[Marxism] The one good thing that came out of Obama's two terms

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Oct 15 07:52:31 MDT 2016


NY Times, Oct. 15 2016
Obama, Cementing New Ties With Cuba, Lifts Limits on Cigars and Rum
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Friday moved to cement his 
administration’s historic opening with Cuba by issuing a sweeping 
directive that will last beyond his presidency, setting forth a new 
United States policy to lift the Cold War trade embargo and end a 
half-century of clandestine plotting against Cuba’s government.

The action formalizes the shift toward normalization that the president 
unveiled nearly two years ago with the announcement that he and 
President Raúl Castro of Cuba had secretly agreed to repair their 
countries’ relationship.

Mr. Obama on Friday also made what aides said were likely his final 
major modifications to loosen United States sanctions on Cuba before 
leaving office, including lifting the $100 limit on bringing Cuban rum 
and cigars into the United States.

It is Mr. Obama’s latest use of executive power to press forward in the 
face of lingering opposition in Congress to repealing the embargo, this 
time through a 12-page document that essentially transforms what has 
been a presidential priority into a set of official mandates that will 
shape United States policy toward Cuba for decades.

It would take another directive by a future president to reverse the 
move, but Mr. Obama’s top advisers argued that it would be difficult for 
a successor to cancel a set of policy changes that are reshaping the way 
Americans travel to and do business with Cuba.

“This directive takes a comprehensive and whole-of-government approach 
to promote engagement with the Cuban government and people, and make our 
opening to Cuba irreversible,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. 
“Challenges remain — and very real differences between our governments 
persist on issues of democracy and human rights — but I believe that 
engagement is the best way to address those differences and make 
progress on behalf of our interests and values.”

The policy directive was notable because it was public instead of 
classified.

“We are not seeking to impose regime change on Cuba,” Mr. Obama said, 
asserting that “the embargo is outdated and should be lifted.”

As if to underscore a stark shift from decades of United States policy 
toward Cuba, which were marked by spying and suspicion, the document 
specifically requires that American-led “democracy programs” — which the 
Castro government has denounced as secret efforts to destabilize the 
country — be “transparent.”

“The United States used to have secret plans for Cuba; now our policy is 
fully out in the open and online for everyone to see and read,” Susan E. 
Rice, the national security adviser, said at a speech in Washington on 
Friday. "What you see is what you get.”

The sanctions eased on Friday were the sixth round of regulatory changes 
announced by the Treasury and Commerce Departments aimed at easing 
travel to Cuba as well as trade and commerce between the United States 
and the island nation.

The actions built on a series of milestones with Cuba as Mr. Obama’s 
tenure draws to a close. Last month, he nominated the first United 
States ambassador to Cuba in more than 50 years, following the reopening 
last year of embassies in Washington and Havana. The first direct 
commercial flight from the United States reached Cuba in August.



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