Thursday, December 24, 2009

McCaffrey: Cuban minister "slammed window shut" on dialogue

From PR Newswire:

Four Star Gen. Barry McCaffrey (Ret) Cancels Trip to Cuba Because of 'Shallow, Vitriolic' Comments and Actions by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Four-Star General Barry McCaffrey (Ret), former White House Drug Czar and SouthCom (Latin America) Commander, is canceling a scheduled January 3-6 trip to Cuba to discuss U.S.-Cuban future cooperation because of recent "shallow, vitriolic" comments and actions by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. In a prior trip to the island, McCaffrey met with top Cuban government, political, military, and academic leaders - including a seven hour meeting with Fidel Castro in Feb 2002.

McCaffrey's letter to Dr. Wayne Smith of the Center for International Policy, which was sponsoring McCaffrey's trip, follows:

22 December 2009

Dr Wayne Smith

Center for International Policy

1717 Massachusetts Ave NW

Washington, DC. 20036


Just got in last night to read the Reuters reports that Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez denounced President Obama at the Copenhagen Conference as an "imperial and arrogant liar" in the most vile and personal terms imaginable.

The Foreign Minister could not have borrowed talking points from Cuba's worst enemies to more effectively harm the country's future economic and political interests.

This type of shallow and vitriolic 1960's public diplomacy also makes Cuban leadership appear to be non-serious, polemical amateurs. President Obama is the most thoughtful and non-ideological US Chief Executive that the Cubans have seen in 50 years. This Foreign Minister Rodriguez speech probably slammed the window shut on US Congressional and Administration leaders being willing to support bringing Cuba back into the community of nations.

This situation makes me very sad for the Cuban people. I see little reason to visit Cuba and deal with leadership of this appalling lack of good judgment.

Please withdraw my name for the proposed visit to Cuba in January.

Barry McCaffrey

General USA (Ret)

Bruno Rodríguez

Gen. Barry McCaffrey (Ret.)

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