to include individuals other than Cuban Communist Party officials or Cuban government officials already prohibited from receiving gift parcels, or charitable, educational or religious organizations not administered or controlled by the Cuban government; and
  • Increasing the value limit on non-food items to $800.