Feelings of anticipation and a sense of foreboding are both attending Cuba and the United States’s progress on plans to re-establish full diplomatic relations. The negotiations, which started in mid-2013, were announced publicly on Dec. 17, 2014, when the three remaining “Cuban 5” were released in exchange for USAID subcontractor Alan Gross and a still unidentified U.S. spy.
The official re-establishment of relations is slated for Monday, according to an exchange of letters between Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama.
Speaking from the White House earlier this month, Obama said: “The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past. When something isn’t working, we can — and will — change.”
Meanwhile, in his letter to Obama, Raul wrote: “Cuba is encouraged by the reciprocal intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between our two peoples and governments.”
A statement issued by the Revolutionary Government of Cuba on July 8 insists that diplomatic relations with the U.S. will be realized through the reaffirmation of “each and every one of the principles for which our people have shed their blood and run every risk under the leadership of the historical Leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz.”
In addition to the U.S. returning the Guantanamo Bay naval base to Cuba and ending the blockade, the normalization of relations, according to the statement, will also depend upon Obama’s willingness to end subversive and destabilization programs, as well as compensate the Cuban population “for all the human and economic damages caused by United States policies.” (more…)
Press TV: There’s always talk of al-Qaeda bogeyman whenever there is any report on Yemen in the Western media. Yet this al-Qaeda affiliate was very quiet since the start of the revolution in Yemen. What does that show?
Steinberg: Al-Qaeda is the buzzword to justify any kind of criminal activity imaginable from military intervention to brutal suppression of a genuinely popular and peaceful revolt against a corrupt and completely bankrupt regime and of course the Saudis in particular have carried out a whole series of brutal campaigns violating the borders of Yemen over a long period of time using this al-Qaeda pretext.
It is noteworthy that according to Colonel Gaddafi in Libya the two main sources of the uprising there are the CIA and Osama Bin Laden so it is almost getting to be comical that this bogeyman is used to justify all kinds of illegal behavior. We are going to find out at some point in the very near future the Saudis are engaged in massive “rendition operations” going into certain neighborhood in Bahrain and picking people off the streets and this is a desperate effort on the part of [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council countries to basically hold onto these Sunni regimes. It is not going to hold. Either there are going to be some very genuine and legitimate and verifiable concessions or one after the other these regimes are going to go under. The Libya situation has become more complicated by the fact that it is about the American and European interest in Libyan oil.
So that situation is somewhat different when you have a much larger criminal violation going on right now. The whole terms under which the UN Security Council resolution, which was halved with abstention rather than vetoes from Russian and china, has been proven to be a complete sham. The discussion among American and European leaders from day one was not about the humanitarian aid to the people in Benghazi but it was regime change, plain and simple. President Obama went on national television on Monday night and knowingly and systematically lied through his teeth about the nature of the operation was there. So al-Qaeda is the bogeyman of choice for justifying violation international law, and human rights and everything else.