FIDEL SCOLDS OBAMA: 'DON'T ASSUME'... - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-22-2009, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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FIDEL SCOLDS OBAMA: 'DON'T ASSUME'...



Fidel Castro says Obama misinterpreted his brother's remarks

The former Cuban president rejects suggestions that the island should free political prisoners or cut taxes on remittances from the U.S.

HAVANA -- Fidel Castro says President Barack Obama "misinterpreted" his brother Raul's remarks regarding the United States and bristled at the suggestion that Cuba should free political prisoners or cut taxes on dollars people send to the island.

Raul Castro touched off a whirlwind of speculation last week that the U.S. and Cuba could be headed toward a thaw after nearly a half-century of chilly relations. The speculation began when the Cuban president said leaders would be willing to sit down with their U.S. counterparts and discuss "everything, everything, everything," including human rights, freedom of the press and expression, and political prisoners.

Obama responded at the Summit of the Americas by saying Washington seeks a new beginning with Cuba. But as he prepared to leave the summit Sunday, Obama also called on Cuba to release political prisoners and reduce taxes on remittances from the U.S.

That appeared to enrage Fidel Castro, 82, who wrote in an essay published today that Obama "without a doubt misinterpreted Raul's declarations."

The former president appeared to be throwing a dose of cold water on growing expectations for improved bilateral relations -- suggesting Obama had no right to dare suggest that Cuba make even small concessions. He also seemed to suggest too much was being made of Raul's comments about discussing "everything" with U.S. authorities.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had a different perspective on Fidel Castro's essay while speaking about Cuba policy with the House Foreign Affairs Committee today. She said that while Fidel Castro had "contradicted" his brother's previous statements about Cuba's willingness to discuss a whole range of issues with the U.S., it shows "there is beginning to be a debate" inside Cuba about how to move forward with U.S. relations.

Fidel Castro's remarks put into doubt the true meaning of his brother's statements and raised questions about Cuba's position on detente with the United States. Although he surrendered the presidency to Raul in February 2008, he retains enormous influence and remains head of Cuba's Communist Party.

Raul Castro himself, meanwhile, has not jumped in to clarify the confusion and is not likely to, out of respect for his older brother.

"When the President of Cuba said he was ready to discuss any topic with the U.S. President, he meant he was not afraid of addressing any issue," Fidel Castro wrote of his 77-year-old brother, who succeeded him as president 14 months ago.

"That shows his courage and confidence in the principles of the Revolution," Fidel wrote.

"No one should feel astonished that Raul spoke about pardoning those who were convicted on March, 2003, and about sending them all to the United States, should that country be willing to release the Five Cuban Anti-Terrorism Heroes," Castro wrote, referring to five Cubans serving espionage sentences in the U.S.

Fidel also defended Cuba's right to levy a 10 percent fee on every U.S. dollar sent to relatives on the island by Cuban-Americans, saying if the money arriving from abroad "is in dollars, all the more reason we should do it because it is the currency of the country that blockades us."

All top Cuban leaders routinely call the 47-year-old trade embargo against this country a blockade.

"Not all Cubans have family members overseas that send remittances," Castro wrote, adding that Cuba uses the revenue from fees on exchanging dollars to provide free health care, education and subsidized food to all of its population.

The ex-president has previously expressed admiration for Obama, but this time he blasted the new U.S. president for showing signs of "superficiality," and called on him to wait no longer before lifting the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

"We are living in a new era. Changes are unavoidable. Leaders just pass through; peoples prevail," Castro wrote.

Cuba: Fidel Castro says Obama misinterpreted his brother's remarks - Los Angeles Times

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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-22-2009, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Why does Obama smile at dictators?

The picture of the president of the United States smiling broadly as he met President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela startled me. Our president is a nice guy. Chavez is anything but.

[IMG]http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?blobcol=urlimage&blobheader=image%2Fjpeg &blobheadername1=Cache-Control&blobheadervalue1=max-age%3D420&blobkey=id&blobtable=JPImage&blobwhere=1 239710718883&cachecontrol=5%3A0%3A0+*%2F*%2F*&ssbi nary=true[/IMG]

The State Department maintains that Chávez has attacked democratic traditions and has put Venezuelan democracy on life support with unchecked concentration of power, political persecution, and intimidation. Foreign Affairs magazine says that Chávez is a power-hungry dictator with autocratic and megalomaniacal tendencies whose authoritarian vision and policies are a serious threat to his people. In testimony before the US Senate, the South American project director for the Center for Strategic International Studies said that Chavez's government engages in "arresting opposition leaders, torturing some members of the opposition (according to human rights organizations) and encouraging, if not directing, its squads of Bolivarian Circles to beat up members of Congress and intimidate voters-all with impunity."

In spite of a presidential term limit of six years, Chávez has suggested that he would like to remain in power for 25 years. Hmmm. An autocratic dictator who abuses human rights and undermines democracy being warmly embraced by the American president. There's something wrong with that picture.

Then there was the incident of President Barack Obama seeming to bow before King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the G-20 summit in London. The president's people denied it was a bow, but it certainly was a sign of great deference from the American president to the dictator of a country who just six weeks ago sentenced a 75-year-old woman to 40 lashes for having been secluded with her nephew after he delivered bread to her home. This is the same Abdullah whom, when asked why Saudi Arabia prohibits the public practice of religions other than Islam, said, "It is absurd to impose on an individual or a society rights that are alien to its beliefs or principles."

Obama is also pursuing a renewed relationship with Cuba, a country which engages in systemic human rights abuses, including torture, arbitrary imprisonment, unfair trials and extrajudicial executions. Censorship is so extensive that Cubans face five-year prison sentences for connecting to the Internet illegally. And not only is emigration illegal, but even discussing it carries a six-month prison sentence.

WATCHING ALL THIS, I was wondering what the new standards were. How oppressive must a leader be before we determine that he has not merited a hug by the democratic standard-bearer of the free world, the president of the United States? Yes, I get it. We have to speak to our enemies, and America has to push "reset" on its relationship with many of these countries. We should try and change them through charm. But who said the president himself, rather than a lower-level diplomat, must do so?

And if Obama feels that he has to be the one to greet a man like Chavez, must it be with the kind of ear-to-ear grin that one might show girl scouts selling cookies? It must surely be disheartening for those who suffer oppression in countries like Venezuela, Cuba and Saudi Arabia to see the American president backslapping their oppressors when these victims have always looked up to the United States as their champions.

In Turkey, Obama boldly declared that "the United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam." But the person who was at war with Islam, Saddam Hussein, the man who killed nearly one million Muslims, was removed by a country which has already paid with the lives of 4,500 of its servicemen and women. The same is true of the Taliban, another group whom the Obama administration is considering talking to, who beat Muslim women in the streets of Afghanistan. Yet the president seems reluctant to publicly identify these real enemies of Islam.

LIKE MANY AMERICANS, I have been awed by our president's capacity to draw those who hate us near. He is a man of considerable charm and grace. But I have to admit that I am increasingly troubled by his seeming inability to call out rogue dictators.

While he was campaigning for the presidency, Obama promised, "As president I will recognize the Armenian genocide." But in a press conference in Ankara with President Abdullah Gul, he refused to use the word "genocide" when challenged by a reporter on the issue. Yet, it was Obama's early foreign policy adviser Samantha Power of Harvard who wrote A Problem from Hell, the definitive book on the American non-intervention in repeated 20th-century genocides, beginning with the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks which killed 1.5 million between the years of 1915 and 1923. When I read the book it changed my life.

As a Jew who does not want the world to forget the Holocaust, I can only imagine the pain of the Armenian community as it struggles to have modern Turkey acknowledge the crime. And why should modern Turkey not oblige? No one is blaming it for something that happened 90 years ago. It is not today's generation which is at fault. But nations must come to terms with their own history. Could any of us imagine what kind of country the US would be if it denied that it was ever responsible for the abomination of African-American slavery and segregation?

ALL THIS LEADS to one important question. Suppose Obama succeeds in building friendships with Chavez, Castro, Ahmadinejad and the Taliban. What then? Does America still get to feel that it stands for something? Will we still be the beacon of liberty and freedom to the rest of the world, or will we have sold out in the name of political expediency? And do any of us seriously believe that presidential friendship is going to get a megalomaniac like Hugo Chavez to ease up on the levers of power, or are we just feeding his ego by showing him he can be a tyrant and still have a beer with the president of the United States? Will the Iranians really stop enriching uranium through diplomacy rather than economic sanctions?

No Holds Barred: Why does Obama smile at dictators? | Columnists | Jerusalem Post

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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-22-2009, 07:38 PM
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'The world's greatest living orator' Obama, can do no wrong !
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-22-2009, 07:42 PM
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'The world's greatest living orator' Obama, can do no wrong !
He's got the whole world in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.

He's got my brothers and my sisters in His hands,
He's got my brothers and my sisters in His hands,
He's got my brothers and my sisters in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.

He's got the sun and the rain in His hands,
He's got the moon and the stars in His hands,
He's got the wind and the clouds in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.

He's got the rivers and the mountains in His hands,
He's got the oceans and the seas in His hands,
He's got you and he's got me in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.

He's got everybody here in His hands,
He's got everybody there in His hands,
He's got everybody everywhere in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-22-2009, 08:36 PM
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The picture of the president of the United States smiling broadly as he met President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela startled me.
And this picture does not startle you?

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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 05:37 AM
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And this picture does not startle you?

Absolutely! Where did they get those awful shoes?

Other than that, it's a picture of a man who is currently a Texas rancher and the man who is grabbing lifelong power in a former (and future?) Euro/Asian superpower.

Which meeting was that (2005?) and what did we know about Putin when it was taken?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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And this picture does not startle you?

That picture reassures' me!

Don't believe everything you think
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 10:00 AM
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That picture reassures' me!

Oh Jay you still make me laugh..........
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 10:01 AM
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I wonder how it feels to be bitch-slapped by a second rate, half dead, third world dictator? There is a reason why previous POTUS's ignored these fools. 0 just gave them credibility and a hand up onto the world stage. They should have been left on the side of the road.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 10:04 AM
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The one on the left looks suspiciously like Charlie Macarthy

..without the wit
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Last edited by BNZ; 04-23-2009 at 10:07 AM.
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