U.S.-Cuban foreign policy, certainly since the Cold War ended years ago, if not before, is all about politics, votes and influence and money. Money in U.S. politics buys votes. Votes then are influence.
It does not matter who is in office, Democrats or Republicans. They are both really most motivated by the various supporting constituencies, disregarding their moral, ethical, economic, humanitarian or religious veracity and getting and retaining control, prestige and power.
Political people at the top of the food chain are enjoying the supreme ego trip! It’s very addictive! “Here’s the bottom line. There are about 800,000 Cuban Americans in South Florida, maybe 100,000 in New Jersey, and 100,000 more spread around the United States.
Some of them are quite well-to-do and influential. Some are politically very astute and over most of the past 40-some years have voted as a bloc, giving their 1 million votes to the political candidates who would most likely continue the embargo against Fidel and the Cuban people by association.
Many of them have dreams of returning to Cuba as influential conquering heroes and/or recovering the cost of abandoned property and business. In many cases, the leadership of these influential pro U.S.-Cuban embargoists are depending on U.S. Government officials, in some future cooperative resolution of the relationship, to help appoint them to high office in the future U.S.-supported Cuban Government.
I do not say the view of these people is wrong. I just say, it is biased and has exercised great power without offset, and the Cuban people do not want that kind of 19th century solution! They won’t accept it! “The U.S-Cuban bloc of 1 million votes is a big bloc. You will remember how close the vote was in Florida in 2002.
The Cuban-Americans took credit for getting Mr. Bush number two elected. You’ll recall that shortly after, the embargo was strengthened, primarily against the interest of ordinary Cubans. Business conditions, primarily agricultural products, actually improved.
“The United States of America! The very cradle of democracy! The champion of the poor and disenfranchised of the world for two centuries-plus. The largest, richest, most generous, forgiving society in the world, 300 million strong, has its big heavy foot on the neck of the little island of Cuba and its people like they really pose some kind of threat! Folks, it is absolutely ridiculous! It’s ludicrous! It’s absurd! Cuba is about the size of the state of Michigan.
As American citizens, we can’t let our elected politicians get as far out of control as we’ve let them get in recent years. We have to get control of them and put our foot on their necks when they demonstrate un-American ideals!
“I’m here to talk about Cuba. There are 11 million oppressed people in Cuba. They’ve been oppressed for more than 50 years. They are our neighbors. The only nations closer to us are Canada and Mexico. Cuba and Havana are only 90 miles from the most southerly point in the U.S.—Key West.
If you could drive it, it would be an hour and 20 minutes. By air, it’s 20 minutes. By boat, perhaps two and half hours, depending on what you’re driving. If you could walk it, it would take less than 30 hours. I’m trying to say, ‘Cuba is close.’ Realize Cuba is our very close neighbor—always has been, always will be. But it’s even closer today, due to the speed of travel and modern communications. “The Cuban people are our friends.
The vast majority, if not all of them, love America and American ideals. The Cuban people are a lot like Americans were back in the 1950s. They’ve been caught in a time warp caused by Fidel’s Revolution and stubbornness. Fidel, of course, has been an American political leadership nemesis and bad guy poster child for many years.
But, why did he, how did he, gain power?
That is a historical question, with an answer that is not frequently remembered in the 21st century. But, the answer is not unlike the answers explaining our failed foreign policy right here in the Western Hemisphere with many of our neighbors in the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Mexico. Mass mismanagement!
“To refresh your memory, in Cuba, Fidel came to power to depose the American-supported dictator by the name of Batista, remember him?
The U.S. helped him arrange a military coup because we didn’t like the prior dictator the U.S. put in power. We believe, we say, in democracy, rule of law, free markets and power to the people. But what do we do to our neighbors, the Cuban people?
Do you doubt that what we’ve done, and do now, is for any reason other than the economic gain of some special interest group with lots of money, influence and votes?
“If we, the U.S. Government, put someone in power and keep them in power, are we not smart enough and powerful enough to make a deal that assures a democratic future?
I think yes. “Ladies and gentlemen, the United States directly or indirectly put Fidel in the driver’s seat. Then we proceeded to mismanage him, the situation deteriorated and unbelievably, we lost friends and neighbors only 90 miles away. And before we could figure out what was going on in Cuba, we were on the outside looking in.
The accountability process fails, the communication process fails, leadership fails! Democracy, I’m confident, is the best system in the world, history proves it, but it is only as good as the stewards we elect to protect and perpetuate American ideals. “Therefore, the failure of America’s elected politicians and their Cuban policy brought, permitted, Fidel to come to power, and then another series of leadership bad decisions, bad foreign policy, permitted Fidel and his revolution to become perhaps the last, or certainly the best, well-known dictatorship in the world over the next 50-plus years. Ninety miles off the coast of the United States is our closest noncontiguous neighbor, 11 million depressed, oppressed neighbors!
They are hungry for freedom, democracy and the American way, but intent upon retaining their rich heritage, culture and control of their way of life. They want help, but not domination, and interference by the United States. “As their closest neighbors, we should have addressed those needs, probably through Fidel in the beginning and before he nationalized U.S. assets in Cuba. American business lost hundreds of billions of dollars. The IRS lost hundreds of millions in taxes. The U.S. lost what should have been a strategically located ally 90 miles off our coast. Worse, we wasted 50 years of influence in Cuba and permitted Russia
Russia! — six thousand miles away—to endanger every American son and daughter during the years of the Cold War! “So, you’re wondering, what am I trying to say?
In my judgment, the current Cuban mess was America’s own fault, continues to be our own fault, and that now is way past time to correct the problem. And, that is my mission, my personal Signature Event as an ordinary American, a citizen diplomat with many resources, to try to lead the American people to a peaceful coexistence with 11 million of our good neighbors to the south, the people of Cuba.
First, please let me share a little of my personal history with you.
I’m a graduate of the University of Illinois, with a degree in business. While in college I joined the NROTC and after graduation spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. I was a reconnaissance officer in the beginning of my military career and in Intelligence at the end. I served my country another six years as a Marine Reserve officer in San Diego, California, where I had started a small defense company. I remain Chairman of that company today. My son is CEO. “When I started to plan my semi-retirement a couple of years ago, I knew that I had an awful lot to be thankful for. Life has been very good to me. I knew I wanted to give something back to my fellow man, and especially those at the very bottom of the economic ladder—those who were down and held down, disadvantaged to the degree that few Americans can really understand.
My time in the Marine Corps, and in the defense industry, has given me the opportunity to travel much of the world. “I can tell those of you who are not well-traveled that when you leave this great country of ours, you’ll discover that most of the rest of the world lives in abject poverty.
Yes, there are a lot of reasons why, but, in general, the reasons are political, educational, economic, and the greed of their leadership. In my judgment, America as far and away the wealthiest, well educated, largest, most influential economy in the world has not, does not always, assume a proper leadership role.
Foreign policy-wise, in my opinion, we cause as many problems as we correct. Are Americans a generous people? Yes, we give away billions every year! But, we’re not smart enough to require proper accountability for the hard-earned money we send offshore. I am not sure our politicians really even care, as long as they get their share of the pork.
“Look at New Orleans—our politically focused leaders can’t effectively manage money right here in the United States when U.S. citizens are desperate for help. Look at the billions we’ve sent to Iraq, for which there is not even a proper paper trail to track its disappearance. How about the billions we’re spending on the war on drugs?
Has that changed drug use in the United States? In the war on drugs, U.S. citizens are the problem, not the Colombians or Afghans. And there’s the war on illegal immigration. We’re spending billions on walls and fences to protect us from our next-door neighbor Mexico.
Come on! Does that make sense to you? Did the Great Wall of China protect the Chinese? Did the Berlin Wall protect Russia? Long, tall walls went out as protection following the Medieval Age.
The foreign policy of the United States in some cases has been, and is, a failure perpetuated by Republican and Democratic politicians alike, who spend most of their time and energy developing strategies and tactics in a very expensive battle for control and supremacy of their political careers and party. That which is ethical, moral, legal, and in the spirit of our great Constitution, are the ideals to which our founders subscribed, but not the ideals to which many of our elected politicians aspire.
CUBA Unchained is my last great effort to show that any one man or woman can change the course of mankind on the world stage, including each of you
To those men and women in Cuba, America and elsewhere, fighting for democracy in Cuba
“Author’s Note: Those with the ability have the responsibility.”
A chance to ‘give back’ to mankind in appreciation for all that a successful career, a great life, and good health has provided. Or, perhaps, it’s the achievement of your 15 minutes of fame, your last hurrah, the final fight before you retire from the battlefield forever! “
I want to share my thoughts with you. Maybe in the sharing of my aspiration, I will arouse your imagination and interest. I believe in the value of a positive point of view regarding the future, so at this time in my life, as you know, I believe I can do about anything that I set out to do, and I do believe in the power of one man to change the world. Other men have done so, some for good, some for bad. I have a dream, and I believe dreams lead to visions, and big visions to big plans and potentially to big achievements. I believe dreams and visions are the cornerstones of inspiration, and when coupled with planning and organization and focus, result in a powerful, powerful force.
“More importantly, I would sincerely like to make a significant contribution to society, or mankind ingeneral, that makes the world a better place to live in, because I was here, if I can.
To inform, educate and inspire a change current U.S.-Cuban Foreign and Economic policy from what it is today and has been for more than 50 years to a normal relationship similar to U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico relations, our other two nearest neighbors.
“Here is the situation. In the past and currently, 900,000 organized South Florida Cubans over many, many years have determined U.S.-Cuban Foreign Policy through special interest’s political influence, that influence being money and votes. This situation has continued to exist without any significant political opposition or change for more than 50 years! As a result, 12,000,000 Cuban people, who are U.S. neighbors, 90 miles off the coast of the United States, continue to lead a life of poverty, hopelessness and quiet desperation. The situation is ridiculous if you think about it.
“I believe this can be done, and that the timing is right, by capturing the ‘moral high ground’ opportunity that exists. “There are tides in the affairs of men when taken at their ebb unleash a flood of change of unparalleled strength. My dream has a spiritual component and it’s telling me that the Cuban people, the American people and the world community is ready, willing and able to join this crusade, and are impatient for someone to lead it. A worthwhile effort to free the Cuban people. Our neighbors and their families are in trouble and they need our help.”
The U.S. Government’s “Wet Foot—Dry Foot” Cuban immigration policy, which, believe it or not, provides freedom in the United States for any illegal Cuban immigrant able to reach dry U.S. soil, or a free trip back to Cuba for those who get caught out at sea or in one foot of water before putting their wet feet on dry U.S. land.
Reuters News Service Miami, Florida OCTOBER 4, 10:30 A.M.
Earlier this morning, a derelict, 38-foot wooden sailing scow came ashore in Miami Beach, Florida, in bad weather and heavy surf. Crowded aboard were 21 illegal immigrant Cubans seeking a better life in America, including six women, four children and a baby.
The beach defenders also kept a few civilians, wanting to assist those in the water, from helping the Cubans get to shore. What was this disastrous scene all about? It’s the U.S. Government’s “Wet Foot—Dry Foot” Cuban immigration policy, which, believe it or not, provides freedom in the United States for any illegal Cuban immigrant able to reach dry U.S. soil, or a free trip back to Cuba for those who get caught out at sea or in one foot of water before putting their wet feet on dry U.S. land.
SAN DIEGO – The United States and Cuba severed ties almost fifty-five years ago, but experts say, even though Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro have made some progress, the U.S. trade embargo will not disappear in the near future.
Author Gerard Dion, long a proponent of U.S.-Cuba reconciliation, finds that detrimental to the success of both countries. His new political thriller, Cuba Unchained, addresses the unique relationship of the United States and Cuba and the US embargo, a relic of the Cold War.
“The very unique and illogical U.S.-Cuban relationship has mystified me for the last 25 years, as have other similar politically motivated relationships, which oppress large segments of innocent people,” Dion said. “My hope is for Cuba Unchained to aid in perpetuating the process of U.SCuban reconciliation, which has been in a stalemate.”
Like his main character in the novel, Dion is a US Marine veteran and a successful businessman. He considers it his duty to put forth his talents toward a situation about which he is passionate.
“One man or woman can change the world,” Dion said. “Those with the ability have the responsibility.”
For more information, visit www.cubaunchained.com.
Cuba Unchained By Gerard Dion ISBN: 978-1-50357-953-8 Available in softcover, hardcover, e-book Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris
About the author Author Gerard Dion is a US Marine veteran and successful business owner with many years of experience with a Fortune 50 corporation. He has overcome both cancer and a three-way heart bypass. Long a proponent of U.S.-Cuba reconciliation, Dion has written his first novel, Cuba Unchained, about the relationship between the two countries. The author currently lives in San Diego, Calif. # # #
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
For review copies or interview requests, contact:
Sallie Escobedo phone 619-807-0291