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Day: December 26, 2014

End of year tax write off

To the Editor:

Parents of McNary High School students are preparing for the senior graduation party. We hope to make the 2015 event just as successful as those in the past, a success made possible by hard-working volunteers and generous support from community members like you.

The evening will be filled with entertainment, games, prizes, food, fun activities, and a gift for every student. Rented buses will transport students to and from the event.

We need the community’s help to make this a memorable celebration for our graduating seniors.

Some ways to support the Celtic Celebration are to donate cash, prizes, gift cards or gift certificates.

Please mail your donations to:

McNary Graduation Party-Celtic Celebration, P.O. Box 21114, Keizer, OR  97307-1114

For your records, our tax identification number is 93-0849190.

We would be happy to pick up any donated items, if that would be more convenient
for you.

Your support of McNary High School students is greatly appreciated.

Trina Turner

Warming relations with Cuba is good

Interest was aroused in the debate over normalizing relations with Cuba when House Speaker John Boehner said, “Relations with the Castro regime should not be revisited, let alone normalized, until the Cuban people enjoy freedom—and not one second sooner.”  Then, too, incoming Senate majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell agreed with Boehner as did GOP Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who view the change as an opportunity for the Castro brothers to perpetuate themselves in power.  Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has also chimed in by calling it a “very, very bad deal for a free and democratic Cuba.”

These guys have apparently forgotten about what’s happened in Egypt, Iran and Libya, among many others, when the old regimes were overthrown and a new order of things was attempted to replace the old.  What has happened anywhere U.S. military power and the CIA have been directly or indirectly involved with overthrows is that what replaces them are organizations like ISIS that, in the vacuum that follows, terror and turmoil reign.

That’s what’s predicted for Cuba should the old regime be forced out and a power vacuum created.  What’s highly unlikely to happen soon thereafter is a law-based new government with a constitution that provides freedom and democracy for its citizens.  The Castro brothers are old and should be allowed to die in office where, afterwards, hopefully, the Cuban people will slowly but deliberately move to practice self-rule through laws based on democratic principles.

The case of Cuba is that it has been run and controlled by a succession of despotic leaders, first by the Spanish, who were routed by the Spanish-American War of 1898, and since then by wholly corrupt, self-aggrandizing dictators.  In more modern times the dictator has been Fidel Castro and, when he became too ill to continue in charge, he turned the reigns of power over to his brother, Raul Castro, who has maintained a status quo.

President Obama has announced that “we will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries.” History shows that the strained relationship has continued frozen in time long after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union with the abiding hope by U.S. presidents who waited for Fidel’s demise and what turned out to be a false hope for change when Raul took over.  In the intervening years, curiously enough, the U.S. has built relations with Communist nations like China and Vietnam while no formal ties with Cuba have been advanced.

After winning re-election, Obama resolved to make Cuba a priority and authorized secret negotiations that progressed through nine meetings by Americans appointees with their Cuban counterparts.  These meetings were held from June 2013 to the present, most of them in Canada, which has maintained ties with Havana.

Pope Francis encouraged the talks with letters to Obama and Castro and had the Vatican host a meeting in October to finalize the terms of the deal.  Obama spoke with Castro by telephone last week to seal the agreement: We got an American back and one Cuban who worked for American intelligence while Cuba received back three imprisoned spies.

We will ease restrictions on remittances, travel and banking, while Cuba will allow more Internet access and release 53 Cubans identified as political prisoners by our government.  The embargo will remain in place; nevertheless, Obama wants an “honest and serious debate about lifting it.”  That lifting of the embargo requires an act of Congress which looks unlikely in the next two years due to opposition to any change in relations with Cuba by the Republicans.

A survey of Cuban-Americans in south Florida has determined that the children of Cuban exiles are 88 percent open to change while a majority of Americans, six in 10, support re-establishing relations with Cuba.  Further, the Catholic Church, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Human Rights Watch and major agricultural interests support Obama’s efforts to normalize relations.

My family has no Cuban connections but we strongly support Obama on behalf of his moves with Cuba: We view this matter as an opportunity where the Cuban people and the American people can re-establish old ties with the prospect of working together for common advantages in the years to come.  After all, why should the U.S. continue the old policy when it’s come down to doing the same thing decade after decade, mindlessly expecting a different outcome.  And, haven’t the Cuban people suffered enough already?

(Gene H. McIntyre’s column appears weekly in the Keizertimes.)