Rob Long of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss President Trump’s last-minute decision to hold off on striking Iran. They also cover the intensifying Democratic presidential campaign, as Joe Biden and Cory Booker scuffle over race and Bernie Sanders explains why he’s now neck-and-neck with Elizabeth Warren in the polls. And they talk about the desperate poverty facing many Cubans as socialism fails yet again.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the Trump administration for considering a full closure of the U.S. embassy in Cuba in response to the bizarre sound wave assaults on U.S. diplomats in Havana and urge officials to follow through on the idea. They also discuss the revelation that the London tube bomber was a teenage refugee just three years ago and why extreme vetting makes perfect sense. And they get a kick out of College Park, Maryland, council members having to admit they actually didn’t vote to allow illegal immigrants to vote in local elections because they didn’t know their own charter.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America consider whether an independent ticket of Republican John Kasich and Democrat John Hickenlooper in 2020 would damage President Trump or simply dilute the anti-Trump vote. They also demand a firm response from the Trump administration as the evidence of hostile Cuban acts against our diplomats in Havana piles up. And they unload on House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for trying to deny a permit for a “Patriot Prayer” event in San Francisco because such a gathering is akin to “shouting wolf in a crowded theater.”
President Obama’s thawing of relations with Cuba has already drawn plenty of criticism, but a prominent Castro critic says Obama’s actions in his final week will only serve to increase repression in Cuba while enriching the coffers of the Castro regime.
On Friday, the Obama administration announced it would no longer accept Cubans into the country if they arrive in the U.S. without a visa. For years, the American policy had been to accept refugees who reached our shores but turn back those encountered off the Florida coast.
For critics of Obama’s earlier overtures, this latest move is another major slap in the face.
“It is very significant. It is another cave-in by Obama to Castro,” said Humberto Fontova, a prominent author and journalist who fled Cuba as a boy while his father was imprisoned.
However, he says it’s not the so-called “wet foot, dry foot” policy shift that enrages him the most.
“Folks, this is a smokescreen. This is cover. This is camouflage for the real issue here,” said Fontova. “What Obama did along with this is he abrogated the doctor asylum program. Read the fine print, folks.”
At issue is the Cuban policy of “Doctor Diplomacy,” which Fontova describes as Cuba sending doctors to many friendly or third-world nations in exchange for large sums of money pumped into the Cuban treasury. He says the doctors get less than 10 percent of the money and their families are “held hostage” while they’re abroad.
In 2006, President George W. Bush instituted the aforementioned asylum program, allowing those Cuban doctors to defect to the U.S. by strolling into any one of our embassies around the world.
“That was costing the Castro regime dearly because what the host country would have paid for these quack doctors was being lost. It’s estimated this was bringing in about eight billion to the Castro regime,” said Fontova.
He says that money will flow more freely again now that Obama has reversed the Bush policy.
Fontova also points out that Obama is not clamping down on all Cuban entering the U.S. Those with visas are welcome, and he says how those visas are distributed is a scandal in itself.
“Here’s the kicker. The issuance of those visas is outsourced by Obama to the Castro regime. The U.S. embassy in Havana leaves it up to Castro to decide who is going to get these visas,” said Fontova.
He says the visa recipients are chosen specifically to fleece the American welfare system for the benefit of Cuba, a strategy that Obama helped make easier by easing the U.S. remittance policy toward Cuba early in his administration.
“They sprint off the plane, run straight to the welfare offices, apply for the U.S. welfare benefits, which can total $1,200 a month, and almost immediately start wiring that money back to Cuba,” said Fontova.
“It’s estimated that last year four billion dollars flowed from the U.S. to Cuba, thanks to Obama opening that lifeline and thanks to those so-called refugees that the Castro regime chooses,” said Fontova.
In his farewell address, President Obama took credit for opening “a new chapter with the Cuban people.” Fontova says that new chapter means even more suffering for the Cuban people.
“The real horror of this is that repression in Cuba is at a 20-year high. The last two years, in other words coinciding exactly with Obama’s opening, have coincided with a wave of terror against Cuban dissidents,” said Fontova, who says the Cuban government feels emboldened to persecute dissenters since it know there will be no negative reactions from the U.S.
And thanks to Obama refusing to accept refugees who make it to U.S. shores, those dissidents have no way of escape.
“The Cubans who Castro didn’t want to come to the U.S., genuine refugees, folks who jump on two pieces of styrofoam tied together. Those people will be prevented from coming, but the Cubans who Castro wants to come over here because they’re a cash cow for him will continue coming,” said Fontova.
He says the Cuban dissidents point the finger of blame at Obama.
“Do you know that Cuban dissidents have been protesting in Cuba wearing Obama masks? They’re saying it’s his fault. Naturally, that hasn’t been reported in the mainstream media, but it is all Obama’s fault, Cuban dissidents keep telling us,” said Fontova.