In May of 2008 when Barack Obama was running for president he made a stop in Miami, Florida, a place well known for being a hotbed of anti-Castro, anti-communist sentiment. Miami is a place where many thousands of self-exiled Cubans settled after they fled a life of religious and political oppression and torture at the hands of Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro. While in Miami candidate Obama made some strong and passionate statements about how if he were to be elected president his administration would not bow to Castro’s tyranny.
He excoriated Castro’s oppression and sympathized with the Cuban people pledging that as president he’d help bring freedom, liberty, and democracy to Cuba. At the height of his passion, Obama said, “I won’t stand for this injustice” and promised that, “together we will stand up for freedom in Cuba.”
There is no place for this kind of tyranny in this hemisphere. There is no place for any darkness that would shut out the light of liberty. Here in this hemisphere we must heed the words of Doctor King written from his own jail cell, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Throughout my entire lifetime there has been injustice and repression in Cuba. Never in my lifetime have the people of Cuba known true freedom. Never in the lives of two generations of Cubans have the people of Cuba known democracy. This is the terrible and tragic status quo that we have known for half a century. Of elections that are anything but free or fair, of dissident locked away in dark prison cells for the crime of speaking the truth.
I won’t stand for this injustice, you will not stand for this injustice and together we will stand up for freedom in Cuba. That will be my commitment as president of the United States of America.
But, that was then. Now that he’s won the White House, suddenly Barack Obama is less interested in all that talk of Castro’s tyranny and oppression and injustice. Now he’s all about “change” and working together and not “interfering” in other countries. Now it’s all about America’s errors, not Cuba’s. The rhetoric is suddenly quite soft on Castro’s despotism and oppression.
Here is the president speaking to foreigners at Port of Spain, Trinidad in April of 2009.
Notice how the focus has changed? Now it’s about America with her tail between her legs apologizing for her “mistakes.” Now it’s a “new beginning with Cuba.” Gone is all that hoary talk of tyranny and oppression in Cuba and in it’s place the “new” relationship where Obama looks the other way from Cuba’s half a century of tyranny.
Yes, it’s a new beginning all right. It’s the beginning of Obama’s channeling of Neville Chamberlain in the face of Castro’s Hitler. Get ready folks because Obama’s acts of appeasement have only begun to excuse tyranny everywhere.
There’s been several remarks directed at the issue of the relationship between the United States and Cuba, so let me address this. The United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba. I know that there is a longer — (applause) — I know there’s a longer journey that must be traveled to overcome decades of mistrust, but there are critical steps we can take toward a new day. I’ve already changed a Cuba policy that I believe has failed to advance liberty or opportunity for the Cuban people. We will now allow Cuban Americans to visit the islands whenever they choose and provide resources to their families — the same way that so many people in my country send money back to their families in your countries to pay for everyday needs.
Over the past two years, I’ve indicated, and I repeat today, that I’m prepared to have my administration engage with the Cuban government on a wide range of issues — from drugs, migration, and economic issues, to human rights, free speech, and democratic reform. Now, let me be clear, I’m not interested in talking just for the sake of talking. But I do believe that we can move U.S.-Cuban relations in a new direction.
As has already been noted, and I think my presence here indicates, the United States has changed over time. (Applause.) It has not always been easy, but it has changed. And so I think it’s important to remind my fellow leaders that it’s not just the United States that has to change. All of us have responsibilities to look towards the future. (Applause.)
I think it’s important to recognize, given historic suspicions, that the United States’ policy should not be interference in other countries, but that also means that we can’t blame the United States for every problem that arises in the hemisphere. That’s part of the bargain. (Applause.) That’s part of the change that has to take place. That’s the old way, and we need a new way.
The United States will be willing to acknowledge past errors where those errors have been made. We will be partners in helping to alleviate poverty. But the American people have to get some positive reinforcement if they are to be engaged in the efforts to lift other countries out of the poverty that they’re experiencing.
(Go here for a full transcript of all of Obama’s remarks at the opening of the Summit of the America’s)
(H/T Christopher of hotairpundit for finding these two videos and putting the two together.)