During her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was planning and pushing for the administration to move ahead with normalizing the U.S. relationship with Cuba. And here Obama goes, taking all the cred…
(Bloonberg View) – From 2009 until her departure in early 2013, Clinton and her top aides took the lead on the sometimes public, often private interactions with the Cuban government. According to current and former White House and State Department officials and several Cuba policy experts who were involved in the discussions, Clinton was also the top advocate inside the government for ending travel and trade restrictions on Cuba and reversing 50 years of U.S. policy to isolate the Communist island nation. Repeatedly, she pressed the White House to move faster and faced opposition from cautious high-ranking White House officials.
After Obama announced the deal Wednesday, which included the release of aid contractor Alan Gross, Clinton issued a supportive statement distributed by the National Security Council press team. “As Secretary of State, I pushed for his release, stayed in touch with Alan’s wife Judy and their daughters, and called for a new direction in Cuba,” she said. “Despite good intentions, our decades-long policy of isolation has only strengthened the Castro regime’s grip on power.”
Yet Clinton played down her own role in the issue, which will surely become important if she decides to run for president. Top prospective Republican candidates, including Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have all come out against the president’s policy shift.
Clinton’s advocacy on behalf of opening a new relationship with Cuba began almost as soon as she came into office. Obama had campaigned on a promise to engage enemies, but the White House initially was slow to make good on that pledge, and on the Cuba front enacted only a modest relaxation of travel rules. From the start, Clinton pushed to hold Obama to his promise with regard to Cuba.
I don’t doubt this as accurate. Obama has climbed his way up the political ladder taking credit for everyone else’s ideas and successes, while never taking responsibility for his/their failures when enacted.
What alarms me more is Pope Francis’ deep involvement in this Cuba plan …
The president negotiated the deal between the United States and Cuba over the course of 18 months. Pope Francis apparently initiated the negotiations himself. The Vatican released the following statement:
[T]he Holy Father wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision taken by the governments of the United States of America and Cuba to establish diplomatic relations, with the aim of overcoming, in the interest of the citizens of both countries, the difficulties which have marked their recent history.
Raul Castro thanked Pope Francis personally for the deal.
Pope Francis’ casual embrace of a communist regime contrasts sharply with the approach of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict. Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland in 1979 famously helped launch the solidarity movement that led to the collapse of communism in the nation.
Francis has gone further than both of his predecessors. He didn’t merely criticize the embargo – he attempted to broker an end to it with explicitly political maneuvering. According to his biographer, Austen Ivereigh, Francis “saw the paralysis that resulted from the embargo, which had a deeply damaging impact on Cuban politics, psyche and economics.”
And unlike both John Paul II and Benedict, Francis’ critique of communism has been tepid at best. In October, Francis complained that “land, housing and work are increasingly unavailable to the majority of the world’s population,” and warned, “If I talk about this, some will think that the Pope is a communist.” Instead, Francis explained, “love for the poor is at the center of the Gospel…it’s the social doctrine of the church.”
In June, Francis actually suggested that communism had cribbed from Catholicism: “I can only say that the communists have stolen our flat. The flag of the poor is Christian… Communists say that all this is communism. Sure, twenty centuries later. So when they speak, one can say to them: ‘but then you are Christian.’”
I am not a devout Catholic, but I am a Catholic. It pains me to say that from my observations since he took the Papacy I believe Pope Francis is, indeed, a closet socialist.