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Giorgio: After Obamacare and Marriage Equality, the President Takes on Cuba

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

 

President Barack Obama continued his second week of game changers as he announced full diplomatic relations with Cuba. This announcement followed a week of historic victories for the President from the US Supreme Court.

Obama’s domestic legacy is assured with the Affordable Care Act being ruled legal by SCOTUS. Obama, thus joins, Franklin Roosevelt, the creator of Social Security and Lyndon Johnson, the father of Medicare, as a leader for social security in this country. The social security here meaning the right to healthcare. The Republicans thought using the phase Obama care was pejorative, but it has now become historic. Too bad for them.

Not willing to rest, the next week the President, dipped his foot into the tricky waters of relations with Cuba. Dwight Eisenhower, suspended diplomatic relations with the island nation, ninety miles off our shores in January of 1961, weeks before he left office, saying that it was a temporary measure. Well it took 54 years, but President Obama did what no president, either Democrat or Republican, had the courage to do.

Cuban Flag to Fly Over DC

The Cuban flag will once again fly over an embassy in Washington, D.C. and Secretary of State John Kerry will go to Cuba, shortly, to raise the Stars and Stripes over Havana. Republicans and right wing Cuban exiles are in a tizzy about this. But the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. For 54 years, we have punished the Cuban people and divided families. For 54 years we have turned our back on a country which lies 90 miles off the coast of Key West. For 54 years, we have refused to trade with Cuba,

That temporary measure imposed by President Eisenhower in 1961 and extended after the Bay of Pigs fiasco has gone on too long. The politics of Florida is caught up in it, because the people who fled Cuba and settled in Miami were the Oligarchs, who controlled the country under its dictatorship. Those Cubans fled the country with literally the shirts on their backs and suitcase full of cash.

They always wanted Castro gone and “their” country back.

Humanitarian Reasons

There are humanitarian reasons to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. We have things they want and they have things we need.

What do they have? For one thing, they have made great medical advances in the treatment of lung cancer. They have a vaccine that may be a cure. They have a treatment for Leukemia in children. They are also working on a cure for Alzheimer’s.

Several medical schools and Worcester’s Massachusetts School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences have already had discussion with Cuba. MCPHS, President Charlie Monahan has been to Cuba a few times, working on exchange programs.

In addition, to medical breakthroughs, Cuba also could be a great trading partner for us. They haven’t imported an American car since the sixties. Think of the pent up demand for cars and consumer goods.

These are products we make in America.

Tourist Dollars to Flow

In addition, the American tourist industry is willing to invest billions into Cuba, to provide a new destination for Americans. They are willing to rebuild the classic hotels of Havana such as the El National. The beaches are pristine and how long will it take for the casino industry to get a foothold?

Just this past Monday, JetBlue flew the first nonstop service from New York to Havana. They already are planning to expand that service.

Our obstinacy and politics has cost us billions if not trillions of dollars over the past 54 years. We put right wing politics ahead of capitalism. Isn’t that an interesting juxtaposition?

Obama, in his last two years in office is building his legacy. And quite honestly, he’s not doing a bad job of it, if the past few weeks are a window on the future.

 

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