[Marxism] Dodd way ahead of competition in Cuba stance
walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 28 21:50:26 MDT 2007
("By embracing some version of the longstanding push to isolate
and squeeze the economic life out of Cuba, Obama and Clinton
leave themselves open to the charge that they are aiding the
efforts of Cuban Americans to punish the island's Afro-Cuban
majority for backing Castro.")
COMMENT: Interesting criticism of Obama and Clinton, which
emphasizes what they have in common rather than what divides
them. Quite interesting. Dodd speaks excellent Spanish, too.
Will be interesting to see how his message plays in Miami.
Dodd way ahead of competition in Cuba stance
Chris Dodd has this right.
The Connecticut senator and long-shot contender for the Democratic
presidential nomination thinks it's time to end the restrictions on
U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba.
After nearly a half century, this Cold War tactic has failed to
isolate or topple the government of Fidel Castro.
Politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, have clung to this
policy largely because of domestic politics. Cuban Americans are a
pivotal voting bloc in Florida, which plays a pivotal role in
But Dodd, whose campaign could use the boost that a strong showing in
Florida's January primary would provide, is unwilling to sacrifice a
good foreign policy for political advantage.
"It is simply un-American to bar American citizens from traveling to
foreign countries," Dodd said in an e-mail message to me. "In fact,
Americans are currently free to travel to both Iran and North Korea,
two countries which pose far more serious threats to American
national security than the government of Cuba.
"This country's most potent weapon against the Castro government is
the influence of ordinary American citizens. They are some of the
best ambassadors we have, and the free exchange of ideas and the
interaction between Americans and Cubans are important ways to
encourage democracy in Cuba.''
Dodd's position on Cuba makes sense. The positions taken by Barack
Obama and Hillary Clinton don't.
In a Miami Herald op-ed article a few days ago, Obama called for
rolling back the Bush administration policy that severely limits the
ability of Cuban Americans to send money to and visit family members
who remain in Cuba.
If he wins the presidency, the Illinois senator said, he would "grant
Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send
remittances to the island.''
Hearing this, Clinton quickly dug in her heels.
"Until it is clear what type of policies might come with a new
government (in Cuba), we cannot talk about changes in the U.S.
policies toward Cuba,'' she said in a statement.
Clinton is the front-runner for the Democratic Party's presidential
nomination and Obama is a leading contender. Their positions on Cuba
are, at best, uninformed.
The change in administration policy Obama proposes would make Cuban
Americans a special class, allowing them, but not other Americans,
the freedom to travel to Cuba.
Meanwhile, Clinton's position would leave in place an inhumane policy
that limits Cuban Americans to one visit to Cuba every three years,
and then only to see an immediate family member.
Both positions suggest these candidates have little real
understanding of Cuba. Here's what they don't seem to know:
Sixty-two percent of Cuba's 11 million people are of African descent
and 37 percent are white, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Eighty-six percent of Cubans in this country are white, the Pew
Hispanic Center reported in 2006.
The dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista overthrown by Castro (that's
right, Cuba has scant history with democratic government)
marginalized black Cubans, just as many blacks in south Florida
believe the area's white Cuban power structure relegates blacks there
to the political and economic fringes.
The embargo - in all of its manifestations - favors whites who fled
Cuba and the relatives they left behind over the Afro-Cubans who
largely support the Castro government. That government has largely
made good on its promise to end the racist practices that relegated
them to second-class citizenship.
By embracing some version of the longstanding push to isolate and
squeeze the economic life out of Cuba, Obama and Clinton leave
themselves open to the charge that they are aiding the efforts of
Cuban Americans to punish the island's Afro-Cuban majority for
And that's a racial issue that could undermine the Clinton and Obama
campaigns - and give Dodd's presidential hopes a big boost.
DeWayne Wickham is a Maryland-based columnist who writes for USA
TODAY. E-mail: DeWayneWickham at aol.com.
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