Dr. Manny: Obama may lose support from the Latino community over Cuba
By Dr. Manny Alvarez Published January 06, 2015FoxNews.com
Dec. 20, 2014: Evilio Ordonez holds Cuban and American flags during a
protest against President Barack Obama’s plan to normalize relations
with Cuba, in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. (AP)
I know that it is too soon yet to determine whether or not the White
House will get the Cuba deal right, and not long ago I wrote in support
of the Obama administration’s decision to begin the process of
normalizing diplomatic relations with the island nation.
I thought that President Obama’s speech at the time had valid points,
and that indeed it was high-time for the U.S. and Cuba to move on in
their new set of responsible compromises. As a Cuban-American, it was
also my hope that this new relationship between the two countries would
ultimately lead to more freedom and more prosperity for the people of Cuba.
Over my holiday break, I spoke with several Cuban-Americans living in
the Caribbean to listen to their thoughts on this deal. I would say that
most of them, especially those older than 65, were disappointed in the
quick and hasty decision Obama made. They felt that the president acted
without taking into consideration all the fundamental problems that
communist Cuba is currently facing. Many felt that Cuba’s issues,
specifically with human rights and all of the people that have been
jailed fighting for those rights, were swept under the rug in an effort
to ensure the deal would go through.
I also found it curious that in the Dominican Republic, where I was
visiting, many of the newspapers were commenting on how a functional
Cuba with restored U.S. diplomatic relations will affect the national
economies of other Caribbean nations. The editorials noted concern about
the future of tourism and the sugar business, and the exports those
islands rely on when it comes to American trade.
As I continue to witness the various parts of this transition play out,
I can see there’s a lot of work yet to be done. There are many
characters in this tragic play that is Cuba and America, with one of the
lead roles starring the Castro brothers. I worry that President Obama,
in a quest to have his name printed in the history books as the
president that normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba, will fail to
anchor the necessary pillars of democracy that Cuba needs.
If indeed President Obama demanded that 53 prisoners of Cuba be freed in
order for this relationship to move forward, why the need for secrecy?
Why not release the names? It would only stand the benefit the
legitimacy of his cause. Instead, we are seeing more and more
journalists rightfully asking for the full story to be told.
I also think that the president could easily be miscalculating the drop
in support that he will experience from the Latino community in the U.S.
if this lack of transparency persists, especially in dealing with the
Castro brothers. The Latino community in this country, despite the fact
that they come from multiple Hispanic cultures and regions, do have
strong support for each other. That support stems from a long-shared
history of struggles with human rights, individual freedom and
In making this deal, I don’t believe the president accounted for the
Latino community of this country supporting the Cuban-Americans if they
begin criticizing Obama for failing to reach a fair deal in ensuring
democracy for the Cuban people. He must prove his true intentions, and
begin distancing himself from the perceived notion that the deal was to
secure his place in the history books and to advance his progressive
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel’s Senior Managing Editor
for Health News.
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