United States Cuba Policy & Business Blog

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

United States Cuba Relations: 2010 Mid-Term Election Analysis

As we predicted, Kendrick Meek, lost the U.S. Senate race in Florida. Sadly his intransigence to remain in the Senate race assured Marco Rubio’s victory. The question that needs to be asked of Mr. Meek is what was his deal with Marco Rubio? Marco Rubio owes Kendrick Meek big time. For Charlie Crist, his political future remains open to challenge Senator Bill Nelson for that seat in 2012. The country took a hard swing to the right yesterday, after taking a hard swing to the left in 2008. At some point, moderation and common sense will prevail over the extremes. Marco Rubio intends to portray himself as Ronald Reagan’s heir. We will see if he is that or more like the movie character, Bob Roberts. (Rent/Watch this movie starring Tim Robbins) One knowledgeable political expert I respect suggested that Marco Rubio may very well be the GOP’s Vice Presidential nominee in 2012.
President Obama and the White House staff should also have learned by now that listening to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Bill Nelson, Bob Menendez, and Kendrick Meek on Cuba matters is not reliable. This cabal told the President and White House staff to hold off the announcement on new U.S. Cuba travel regulations allowing more travel to Cuba because it was going to hurt the Democrats in Florida in yesterday’s elections. Oh really now? Yesterday's debacle in Florida and across the country had nothing to do with the Cuba issue.
I was asked what the outcome of the elections will mean for United States Cuba policy and relations. Two words will define the next two years – entrenchment and opportunity. There will be entrenchment on U.S. Cuba issues in the next Congress as we will see the following positioning of Pro-Embargo/Anti-Travel Members:
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl) – Incoming Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fl) – Incoming Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) - Incoming Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart
Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fl) – Incoming Chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Incoming Freshman Rep. David Rivera (R-Fl) who will be moving any legislation he can to further restrict travel to Cuba and maintain the embargo.
Incoming Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl) will retain his hardline position on Cuba as his political backers and money comes from the extreme right wing. However, he was born in the U.S., has never been to Cuba, and knows this issue only as a child of exiles.
With this entrenchment, however, there are still Pro-travel/Anti-embargo Members and opportunity to keep an eye on:
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Az) will now be in a position to take leadership on this issue in the House. The Republican wave that will take over the House in January 2011 is mostly libertarian and on the issue of American travel to Cuba, there should be many members who will stand on the principle that all Americans should be allowed to travel anywhere of their choosing and spend their own money there, including Cuba. Let’s remember it was Jeff Flake who successfully got the first Cuba travel bill passed out of the Congress when he was a freshman!
Incoming Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Jerry Moran (R-Ks) should pick up some of the U.S. Cuba mantle in the Senate.
There will be other members who will step up as well new and old, so the debate in this next round should continue to be robust.
What those who care about this issue must appreciate and understand is that non-profit groups and think tanks who are stalwart proponents of lifting the travel ban and ending the embargo CANNOT DO the political activity that is going to be required to end these insane policies.
Our efforts and resources must be focused on organized political action, fundraising, and playing the political game to win once and for all. It is going to take money from everyone who says they care about this issue to make a contribution so we can support and empower political candidates, Congressional and Presidential, who will take a stand on these issues. To this end, the United States Cuba Political Action has been reactivated and it is organizing to hit the ground running in the next election cycle. Organizations cannot be members of that PAC. But individuals, U.S. citizens and residents, can be involved and donate money. You can make a difference with a donation of $10 - $25 or more up to $5000. Consider the impact what the numbers can be if you and everyone stepped up. Right now on Facebook there is page on Ending the Travel Ban on Cuba with over 23,000 members. Had each one of those individuals donated to the U.S. Cuba PAC, $25 for example, there would have been $575,000 in political money that could have countered the influence of the $1,000,000 raised by that relatively small group of wealthy hardline Cuban exiles who keep this issue strangled in the Congress.
If you want to make a donation and get involved, mail your personal check to:
U.S. Cuba Political Action Committee
PO Box 15874
Tampa FL 33684
Email: uscubapac@gmail.com

There will be an organizational meeting of that PAC in December in Florida. More information about a website, planning, and other contact information will be forthcoming.
The lesson from this election for U.S. Cuba issues is that the majority can no longer be silent or leave this issue up solely up to groups who will not be able to carry this issue across the goal line. Only when you and our community declares that “if it is to be, it is up to me” through committed actions of political donation and organization will we change these policies once and for all. – Tony Martinez


Anonymous said...

I vote ignorance and forget Cuba. Worry about our internal domestic problems her in the USA. Unfortunately, Raul is a smart manager and is following the Vietnam/China economic model of Market Socialism. One taste of profit in this type of economic system and the people will be hooked like crack. He is getting rid of dissent slowly and getting praise from the EU and targeting the Carter… sorry Obama Administration to make a deal for improved relations. Keep this analogy in mind. If a kid wins a toy for good behavior will he later give it up after he has enjoyed it and gained much more toys from it? He will fight, kick and scream to keep it, let alone share it. That is Castro's Cuban Revolution in a nutshell. Do you think for one minute that future generations in the communist party holding all those toys gained in the revolution are going to give them up without a fight, let alone share it? Too much monkey business and pipe dreams between Washington/Miami and Havana while the overall Cuban Race is blowing away like the wind. Further, the priviledged immigration standard they give Cubans in the USA is hypocracy. Refugee means that one is being persecuted by their Government and their life is in peril if they cannot seek asylum in the USA etc. After a green card/residency and some years, I hear these new residents return to Cuba to visit their friends & families for humanitarian reasons without a care in the world. What happened to their life is in peril BS and that priviledged immigration standard they get? Now I know where Randy Quaid got the idea of going to Canada. The whole arrangement is a joke. I only say God Bless America and God Bless those Cubans that came over and truly moved ahead.

Anonymous said...

That reunion will be and where and remember where we can support, or donate if we fail to attend, the motion must be optimal, I could not go back for both obstacle also want to invest to help people in Cuba

Arroyoribera said...

Maybe with Wikileaks heroic release of so-called US "diplomati­c" cables (used to destabiliz­e large numbers of nations via double-dea­ling, manipulati­on, abuse, coercion, espionage) we'll get some informatio­n on another U.S. spy (yes, I am implying with "another" that many "State Department­" cables are intelligen­ce cables written by US intelligen­ce personnel under cover of State).

I am referring to Alan Gross, a US "contracto­r" in a Cuban prison since 2009 on espionage charges. Here is info on Gross constructe­d without Wikileaks.

Alan Gross is no poor, stupid, naive guy as media reports and commentato­rs like to suggest, neither in the financial, ideologica­l, or naivete sense.

Gross is federal contractor­, with his own companies
JBDC, Inc. http://www­.fedvendor­.com/contr­actor/CRR0­0000000000­082859/pro­file.htm
APGross, Inc. http://www­.fedvendor­.com/contr­actor/PRE0­0000000001­220163/pro­file.htm.

You'll note on the first link the NAICS Code [517410] Satellite Telecommun­ications.

Gross & Company have travelled the world (more than 50 countries) distributi­ng these satellite phones. Though his company website, www.apgros­s.com, no longer functions, there is a cached image at http://www­.galaxy.co­m/rvw44112­-245503/A_­P_Gross_Co­mpany_Inc_­Economic_a­nd_Busines­s_Developm­ent.htm

His JBDC, Inc. website www.jbdc.o­rg, is also down. You can go to it from http://www­.volunteer­sforprospe­rity.gov/b­usorg/prof­iles/joint­-business-­developmen­t-center.h­tm though you get redirected briefly by a USAID page (no doubt to be corrected shortly) which then sends you to a page stating the JBDC site no longer works either.

As Saul Landau wrote in The Alan Gross Case, (quote) Alan Gross had previously set up satellite communicat
­ions systems to circumvent state-cont­rolled channels in Iraq and Afghanista­n. (end quote) Gross is a profession­al operating globally and like DAI operates in all the conflict zones of the world, in particular those where the US attempts to impose its will. Look at DAI's website sections on subcontrac­ting, careers, contracts, etc. http://www­.dai.com/

This is not some do-good outfit and Alan Gross was no innocent, naive, poor guy. He was involved in US schemes to subvert government­s, manipulati­ng the geo-politi­cal landscape of sovereign nations. He knew the game, the risks, and was not, in the end, up to the task. He got caught. We always try to bring our spies home and part of that game is denial, sob stories about and by the wife, etc.

For further info, Google: Hondurasoy­e sneaky detained contractor­. Also Google: along the malecon Jan 12. Also Google: along the malecon Jan 13.

Conclusion­: Neither naive, stupid, nor poor, Alan Gross is in prison because he was caught in the course of his profession­al, career activities in a sovereign country with which the US is at war (i.e., our illegal 48 year old economic embargo against Cuba which is condemned year after year by 187 nations in the UN with only Israel and the US voting in favor of it).

We either are or we are not in a state of permanent war with the world. If we are, the world needs to understand that fact so that they can act in a concerted way to deal with us. At the same time the people of the US need to decide whether or not we are willing to spend both the resources and human lives for this ruling class war on the world. In that sense, the Wikileaks informatio­n is essential. And if we are not in a permanent state of war with the world, then why are we conducting ourselves as we are at immense cost to our nation, reputation­s, and our future. In addition, our "friends" need to ask themselves whether or not it is really in their interests to deal with us while we are conspiring against them, trashing them, seeking unfair advantage, engaging in unilateral wars, etc.