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LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
Dear Mr. President:
I am alarmed and dumfounded at some of your foreign policy initiatives vis-Ă -vis the other nations of this Hemisphere and thus I have a number of questions for you on the subject matter. To the best of my knowledge those questions have never been clearly answered before. I shall formulate them clearly, calmly and without rhetoric.
A few of the questions relate to my country of origin, Cuba. Legislators from both parties seek closer ties between Washington and the Cuban rulers so as to encourage expanded trade with them. Their objective reflects the influence and political contributions of businesses within their constituencies. Other congressional groups -mostly members of your own party- represent a radical extreme of the political spectrum that is overtly sympathetic to totalitarianism. Conspicuous amongst them was the delegation of congressmen led by former members of the Black Panther Party visiting Havana recently in a blatant communist propaganda ploy.
However, in spite of the commercial embargo on Castro, U.S. is one of the top business partners of his regime. U.S. is Castroâ€™s number one partner in agricultural trade. The Castro regime presently purchases more grain from the United States than from all other trade partners combined. The only difference between those transactions and other international ventures -so far- is the requirement of payments in cash. There is a powerful reason for that.
Castroâ€™s regime is in default of its international obligations since 1986. The amount of Castroâ€™s foreign debt is conservatively estimated today at over $29 billion and the interests accrued are continuously growing. In fact, not only is Castro delinquent on his debt, but he boasts about it and is on the record asking other debtor nations to follow Cubaâ€™s delinquent lead. Cuba owes billions of dollars to all major industrial nations except the U.S.
Even if the so-called commercial embargo is maintained, your order relaxing travel and individual deliveries of currency and goods to Cuba, and allowing investments by U.S. electronic and communication companies, could eventually lead to the granting of credit. As an attorney you must know that given the legal implications of implementing your policies together with the existing U.S. government subsidies to agricultural industry, that scenario is not remote. Your exemption from the current ban on travel applies to Cuban Americans only. Is that not discriminatory against other citizens? Could your executive order invite civil demands for discrimination against non Cuban Americans?
Is it wise for the American government to open the possibility of extending credit guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury to the Cuban regime? As you may know some $80 billion worth of debt was paid to American banks after the demise of the former Soviet Union. Those loans were guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury and we taxpayers had to pick up the tab. Could the Cuban regime be the next beneficiary of a federal â€śbailoutâ€ť?
Further more, your quest for democratization of Cuba as a response to your diplomatic overtures to Havana could not possibly succeed. The actual â€śPresidentâ€ť of Cuba, Raul Castro, elevated to that position of power by his ailing sibling Fidel, has a well documented criminal record against the Cuban people. That record includes a lot more than just false imprisonment of dissenters or denying fundamental rights. Brutal executions, assassinations, kidnappings, torture -real torture- of thousands of Cubans are some of the charges the judicial branch of any civilized governance established in the future could eventually level against him. Do you think Castro is not aware of that? What would be his advantage in facilitating such a scenario? Would Raul Castro help establish a legal system capable of sending him and hundreds of his henchmen to life in prison?
I fail to appreciate the wisdom of misplaced cordiality toward foreign powers with interests overtly opposed to ours. During your most recent press conference you praised the importance of respect toward other rulers. You said that we should show respect even to those whose political philosophy opposes ours. I do not agree, but when choosing to be respectful shouldn't you deserve reciprocity? Two weeks before the recent meeting of heads of state of the Hemisphere where you smiled at and shook hands with Venezuelaâ€™s dictator he called you and I quote â€śa poor ignoramusâ€ť. You fared well compared to your predecessor. Chavez called then President Bush â€śthe devilâ€ť while recently addressing the U.N. General Assembly. Both insults were not only directed against you and the former President as individuals. They were meant to denigrate our Presidency and our nation. Your ill advised unilateral respect for Chavez is harvesting no fruits. Foreign policy should not be implemented as if one is waging a political campaign.
Was it necessary for you to shake hands with Chavez and accept his gift of an anti-American propaganda book written by a Marxist 30 years ago? Are you really justifying that insult on the grounds that â€śyou are a readerâ€ť?
As a poor man with a fixed income I am ready to pay $20.00 for a gallon of gas before seeing the U.S. Presidency humiliated. Aren't you Mr. President?
Hugo J. Byrne
235 N. Holliston Ave. #2
Pasadena CA 91106