Nine months ago came this indirect Tweet from Raul Castro:
Raul Castro urges President Obama to use "executive action" to lift congressionally imposed sanctions on Cuba.
Barack Obama, at the time, replied thusly:
A full end to the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba would require legislation in Congress, something for which there has been virtually no appetite until now, but the White House hopes that by using a series of executive actions to minimise its enforcement, it can provide a breakthrough that will encourage political reform in Cuba and soften political opposition in the U.S.
“We recognise that some members of Congress will strongly disagree with what the president is announcing today, but this will be an ongoing dialogue … We believe a policy of engagement will be more effective.”
“It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba,” added the press secretary, Josh Earnest, in a written statement.
Leave aside the fact that the only policy that would make possible the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba is the U.S. invasion of the island to overthrow the Castros and effect regime-change. The White House spokesjerk is essentially say, "Yes, ending the embargo requires legislation in Congress <nudge nudge, wink, wink>, but the president will do what he can on his own authority <wink, wink, nudge, nudge> to get the process started <nudge, wink, nudge, wink>.
Beats me why they waited so long, but as Admiral Kirk said to Khan Noonien Singh, "Here it comes":
The White House is drafting sweeping regulations to further weaken the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba that would ease restrictions on U.S. companies and make it safer for Americans to travel there, U.S. government sources said on Thursday.
The regulations could be announced as soon as Friday.
U.S. companies would be allowed to establish offices in Cuba for the first time in more than half a century, according to a draft of the new rules seen by Reuters.
The regulations make it easier for airlines and cruise ships to import parts and technology to improve safety in Cuba; loosen restrictions on software exports; and allow authorized companies to establish subsidiaries with Cuba, possibly via joint ventures with Cuban firms such as state telecommunications monopoly Etecsa.
We should all recognize the standard Obama power grab dynamic by now. He wants a policy that Congress won't give him, and is not constitutionally empowered to impose on his own, so he therefore imposes it anyway, law and the Constitution be damned, Congress accepts it as a fait accompli, and that's that. A dynamic that will cease to exist roughly five seconds after a Republican takes the Oath of Office again, if such a thing is even possible.
And, knowing very well that "Big Business" is far more mercantilist and mercenary than capitalist or American, tendencies that he didn't have to cultivate in them but only encourage, The One can count on U.S. businesses pouring into Cuba to do his bidding of making his "engagement" with his buddies the Castro brothers irreversible, even while the Russians fortify the largest island in the Caribbean into a major military base ninety miles off the Florida shores.
Something tells me the next Cuban Missile Crisis is going to turn out very differently. But at least we'll be able to use our VISA cards on the way to the gulag, right?