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Obama’s Vision for Cuba Turns a Blind Eye Towards History

By Javier Manjarres

cuba consulateDuring a recent trip to Key West, I was fortunate to snap a couple of pics of the old Cuban embassy that was recently restored after it was severely damaged in a fire several years back.  While appreciating the embassy’s historical value, I began to think about the extent of how much Cuba-U.S relations have suffered since the beginning of Fidel Castro’s repressive regime.

Today, the Cuban-American community in South Florida, once considered a solid Republican constituency has become more supportive of Democrats as greater numbers of younger Cuban-Americans seem to have forgotten the past and don’t regard today’s Cuban government in the same adversarial manner that their forebears continue to do.

These younger Cuban-Americans in question are two and three generations removed from their relatives who directly endured the physical and emotional pain inflicted by Fidel Castro’s Communist regime, so it is increasingly apparent that the younger generation’s support of Obama and other Democrats is the result of historical illiteracy and a lack of regard for their people’s sufferings more than anything else.

President Obama has lifted travel restrictions for Cuban-American and for Cuban exiles who wish to visit relatives back on the island. Obama has also eased restrictions in sending to those same relatives-

“Let me be clear: I am not interested in talking for the sake of talking. But I do believe that we can move U.S.-Cuban relations in a new direction.”-President Barack Obama (CNN)

Even though many believe that an actual American “embargo” of Cuba has been in place for decades, a genuine “embargo” of any and all trade with the island has not been in place since our naval blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.  While there remains significant restrictions on business, trade, and travel with Cuba, the United States still remains the fifth largest exporter to Cuba- mostly food, medicines, and medical equipment- at best, it’s a partial “embargo” and certainly not “el bloqueo”. 

cuba consulate 2While younger Cuban-American voters are trending towards Obama’s empty and ultimately dangerous message, Cuban exiles who directly experienced Castro’s repression understand exactly how Raul Castro’s Communist government benefits from Obama’s removal of many travel restrictions. Alberto De La Cruz, the Managing Editor over at the Cuba-entric Babalu blog penned a couple of posts that outline exactly how the Communist regime profits from Obama’s decision. 

According to De La Cruz, “Cuba has dual currencies: the Convertible Peso (CUC) for tourists and the Cuban peso (CUP) for Cubans. The CUC is pegged to the dollar and the regime charges a 10% surcharge when you exchange USDs for CUCs on top of the 3.5% service charge.”-(Trip Advisors)

Here is Babalu’s breakdown of how much Castro’s government makes off Obama’s ‘generosity.’

Daily flights to Cuba from the U.S.: 10

Passengers per flight: 160

Landing rights paid by each flight to the Castro regime: $4,000

From the cost of each ticket, $165 must be paid to the Castro government for each passenger, even infants.

Cuban Passport (renewable every 2 years): $375

Passport Extension: $180

Entry Permit: $120

Passport Verification: $20

In addition, the Cuban government charges duties for excess baggage, appliances, and any item not for personal use be it new or used; duties are charged based on the value for any merchandise be it food, medicine, or clothes, and fees are also charged to exchange currency.

To all of this you add the money spent in Cuba by these travelers for lodging, food, transportation, purchases, etc.

In conclusion, we have here what the Cuban government receives annually from the visits of exiles in the United States:

Landing rights: $14,600,000

Airline ticket fees: $96,360,000

Entry Permits: $70,080,000

Assuming that 20% travel with a new passport: $43,800,000

Assuming that 50% travel with a renewed passport: $52,560,000

Assuming that 30% only had to pay to have passport verified: $3,504,000-(Babalu)

Will Obama’s easing of decades-old travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba result in further inroads into the Republican-leaning Cuban-American vote, influencing more of them to believe that his policy of “reconciliation” and appeasement is the correct one rather than continuance in the approach that regards Cuba as a dangerous and committed adversary of the United States?

About author

Javier Manjarres

As the managing editor of The Shark Tank, Javier was awarded the 2011 CPAC Blogger of the Year. Countless videos and articles from the Shark Tank have been featured on Fox News, The Hill, Wall Street Journal, and other national news publications. Javier has also appeared on Univision’s “Al Punto” and numerous radio shows, including being the weekly 92.5 Fox News' DayBreak with Drew Steele political contributor

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  1. Been There December 14, 2012 at 10:49 am

    So we keep things the same in an old embargo? Fidel is almost dead. Raul is having to allow more entrepreneurs to do their thing. I find your facts about pesos and skimming off the top as helpful, however, South Florida and the U.S. could benefit with more trade between Cuba and America. I understand it’s complicated. There’s probably 1 trillion in debt owed from stolen land from the Revolution, etc-to private landowners. I just think that the hardline approach from the exile community is antiquated. I want change there. Raul seems more open to business. Also Raul is allowing Cubans to leave now. I’m not preaching for Raul. All I’m saying is that there are new changes. I think the Cuban community in Miami is wrongheaded if they continue the same path. It’s clear that capitalism wins. I’ve been to Cuba. Most cubans favorably view the U.S. I heard Pitbull music in community pool party. It’s 3rd world-no air conditioning anywhere, delapitated everything.. and because of natural success of capitalism over communism, Raul feels pressure to increase the standard of living now of the citizens and let them hustle for money-making more off the top as well. A hardline will not accomplish anything… Time for a different approach.

  2. Scott Wagendorf December 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I have some issues with Germany from that 1940s kirmish (I believe it was called World Ward 2) but it’s time to move on for the benefit of all Cubans here and there.

  3. Whatever December 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    One does not negotiate with tyrants. Nixon lifted the embargo against China. The Chinese still live in oppression. Lifting the embargo against Cuba will only fatten the pockets of the Castro Brothers, those who help them stay in power and the ruthless, spineless business people who are itching for a fresh set of slaves. The money will NEVER reach the people. To suggest lifting the embargo against Cuba as a notion that the people will be better denotes ignorance and cruelty. That is what is wrong with humanity. No one cares that a whole country suffers so long as it’s not it’s own. The only different approach to take is either for the Americans to take Castro and his goons out of power, or allow those of Cuban descent to go and free that land, instead of arresting them for terrorism if they try. May wisdom shine down on those of obscure minds and cold hearts manifesting truth and light.

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  5. Roland December 15, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Dios los cria y ellos se juntan: Rusia, Venezuela and USA. Stalin to Korvachef, Chavez and Obama.

  6. Griffin December 15, 2012 at 10:24 am

    The reforms Raul is introducing are geared toward directing the flow of dollars into state coffers and the pockets of the elite. The self-employed pay exhorbitant fees and taxes to the govt for the opportunity of working harder and taking all the risks. The goal the regime has in mind is not a free market liberal democracy. The reforms are a plan to transition from a Stalinist model to a state-controlled monopoly system dominated by the Party and enforced by a powerful military-police state. Raul has emphatically ruled out any political reforms. The repression of dissidents has increased dramatically in recent years.

    The list above of ways in which the govt takes their cut is not complete. The Cuban Army corporate enterprise, GAESA, now owns more than 60% of the Cuban economy. GAESA owns hotels (in partnership with foreign operators), trucking, taxis, restaurants, farms and factories. It should surprise nobody that the director of GAESA is Raul’s son-in-law. Through all these businesses the Cuban Army is self-funding. More business activity makes the army richer and the State stronger.

    So the question is whether greater trade and travel contacts with the USA will help nudge Cuba to a more liberal democratic future or will it only serve to help the emerging Raulist order?

  7. Daniel December 15, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Lol, get over it, Javier. Yes, younger Cuban-Americans, like myself, are voting more and more democratic, but so are Cuban-Americans who have come here from Cuba in recent years. The reason why is they still have family left in Cuba, unlike the old nutty exiles, and don’t support all this hardline BS against the island. Times have changed. You right-wingers are just gonna have to get used to it.

    • Rich December 16, 2012 at 8:13 am

      Offer to make Cuba a state and see what happens

    • Paul In Orlando December 17, 2012 at 9:12 am

      People like you (Daniel) is the main cause this nation is close to its end. Just remember this when you try to run away to another safe and free nation; there isn’t any left! The US was the only nation that stood for freedom of the people and made government serve the people instead of the people serving them. Our votes are no longer trusted and they are about to take away our rights to bear arms. Once that is done, you will not have any way of protecting yourselves from government. The minute that happens, we will be just like Cuba, Iran, China, etc…

  8. Tony in Ft. Myers December 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Javier, thank you for the fine article and for exposing the traitors such as Daniel. I want to remind Daniel that it was those “nutty right wing exiles” that opened the door to allow little leeches like him to live one of the highest standards of living among immigrants that have arrived in the USA. It was the efforts of these nutty exiles that sowed the seeds for wet behind the ears entitlement class fools like Daniel. Cuban exiles made Miami a modern cosmopolitan city from the cow pasture that it once was. Daniel, you will never know the sacrifices the Cubans of the early 60′s made. Short memory people like you and your families back home deserve the Castro Brothers. You are not here in the USA because you are against Communism; you are here simply for the lousy US dollar.

  9. Susan North December 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you Paul and Tony, and most of all Javier. Twerps like Daniel live in a fools paradise. I’m not of Cuban descent but I’ve traveled all over the world and believe me the USA is the best, but now it is being dragged down by the Democrats, Obama, and people like Daniel who have no understanding of history or that there are only two paths: tyranny or liberty. Most countries, most cultures have chosen tyranny – it is the easy way and the government ‘gives you free stuff.’ Liberty is far, far better in every way.

    • MM from Georgia December 19, 2012 at 4:43 am

      I agree fully with Susan. How quickly we lose our way through ignoring the history of despots. Remember when U.S. liberals claimed Fidel Castro was not a Communist ? Remember George McGovern expressing his admiration for Castro ? Remember too the Congressional Black Caucus visiting the “island paradise” and returning safely to the USA effusive in its praise for the murderer ?

  10. harry houdini December 19, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Repressive, corrupt and murderous regime. No different than the corrupt middle east regimes that are toppling as we speak. Its all about power, money and social status. Either you are born into an elite status or you grab power like Castro did using innocent idealistic young people as “fodder.”

    By not really understanding or really caring what the public is going through in Cuba, is a “crying shame” and cast a blood stained shadow on the Obama years as President. I have interviewed countless number of exiles who were either college professors, agricultural landowners or small businessmen. They were given two choices by Castro when he came to power. Do it OUR WAY or be shot.

    Many fled to America where their kids and grandkids have lost most of their ties to the Cuban culture and history. Its a human tragedy just like the Pedro Pan episode. Families split. Culture lost. Children abused and isolated.

    The Cuban regime is far worse than the corrupt regime it replaced. Not much different than the Shah of Iran being replaced by the Anti-democratic and bloodthirsty Islamists of Tehran.

    All I can say is these are sad times for all of us that respect and honor the rights of all people to be free.

    ” The magician”