Obama gets tough on immigration

Carnival_Liberty_Cuban_RefugeesWith about a week left in office, President Obama has finally cracked down on immigration:  against Cubans.   Escapees from our Communist neighbor have long been given automatic legal immigrant status once they arrive on our shores. But no more.  Now they will be returned for punishment.

The Obama administration says that now, in light of our “normalized relations” with Cuba, Cuban refugees will be treated like any other immigrants.  Except other immigrants are allowed to enter illegally with impunity and they are hardly ever returned to their homelands.  Yes, Fidel Castro is dead, but his brother Raul, now in charge, is also said to be a merciless dictator.  Cubans fleeing Communism tend to be freedom-loving types who–like the families of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz–tend to become conservative Republicans. Could this have anything to do with this tightly-focused crackdown?  Surely not.

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Fidel Castro is dead

CastroFidel Castro died at the age of 90, outlasting most of his Cold War adversaries.  But he lived to see Cuba achieving normalized relations with the United States, something he didn’t seem to completely approve of.  That was the doing of his brother Raul, to whom Fidel surrendered power ten years ago.

Fidel remains a romanticized and idealized figure for some on the left.  (See, for example, the recent case of 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s Castro T-shirt.)  But the Communist dictator was responsible for killing thousands of Cubans, including brutal repression of Christianity.

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We now have full diplomatic relations with Cuba

Castro’s flag now flies over the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., as diplomatic relations were restored between the United States and its Cold War nemesis. [Read more…]

Consequences of normalized relations with Cuba

The fallout from President Obama’s decision to extend diplomatic relations to Castro’s Cuba is mixed.  As some worry about another cave-in to tyranny, others are excited about the commercial prospects:

Some Republicans think Obama’s move will put Florida in their column for decades, while some Democrats think the anti-Castro sentiment in Florida’s Cuban population is dying out.  See this.

After the jump, see Sen. Marco Rubio’s reaction.

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We’re recognizing Cuba

In another use of executive power to implement his legacy apart from Congress, President Obama has announced that he is going to extend diplomatic recognition to Cuba.  We will be re-opening our embassy in Havana, ease travel restrictions, and eliminate economic sanctions against the still-Communist regime.   Good idea?  Bad idea?  What does it mean? [Read more…]

Maximum wage

Journalist Michael J. Totten visits Havana to see how things are going in still-Communist Cuba:

In the United States, we have a minimum wage; Cuba has a maximum wage—$20 a month for almost every job in the country. (Professionals such as doctors and lawyers can make a whopping $10 extra a month.) Sure, Cubans get “free” health care and education, but as Cuban exile and Yale historian Carlos Eire says, “All slave owners need to keep their slaves healthy and ensure that they have the skills to perform their tasks.” [Read more…]