Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kudos to Obama For Normalizing Diplomatic Relations With Cuba

It's been over 50 years, but finally rationality and sanity have come to the fore in seeking to normalize relations with Cuba. This despite the hair on fire screeching by a lot of right wing Cubans such as Marco Rubio. Happily, Obama has the brains, courage and good sense not to pay attention to them.

First, let's get some history out of the way. Contrary to the myth that JFK began the Cuban isolation, it was in fact Kennedy who had begun a rapprochement with Fidel Castro through his aide-de-camp Rene Vallejo and Kennedy's emissary, William Attwood. This has been well documented by National Archives contributor Peter Kornbluh, and would have paved the way to normalization of relations, including trade. ('Kennedy and Castro: What Might Have Been', by Peter Kornbluh, in The Baltimore Sun, Aug. 22, 1999, p. 1C)

National Security Archivist Kornbluh showed (by reference to documents he had accessed), it was William Attwood a Washington lawyer (who had negotiated the original release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners), who was instrumental. Attwood was charged with becoming the first American emissary to secure Castro’s ear and trust in a year-long rapprochement. In particular, to show good will and good faith, Attwood arranged for $62 million in medicines and food aid as part of the prisoner deal. All this was approved by JFK and likely sealed his death warrant in the Agency. It certainly would have inflamed the passions of the Cuban right wing groups the Agency had been running since the Bay of Pigs debacle.

Recall CIA Director Richard Helms was already well aware of the bile held toward Kennedy by anti-Castro groups, especially the DRE ( Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil ) - trained by CIA operatives, David Atlee  Phillips and George Joannides with the DRE  described as: “one of the most bitter toward President Kennedy for his deal with the Russians." (HSCA, Vol. 10, 1979, ibid.). Helms, as well as William Harvey (coordinator for Staff D and the ZR/Rifle program) knew this hatred could be directed purposefully and what better way than an executive action. Since an assassination program (ZR/Rifle) had already been running since 1961, why not turn it from Castro to JFK and use some of the well motivated angry Cubans of the DRE to help carry it out?

Imagine, just imagine - how riled and furious that same Phillips-Joannides anti-Castro Cuban group would be when it learned (compliments of their CIA handlers, no doubt) that Kennedy was in the process of establishing normalized relations with Fidel via a rapprochement with his aide-de-camp. Hell, these DRE miscreants would have gone ballistic and begged Joannides and Phillips for anything they might do, any role, to exact payback.

Too extreme? They'd never do it? Hey ....this was the same basic bunch that blew a Cubana Airline plane (Flight 455) out of the skies off Barbados  SW coast on Oct. 6, 1976! If they could kill 73  innocents that day don't tell me they wouldn't volunteer to put one or more bullets into a prez that: a) they believed 'betrayed' them by not providing air cover for Operation Zapata (the Bay of Pigs invasion), and b) had begun rapprochement with Fidel - their most hated enemy.(Operation Zapata had actually been conceived in the Eisenhower administration, and Ike pushed it on Kennedy as a matter of "national security".  The CIA then lied about all aspects of it and when its final phase failed, JFK pulled all air support.).

The point is, had JFK lived we'd have had normalized relations with Cuba already. As it was, once LBJ took office he squelched the rapprochement one time, finito. Isolation and cold war opposition returned and reached its culmination with the Cubana Airliner bombing.

The nutty right wing Miami Cubans yap about Obama giving a pass to Cuban terrorism, but it was in fact American-sponsored terrorism that brought down that plane with all those people on board in 1976. 

Like an automated puppet, Marco Rubio has gone off on Obama - bawling he's "the worst negotiator ever" and gave Castro "all he wanted", also that further normalization will not be a gimme - but history will be the final arbiter. Also, it's well known that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - one of the Repukes' main cash cows- has been foursquare for normalizing economic relations.

In the meantime, we can look for an embassy to be set up in Havana, and relaxation of travel rules as well as banking regulations.

So it will be interesting to watch the Rs twist in the wind over this and get their panties all in a knot, along with the reactionary Cubans in Little Havana.

It's now time for these people to grow up, and for Marco Rubio to shut up!

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