A senior aide to President Barack Obama said yesterday that the US may end a program that encourages Cuban doctors and nurses on overseas assignments to defect.
Started under President George Bush in 2006, The Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program targets Cuba’s doctors, nurses and other medical professionals abroad. The export of Cuba’s medical personnel provides Cuba a vital source of bartered cash and oil, most notably from Venezuela.
Reports of the Cuban medical program’s end is the latest news in a steady, slow drum beat of actions taken by Obama to leverage executive authority to dismantle various Congressional rules that together make up the US embargo against Cuba.
President Obama will deliver his final state of the union address next week, and the President is likely to address his most important initiatives involving bi-lateral negotiations: Cuba and Iran. Both represent radical change in US policy by negotiating with enemy states, each of which represent a tangible malignancy in America’s foreign policy. And each holds the potential for Obama’s theory that replacing suspicion with trust will drug the forces of past experience with hostile regimes and produce a fresh blade of grass for his legacy.
With reports last week that the Obama administration is preparing new sanctions on international companies and individuals over Iran’s ballistic missile program – not to mention Iran’s recent firing of a missile near a US warship, described by US officials as “highly provocative,” Obama’s Iran deal may only serve to reveal the hoof of the beast.
It is unclear how Obama can amputate himself from his own Iran deal, but if the deal fails – even before it starts – his only viable patient capable for producing a healthy legacy is an isolated, ailing Cuba. It is also unlikely that this circumstance is missed by the Castros.