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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ocean-front diplomacy

Never let it be said that Obama doesn't think ahead:
President Obama announced sweeping changes to U.S. policy with Cuba on Wednesday, moving to normalize relations with the island nation and tear down the last remaining pillar of the Cold War.

Under the new measures, the United States plans to reopen its embassy in Havana and significantly ease restrictions on travel and commerce within the next several weeks and months, Obama said. Speaking from the White House, he declared that a half-century of isolation of the Communist country “has not worked.”

“It’s time for a new approach,” he said.

The history-shaping overtures come after more than 18 months of secret negotiations with the Cuban government of President Raul Castro. The final touches appeared to be arrangements for a series of simultaneous prisoner releases.
It's probably one of the smartest moves of his presidency, if not the smartest. Cubans don't vote for Democrats anyhow, and no one gives a damn about them anymore since they're massively outnumbered by Mexicans now. It's all upside for Obama; no doubt there are plenty of big-money interests just slavering to snap up Cuban real estate.

I'd be astonished if he doesn't come out of it with a sweet post-presidential villa.

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86 Comments:

Blogger Guitar Man December 17, 2014 1:48 PM  

Now we wait for the neo-cons to show up and complain about Obummer's pro-communism stance.

Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents December 17, 2014 1:49 PM  


I'd be astonished if he doesn't come out of it with a sweet post-presidential villa.


Especially if Cuba never signs an extradition treaty with the US.

Anonymous Alexander December 17, 2014 1:50 PM  

Hey don't knock it - if the deal was he could go to Cuba but he couldn't come back - I'd chip into a kickstarter for that.

Anonymous BioShock Jock December 17, 2014 1:51 PM  

This is great news. It's fantastic the failed embargo is ending.

Anonymous Nathan December 17, 2014 1:54 PM  

It seems like a decent idea, however, I cringe that it comes from a president known for having a reverse Midas touch. (Instead of gold, everything he touches turns to excrement.)

That, and what "You have to pass the bill to find out what's in it" things is he not telling us?

Blogger Josh December 17, 2014 1:56 PM  

Okay, who wants to build a casino in Havana?

Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 17, 2014 1:57 PM  

Their development being forever arrested in 1960, I wonder if his advisers are trying to avoid another missile crisis.

Blogger JCclimber December 17, 2014 1:58 PM  

The right wing Cuban commenting on the radio news this morning was not very happy.....

Anonymous Starbuck December 17, 2014 2:02 PM  

Wow... I must admit I never saw this coming. This is sort of astonishing. I am unsure if it is a good thing or a bad thing...

Blogger Chris Mallory December 17, 2014 2:03 PM  

For being an incompetent bumbler Obama has gotten it right on Cuba and Iran. So, is he a stopped clock or a blind hog?

Blogger Aquila Aquilonis December 17, 2014 2:06 PM  

Will sugar prices fall?

Anonymous Porky December 17, 2014 2:07 PM  

I'd be astonished if he doesn't come out of it with a sweet post-presidential villa.

You think too small.

Raul is 83, and Barry always wanted a little Marxist paradise to call his own.

He wants to be the successor.

Anonymous Phillyastro December 17, 2014 2:09 PM  

@Guitar Man -

I hope you're not implying that neo-cons = anti-communists.

Anonymous Carol Martin December 17, 2014 2:11 PM  

"It's probably one of the smartest moves of his presidency, if not the smartest."

Does this mean that the hubby and kids and I can finally make that trip to Cuba to seek out authentic vaca frita and real cuban music??? This is very good news. What a dumb policy the embargo has been.

Blogger Pseudotsuga December 17, 2014 2:11 PM  

As the saying goes, "follow the money." I wonder where the money is in this deal?
It is clear that the old embargo wasn't really doing anything to combat communism or prevent its spread. But I have no information or experience to judge the effects of this new action, other than to add tourist dollars to Castro's workers paradise.
Hey, maybe Michael Moore can move there now, into his Sicko paradise!

Anonymous akfox December 17, 2014 2:16 PM  

I hate the commies as much as any rational person, but our embargo has served no purpose but to hurt the Cuban people and give the ruling party a scapegoat. The Cold War is over and all of its policies, standards and practices should have gone with it.

Anonymous Severian December 17, 2014 2:17 PM  

I for one couldn't be happier. Now a whole bunch of American lefties have no excuse for not scoping out the "100% literacy and free health care" of Castro's workers' paradise for themselves. It's only 90 miles offshore, kiddos! It's been unsullied by eeeevil capitalism since 1960! It's like Jurassic Park for failed ideologies.

Anonymous Porky December 17, 2014 2:20 PM  

Yes, the best way to fight communism is to flood the country with secular western excess, consumerism, and idiotic pop culture.

Prepare for the new cable series, Real Housewives of Havana!

Anonymous WaterBoy December 17, 2014 2:21 PM  

About damn time. As far as "democracy" and "human rights" go, China has a far sight worse record than Cuba, yet that never stopped us from trading with them.

Now, what's a good Cuban cigar brand?

Anonymous Phillyastro December 17, 2014 2:25 PM  

I agree. The embargo did fail. But, any country where for decades a citizen was not even able to have a garden sounds downright evil to me. I never understood why the Castros didn't follow the Russia, China, Vietnam models of opening markets.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 17, 2014 2:26 PM  

why shouldn't Obama put his Presidential Library in Havana?

Anonymous ZhukovG December 17, 2014 2:27 PM  

It's good news, and the right thing to do, but the cynic in me thinks its just to poke Putin in the eye.

Blogger Josh December 17, 2014 2:29 PM  

I hope you're not implying that neo-cons = anti-communists.

That's the historical definition

Blogger Josh December 17, 2014 2:31 PM  

Yes, the best way to fight communism is to flood the country with secular western excess, consumerism, and idiotic pop culture.

Actually, that's not far from the truth.

Blogger Sean Carnegie December 17, 2014 2:32 PM  

Now, what's a good Cuban cigar brand?

All of them. I'm Canadian and have been there three times. Never lit one I didn't like.

Anonymous Phillyastro December 17, 2014 2:34 PM  

@Josh -

But, paleo-cons and libertarians are also anti-communists.

Anonymous DavidK December 17, 2014 2:36 PM  

You think too small. Raul is 83, and Barry always wanted a little Marxist paradise to call his own. He wants to be the successor.

Does the Cuba constitution allow Kenyans to be head of state?

Blogger Cogitans Iuvenis December 17, 2014 2:37 PM  

I agree. The embargo did fail. But, any country where for decades a citizen was not even able to have a garden sounds downright evil to me. I never understood why the Castros didn't follow the Russia, China, Vietnam models of opening markets.

Finally my communist cuba apologist class in college might be of some use. The reason for the Castros move is due to the proximity of Cuba to the United States and the gargantuan size of the US economy. Even if the US doesn't try to actively dominate Cuba via economic means it will. To take a quote from the JFK presidential library

"At the beginning of 1959 United States companies owned about 40 percent of the Cuban sugar lands—almost all the cattle ranches—90 percent of the mines and mineral concessions—80 percent of the utilities—practically all the oil industry—and supplied two-thirds of Cuba's imports."

If Cuba ever opens up their markets then, for better or worse, they will be dominated by the United States. Given some of the United States' actions in the past their wariness isn't unwarranted. Geo-politically Cuba is the most important island in the Western Hemisphere, so much so that for a brief time the US flirted with the idea of buying the island from the Spanish and making it a state.

Blogger Josh December 17, 2014 2:37 PM  

But, paleo-cons and libertarians are also anti-communists.

Yes. But they're not the ones who've been supporting the embargo.

Anonymous Porky December 17, 2014 2:43 PM  

@Josh

I recall Ted Nugent saying the best way to fight the Taliban was to broadcast Baywatch into Afghanistan 24/7.

I think he's probably right. Most people will take 'slow-motion beach boobies' over 'let's stone the harlot who showed her ankles in public'.

Anonymous Gx1080 December 17, 2014 2:47 PM  

Communists will always find a way to blame anybody else, specially the eeeeevil US about their own failures. "If we stop the embargo they won't hate us anymore!", hah! Never thought to read such magical thinking here.

That said, Cuba had a quite large "special period" between the fall of the Soviet Union and the rest of the Latin American goverments going full retard. If they get another sucker to pay the bills, this whole "new age of diplomacy" will go up on smoke.

Anonymous Phillyastro December 17, 2014 2:52 PM  

I just want to know when Johnny Ola and Fredo can finally take me to watch Superman do his thing live. Old Man Roth would never go there!

Blogger sykes.1 December 17, 2014 2:55 PM  

The rich emigree Cubans living 90 miles from Havana will swarm the country and take it over. Once settled in they will seek statehood to protect their US citizenship and properties.

Anonymous Just Mark December 17, 2014 2:56 PM  

So what's the price of Cuban beech front these days?

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 17, 2014 3:01 PM  

I'd be astonished if he doesn't come out of it with a sweet post-presidential villa.

Holy crap, that's brilliant. Can't you just see it? Obama leaning back in one of those Big Man throne/chairs, smoking a massive doobie rolled that morning by local serfs as he views his domain... Throngs of lefties who always wanted to live in a socialist paradise without the starvation, making pilgrimages there and paying homage to his presence... Every university opening a branch there for Cuban Studies, all the lefty film festivals shifting there, "made in Cuba" replacing all that SWPL "Fair Trade" stuff... The possibilities are staggering.

If we play our cards right, the centers of leftist gravity could shift noticeably from NYC and LA to Cuba. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Anonymous joe doakes December 17, 2014 3:08 PM  

Following the money is for ordinary Democrats. Obama makes a point of doing stupid stuff ordinary Democrats wouldn't do (insults to the Queen of England, for example: annoys an ally and no profit in it). A better phrase for him is Cui Bono and the first places to look are either Wall Street or Islam.

Of course, it might be simpler than that: instead of flinging open the borders and waiting for a lousy 5 million Mexicans to come vote Democrat, maybe he hopes 11 million Cubans will stay home but vote Democrat.

Anonymous Drogger December 17, 2014 3:11 PM  

And I'm sure it will come with another great wave of Cuban immigration. Hurray. /s

Blogger 2harddrive December 17, 2014 3:13 PM  

Now Obama has a place to retire to, and from which he cannot be extradited, when it turns out his Birth Certificate really WAS forged!

Blogger Joshua Dyal December 17, 2014 3:18 PM  

I hope you're not implying that neo-cons = anti-communists.

Of course they are. Some of the communists' most bitter foes have always been from other applied Marxist ideologies, after all.

Anonymous dh December 17, 2014 3:18 PM  

I went to Havana 18-months ago right after the first wave of loosened restrictions set in. It was surreal, and also, very interesting. Outside of Havana, the island is racked by poverty and disrepair. Havana was also in some disrepair, but it was very gentle decay.

One thing that was neat to see was how well people maintained things. As Americans, we are hugely wasteful, able to use economic arbitrage to substitute American labor and services for inexpensive foreign goods and assembly. I talked to a manager of a coffee shop who'd been using a set of large coffee pots that he inheretied. He knew them to be at least 4 years old. The cord was carefully secured. Every day they hand washed, and hand cared for it. The glass pots were soaked and then scoured, everyday, and then chrome kept clean with a warm rag. Every month they open it up and disassemble it. He told me that the heating element was virtually irreplaceable, because of the embargo, so they constantly were cleaning it, making minor repairs, and keeping it functioning as new.

Everything was like this. Everyone either was a mechanic, or knew a mechanic, or was related to one. Things were repaired, re-repaired, and a good mechanic would also be expert at fabricating or adapting parts.

I think the net effect of this sort of enforced thrift was that although the statistics showed vast poverty even in the city, the standard of living was really quite high. Arguably equivalent to the working poor in the US, except your average Havana household had no debt whatsoever.

Anonymous Varenius December 17, 2014 3:19 PM  

I will be more impressed when Obama does a sensible diplomatic move that isn't a "freebie," like, say, pulling out of NATO.

Blogger Salt December 17, 2014 3:24 PM  

So Obama has finally found a something to define his presidency. Okay, kudos for that as I approve. Ignoring Cuba, no matter it's 90 miles away, has never been a smart move. Besides, if you can go to Vietnam... Cuba?

Anonymous Thales December 17, 2014 3:25 PM  

Raul has made it known for at least 5 years that he wanted normal relations with the US. Everything takes longer than it should, I guess...

Anonymous Anarchopurplism December 17, 2014 3:44 PM  

Looking forward to a Cuban Cigar

Anonymous Quartermaster December 17, 2014 3:54 PM  

"I hope you're not implying that neo-cons = anti-communists.

Of course they are. Some of the communists' most bitter foes have always been from other applied Marxist ideologies, after all."

Indeed! Hitler despised Red Communism.

Anonymous DJF December 17, 2014 3:55 PM  

Dh writes """He told me that the heating element was virtually irreplaceable, because of the embargo"""

China embargo's Cuba?????

Anonymous Corvinus December 17, 2014 3:58 PM  

One reason the Castros made this deal now with the US is because Venezuela, the only prop the Cuban economy has these days, is guaranteed to implode soon due to the oil crash.

Blogger Feather Blade December 17, 2014 4:22 PM  

Will sugar prices fall?

No, the Sugar Quota is a US law (or possibly administrative action) and would have to be repealed before sugar prices would drop.

Anonymous Rick Johnsmeyer December 17, 2014 4:39 PM  

To be fair to Cuba, I'd rather live there than its two close neighbors Jamaica and Haiti. Its autocratic system has managed to keep out a few of the ills that plague other Latin/Carib countries - the boggling crime rates, contagious disease (HIV being perhaps the best example, but also tuberculosis), and nowadays, obesity. So, it's not all bad.

There's also a conceptual problem with people who claim to be in favor of "small government" but then turn around and support the US Treasury Department invigilating the individual foreign travel itineraries of private US citizens. I don't expect the likes of Rubio, et. al. to address that, though.

Blogger Sam Hall December 17, 2014 5:17 PM  

Figures. I quit smoking a year ago and now you will be able to get Cuban cigars.

Anonymous Corvinus December 17, 2014 5:20 PM  

No, the Sugar Quota is a US law (or possibly administrative action) and would have to be repealed before sugar prices would drop.

Unfortunately, Big Ag would be against repealing it due to its love for that crap known as HFCS.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 17, 2014 5:30 PM  

Unfortunately, Big Ag would be against repealing it due to its love for that crap known as HFCS.

Yep. Drop the quota on cane sugar and the price will come down, which will drop the demand for HFCS, which means lower corn prices, which means more spent on subsidies and loan guarantees and ethanol nonsense to keep corn farmers afloat.

I think they call that the Circle of Life.

Anonymous zen0 December 17, 2014 6:01 PM  

@ dh
the standard of living was really quite high. Arguably equivalent to the working poor in the US, except your average Havana household had no debt whatsoever.

Can you still get a good cigar for $1 from a street seller? I could have gotten a box of Monte Cristo for $30 but wasn't sure I could get it out of the country.

They had showers with electric shower heads. Sometimes they would develop shorts. Nobody seemed too upset. A little 110 in the morning never hurt anyone.

Anonymous willneverpostagain December 17, 2014 6:21 PM  

Just returned from a Church Mission Trip to the Western part of the island. The average person is completely aware of their government's problems, and have no illusions about the way things really are. They basically have jobs the government gives them, and they make around $12 to 14 dollars a month. Every Cuban has some form of extra income, since this money doesn't go very far. They do get a stipend of rice and black beans from the Govt. though. We went into this big Supermercado, and the only things in there were rice and beans. If the upshot of this move by Obama is that our cultural U.S. ways get imported there, then it's probably a net loss for the people there. Havana is a fascinating city, and they are making improvements and setting up a nice area on Obispo Street. The north beaches there are prime areas for resorts too. I tell you what, though. The men there are NOT metro, they are macho, and do not apologize for being so.

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales December 17, 2014 6:26 PM  

"To be fair to Cuba, I'd rather live there than its two close neighbors Jamaica and Haiti. Its autocratic system has managed to keep out a few of the ills that plague other Latin/Carib countries - the boggling crime rates, contagious disease (HIV being perhaps the best example, but also tuberculosis), and nowadays, obesity. So, it's not all bad."

Wow... I wanna punch in your fucking ball sack, you peace of shit human being. Instead, I'll reply with, 'Yeah... it's not all bad... if not Cuban or one of the many thousands of people that regime stands on."

Fuck faced, 1st world weasel.

"There's also a conceptual problem with people who claim to be in favor of "small government" but then turn around and support the US Treasury Department invigilating the individual foreign travel itineraries of private US citizens. I don't expect the likes of Rubio, et. al. to address that, though."

Yes, because trying to make laws that favor the dismantling of an innately oppressive ideology and regime that would gladly take the opportunity to ban all other ideologies and thoughts that don't cow-tow to the party line and leach off their serfs goes against small government minded folks. :P

Blogger Chris Mallory December 17, 2014 6:46 PM  

It comes out that this deal was worked out to free the spying Tribe member in jail for the past five years. This will make the "Conservatives" heads explode.

Anonymous LES December 17, 2014 6:50 PM  

Neoconservative defined:

http://www.antiwar.com/orig/lind1.html

Anonymous zen0 December 17, 2014 6:56 PM  

To get more articulation on why Emmanuel Mateo-Morales is a little sceptical, go read Babalu Blog on the subject.

While we are relieved at the release of this American hostage today, there are 11 million Cubans that remain hostages of Castro's brutal regime. Moreover, repression in Cuba today is at a historic high.


Sorry, Mateo-Morales, but putting your hope in America to save the situation has been a vain hope since the Bay of Pigs fiasco. America will go half-way around the world and spend billions to accomplish regime change, but 90 miles?

Obviously not sexy enough.

Blogger James Higham December 17, 2014 7:03 PM  

Getting in before Putin does.

Blogger Chris Mallory December 17, 2014 7:08 PM  

If the Cubans in Miami don't like American policy, they are more than welcome to find some inner tubes and float back to their home land. We never should have let them in the country to begin with.

Blogger Luke December 17, 2014 7:15 PM  

You think too small.

Raul is 83, and Barry always wanted a little Marxist paradise to call his own.

He wants to be the successor.



"We have reviewed your CV, comrade Obama. The Central Committee was most impressed. In fact I've been authorized to inform you that this interview is a mere formality. We have but one question. How quickly can you have a beard?"

"Damn, will I need one in Cuba too? Michelle already said she's moving back to Chicago."

Luke (Lines With Chrome)

Anonymous Rick Johnsmeyer December 17, 2014 7:31 PM  

"Wow... I wanna punch in your fucking ball sack"

So you'd rather live in Haiti than Cuba? I sure wouldn't. The claim isn't that Cuba is perfect/exemplary/etc., but rather that it actually does fairly well compared to some of its neighbors. That's just a fact. Which makes all the moralist preening over "human rights" in Cuba while Jamaican cops gun down "suspects" at will a bit funny.

"Yes, because trying to make laws that favor the dismantling of an innately oppressive ideology..."

By making a federal department the arbiter of the individual travel decisions of private citizens? That's not "small-government" in the least. It's an appeal to a centralized state to control its citizens in a rather intrusive way, when you think about it. The more abstract question is this - does the US federal government have a right to tell YOU where you may and may not travel OUTSIDE of the US?

People who believe in limits on state power will generally answer "no." This is something that supporters of the Cuban embargo never really addressed. They always hand-waved it away and changed the subject to something or other about Castro's personal life. I don't care. Answer the more general question about state control.

Anonymous Azimus December 17, 2014 7:37 PM  

A couple of quesitons occur to me on this news:

There must be oil in Cuba?

Finally abandon pseudo-strategic (Cuban trip wire) Guantanamo Bay site?

So, we do nothing and Raul dies in 5yrs, what happens? Same thing that's happening now by our fearless leader? Is this a couple of political has-beens trying to stake a legacy?

What is Obama actually legally entitled to do?

Blogger Hunsdon December 17, 2014 7:39 PM  

Che was a pig, Fidel wasn't much better. The revolution---as most revolutions do---involved an awful lot of killing off of sticking-up-nails. So hey, let's punish the ordinary Cubanos who live under a shit regime some more.

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales December 17, 2014 7:46 PM  

"Che was a pig, Fidel wasn't much better. The revolution---as most revolutions do---involved an awful lot of killing off of sticking-up-nails. So hey, let's punish the ordinary Cubanos who live under a shit regime some more."

Yes. Let's punish them... by making it so that Che and Fidel and their cronies in the Cuban elite have the power to stay where they are without the people chopping off their dicks and stuffing them back down their throats.

Or we could just topple the Cuban regime and annex Cuba so that we never have to hear about the regime ever again except in history books as lessons to young Cuban children as to what happens and should happen to regimes and whenever someone asks in a future Cuban gun range who all of the faces plastered on dummies belong to.

Anonymous Porky December 17, 2014 7:58 PM  

What is Obama actually legally entitled to do?

Apparently whatever he feels like.

(As long as the wookie approves, that is.)

Blogger racketmensch December 17, 2014 8:04 PM  

I hope that conditions aren't "normalized" to our (U.S.) standards. Perverts and sex-tourists, among others, should go to the wall with a cigarette and a blindfold. I'd rather see Cuba closed off again for another 50 years than flooded with our septic culture.

Anonymous Viidad December 17, 2014 8:07 PM  

@Sam Hall

Aww, just go ahead and pick up smoking again.

Cigars and pipes aren't even a statistical blip on the health radar... just stay away from processed chemical-laced cigarettes.

Heck, cigars aren't even addictive. I've been smoking them regularly since I was 18 and I've never gotten addicted.

Anonymous Viidad December 17, 2014 8:13 PM  

My bet is that the twisted gen-mod agrobusiness machine wants IN to that tropical climate in the worst way.

I've done some reading. Cuba practices organic agriculture on a largely decentralized level, thanks to their lack of chemical fertilizer. The collapse of the USSR cut off their supply of petrochemicals and they were forced to make do. Now they apparently have some of the cleanest and safest agriculture in the industrialized world.

I doubt they'll be able to keep it, just as Iraq lost its grain's genetic heritage after our invasion... and the subsequent distribution of genetically modified shit to unknowing farmers. Since grains (and many other foods) are air-pollinated, centuries of heirloom breeding and seed-saving were corrupted with frankengenes.

Anonymous zen0 December 17, 2014 8:37 PM  

@ Emmanuel Mateo-Morales

Or we could just topple the Cuban regime and annex Cuba

Umm, who is "we", brown man? If it is your country, you guys figure it out. Castro and his cohorts went over there in a friggin boat the size of a recreational fishing boat, landed, and started a revolution.

You guys want Uncle Sam to do the job for you. Lotta talk, but not a lotta put up. Sittin in Miami lobbying a government that has discovered they don't need your vote anymore to gain power.

Its 4gw time. Maybe you should use your contacts to start making a few bucks. Life is not fair, asere.

Anonymous dw December 17, 2014 8:39 PM  

"Getting in before Putin does."

Bingo. This too is smart.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 17, 2014 8:40 PM  

Sooner or later America had to either go on with the job and attack Cuba regardless of its promises not to, or else drop the embargo.

Obama made the right choice.

The destruction of Libya was the wrong choice.

Anonymous zen0 December 17, 2014 9:49 PM  

> Obama made the right choice.

Maybe he did. Time will tell. What took so friggin' long? As a Canadian, I have been free to visit Cuba and buy Cuban products during the whole embargo.
What on earth was the point of the whole exercise? Spite?

Anonymous WaterBoy December 17, 2014 10:18 PM  

zen0: "What on earth was the point of the whole exercise? Spite?"

IMO, yes. As mentioned by several people, there will be an influx of money to further develop travel and entertainment venues, as well as agriculture. The US PTB did not want the Castros to personally reap the benefits from this, ergo embargo.

How unfortunate for the US that most of the rest of the world did not go along with it as long as we would have liked. Tourism there is alive and well, but will most certainly grow with addition of a couple hundred million potential visitors.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 17, 2014 10:39 PM  

Okay, who wants to build a casino in Havana?

Nineteen tequilas later, we had a deal. Havana goes back to the mob, and Fidel - er, Raul - and I open a chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken shops. Ain't life great?

(As long as the wookie approves, that is.)

Oh, come on Porky. Too many forehead ridges, and not hairy enough. Michelle is a Klingon, not a Wookie.

Blogger jimmy-jimbo December 17, 2014 11:31 PM  

To the main post, what's the upside that makes Obama seem smart? He legitimizes the Castro regime. That's bad. He may make life somewhat easier for Cubans, but I am sure more will emigrate at the next opportunity.

This event is another one many where we ask why? It just doesn't make sense, yet Obama just keeps moving on to the next shock.

Anonymous Corvinus December 17, 2014 11:46 PM  

What on earth was the point of the whole exercise? Spite?

@zen0
Something like that, although I'm not exactly sure. We do have normal relations with China, Vietnam, and Laos, so having an embargo on Cuba always seemed rather silly to me.

I'd rather see Cuba closed off again for another 50 years than flooded with our septic culture.
@racketmensch
Not sure the country would survive that long, given its Eastern European demographics.

Anonymous Idle Spectator December 18, 2014 1:56 AM  

They kept bitchin' in the island kitchen about how great Cuba's healthcare system was under Communism.

So now I expect the healthcare system to be terrible.

Anonymous Barko Ramius December 18, 2014 1:58 AM  

Everything this black demon does is designed to either destroy America or bring about armageddon. Look at how his tribesmen in Hollywood created an international incident with that silly Interview movie. All that drama may be part of a ruse, for all we know. I wouldnt put it past them.

And fk Cuban cigars. Any afficionado knows Dominicans are just as good.

Anonymous bolo-toto December 18, 2014 4:24 AM  

Vox, this is just a suggestion. I did a search of your blog for keywords of "Syria" and "December." Particularly this December. No hits. This tells me that you missed this story somehow, and by extension, the Ilk is neither informed about this.

You might consider your next blog post to include this video. Understand who is speaking here. Understand, the person sitting to his right, to the right of the Syrian interpreter, is former G2 for NATO. He actually speaks next. The guy in the background, with the beard, is the former GOP CFO for the 1994 Presidential election cycle. My understanding, is that the person to the immediate left of the speaker, is a member of the Russian delegation. There is no official U.S. delegation to this conference. I do not believe one was invited. The VT delegation was invited by the Syrian Ministry of Justice.

Again, just a suggestion to keep yourself and the Ilk truly informed. Why we (America) may well be about to go to war with the RF, and Syria with Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia et al. We are talking about world war here.

Anonymous Michael December 18, 2014 8:45 AM  

I'm willing to bet this defrosting of relations has something to do with preventing Russian navy expansion.

Blogger Feather Blade December 18, 2014 11:55 AM  

Yep. Drop the quota on cane sugar and the price will come down, which will drop the demand for HFCS, which means lower corn prices, which means more spent on subsidies and loan guarantees and ethanol nonsense to keep corn farmers afloat.

IIRC, the Quota is more to protect the thousand or so sugar beet farmers left in the mainland US, and Hawaii doesn't count as the US for purposes of the Quota.

Repealing the Quota has been done before, back in the 70s. I'm pretty sure that if sugar suddenly became cheaper than HFCS, the food manufacturers would use sugar instead.

You may be right, though, that the the corn subsidies would have to be done away with before repealing the Quota would have a significant effect anymore.

Anonymous Anubis December 18, 2014 2:23 PM  

O-Hole and Cuba both hate that the Cubans in America are conservative & do better than Hispanics anywhere outside of Spain. Pretty much the entire right side of the IQ bell curve fled Cuba.

"So, is he a stopped clock or a blind hog? " Isn't a broken calendar right every ~10,000 years?
We will have to see the details to know if this is bad for the US/Civilization. The smartest Cubans have risked life & limb to flee for decades, so if IQ is in any way affected by genetics, whatever's left wont do as well.

Anonymous Herman the German December 18, 2014 4:06 PM  

Good one, Luke! rofl

Anonymous WaterBoy December 18, 2014 8:15 PM  

Anubis: "the Cubans in America are conservative"

Not so much, anymore:

"A Pew Research Center analysis of 2013 survey data found that less than half of registered Cuban-American voters lean Republican, compared with 64 percent a decade ago. During the same time period, the share of Cubans who support Democrats has doubled from 22 percent to 44 percent."

Part of this shift was explained earlier in the article:

""If you're a third-generation Cuban, in your mid-30s, went to college here ... things that define your worldview are not Cuban embargo politics," said Steve Schale, a Florida-based Democratic strategist who led Obama's state effort in 2012."

They also went bigger for Obama than any previous Democrat, though that may have been the man more than the ideology:

"The president also made inroads with Cuban-Americans, with exit polls in 2012 showing Obama winning nearly half of the Cuban-American vote, the most by any Democratic presidential candidate."

Blogger Joshua Dyal December 19, 2014 11:27 AM  

Oh, come on Porky. Too many forehead ridges, and not hairy enough. Michelle is a Klingon, not a Wookie.

I thought the wookie was a reference to Valeria Jarrett. She's the one who runs the Obamas, not Michelle.

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