Thursday, August 20, 2015

Who Has Barack Obama Betrayed?

Who Has Barack Obama Betrayed? / 14ymedio, Juan Carlos Fernandez
Posted on August 19, 2015

14ymedio, Juan Carlos Fernandez, Pinar del Rio, 18 August 2015 — The
restoration of diplomatic relations between the governments of Cuba and
the United States is leaving a trail of reactions. Cuban civil society
on both shores shows two positions with many nuances, on the one hand
those in favor of the process and on the other those who are against it.

From those against it a sharp rebuke against President Barack Obama is
heard, accusing him of being "a traitor to the cause of Cuban freedom."
However, to think that the occupant of the White House embarked on such
an adventure alone and on his personal initiative is crazy.

It is likely that the American president is anxious to change the
direction of American policy toward Cuba. But he never would have
succeeded if he had not had the support of a considerable number of
legislators, both Republicans and those of his own party. So this
political move represents the culmination of a strategy gestated before
his arrival at the White House, and one whose principal protagonists
were the so-called "pressure groups."

Among what are also called "lobbies," the powerful group representing
commercial interests in the agricultural sector has led several
initiatives of rapprochement toward the island. It has also promoted
lifting the embargo and normalizing relations with the Cuban government.
The reasons for this push in the direction of normalization are
economic, but also political.

On the commercial side, American businesses are at a fundamental
disadvantage with the restrictions against Cuba. Meanwhile, on the
political side they argue that US influence in the region has declined
considerably, thanks in large part to the conflict with Cuba's communist
government, and China has stepped in.

A portion of US civil society has also exerted pressure to take the path
of diplomatic normalization. Involved in this crusade has been the
radical left, as well as unions, cultural organizations, NGOs, religious
groups and academics.

Barack Obama, however, is the person responsible for the political
insight to take advantage of the hemispheric situation, with Venezuela
in a free fall, and serious internal problems in Bolivia, Ecuador and
Brazil. Meanwhile, inside the island a profound economic crisis seems to
have no end, there are grave social problems, and Fidel Castro is
practically out of the political game.

Beyond that ability, Obama also responded to a demand from his people,
represented by civil society pressure groups. To ignore them would
represent political suicide for the next Democratic candidate. Surveys
have proved him right, with more than 60% of Americans looking favorably
on the initiative he has promoted with respect to Cuba.

Moreover, to accuse Obama of treason will not change what happened last
17 December and lays on him a responsibility that belongs to thousands
of people. On the other hand, the fact that the Cuban leaders now shake
hands with their neighbor to the north does not give them carte blanch
to do whatever they want. This they know very well in the Plaza of the

Source: Who Has Barack Obama Betrayed? / 14ymedio, Juan Carlos Fernandez
| Translating Cuba -

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