News & Politics

John Bolton: Obama's Arrival in Cuba on Palm Sunday an 'Insult' to the Cuban People

President Barack Obama, center, and first lady Michelle Obama, visit la Catedral de La Habana in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, March 20, 2016. Obama's trip is a crowning moment in his and Cuban President Raul Castro's ambitious effort to restore normal relations between their countries. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said Sunday that the timing of President Obama’s arrival in Cuba had special symbolic significance and was perhaps meant as an to insult the Cuban people.

The very idea that Obama’s “historic” trip to Cuba will usher in a new, more open era for the “Castro-controlled communist beachhead” is as delusional as the rest of Obama’s foreign policy, Bolton told Fox News’ Eric Shawn on Sunday.

“Today is Palm Sunday,” Bolton declared. “The Cuban people are very religious. You can see this when the Pope comes to visit. You can see the outpouring of support and emotion. The Castro brothers are communists. So, of course, they welcome the idea that Obama would come on a Palm Sunday. The insult is to the Cuban people.”

He continued, “Maybe no one in the Obama White House realized it was Palm Sunday, which would tell you something. Or maybe they did, which would tell you something else.”

It appears that Obama did know what day it was, as the entire first family visited the cathedral that is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in Cuba while sightseeing in Old Havana yesterday. Obama also met with Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who celebrated Palm Sunday Mass there earlier in the day.

Bolton pointed out that the president said initially that he wouldn’t go to Cuba until there were improvements in the area of human rights there. “But not only has there been no improvement, things have been going in the wrong direction,” he lamented. “More people have been put in jail than have been released.”

Bolton said that from the Castro brothers’ point of view, this whole thing is simply about Cuba getting “an economic lifeline” after the implosion of Venezuela’s economy. “The president gave it to them. He gave them everything they wanted, including political legitimacy and diplomatic recognition. We got zero in return,” Bolton said.

Just hours before his arrival, Cuban authorities arrested more than 50 “Ladies in White” protesters outside Havana. The protesters had hoped that the communist regime would soften its stance during Obama’s visit. They were wrong.