Saturday, January 26, 2013

To My President

Mr. President,

I did not vote for you in 2012.  The change I knew your were capable of after voting for you in 2008, I quickly realized was just going to be someone else's to bring one day.  I'm certain that you are aware of what you have not done and could have so I don't feel the need to waste anyone's time here.  I also can assume, based on watching how you've governed, that you really don't care.  This should be especially true since your political competitions (elections) are something of the past.

I know that you are some kind of an expert on constitutional law and not a rocket scientist.  It's not a problem since what I'm going to write here is definitely not rocket science.  You are a politician so it should all make sense to you.  You've done a remarkable job at maintaining tremendous support despite the fact that you haven't done much to help the people who give you their support and likely have done more harm than good.

Mr. President, can I ask you something?  How did it feel when you showed up at the Summit of the Americas and found out that you no longer came to the table as a master, but as someone who endured almost unanimous condemnation for our nation's attitude and policies towards Cuba?  You know that there was a time that Uncle Sam could twist the arms of some nations' governments and have them go along with his ideas.  You know that Uncle Sam had installed dictators who did his bidding, destroying a continent's peoples desires for democracy and justice.  If you didn't know, you do know now that  those people are also aware of those things.  And those people have raised their heads and voices and have taken their destinies' in the own hands.  They are struggling, democratically, to recreate their societies that have been so deformed thanks to Uncle Sam's actions and they are succeeding.  Tell me, how does it feel when the desire for democracy starts to shake up a hemisphere that had for so long been dominated by people from the same institutions that you are a part of?  If you're at all an understanding man, you should feel a bit humbled but still excited about what possibilities the people of Latin America are experiencing. 

How, Mr. President will you tackle the future?  Will you fight a losing battle to try to impose your will, or the will of Uncle Sam?  Will you accept this new reality gracefully and try to fit in this new equation?  You still have a lot of potential to become a very positive influence in Washington, but you only have this one term left.  How much do you care about people?  How much do you care about Alan Gross?  Do you care for him in human way?  Or do you instead use Alan Gross as a number in some sort of political calculation?  Do you count on the fact that most Americans do not have the slightest idea who he is so that, politically, he becomes a convenient excuse not to pursue the inevitable path of restoring relations with Cuba?  As unknown as Alan Gross is to most Americans, so are the Cuban five.  Like I said earlier, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to solve this puzzle of how to resolve this sad situation.

Your own administration has stated that Alan Gross' imprisonment is a major obstacle to any progress on the issue of Cuba.  That's why I question how you view him.  A simple solution exists and only escapes those who either can't speak outside the typical rhetoric or those who tend to analyze situations to death.  Up until now, you've seemed to fall in the first category with some minor exceptions.  But not only does that leave you with bad or no options to resolve the situation involving Alan Gross but also leaves our nation further isolated in hemispheric affairs. 

Take the Cuban five for example.  Let's imagine for the sake of argument, that their sentences are fair.  Under normal circumstances do states prefer to maintain prisoners for decades instead of using them as possible chips to be traded for their own imprisoned assets?  There are countless examples of swaps between enemies throughout history.  Even if one were to view the crimes of the Cuban five as being much worse than the crimes committed by Mr. Gross, the possibility for a trade still exists as opposed to leaving Alan Gross in his predicament based on some imagined principle.  Even more perplexing is the case of one of the five's being forced to serve out his parole here when we can both pretty much expect that once it is completed he will not ask to continue living here nor would we allow him to for that matter.

The irrationality of the embargo that we insist on keeping in place is obvious to the world around us.  No one expects that changing that policy would be a sign of weakness, but instead an example of the United States finally not insisting on such an absurd and punitive policy based on a powerful nation's arrogance in believing that it should have a say in another less powerful yet sovereign nation's affairs.  It's very difficult for you or any other administration to sit at the table with any other Latin American countries' leaders with this hanging over our heads and pretend that we have respect for their sovereignty.  If you want to be able to accomplish anything tangible at future hemispheric conferences, as it was made clear to you at the last Summit of the Americas, you must begin to seriously begin to address the issue of Cuba intelligently and fairly.

Who knows what the history between the two countries would be today had President Kennedy been able to receive news from the man he secretly sent to discuss things with Castro.  Perhaps your job would be easier today and what I'm writing now would have never entered my mind.  But this isn't the case.  It's your time and your responsibility to find a way to resolve what is probably our nation's biggest stumbling block to normal equitable relations with all of our southern neighbors.  Show the world, show the American people that your abilities extend beyond the infantile politicking with the Republican machinery.  You can be sure that Cuba is a ripe fruit, not one for us to devour and enjoy its sweetness, but one which you can reach for and pull from the tree of seemingly unreachable political heights.

Thanks for your time,

Jimmy C

Friday, January 25, 2013

I was going to write about travel to Cuba but...

I haven't had any time whatsoever to write as of late so I wanted to take advantage of my day off to write about the interesting predicament that the U.S. finds itself in now that Cubans do not need "permission", or a lot of extra paperwork at least, to travel abroad.  But a couple of things took my attention away from that topic this morning.  One being the joke that Senator Flake made about allowing American spring breakers to go to Cuba along with Senator Menendez's expected response.  But more interestingly, when I tried to look for more silliness attributable to Senator Menendez, the first thing I found about him was a report about him being under investigation by the FBI. 

Why would this good senator be under investigation?  Could it be that the FBI is interested in corruption, something that so many of us feel is going on in Washington regularly but it never seems to interest investigators much?  Nope.  It involves Sen. Menendez possible involvement with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.  Now let's put this in to perspective.  This is a very serious charge.  I can appreciate that given the fact that Sen. Menendez will be assuming the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it's nice to know that he has shown an interest in travel to foreign countries.  But how does a guy who travels abroad for sex with underage girls look if he would hold such a prestigious position in the government?  Hopefully his colleagues are whispering to him something about assuming a less prominent role at the very least! Forget about his obvious dishonesty.  His moral character seems to be an issue here.  we all know that politicians are often less that honest.

What dishonesty?  well let me point out the most recent example.  As he attempted some sort of rebuttal to Sen. Flake's suggestion to allow Americans to travel to Cuba, he decided to repeat the known lie about Alan Gross' actions in Cuba.  It has been exposed that he wasn't simply helping the Jewish community in Cuba get a little internet access, but actually carrying out a contract which is part of a government program to destabilize Cuba.  Sen. Menendez, having nothing much left of legitimate examples to defend his policy positions regarding Cuba, just has to resort to outright lies.

In my opinion, this lowlife should have his ego deflated.  If he is actually guilty of having sex with underage prostitutes in other countries, he should be dealt with according to the law.  He should until then hide his head in the sand and hope this is all just a nightmare.  But either way, he should be called out for being the liar he is. I do hope he is the next link of an ever shrinking chain of hard liners protecting the status quo of the embargo against Cuba.  The chain is weak and someone should break it already.