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LA Times: Ron Paul calls for diplomatic relations with Cuba; "Paul might be right"

Ron Paul calls for diplomatic relations with Cuba
By Alana Semuels - January 26, 2012, 7:19 p.m.

Ron Paul took a risky position in Florida in Thursday’s debate, calling for communication and diplomatic relations with Cuba, saying that people's positions have changed dramatically over the last few years.

Paul said that Cuba isn’t going to invade the U.S. any time soon, and that Americans weren’t looking under their beds anymore, worried. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich followed by pledging to continue the economic embargo on Cuba and to take any action short of military invasion to upend the government of Raul Castro.

Paul’s position is a potentially dangerous one in Florida, a state with a influential voting bloc of conservative Republicans from Cuba who have long favored aggressive policies toward Havana.

But a study of Cuban American voters in Florida suggests that Paul might be right,.....

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I wrote this commentary

on the same subject in hopes of getting in my local paper. No luck so far....

Monday night’s NBC presidential debate was, as usual, more about making good television and less about enlightening voters as to the candidate’s views on important issues. Despite the network’s best efforts to spotlight the Romney/Gingrich rivalry, contrasting answers from Ron Paul and Rick Santorum on the topic of Cuba were perhaps the most instructive part of the forum. The exchange speaks to both the fundamental differences between Paul and the rest of the field as well as the stubborn irrationality of U.S. policy.

The candidates were asked a question regarding the U.S./Cuba relationship.

After Gov. Romney finished reciting his support for the status quo, Speaker Gingrich practiced his macho one-upmanship, invoking his favorite foreign policy catch phrase: “covert operations”.

Fortunately, Congressman Paul was able to get a word in on the issue and offer a more reasoned approach to the Cuba problem.
Moderator: “Congressman?”
Ron Paul: “No, I would do pretty much the opposite. I don’t like the isolationism of not talking to people… the Cold War’s over. And I think we propped up Castro for 40-some years because we put on these sanctions…. It’s time to quit this isolation business of not talking to people. We talked to the Soviets. We talk to the Chinese. And we opened up trade, and we’re not killing each other now. We fought with the Vietnamese for a long time. We finally gave up, started talking to them, now we trade with them. I don’t know why — why the Cuban people should be so intimidating.”
“…. I think we’re living in the dark ages when we can’t even talk to the Cuban people. I think it’s not 1962 anymore. And we don’t have to use force and intimidation…”
Senator Santorum decided to seize the opportunity to remind us of two things: that actions have consequences and politicians never tire of fear mongering to excuse failed policies.
Sen. Santorum: “… we have and have had for 50 years a dictatorship in Cuba. We’ve had sanctions on them. They should continue….”
“… They’re now with the Cubans and the Venezuelans, the Nicaraguans. There is a growing network of folks now working with the jihadists, the Iranians, who are very, very excited about the opportunity to having platforms 90 miles off our coast, just like the Soviets were, very anxious to have platforms 90 miles off our coast, or in Venezuela, or in Nicaragua, and other places they could come across the southern border.”
“This is a serious threat. It’s a threat that I’ve been talking about for about six or seven years. And it’s one that’s not going to go away...”
So the Senator is of the opinion that a foreign policy which has not only failed in its stated objective but actually created new, more serious threats to the United States while bringing decades of financial hardship to the Cuban people and creating a refugee crisis in the United States, should be continued.
Interestingly, he tied Iran to this upgraded threat from Cuba: yet another tenuous relationship that we are systematically degrading with multilateral sanctions and the threat of embargo. It seems we can hardly wait to once again prove our utter failure in the realm of actual diplomacy and our eagerness to bring on the consequence: armed confrontation.
While perseverance may be an admirable trait, somewhere there is a line between perseverance and Einstein’s definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results).
Embargo is a square peg being pounded into the round hole of foreign policy. A five-year-old knows it will never fit.

SteveMT's picture

Nice Letter to the Editor. Perhaps they still will put it in.

Posting it here as well at least lets others read it. Thanks.

Look for Obama or the miserable other candidates to soon start saying the say thing, especially Obama. He seems to be pilfering ideas the most from Ron Paul these days.

Gingrich is following Kissinger's foreign policy - assassination


"Sept. 11, 1973 - It was on that day that the democratically elected government of Chilean President Salvador Allende was overthrown in a violent coup, and the forces of Pinochet rose to power. The coup was supported by the U.S. government. Henry Kissinger, national security adviser and U.S. secretary of state, summed up the policy this way:

I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves."

"As Pinochet seized power, first among the dead was the president himself, Allende. Then there were the thousands rounded up. Among them was Victor Jara, the legendary Chilean folk singer. Jara was beaten, tortured, then executed. His body was dumped on a Santiago street and found by his wife in the morgue.

Charles Horman was a U.S. journalist working in Chile. He, too, disappeared in those days following the coup. His body was found buried in a cement wall. His story was immortalized in the Academy Award-winning Constantin Costa-Gavras film "Missing." His widow, Joyce Horman, sued not only Pinochet for the death of her husband but also Kissinger and others at the U.S. State Department.

Pinochet’s reign of terrorism extended beyond Chile’s borders. On Sept. 21, 1976, the former foreign minister of Chile, Orlando Letelier, and his American colleague, Ronni Moffit, died in a car bombing, not in Chile, but on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C.

Then there was Chile’s current president, Michelle Bachelet. Her father was a general under Allende and opposed the coup. He was arrested and died of a heart attack in prison. She and her mother were detained and tortured at the notorious Villa Grimaldi, a secret torture site in Santiago. Bachelet and her mother survived and went into exile. Her return to Chile and eventual election as president on the Socialist ticket has brought Chilean politics and history full circle. In October 2006, she returned to Villa Grimaldi. In November, Pinochet was placed under house arrest and charged with the kidnap and murder of prisoners there.

This was not the first time Pinochet was arrested. In 1998, while on a medical visit in London, he was put under house arrest after Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon issued a warrant for his arrest for the torture and murder of Spanish nationals. After 18 months, Britain finally allowed Pinochet to return to Chile for health reasons, avoiding extradition to Spain.

Pinochet’s death allows him to escape conviction. Kissinger, whose support for the Pinochet regime is increasingly well documented, is still alive and still of interest to those seeking justice. Kissinger has been sought for questioning by Judge Garzon and by French Judge Roger Le Loire, both investigating the death and disappearance of their citizens in Chile. While Kissinger is frequently questioned by the media in this country, he is almost never asked about his own record. Instead, he is treated like royalty.

Questions remain about the brutal regime of Pinochet. Kissinger likely holds many answers. If we are to have a uniform standard of justice, then answers need to be demanded of the genuine terrorism experts such as Henry Kissinger.

RP R3VOLution

From my understanding...

Most of the embargo prevents cargo ships that trade with Cuba from entering a US port until a certain time has passed (A few months, I think) and because the US is so big, most would then prefer to trade with the US instead, because ships are not going to spend months circling the sea waiting.

It's a shame too, because at least half of the economic damage from the embargo isn't even on cuba, it's on all the merchants who lose money from not having access to a whole country to trade with. When you couple that with the fact that it's mostly the Cuban people who suffer from lack of goods, it becomes pretty obvious how criminal it is to do so. Just think of how high their quality of life would be? With competition from Foreign markets, Cuba would turn into a much more Capitalistic society and with all that extra wealth would come the power to oust castro once and for all.

Ron Paul is again, ahead of

Ron Paul is again, ahead of the curve...

If my need to be RIGHT is greater than my desire for TRUTH, then I will not recognize it when it arrives ~ Libertybelle

Canada trades with Cuba. And

Canada trades with Cuba. And I believe most of Europe does as well. So the US looks kind of silly with its stance on Cuba. We're setting a bad example that the rest of the west isn't paying much attention to. If you want some Cuban cigars, you can simply go to Canada to get some...

Resist the temptation to feed the trolls.

In Florida, local fishermen have been going to Cuba

for years. They just hop skip from a non US carrib island, and get a wink nod on the passport. My European friends remarked that they are taking advantage of the lack of competition and are getting there first to build up cell phone businesses, etc...I think Americanized Cubans, even though they don't like the politics of their former country, wished it was easier to visit relatives.

RP R3VOLution

I live in So Cal and we just

I live in So Cal and we just go to Mexico...

If my need to be RIGHT is greater than my desire for TRUTH, then I will not recognize it when it arrives ~ Libertybelle

Some one should point out to Mitt

how much money could be made by legalizing the importation of Ochibas. No brainer, he'd be all over that in a New York minute.

There are no politicians or bankers in foxholes.

This is the way to make news

Make a bold proposal that is just slightly ahead of public opinion. In this case, when you deconstruct Cuba policy it just seems ridiculous and it makes his hardline opponents look archaic and pandering. Paul is going to get far more attention and respect for this nationwide than any votes he might lose in South Florida.

Yes, loved many of the

Yes, loved many of the comments. Looks like the LA Times readers are finally coming around.

Linda Cross's picture

good article

such a fast response, loved the comments, thanks for sharing (this is a bump:)

If you see something, say something, the government is listening.
Silence isn't golden, it's yellow.

SteveMT's picture

I could not believe the speed either.

They jumped on this story, and in a positive way.
Nice surprise.