The Obama Administration’s Cuban romance is rapidly turning into a nightmare – at least for those of us who believe in the old fashioned concept of the sanctity of embassies and their functioning.
Requesting another $6 million plus to expand the current “American interests section”, in all but diplomatic protocol an already existing U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana, John D. Feeley, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in support of the request. Hopefully, in the closed session, the Senators got more information. The public testimony was, to say the least, a little wanting. Freeley repeatedly said he had not been a party to the negotiations himself and could not, at least in open session, reveal more than the opinions of the American negotiators but not the progress of his boss as chief negotiator.
But Feeley did say some startling things: American negotiators are still arguing about the expansion of local personnel, that is, whether those employees will be only those openly proffered by Raul Castro’s secret police. It is still not clear whether the U.S. would be able to bring in its own equipment [obviously including security protective devices] for any expansion of the mission’s facilities. The question of returning American criminal fugitives who have taken refugee in Habana has not been settled. Opened? Cuba, which has been caught red-handed [pun intended] twice in the last 18 months smuggling heavy weapons to North Korea around the UN embargo, has nevertheless professed to end any state terrorist activities. [Ostensibly this mea culpa has been accepted by Colombia and Spain, although, here again, Freeley wasn’t too sure.]
Given that within 48 hours of the announcement by the Obama Administration that it was proceeding toward opening full-fledged relations with Havana, there were new arrests without trial of Cuban democratic activists who are likely to remain incarcerated for unknown periods, one has to ask exactly what Washington is getting out of this deal. Beyond, of course, a new center for Cuban infiltration, subversion and espionage in Washington for, if you will pardon the smirk, “reciprocity”.