Saturday, July 25, 2009

Clear as mud

From a question-and-answer session that President Obama held yesterday, a question from the Herald's Lesley Clark and the President's answer:

Q: Mr. President…you’ve made some changes in the Cuba policy, and I wanted to know if and when you’d be – there’s rumors about – that you’d be making announcement on changes in purposeful travel - academic, religious. [Question on Haiti follows]

THE PRESIDENT: […] With respect to Cuba, we have already had government-to-government conversations around a narrow set of issues. Our hope is, is that if we’re seeing progress on those issues, then they can begin to broaden in the ways that you discussed. We’re not there yet, and as I’ve said before, we think it’s important to see progress on issues of political liberalization, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, release of political prisoners, in order for there to be the full possibility of normalization between our two countries. We’re taking it step by step seeing if, as we change some of the old approaches that we’ve been taking, we are seeing some movement on the Cuban government’s side. And I don't think it’s going to be happening overnight. I think it’s something that will be a work in progress.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

well there's a surprise, an american president continuing with demands before anything happens. just like he did over in Egypt, you know, when he demanded freedom y liberty. no wait, that didn't happen.
same old crap in a new brown wrapper
when will the americans get it through their head all these pre-conditions won't work. oh wait, that's exactly what they want, they know these conditions are non starters so they can appear to be reasonable when in fact they are anything but. and then some of the posters here say its all Cuba's fault for not wanting talks to proceed. yeah right.
hopefully congress will proceed and just let obama sign the new acts that should be coming this year. i suppose he has to keep up the same old appearance of talking shit like all the other presidents have done against cuba, but really, enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

and cuba should demand all political prisioners in the US be released, all those 'suspected terrorists' that have never been charged or tried after years. but then that wold be absurd wouldn't it. the powers do what they want, the weak do what they are told.

John McAuliff said...

Not as murky as the Miami Herald story made it:

"Q: Mr. President…you’ve made some changes in the Cuba policy, and I wanted to know if and when you’d be – there’s rumors about – that you’d be making announcement on changes in purposeful travel - academic, religious.

THE PRESIDENT: […] With respect to Cuba, we have already had government-to-government conversations around a narrow set of issues. Our hope is, is that if we’re seeing progress on those issues, then they can begin to broaden in the ways that you discussed."

Clearly the President is talking about progress on the narrow range of issues already discussed at the migration talks, in order to move ahead.

While his larger verbal agenda is still traditionally American, i.e. presumptuous and interventionist, he is not saying that no significant steps which can be taken before Cuba transforms itself in accord with US criteria.

Anonymous said...

hmmm, I think you can find a few hundred million former prisoners of communism in the East Bloc that are pretty happy the US was "presumptuous and interventionist" during the Cold War.

Anonymous said...

These anonymous commentators would have really loved it back then when the U.S made its deal with Batista. A pity they were born a half century too late. Now Cubans not only have to liberate themselves from a tyrant again, but also put up with its pathologically egotistical US supporters.

Anonymous said...

"...when the U.S made its deal with Batista."

You mean when the U.S. cut off aid to Batista in March 1958, unlike the Cuban Communists, two of whom Batista had been named to his cabinet in the 1940's?

brianmack said...

Well, Thank God that China, the USA's
largest trading partner, has free elections, no political prisoners
and I think slaughtered about 300
demonstrators the other day, is still
our friend! If you think I'm sympathetic to the dictators controlling Cuba today, I am not!
I loathe these people but let's get
real and stop being contradictory
with our foreign policy.

John McAuliff said...

My general rule is not to engage in debate when the courage of peoples' convictions are reflected in pen names or "anonymous".

However, since Eastern Europe as a model is one of the prevailing myths, it is worth noting some facts which I have posted on one of my own blogs rather than takingup Phil's space:

http://mcauliffsmusings.blogspot.com/2009/07/eastern-europe-model.html

John McAuliff
Fund for Reconciliation and Development

Anonymous said...

oh, are you one of those types that think we won the Cold War by "engaging" the East European regimes...spare us your revisionism

Anonymous said...

USA cut off military aid to batista in 1958, which only proves they felt castro was no communist. all USA wanted was Cuba to be compliant and if batista was too extreme, get rid of him and put in someone still in conformity with american interests, but not killing so many innocents. any other reading is delusional.
batista wasn't the problem, the only solution was for cubans to finally control their destiny, and thanks to US actions that turned into radicalism and communism.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, it seems like if one looks at this blog as an example of how people view US/Cuba relations, one would see the wisdom in moving slowly with Cuba. I am neither surprised, nor very frustrated with Obama's approach. It appears to be a thoughtful, measured plan, as opposed to the ignorant and foolish policies of his predesessor.

I can imagine if I was more closely involved in shaping US/Cuba policy, such as Mr. Peters clearly is, that I would have a more acute sense of frustration with how slow things are moving. However, looking at these things from a distance, I view most of the changes as superficial, but I think if we've learned one thing by watching events in Cuba over the last 5 years, it's that any change will definitely be slow.
It appears that both countries wish things to go slowly, and, when I set aside my personal frustrations, I'm not sure that I can disagree with this approach.

Also, I sign anonomous because I have always been uncomfortable giving my name out when discussing something that could potentially raise red flags in the US goverment. Call me paranoid, but you will excuse the paranoia, since I assume that I have been "watched" by, or at least appeared on lists of, both governments in the past.

John McAuliff said...

I defer to those more technically adept, but I believe there is no anonymity on the web without very sophisticated protective steps.

Our own government, and no doubt others, can easily monitor incoming traffic to a public site, noting ISPs and other identifiers.

I can't remember whether Phil required us to do an initial sign in, but that would also be on the "public" record.

Anonymous said...

In response to: "You mean when the U.S. cut off aid to Batista in March 1958..."

Not at all. That was not a deal; but rather an embargo, and that was good.

I was referring to 1952 when the US recognized Batista's government as legitimate 15 days after his coup. Cuba's constitution was simply ignored.

Now the US is again pursuing to engage an unconstitutional regime, that is Castro's, Batista's succesor, as if it was legitimate. Again, Cuba's constitution is being ignored.

What is most devious is how many US citizens who want their own constitution respected applaud this.

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