THE NARRATIVE AND THE FACTS
Yesterday we reported that Vancouver’s Cuba Ventures CEO was in Washington to promote “further business opportunities for companies wanting to do business in Havana. That is the “narrative.”
Today we are calling attention to the facts: Several US airlines are ceasing its operations in Cuba; others have cut back on the number of flights. That is not the only fact General Castro’s lobby wants to sweep under the rug. According to Reuters, the British news agency, Havana is the worse place to live, with the worse quality of life in Latin America. The list prepared by the consulting firm Mercer rates Havana 192, while Caracas dropped from 185 to 189th place. Vienna, Austria’s capital on the Danube, was rated for the eighth consecutive year as “the most pleasant city in the world.”
Even positive appraisals issued by foreigners on Fidel Castro’s death required damage control. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s effusive praise for Castro on his death was considered so over the top that Ottawa urged Canadian embassies around the world to refrain from distributing the PM’s statement.” Those are the facts, not the narrative.
President Donald Trump’s Cuba policy continues to be obstructed by the bureaucrats still in charge of US Cuba policy who ran Mr. Obama’s “outreach” to the island. “Personnel is policy.” President Trump has begun to fulfill campaign promises, and the revisiting of Mr. Obama’s executive orders has begun. But reciprocity is still missing from US – Cuba relations. The First Secretary of Cuba’s embassy in Washington spoke at several Montana universities recently. He is now scheduled to speak at Penn State. No American diplomat has ever been permitted a similar tour of Cuban universities.
The New York Times, March 13, 2017
Airlines Drop Cuba Flights, Citing Lower Demand Than Anticipated
[American Airlines, Jet Blue, Silver Airways, Frontier Airlines: “Market conditions have failed to materialize]
Just six months after being the first airline to sell seats on regularly scheduled flights to Cuba, Silver Airways, a regional carrier based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that specializes in smaller markets, will scrap its service to the island next month. It is the latest industry move to underscore that fewer Americans are traveling to Cuba than originally anticipated.
Citing low demand and competition from major airlines, Silver said it would cease its operations in Cuba effective April 22. The move follows other reductions by American Airlines and JetBlue, which in recent weeks either switched to smaller aircraft or cut back on the number of flights. Experts say the changes in the young market illustrate not so much a lack of passengers, but the rush of airlines into new territory with an abundance of seats the market could not possibly fill.
“Other airlines continue to serve this market with too many flights and oversized aircraft, which has led to an increase in capacity of approximately 300 percent between the U.S. and Cuba,” said Misty Pinson, the director of communications for Silver. “It is not in the best interest of Silver and its team members to behave in the same irrational manner as other airlines.”
On Monday, Denver-based Frontier Airlines said that it would cease its daily flight to Havana from Miami on June 4. The airline said costs in Havana significantly exceeded initial assumptions, “market conditions failed to materialize” and too much capacity had been allocated between Florida and Cuba. [More] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/travel/airlines-reduce-flights-to-cuba-and-switch-to-smaller-planes.html?_r=0
The Miami Herald, March 10, 2017
Asylum case likely to set precedent for Cubans, following end to wet foot, dry foot policy
By Nora Gámez Torres
An elderly Cuban couple is expected to remain in detention while a judge who presided over their asylum hearing Friday makes a final determination on their fate.
Aquilino Caraballo and Georgina Hernández, 67 and 64, have been held in separate facilities since they were taken into custody on Jan. 13 at Miami International Airport, a day after the former Obama administration announced an end to the immigration policy known as “wet foot, dry foot.”
The case — the first involving Cubans facing possible deportation as a result of the policy change — is likely to set a legal precedent, which is why Judge Adam Opaciuch opted to issue his ruling in writing at a future date not yet known, according to the couple’s immigration attorney Wilfredo Allen.
The Daily Caller, March 11, 2017
Trudeau’s Castro Eulogy Created Diplomatic Panic, Documents Show
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s effusive praise for Fidel Castro in the wake of the Cuban dictator’s death created outrage and panic among federal bureaucrats engaged in damage control
According to Access to Information documents released by the Toronto Staron Friday, policy and communication staffers in the foreign affairs department, privy council office and prime minister’s office all attempted to divert world attention from Trudeau’s insistence that Castro was“a larger than life leader” whose passing engendered “deep sorrow” for him, whose father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, called the leader a friend.
Trudeau’s eulogy on Nov. 26 that barely acknowledged any controversy surrounding Castro, proclaimed that he was a “legendary revolutionary and orator” who “made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.”
He even claimed, “Both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante,'” only allowing that the Cuban tyrant was a “controversial figure.”
The missive was apparently deemed so toxic that foreign affairs officials discouraged Canadian embassies and diplomatic missions from distributing Trudeau’s statement to foreign governments or media. [More]
Real Clear Politics, March 13, 2017
Time for Change in Venezuela
By Rep. Francis Rooney
March 13, 2017
Francis Rooney is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 19th congressional district and previously served as U. S. Ambassador to the Holy See.
Too often Latin America’s strategic importance has been overlooked by United States policy makers, which is a mistake because instability in the region undermines security in the entire western hemisphere. The corrupt socialist regime in Venezuela, which has links to terrorist groups in the Middle East, is a prime example of why instability in Latin America should be a major focus of U.S. policy makers.
There are currently two divergent blocs which comprise most of the countries in Latin America. The first bloc, which includes Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Peru, is committed to the rule of law, free markets and political freedom. The second group is one of authoritarian, populist governments which maintain their power through suppression of the opposition and corruption. Cuba and Venezuela are the worst offenders of this second style of governance. It is important to the United States that the second bloc to reverse course and become more ideologically aligned with the first.