Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Castro Mocks the American Outreach

by Elliott Abrams
February 5, 2016


The efforts of the Obama administration to ‘normalize’ relations with Cuba have been mocked this past week.

The U.S. Southern Command holds an annual regional security conference. For decades one of its main purposes was to protect the region against Cuba, but this time the Obama administration made sure that Cuba was invited to attend. The conference was held at the very end of January.

What did the Cubans do? They sent as their representative a man who spied against the United States and was thrown out of our country. He is Gustavo Machin Gomez, a Cuban spy declared persona non grata in 2002. Now this man was accepted by us to sit with American military officers as a fit person with whom to discuss regional security.

There’s one other thing to consider as one thinks about this invitation. Cuba still holds the Hellfire missile that somehow was sent there, and the regime will not give it back to the United States. The Wall Street Journal has reported that “for more than a year, amid a historic thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, American authorities have tried to get the Cuban government to return the missile….”

Presumably, Cuba is happily sharing what the Journal called  “this sensitive military technology” with Russia and other regime allies. The return of the missile was, amazingly enough, not made a condition of ‘normalization’ by the Obama administration in its negotiations with Cuba. And now we see that its return was not even made a condition of inviting Cuba to participate in a regional security conference.

They keep the missile, they send a man thrown out of the United States for spying to our regional security conference, and the Obama administration appears to think all is just swell with the new opening to Cuba. Castro must be wondering if he’s dreaming.

But here’s the nightmare. It seems clear that President Obama wants to cap off his years in office with a visit to Cuba, where he can meet the great Fidel Castro and do some wonderful photo ops. So throughout 2016, we can expect this kowtowing to the Castro regime to continue, and we can expect to see more and more displays of regime contempt for the United States. And meanwhile, the arrests and the beatings of Cubans struggling for democracy and human rights continue, and increase- and they have increased since Mr. Obama signed his deal with the Castro brothers. The price for Mr. Obama’s photo ops would be paid by Cubans struggling for freedom. And that would be an immoral bargain.

Post a Comment 3 Comments

  • Posted by Julio De Castro-Toirac

    It is shamefull to implement a policy of apeacement with a dictator wanting for 57 years the destruction of our democracy.

  • Posted by David Landau

    Great to see Elliott Abrams’s comment. He has it exactly right. Where are the so-called liberals and progressives on this one? The Castro regime breaks every rule of morality and decency, while much of the world hurries to defend the perpetrations. Now, to our disgrace as Americans, our president has become the Castros’ apologist-in-chief. Kudos to Mr. Abrams for “telling it like it is” and keeping up the pressure on this vital, grossly misunderstood matter.

  • Posted by Peter

    Also, the Cuban regime is still sheltering cop killer Joanne Chesimard AKA Asstaa Shakur. Harboring a criminal like this is justification enough to be on the sponsors of terrorism list, which Cuba was sprung from, quite illogically, and her extradition or rendition was not on the table for normalization. More Obama groveling to enemies who thrive on humiliating the US.

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