President Obama is sending two senior officials to represent the United States at a service on Tuesday for the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro. But don’t call it an official delegation, the White House insisted.
“I can tell you that the president has decided not to send a presidential delegation to attend the memorial service today,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. “I can tell you, however, that Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes will attend the service, as will the top U.S. diplomat in Cuba, Jeff DeLaurentis.”
Rhodes was one of the key architects of the secret diplomacy with Cuba that led to the stunning December 2014 announcement that the two Cold War adversaries would renew diplomatic relations and pursue deeper economic ties. Obama nominated DeLaurentis, the top U.S. official at the embassy in Havana, to be ambassador, but Republicans have blocked the nomination.
This is how tyrants behave. You offer them a handshake and they try to tear your arm off.
Castro wrote: “Cuba is owed compensation equivalent to damages, which total many millions of dollars, as our country has stated with irrefutable arguments and data in all of its speeches at the United Nations.”
He did not go into detail about precisely how much money he reckons Washington owes Havana. The Americans are also claiming compensation for US-owned property, such as real estate, that was confiscated when Castro took power.
I would argue that, if anything, Castro owes the U.S billions for the private American property he confiscated when he came to power.