Yesterday morning began as any other – reaching for the remote, instinctively allowing a news station to transport me from semi-conscious to reality. Almost immediately I heard this….
“Today, America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past, so as to reach for a better future for the Cuban people, for the American people, for our entire hemisphere and for the world,” – Barrack Obama
Leaping from bed with alarming intensity, I nearly stepped on the dog trying to reach my phone. Texting my husband and daughter “Obama just lifted the embargo on Cuba”. “I KNOW!” instantly shot back from my daughter. My husband called a few minutes later – “Holy craps” were exchanged, as we parted to investigate further.
Miniscule shreds of conscience capable of acknowledging Obama’s bold (reasonable and about freakin’ time) announcement, quickly succumbed to overwhelming selfishness. Cuba sole my heart – a remarkable country, full of remarkable people. Proud, stoic, resourceful, artistic, joyous people who persevered despite insurmountable odds. Horrified at the prospect of American business homogenizing “my Cuba”, I found myself spiraling towards a full on tizzy fit.
Allowing a day to ponder implications of Barrack Obama’s policy shift eradicated my fears. Caught up in the historic American “about face”, I almost forgot how U.S. politics worked. I could have spared considerable grief, hours of self loathing for putting the Cuba I love before the people who struggle with rations and shortages, if I’d been quick enough to remember the Republicans.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was first out of the gate…
“This entire policy shift announced today is based on an illusion, based on a lie,” Rubio, who is the son of Cuban immigrants, told reporters on Capitol Hill. “The White House has conceded everything and gained little.”
“I’m committed to doing everything I can to unravel as many of these changes as possible,” he added.
As of January 6, 2015 the U.S. Senate will be controlled by the Republican party – icing on the cake, Marco Rubio will be the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere (complete with oversight responsibility for the region).
“This Congress is not going to lift the embargo,” Rubio declared at the end of his news conference.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also slammed the change in policy, saying it “emboldens all state sponsors of terrorism.”
“Relations with the Castro regime should not be revisited, let alone normalized, until the Cuban people enjoy freedom -– and not one second sooner,” Boehner said in a statement. “There is no ‘new course’ here, only another in a long line of mindless concessions to a dictatorship that brutalizes its people and schemes with our enemies.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), one of the most outspoken Republicans in Congress on matters of foreign policy, threatened to do everything in his power to block funding from being used to set up a U.S. embassy in Cuba. “Normalizing relations with Cuba is bad idea at a bad time,” Graham said on Twitter.
Now I’m mad – who do these nincompoops think they are? Cuba is lovely without Starbucks or McDonalds, the Cuban people however deserve a little respect. America spews blustery rhetoric on how compassionately the “greatest nation in the world” views global issues. All hot headed Republicans see is a Communist nation. Pig headed “over my dead body” gobbley gook emanating from a gaggle of close minded pin heads.
Kudos to you Barrack Obama – never let it be said you didn’t attempt righting an enormous wrong.
Notes and daughter in Havana