Our President Does Not Know How To Negotiate

The Daily Caller posted an article today stating that the United States is about to end diplomatic, travel and trade sanctions against Cuba. This is good news for Cuba–the deal will allow unlimited U.S. investment in Cuba, including payments to the ruling government and its supporters. U.S. banks will also be allowed to provide credit-card services and investments in Cuba. Businessmen like the deal.

So what did we actually get in return? The article reports:

The deal doesn’t require any political changes by Cuba’s oligarchy, officials said.

…The agreement will be complicated by political fights over the ownership of Cuba’s valuable real estate, especially its beachfront. That property was stolen by the fascist government after it took power in 1959.

Many of the property owners, or their descendants, are living in the United States.

…However, the (Cuban) government has maintained tight control over politics and periodically beats up members of pro-democracy groups.

…Cuba’s fascist government released an pro-American Cuban held in jail for 20 years, and a prisoner, Alan Gross.

Gross was arrested in Cuba where he was working for the federal government’s U.S. Agency for International Development.

…In exchange, the U.S. is released three Cuban spies.

One of the jailed Cubans worked as an “intelligence asset” for the U.S., said the White House official. He provided information that resulted in the convictions of at least three American spies for Cuba, and the arrest of five Cuba operatives in Florida.

The article reports that secret negotiations have been going on since 2013. American used to stand against countries that routinely violated human rights. I guess that doesn’t happen anymore. And I guess the Cuban ex-patriots in Florida will not be reimbursed for the property that was taken from them.

From A White House Fact Sheet Released On Thursday

The information below is from a fact sheet released from the White House on Thursday.  Follow the link above to read the entire fact sheet.

FACT SHEET: U.S. Support for Strengthening Democratic Institutions, Rule of Law, and Human Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa

The United States strongly supports the great strides many African countries have made to ensure good governance, rule of law, and respect for human rights.  We commend the progress they have made to broaden political participation and improve governance, and will remain a steady partner as they continue to work to strengthen electoral processes, ensure transparency and accountability in government, and provide security while respecting and protecting universal rights and fundamental freedoms.

In addition to our ongoing diplomacy and our efforts in multilateral institutions, in 2012 the United States – through the U.S. Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – provided more than $292 million in support for these efforts, including in the following priority areas:

Supporting Civil Society and Independent Media

Civil society and independent media play a critical role in any vibrant democracy.  Across sub-Saharan Africa, the United States supports efforts to ensure civil society organizations and independent media can organize, advocate, and raise awareness with governments and the private sector to improve political processes, transparency, and government performance.  Examples include:

  • In Kenya, the $53 million Yes Youth Can program empowers nearly one million Kenyan youth to use their voices for advocacy in national and local policy-making, while also creating economic opportunities.  In advance of Kenya’s March 2013 general elections, Yes Youth Can’s “My ID My Life” campaign helped 500,000 youth obtain National identification cards, a prerequisite to voter registration, and carried out a successful nationwide campaign with Kenyan civic organizations to elicit peace pledges from all presidential aspirants.
  • In Tanzania, the United States has dedicated $14 million to strengthening government accountability institutions and linking them with Tanzanian civil society watchdog groups and civic activists in a constructive partnership to further government transparency.  The program focuses on improving access to information for Tanzanian citizens in four key development sectors:  health, education, natural resource management, and food security.
  • The United States will soon launch a program in West Africa to build the capacity of civil society organizations to responsibly advocate on land tenure issues, including land rights, working closely with governments and the private sector to improve responsible natural resource utilization and the protection and advancement of human rights and economic development.

In plain English, this means that the United States is giving Kenya $53 million to set up national identity cards to be used for voter identification in elections. The purpose of this program is to ensure an honest election and promote peace.

If voter id cards ensure an honest election in Kenya, why aren’t they necessary in America? I particularly like the part about civil society and an independent media playing a vital role in a vibrant democracy. I wonder if the White House reads its own press releases.


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America Used To Be A Good Influence…

The Washington Times reported today on a federal program that funneled $18 million in taxpayer cash to a number of groups in Kenya, at least one of which openly worked to reverse the African country’s ban on killing the unborn. U.S. law prohibits lobbying for or against abortion with foreign aid money.

How did the Obama administration get around the law? The article explains:

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) skirted the ban by using grant recipients to help re-write the country’s charter. “The groups that were supported are the pro-abortion groups in Kenya – not just some group that may have an interest,” Rep. Christopher H. Smith told The Washington Times. The New Jersey Republican was one of the three members who asked government auditors to perform a full investigation of how taxpayer funds were spent.

The article further reports:

In 2008, the government of Kenya charged a “committee of experts” with drafting a new constitution that would be presented to voters for approval. This committee’s original draft only stated that “every person has the right to life.” The International Development Law Organization (IDLO), which took $400,000 in administration cash, provided “input” to the committee. The next draft allowed abortion when the “health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.” This language made it to the final, ratified constitution.

Aside from the fact that America is broke and can’t afford to spend $18 million in taxpayer money to set up legal abortion in another country, it is sad that we are exporting our lack of regard for human life abroad.

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