On Cuba, Hillary Clinton’s not as smart as she seems

 

hfontova@earthlink.net

“The Smartest Woman in the World” flunked her foreign-policy exam. Worse still, she was U.S. secretary of state. Back in the ’90s, when first lady, Hillary Clinton was widely known as “The Smartest Woman in the World.” Her husband, Bill, supposedly coined the term, but Rush Limbaugh ran with it, snarking and laughing. Soon it was a household description.

In her new book, Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton reveals that she prodded President Obama to “lift or ease” (what’s left of) the so-called Cuba embargo. “The embargo is Castro’s best friend,” Clinton explained to a delighted audience at the anti-embargo Council on Foreign Relations recently.

But doesn’t she know that what’s left of the sanctions against Castro’s Stalinist regime are codified into law and can only be lifted by Congress, obviously after a vote? In fact, this codification took place with passage of the Helms-Burton Act in 1996.

President Obama, having already delighted Castro by loopholing the Cuba sanctions almost to death, can’t go much further. Has Clinton forgotten? Or is this constitutional “expert” advocating even more U.S. government by executive fiat?

And what about the $2 billion (worth $7 billion today) stolen at Soviet gunpoint by Castro’s gunmen in 1960 from U.S. businessmen and stockholders after the torture and murder of a few Americans who resisted? The Inter-American Law Review classifies Castro’s mass burglary of U.S. property as “the largest uncompensated taking of American property by a foreign government in history.” Rubbing his hands and snickering in triumphant glee, Castro boasted to the entire world that he was freeing Cuba from “Yankee economic slavery” — Che Guevara’s term, actually — and that he “would never repay a penny!”

This is the only promise Fidel Castro has ever kept in his life. Hence the imposition of the Cuba embargo, not that you’d know any of this from the mainstream media, much less from Hillary Clinton. Helms-Burton also calls for a settling of that account before allowing any more loopholing of the embargo.

Perhaps instead of attending Yale Law School and marrying her way to the top, Clinton should have “stayed home and baked cookies,” succumbing to her own famous insult of stay-at home moms,, then sold them at a lemonade stand. Then she’d know a little about business: When somebody stiffs you big-time, as Castro did to the United States, you demand they settle up the amount in arrears before extending him more credit.

“Since it has run out of doors to knock on, [the Castro regime] is now focused on the United States,” writes Cuban dissident and three-time Amnesty International prisoner of conscience Rene Gomez Manzano in a recent samizdat smuggled from his homeland.

“Lifting the embargo would be a mistake without Cuba first respecting its people’s fundamental human rights. … If the U.S. allows financing towards Cuba, it will be U.S. taxpayers who would be sustaining the Castro regime.”

As for “the embargo is Castro’s best friend because it provides Castro with a foil for his failures,” this meme ranks as the favorite talking point of Castro’s agents, on the payroll and off. Sadly, it’s widely believed by the superficially informed on Cuban matters.

If Castro secretly favors the embargo, then why did every one of his secret agents campaign secretly and obsessively against it while working as secret agents? Castro managed the deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Department of Defense in recent U.S. history. His spy, Ana Montes, is known as “Castro’s Queen Jewel” in the intelligence community. In 2002 she was convicted of the same crimes as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. She is serving a 25-year sentence in federal prison.

Montes worked tirelessly to influence U.S. foreign policy against the embargo. The same holds for more recently arrested, convicted and incarcerated Cuban spies Carlos and Elsa Alvarez and Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers.

It’s one thing for talking heads with their typically overworked research staffs, to remain ignorant of these vital matters. But shouldn’t a former secretary of state be familiar with matters so vital to U.S. security?

Read more From Our Inbox stories from the Miami Herald

  • Why the Islamic State (or ISIS, or QSIS, or ISIL) has so many names

    The Guardian reports that an influential Egyptian group has requested that Western observers make a crucial nomenclature change. Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, which the Guardian describes as “a wing of the Egyptian justice ministry … [and] a source of religious authority both inside and outside Egypt,” says that it’s not appropriate to refer to the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” that’s currently fighting in Iraq and Syria. Instead, according to Dar al-Ifta, we should call them “al-Qaida Separatists in Iraq and Syria,” or alternately QSIS. You can learn more by following the group’s “Call it QS not IS” social-media campaign.

  • Why do some hostages die and others are released?

    This last week’s deeply contrasting stories of two New Englanders caught in the Middle East’s maelstrom of violence — the savage murder of James Foley and the joyous release from captivity of Peter Theo Curtis — point to a central question: Why do some hostages die while others are released?

  • Rick Perry’s comeback headed off at the pass

    It was all going so well for Texas Gov. Rick Perry — until the indictment. His efforts to move past a disastrous 2012 presidential run that had become a reliable punch line for a senior moment seemed to be working.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category