3-29-16 – Vermont’s Useful Idiots: Patrick Leahy and Peter Welch

by Chris Campion

A week ago, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative Peter Welch traveled with President Obama’s entourage to visit Cuba.  While

there, they called for an end to the 54-year embargo of the country – which is a call for free trade, incidentally, and since Cuba is one of the final, dying vestiges of communism still barely kicking on the planet, you’d think the inherent irony in these calls would be enough to create some kind of sub-atomic irony explosion, ending all life on the planet as we know it.

Instead, we get two tired, pampered old men, acting as useful idiots, parading publicly for the benefit of dictators:

President Barack Obama also called for an end to the 54-year ban, in a joint news conference Monday with Cuban President Raul Castro. Obama added that how Cuba addresses human-rights concerns will influence how quickly Congress ends the sanctions.

In case Barry’s missed it, the US has asked Cuba to address human rights concerns for 54 years.  That’s why the embargo has been in place and hasn’t been lifted.

Welch said the House would vote overwhelmingly to lift the blockade if the issue were to come to the floor. Leahy said the Senate would do the same.

Well.  Considering Leahy has been in the Senate for, oh, eleventy gazillion years, why hasn’t he made that happen yet?  The issue of the blockade has come to the floor of both houses, repeatedly, for decades.  It’s like Leahy’s a bystander of history on this subject.

What Leahy doesn’t note is that despite the embargo, the US is one of Cuba’s largest exporters.  Despite Leahy’s and Welch’s rhetoric, trade has been happening between Cuba and the US, along specific, designated lines, so as not to enrich the dictatorship, and to benefit the Cuban people.

At present, the embargo, which limits American businesses from conducting business with Cuban interests, is still in effect and is the most enduring trade embargo in modern history. Despite the existence of the embargo, the United States is the fifth largest exporter to Cuba (6.6% of Cuba’s imports are from the US).  However, Cuba must pay cash for all imports, as credit is not allowed.

As an example, Cuba imports 6.2% of its X-ray equipment from the United States:

X-ray machines benefits Cubans, not a dictatorship.

But let’s not let facts get in the way of simpering obeisance to dictators and murderers:

Leahy and Welch, in a conference call with reporters, said ending the embargo would help improve human rights in Cuba.

“The impact of this embargo is on average Cubans,” Welch said, adding that sanctions have failed to pressure Castro to improve his human-rights record.

Human rights won’t be improved by an embargo or a lack of one.  Cuba is free to trade with any other country on the planet, and does so, and that trade still has not stopped the Castro regime from murdering, imprisoning, torturing, and shattering Cuban lives for decades.  The US is not the only country on the block, and to hang Cuba’s horrifying human rights record around the US embargo is not only wrong factually, financially, and economically, it gives cover to the Cuban regime to keep right on what they’ve been so successfully doing since 1960 – staying in power.

But the Leahy and Welch lunacy doesn’t stop there.  Of course it doesn’t.  You see, they both think that we could actually learn from dictators:

Both Vermont lawmakers said there is a lot that America can learn from Cuba, citing the country’s medical system, low infant mortality rate and high literacy rate.

Cuba’s medical system?  Are Leahy and Welch flying there for their own medical care?

Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the United States.  But note that Cuba is a country of 11 million people.  The United States has cities that large, with a total population over 300 million people, and has millions immigrating into the United States annually.  Comparing infant mortality rates (as reported by a Cuban regime very interested in propaganda) is laughable; it’s like comparing tacos and oranges.  If you ask a pregnant woman in the United States if she’d like to fly to Cuba to deliver her baby, what kind of response would you be likely to hear?

A literate Cuban with permanent restrictions as to what he or she can read is not an accomplishment; it’s an insult to human rights, and to cite literacy statistics from dictators is being complicit in their repression.  What good is literacy if all you can read is communist propaganda, internet access is severely restricted, and books are burned publicly, by the regime?

I guess we do have a lot to learn from Cuba.  Where even the literature on human rights gets trampled by the state, along with the rights

themselves.

But wait:  There’s still more exciting opportunities in idiotic usefulness to be gleaned from two-thirds of our congressional delegation.  To wit:  Let’s introduce crony capitalism to Cuba!

Leahy also spoke about the economic possibilities that ending the embargo could bring Americans. Vermont’s renewable-energy industry could see significant opportunities in Cuba, and the senator said he planned to bring a trade mission of Vermonters to Cuba early next year.

Well, if it’s not working here in the US, let’s just export the fail to Cuba!  Problem solved.  What’s next, we’ll ship some type of blight to Cuba?  City tap water from Flint, Michigan, perhaps?

Considering the rampant failures of renewable-energy “initiatives” – which are more like cattle-calls to the public trough (I’m looking at you here, Solyndra) – I would think the Senator would want to introduce successful and productive initiatives to the Cuban people, instead of just more of what Castro, et al, have done for decade at the cost of Cuban freedom and human rights.

But any ode to Castro would be incomplete without some romantic re-writing of history, and ignoring the deaths of thousands who’ve died trying to escape that low mortality rate and high literacy rate:

Leahy has long advocated for the opening of relations with Cuba. Both he and Welch have sponsored legislation to lift the ban on Americans traveling to Cuba. Leahy has visited about eight times. This is Welch’s third trip.

The Vermont senator said he was excited to be on the historic trip and see something he has wanted for so long finally happen.

“When I went to bed last night, I was about as happy as I’d been in a long long time,” he said. Leahy added that he and his wife, Marcelle, were hoping to visit Cuba to go scuba diving.  

I hope Leahy doesn’t see any sunken Cuban rafts during his scuba adventures off the shores of Castroland.  And the potentially unfortunate viewing of, perhaps, the remains of a Cuban seeking freedom from oppression.  Might spoil his trip.

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