Over the past weeks several sources have been speaking about a posible visit of US President Barak Obama to Cuba, which would already have a definite date as part of a Latin Amerian visit to include Argentina, Colombia and also Peru, at the end of \March.
If it takes place, it would no doubt give a thrust to the normalization of relations between the two nations and would give a blow to those sectors that oppose that process, openly disclosed as of December 17, 1914.
Judging from his statements to Yahoo News some weeks ago, Obama’s visit is also seen by him as instrument to force the changes that the US has historically sought towards Cuba and strengthen his influence in the Western Hemisphere, something he has just reiterated in his State of the Union message before Congress.
“If you want to strengthen our leadership in the Continent you must admit that the Cold War has ended: lift the embargo””, Obama told both Chambers of Congress on January 12 after admitting that more than half a century of economic blockade did not bring democracy, as understood by Washington, to the largest of the Antilles islands.
Once again, the President has left in the hands of Congress a task to which he can contribute much more than he has done. Not only because of the amount of modifications available to Presidential powers that can weaken the blockade without the need of any intervention by Congress -- the authorization of the use of the US dollar in Cuba’s international transactions; to revert the policy of strict financial persecution of Cuba; --to allow US imports of Cuban products and services and authorize direct US exports to the Island are among them ….. but also by specific decisions requested by institutions and entities of his nation that have been awaiting for months for Government approval.
Among the last ones are the authorization requested by the MLB –Major League Baseball— for Cuban baseball players to be allowed to play in the United States without having to break their ties with their country of origin. Also, the authorization or license to a US Tractor manufacturer to establish itself in the Special Economic Zone of Mariel, just west of Havana, and sell its tractors to private Cuban farmers.
Another instrument in the Cold War strategy against Cuba that can be modified by the President is the policy of automatically granting the status of political refugees to any Cuban citizen that illegally arrives in US territory, a fact that increases the traffic of persons and illegal emigration as a tool for destabilization against the Island along with the more than fifty million dollars that the US distributes among its agents trained to promote “programmes of support to democracy” in Cuban territory.
The President has not considered either the historical claim of the people of Cuba over the Guantanamo territory which the United States occupies through military force and has turned into a torture center that Obama has not been able to set lose. A military base that is definitely not a relic of the Cold War, but an expression of the opportunism with which Washington intervened in the Independence war waged by the Cubans against Spain. The US arrived as an ally of the Cuban liberators but acting as an occupant and forcing in a Constitutional Amendment that gave it the right to install all the military bases it deemed necessary besides the right to intervene by force as many times as it deemed pertinent.
In his last speech on the State of the Union, given before Congress, the President said: “The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth, period”. This “period” reminds us that he said something that can not be refuted: the US is the King of the Jungle, a place where its own policies have turned our planet,
Given the history of the relations between Cuba and the United States, and also because of the circumstances in which a visit by the President of the United States to Havana would still be part of a confrontation, it will certainly be a confrontation, but one that, as the Cuban leader Raul Castro said, must run in a civilized manner and between equals.
Just as a Cuban dance tune proclaims, let the beast come that we are waiting for it. If his country is so powerful, Obama should not fear to let us loose a bit before doing us the honor of visiting our country.
Or is it perhaps, just as another Cuban popular song proclaims, that the neighborhood’s strong man only likes a fight between a lion and a monkey, with the monkey tied down!