The PJ Tatler

Obama Decides to Talk Tough with Cuba

President Obama extended the national emergency in regards to Cuba and the movement/anchorage of vessels in February 2011 with a simple, declarative, legalese statement to the Speaker of the House and the president of the Senate:

Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date.  In accordance with this provision, I have sent the enclosed notice to the Federal Register for publication, stating that the national emergency declared with respect to the Government of Cuba’s destruction of two unarmed U.S.-registered civilian aircraft in international airspace north of Cuba on February 24, 1996, as amended and expanded on February 26, 2004, is to continue in effect beyond March 1, 2011.

This year Obama again renewed the emergency. But in the letter just sent out by the White House, Obama gets a little snappier against Cuba (bold emphasis added by me):

On March 1, 1996, by Proclamation 6867, a national emergency was declared to address the disturbance or threatened disturbance of international relations caused by the February 24, 1996, destruction by the Cuban government of two unarmed U.S.-registered civilian aircraft in international airspace north of Cuba. On February 26, 2004, by Proclamation 7757, the national emergency was extended and its scope was expanded to deny monetary and material support to the Cuban government. The Cuban government has not demonstrated that it will refrain from the use of excessive force against U.S. vessels or aircraft that may engage in memorial activities or peaceful protest north of Cuba. In addition, the unauthorized entry of any U.S.-registered vessel into Cuban territorial waters continues to be detrimental to the foreign policy of the United States. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing the national emergency with respect to Cuba and the emergency authority relating to the regulation of the anchorage and movement of vessels set out in Proclamation 6867 as amended by Proclamation 7757.

Obviously, Cuba’s belligerence is pretty constant from one year to the next, so that wouldn’t account for the sharper tone. But it is a year that Obama has to be concerned about winning Florida, and he has eased the U.S. embargo on Cuba during his term — a move that Havana-born House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) slammed as helping the Castro regime.

One wonders if Fidel will address this in his next Granma column. Castro wrote on Jan. 9, “I imagined Obama, very articulate with words, for whom, in his desperate attempt to be reelected, the dreams of [Martin] Luther King are more light years away than the closest inhabitable planet.”