MIAMI – A friend recently asked me a simple question: “How do you know when Donald Trump is lying?”
I answered quickly: “Whenever he opens his mouth to speak.”
“How’d you know?” he asked, as if the question was a difficult-to-figure-out riddle. I stared at him and laughed.
That’s not his biggest problem, I went on to explain. “The man is plain stupid,” I told him.
I’m not the only person who feels that way. Chicago Tribune reporter Steve Chapman recently wrote a column titled, “Donald Trump’s biggest flaw: He’s not that bright”. In it he tersely summarizes the president’s capacity as a thinker by stating that “The evidence of his [Trump’s] dimwittedness flows as continuously and voluminously as the Mississippi River.”
I’m not exactly sure why I started with Trump, but I suppose I had to unload some of my pent-up frustration with this man we, as American citizens, are supposed to address as our president. I guess it’s also in part because of what we knew was coming. The Treasury Department’s announcement of the new regulations on Cuba were expected, but when announced they still stung like a surprise bee sting.
It’s also time to point fingers at the real culprits behind the president’s very stupid decision. Stupid because it’s just another chapter that is taking us back huge steps — a backwardness set in motion the moment Donald Trump became president in January 2017. Everything seemed headed in the right direction starting after the December 2014 announcements where the Cuban and U.S. governments put behind them some things of the past and began to negotiate strongly, but fairly, a way forward in relations between the two countries.
But then Trump and a small group of Cuban haters whose frivolity on decisions affecting their so-called homeland is truly a gesture that takes us ‘back to the future.’
These persons are led by Senator Marco Rubio, and U.S. representatives Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Curbelo, and outgoing member of congress (thank goodness!) Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Led by Trump BFF Rubio, the same Little Marco who was insulted and demoralized by the Donald during the primaries, the same elevator-shoe wearing little guy who referred to Trump as a “dangerous con man,” Marco now is willing to kiss the president’s ass in order to help the U.S. apply torturous regulations over the island he claims to love, but has never stepped foot on.
And yet after this week’s announcement by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, south Florida’s Trump minions complained that the regulations did not go far enough. They blamed bureaucrats in the U.S. government for not stepping strongly enough on the necks of the Cuban people. Typical and cowardly: blaming others for fear of hurting the feelings of the dimwitted president responsible for the regulations, and who lashes out whenever confronted.
The architects of the new regulations claim that they were drawn-up to hurt the Cuban leaders and their armed forces, who are in charge of many the hotels and businesses on the island. Their aim, they claim, was to help the burgeoning entrepreneur class in Cuba.
The fact is they’ve done exactly the opposite. Ask any private, non-governmental person on the island who rents his or her home through airbnb, or ask a friend who runs a paladar (or private eating establishment) in Havana (and I have) how they’re faring. The answer is unanimous. Business has spiked downward since Trump came to power on January 20. And after the recent announcement by the U.S. government warning U.S. citizens NOT to travel to Cuba (for no apparent reason), paladares that were once full are lucky to be working, and the rental of homes by private entrepreneurs has seen a crash. Many of these suffering business people are persons who have poured their life savings into what they foresaw as a future full of possibilities.
Yet Marco Rubio, Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Curbelo, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen want to assure that they starve them to death and hopefully sink them to the bottom of the waters that surround the Caribbean island. The last thing they care about are the Cuban people.
With these stupid new regulations, they’ve managed again to attempt to destroy what was beginning to happen: the reunification of the Cuban family. And that’s the last thing they want to see accomplished. Because with reunification comes a healthy way forward in the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba.
And healthy relations between our two countries would mean missing out on the gravy train of millions of dollars provided by the U.S.’s so-called democracy-building programs that are simply handouts run through the sticky hands of persons like Marco Rubio, Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Curbelo, and Ileana.
I think it’s time Miami took a step forward and left these Cuba haters behind. They are dinosaurs that once roamed our streets and whose ideas should be a thing of the past. Or else, this area will continue to look backwards for our future instead of the forward thinking we require.