Date: Sun, 26 Jan 1997 01:26:22 +0000
From: Peter Burkhard <email@example.com>
Organization: The Burkhard Agency
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Cuba
Clinton will end the embargo and re-establish trade & full diplomatic relations with Cuba just after the 1998 elections.
Reason: Clinton is obsessed with making his mark in history. Balancing the budget, stablizing Medicare, tweaking Social Security, etc. will be seen as technical corrections that any President would have to make. Assuming he survives Whitewater and Paula Jones, his only shot at "greatness" is in foreign affairs. What are the options? He has no war to run. What else is there? Pacify Bosnia? Bail out Russia, or send in the Marines to stablize it in the aftermath chaos of Yeltsin's imminent death? Hold a Peking Summit with Jiang after Deng drops? Slap Saddam's wrist again? Build another Panama Canal? Bomb the Columbian drug cartels? Achieve Lasting Arab/Israeli peace after all these millenia? Disarm the IRA? Liberate Sri Lanka????
None is likely, most are boring, and some require considerable risk - people could get killed. By process of elimination: CUBA LIBRA.
Nothing would give WJC more pleasure than to write the final chapter of the book opened by his idol JFK. Now, how to engineer it?
First, get the support of the Miami/Cuban community (he got 60% of their vote in November, the first time the M/C's had gone Democratic since, well, ever). Yes, the Tio Tamales abhor Castro, but they're getting old, and would like to see their homeland before they die. They'll buy a deal that gives them one last look at the family hacienda.
Anyone born since 1960 (i.e. 0-37 year olds) are more interested in making it here, or in getting in on any new trade deals between the US and Cuba.
Clinton will likely hold his Burton-Helms every-six-months-authorization bludgeon over Castro's head to extract "concessions." A major French firm has already cancelled a $60 million dollar nickel mining investment deal, fearing suits.
Castro and cadres may not be personally starving, but the people are. Take away tourist dollars and remittances from families in Miami, and Cuba makes Haiti look like Westchester County. The country sells sugar, nickel, fruit, and cigars worldwide, but doesn't compete very well on the first three, and doesn't really earn that much on cigars (it only shipped about 55MM premium handrolleds in 1995). Not even enough to buy kerosene for the tobacco drying barns.
There is ample economic reason to lift the embargo. What keeps it up is, as you say in your page: politics. Inertia. Fear of breaking precedent. Fear of alienating the M/C vote. The inside-the-Beltway terror of sticking one's neck out.
Life long Commie-baiter Nixon was the only prexy who could open China. A Dem couldn't. Today, probably only a Dem can open Cuba. Clinton has all the rational reasons, the rest of the world thinks we're stupid, and the Burton-Helms act gives him the negotiating quid pro quo (I bet Jesse never figured it that way).
Plus, he NEEDS A CUBA LIBRA. Otherwise, he'll go down in history as what....? The guy who..., who....oh, I remember, made the Army Gay, shut down the government, and refused to pardon his wife.