US and Cuba warming relations

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Astronuc

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In historic face to face, Obama, Castro vow to turn the page
http://news.yahoo.com/anticipation-grows-obama-castro-meet-saturday-panama-070657182--politics.html [Broken]

Seems somewhat similar to Nixon in China.

About time!

"What we have both concluded is that we can disagree with a spirit of respect and civility," Obama said. "And over time, it is possible for us to turn the page and develop a new relationship between our two countries."

Castro, for his part, said he agreed with everything Obama had said — a stunning statement in and of itself for the Cuban leader. But he added the caveat that they had "agreed to disagee" at times. Castro said he had told the Americans that Cuba was willing to discuss issues such as human rights and freedom of the press, maintaining that "everything can be on the table."

"We are disposed to talk about everything — with patience," Castro said in Spanish. "Some things we will agree with, and others we won't."
 
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  • #2
The communication is good. We'll see where it goes. Perhaps he just wants foreign aid.
 
  • #3
Americans: It's a horrible place. Don't got there.

The beaches aren't beautiful and pristine, the weather isn't fantastic, the flora isn't lush year-round, the people aren't warm and friendly, the crime isn't virtually non-existent, it does not have excellent education standards as well as some of the best health care in the world.

These pics are all fake - Photoshopped:
http://www.davesbrain.ca/adventures/15CayoLargo/index.html
 
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  • #4
Cuba shows the folly of a political end making righteous the means to achieving it. The US is complicit but not solely culpable.
 
  • #5
Americans: It's a horrible place. Don't got there.

The beaches aren't beautiful and pristine, the weather isn't fantastic, the flora isn't lush year-round, the people aren't warm and friendly, the crime isn't virtually non-existent, it does not have excellent education standards as well as some of the best health care in the world.

These pics are all fake - Photoshopped:
http://www.davesbrain.ca/adventures/15CayoLargo/index.html
Same for Cancun, Mexico. I have a bunch of fake, photoshopped pictures from there also. :oldtongue:
 
  • #6
Hopefully this means a change to the usual political oppression and beatings from Raúl and the gang, though I doubt it.

The Senator from Florida has some reality checks in case the party gets too noisy.

 
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  • #7
Hopefully this means a change to the usual political oppression and beatings from Raúl and the gang, though I doubt it.

I'm more optimistic. Sunlight is an excellent disinfectant! If the place is crawling with American tourists, it will be much more difficult to maintain the secrecy necessary to apply that kind of oppression.

Tourists will bring cash, which will also be helpful. But, IMO: Cuba needs access to the internet more than it needs tourists.
 
  • #8
A faux democracy has need for much secrecy; Cuba has no such need. Tourists will bring cash, which *may* be helpful to the Cuban people, or instead it will fund the Castros, allow them to build up the military, re-enable military intervention abroad. The usual method seems to be confiscation of incoming foreign cash for local currency, criminalize citizens holding dollars.

I favor the change in US-Cuba relations because the status-quo was not accomplishing any positive outcomes. But especially given the possibility of a change for the worse, I'm sharply critical of how this change has been obtained, with no leverage at all obtained for the betterment of the Cuban people or political prisoners.
 
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  • #9
A faux democracy has need for much secrecy; Cuba has no such need. Tourists will bring cash, which *may* be helpful to the Cuban people, or instead it will fund the Castros, allow them to build up the military, re-enable military intervention abroad. The usual method seems to be confiscation of incoming foreign cash for local currency, criminalize citizens holding dollars.
I wonder how many people have an accurate portrayal of Cuba.

They are quite well-educated - their education is funded by the government,
They are quite healthy - their health care so good that it is a prime spot for "medical tourism" - people fly from all over the world to seek their health care.
They all have jobs - their unemployment rate is below 4%.
They all have houses - provided by the government.
They have their staple foods provided for.
And, to a man, they love their leader.

While they are not rich, they are actually very well-provided for by their government.
And the reason why they are not rich has a lot to do with the American embargo.
 
  • #10
I almost made it to Cuba once.

pf_gitmo.jpg

Sunrise over Guantanamo Bay
≈1978
View from the USS Saratoga


Well, this is cool. I just found a modern, matching image.
SunriseFromBouy1.jpg
And sunrise from Bouy 1, near the mouth of Guantanamo Bay
≈2008​

I'd always just taken their word for it that that land mass was Cuba.
I don't even think I knew of a place called "Gitmo" until then.
I thought at first, we might be invading again, or something stupid like that.
 
  • #11
But especially given the possibility of a change for the worse, I'm sharply critical of how this change has been obtained, with no leverage at all obtained for the betterment of the Cuban people or political prisoners.
With Cuba and Iran, it looks to me like Obama just wants to be able to say, "Look, I made a deal!" regardless of what the deal is. I don't favor deals where we give the other side everything they want and they give us nothing.
 
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  • #12
I wonder how many people have an accurate portrayal of Cuba.

They are quite well-educated - their education is funded by the government,
They are quite healthy - their health care so good that it is a prime spot for "medical tourism" - people fly from all over the world to seek their health care.
They all have jobs - their unemployment rate is below 4%.
They all have houses - provided by the government.
They have their staple foods provided for.
And, to a man, they love their leader.

While they are not rich, they are actually very well-provided for by their government.
And the reason why they are not rich has a lot to do with the American embargo.
Gather that information sitting on the beach, "to a man"? How about those in prison? They love their leader too?
 
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  • #13
Recently made (some months ago) video of some retired American's traveling to Cuba by sail boat, meeting many charming Cubans. Shot by professional small film maker Ashley Love.

Part I
First interaction with Cubans begins here:


Without a special permit and tracking devices Cubans are not allowed to step foot off of dry land onto vessel of any kind.

Part II
 
  • #14
Who will succeed the Castros? A lot of good could happen in the next change of command.
 
  • #15
I'm trying to think of a peaceful regime change for the better in a dictatorship that's occurred in the world without a large amount of pressure from inside or outside demanding change for the better. Nothing comes to mind. Otherwise a Kim Jong-un replaces a Kim Jong-il, Caligula replaces Tiberius.
 
  • #16
Cuba shows the folly of a political end making righteous the means to achieving it. The US is complicit but not solely culpable.
Hard to say. Cases of stand off are more memorable, than cases where there was a mixture of sanction threats and backdoor diplomacy to make a deal.
 
  • #17
I wonder how many people have an accurate portrayal of Cuba.

They are quite well-educated - their education is funded by the government,
They are quite healthy - their health care so good that it is a prime spot for "medical tourism" - people fly from all over the world to seek their health care.
They all have jobs - their unemployment rate is below 4%.
They all have houses - provided by the government.
They have their staple foods provided for.
And, to a man, they love their leader.

While they are not rich, they are actually very well-provided for by their government.
And the reason why they are not rich has a lot to do with the American embargo.
I wonder how many of those stats are accurate.
 
  • #18
I wonder how many of those stats are accurate.
Well, they're not stats they're merely observation - discussed with Cuban residents, as well as family and friends, some of whom have quite a bit of personal experience with off-resort Cuban natives (my aunt was involved with a local Cuban for a long time, enough to consider moving there). We here in Canada surely have a more open relationship with Cuba.

But is there any reason to doubt the claims? I mean, other than because it's Cuba and therefore suspect?
 
  • #19
http://news.yahoo.com/obama-removes-cuba-state-sponsor-terror-list-190658891--politics.html [Broken]

They're terrorists? I did not know that.
I saw in the last few months that they sent a slew of doctors to Africa for the Ebola crisis. I thought that was very nice of them.

hmmm...
(google google google)

Country Reports on Terrorism
2013 Report: There was no indication that the Cuban Government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.
2012 Report: There was no indication that the Cuban Government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.
2011 Report: There was no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training for either ETA or the FARC.
...

It looks to me as though the Cubans are not terrorists.

Has anyone here ever met a Cuban, aside from DaveC?
I've discovered that you can learn a lot about a country, by talking to the natives.
 
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  • #20
http://news.yahoo.com/obama-removes-cuba-state-sponsor-terror-list-190658891--politics.html [Broken]

They're terrorists? I did not know that. <Snip>
.

That means they support different groups of terrorists than the ones we support: Our terrorists are their freedom fighters, and vice versa. Our secrecy is necessary to protect ourselves and state secrets, theirs is the result of an oppressive regime...and viceversa. Ed Snowden is a traitor, but any Cuban speaking out is a hero... And Castro arrived in power just because he was a bad guy, nothing to see with the island being taken over by gangsters as their playground. It is an endless game of double standards and hypocrisy on both sides.
 
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  • #21
It looks to me as though the Cubans are not terrorists.

State claims Cuba used to support foreign and provide domestic safe harbor to terrorists as of 2004 at least.

In 2004, Cuba continued to provide limited support to designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, as well as safehaven for terrorists.

Now that Cuba is broke, not so much. What policy approach does that indicate for neighbors?
 
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  • #22
State claims Cuba used to support foreign and provide domestic safe harbor to terrorists as of 2004 at least.



Now that Cuba is broke, not so much. What policy approach does that indicate for neighbors?

What else do you expect when you have a country of 320 million people with a $16 Trillion GNP actively seeking to destroy a country of 11 million people and $60 billion GNP ( Around 260 times ). How would _you_ react under similar conditions? I am not defending Cuba's treatment of dissidents, but the active efforts to impede its progress do not allow for much room to maneuver either. So Cuba supports their terrorists, not our terrorists. Each country allows itself to attempt to rearrange the world in its favor, but not so for the other country(ies). People imprisoned in Cuba for disagreeing with Castro, and around 1 in every 100 adults imprisoned in the U.S ; around 1 in 6 blacks (1 in 3 black males) will spend time in prison in their lives, prison population increasing by 700% in 1970-2005 , while overall pop. less than doubled. Why doesn't each country just go to a corner and deal with its own issues and stop preaching? That was the good thing about having a bi-polar world, where each of the leading country would point out the hypocrisies of the other one.
 
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  • #23
What else do you expect
I expect the Castros to free their country from despotism, and stop sending head breakers to Caracas. K?
 
  • #24
Good idea. Then do something so that the incarceration rate at home is not higher than that of the Soviet Union, South Africa during apartheid and the _amount_ of prisoners at home is not larger than that of China. Both good ideas.
 
  • #25
Well, they're not stats they're merely observation - discussed with Cuban residents, as well as family and friends, some of whom have quite a bit of personal experience with off-resort Cuban natives (my aunt was involved with a local Cuban for a long time, enough to consider moving there).

But is there any reason to doubt the claims? I mean, other than because it's Cuba and therefore suspect?
Those are all excellent reasons to doubt them. Anyway, some were stats and at least a few are known to be false or at best misleading (such as the official unemployment rate: http://blogs.wsj.com/briefly/2014/12/17/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-cubas-economy/ ). And you have to admit the "to a man, they love their leader" one is kinda silly.

Edit:
On medical tourism: There are two components to the value of a service and you focused on the wrong one (quality) as the motivator for medical tourism to Cuba. The other one (cost) is the driving factor:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/18/w...ay-see-appeal-of-medical-tourism-in-cuba.html

Also, I must admit that I hadn't heard the type of anecdotes you have, but you surely must be aware that for geographical reasons, we get a much different sort of anecdote here. Ours come mostly from people who risked their lives to escape Cuba on makeshift rafts. Such anecdotes from such people do not speak nearly as well for the quality of life in Cuba.
 
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  • #26
That means they support different groups of terrorists than the ones we support: Our terrorists are their freedom fighters, and vice versa.
You can't make a useful point by purposely butchering a definition. It's self-defeating.
Good idea. Then do something so that the incarceration rate at home is not higher than that of the Soviet Union, South Africa during apartheid and the _amount_ of prisoners at home is not larger than that of China.
One has nothing to do with the other.
What else do you expect when you have a country of 320 million people with a $16 Trillion GNP actively seeking to destroy a country of 11 million people and $60 billion GNP ( Around 260 times ).
The US has the freedom to choose who to trade with, just as any country does. If we're "actively seeking to destroy" Cuba, we're doing a really, really bad job of it by doing nothing "active" and only passively choosing to not trade with them.
 
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  • #27
You can't make a useful point by purposely butchering a definition. It's self-defeating.

One has nothing to do with the other.

The US has the freedom to choose who to trade with, just as any country does. If we're "actively seeking to destroy" Cuba, we're doing a really, really bad job of it by doing nothing "active" and only passively choosing to not trade with them.


1)What do you mean by "butchering a definition"? I am referring to the accusation that Cuba sponsors terrorists ; it is a highly subjective definition on many grounds.

2) Just pointing out that none of the countries has the high moral ground to be preaching to neither each other nor to others outside of some extreme cases.

3)No doubt that choice is available, but once you make that choice against someone significantly weaker than you, you put them against the wall and you limit the healthy responses they have available. And, indeed the job of hurting Cuba has not worked well; it is the hardened Cubans ( all of whom somehow owned mansions back then) who have pushed this strategy, and politicians have catered to them.
 
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  • #28
1)What do you mean by "butchering a definition"? I am referring to the accusation that Cuba sponsors terrorists ; it is a highly subjective definition on many grounds.
No, that's an equivocation to hand waive away the issue of material support by Cuba for groups like FARC in Columbia that have been doing car bombs and kidnapping people for years. The State Dept is clear on what they mean.
 
  • #29
No, that's an equivocation to hand waive away the issue of material support by Cuba for groups like FARC in Columbia that have been doing car bombs and kidnapping people for years. The State Dept is clear on what they mean.

But they may justify it one the grounds that they are "freedom fighters", just like the US does to support other groups. The subjectivity lies on the definition of who is a terrorist and who is a freedom fighter. You mean the US has supported just those who engage in non-violent efforts for change?
 
  • #30
But they may justify it one the grounds that they are "freedom fighters", just like the US does to support other groups.
That's butchering the definition as Russ aptly said. Throwing a euphemism at a thing does not make it something other than what it is. Cuba for years provided material support to the like of FARC in Columbia which plants car bombs in public squares and kidnaps people. There's a difference between FARC and the soldiers Columbia sends after them.

The subjectivity lies on the definition of who is a terrorist and who is a freedom fighter. You mean the US has supported just those who engage in non-violent efforts for change?

William F Buckley has one of sharpest illustrations from the Cold War days
"To say that the CIA and the KGB engage in similar practices is the equivalent of saying that the man who pushes an old lady into the path of a hurtling bus is not to be distinguished from the man who pushes an old lady out of the path of a hurtling bus: on the grounds that, after all, in both cases someone is pushing old ladies around."

As for US flaws, yes the incarceration rate is too high, Detroit sometimes makes unsafe cars and chattel slavery was institutionalized until 150 years ago. All of that is irrelevant to choosing the best path for Americans and Cubans now. Add a third alternative to the Buckley tale: sitting still while the bus hits the old lady is not made right because we excuse ourselves as tending to our own.
 
  • #31
Well, at the end of the day, the US supports and has supported oppressive regimes that have tortured, killed their own people. Start with Pinochet, etc. I am just trying to bring the debate to what I believe is a more realistic level, by not making it seem as we are the good and pure , fighting against evil. That may prevent conversations with Cuba from moving along in a healthy way.

And I can find many who would disagree with Buckley, on reasonable grounds. I mean, common, man, you are quoting someone from the hard right there; would you buy a quote from Chomsky?
 
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  • #32
1)What do you mean by "butchering a definition"? I am referring to the accusation that Cuba sponsors terrorists ; it is a highly subjective definition on many grounds.
No it isn't. The "one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter" is an intentional butchering of the definition for the specific purpose of justifying terrorism or mis-applying the word to something that isn't terrorism. But it's your claim: why don't you look up and provide a source for an internationally recognized definition that allows your claim that the US supports terrrorists to be true or otherwise recognizes an extremely vague/loose definition, or a US legal/government definition that flips both ways or has been inconsistently applied.
And I can find many who would disagree with Buckley, on reasonable grounds. I mean, common, man, you are quoting someone from the hard right there; would you buy a quote from Chomsky?
Depends on what he says. The logic of the Buckley quote clearly applies here: you are not being even-handed in your descriptions/examples.
 
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  • #33
I was referring to more loose definitions of terrorism and the fact that each side tends to whitewash their support for terrorists, because these are "their terrorists", fighting for a fair cause, so the ends justify the means.. Still, e.g.:

http://www.alternet.org/world/35-countries-where-us-has-supported-fascists-druglords-and-terrorists

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_and_state_terrorism

A quick search will give you plenty of hits. But, in all fairness, just-about every country that has the resources does the same thing, albeit maybe at different levels.
 
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  • #34
I was referring to more loose definitions of terrorism.
I know. That's my point: the definition isn't loose except when intentionally butchered.
Still, e.g.:

http://www.alternet.org/world/35-countries-where-us-has-supported-fascists-druglords-and-terrorists

A quick search will give you plenty of hits.
I said internationally recognized, not extremists who purposely butcher the definition the way you have.
And...? Can you apply or comment on anything you read there, in the context of your claim of the interchangeable definitions of "terrorism" and "freedom fighter"? For example, the link says:
Commenting on Chomsky's 9-11, former US Secretary of Education William Bennett said: "Chomsky says in the book that the United States is a leading terrorist state. That's a preposterous and ridiculous claim. ... What we have done is liberated Kuwait, helped in Bosnia and the Balkans. We have provided sanctuary for people of all faiths, including Islam, in the United States. We tried to help in Somalia. ... Do we have faults and imperfections? Of course. The notion that we're a leading terrorist state is preposterous."[28][unreliable source?]

Stephen Morris also criticized Chomsky's thesis:

There is only one regime which has received arms and aid from the United States, and which has a record of brutality that is even a noticeable fraction of the brutality of Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mao, or the Hanoi Politburo. That is the Suharto government in Indonesia. But...the United States was not the principal foreign supplier of Indonesia when the generals seized power (nor is there any credible evidence of American involvement in the coup).
[edit] I should add that there is an inherrent unprovability to your claim: you can't simultaneously claim a word is undefined and then claim that it applies somewhere. If it isn't clearly defined, it can't be clearly applied.
 
  • #35
I know. That's my point: the definition isn't loose except when intentionally butchered.

I said internationally recognized, not extremists who purposely butcher the definition the way you have.

And...? Can you apply or comment on anything you read there, in the context of your claim of the interchangeable definitions of "terrorism" and "freedom fighter"? For example, the link says:

[edit] I should add that there is an inherrent unprovability to your claim: you can't simultaneously claim a word is undefined and then claim that it applies somewhere. If it isn't clearly defined, it can't be clearly applied.

Do you charge for your mind readings? Before accusing someone and guessing their intentions?
 

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