Dozens of people have been arrested in Cuba as communist thugs crack down on the island’s biggest protest in decades.
This is the first videohttps://t.co/cfTJS4GXLd
— Comandante Shinji 🇨🇺 (@ShinjiTheCuban) July 14, 2021
Such protests are exceedingly rare, so pressure is building on Democrats to back aggressive moves against the Cuban government.
That might be easier said than done for more than a few liberals.
On the one hand, socialists like U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders have spent the better part of the last several decades praising Cuba’s communist dictatorship.
Video: @BernieSanders, University of Vermont, 1986, recalls his excitement watching Castro’s revolution “rising up against the ugly rich people.” & his sick feeling watching JFK speak out against communism in Cuba.
— Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) February 21, 2019
But what about elected Democrats in Colorado? You know, the so-called moderates?
Surely they too haven’t spent their time in office devising new ways to finance and enable the worst human rights abuser in the Western Hemisphere?
To truly understand Colorado Democrats’ long history of enabling the communists in Cuba, one has to go all the way back to a pro-Castro regime PR campaign launched by Colorado’s very own Ted Trimpa.
Trimpa, PeakNation™ will recall, has been called “Colorado’s answer to Karl Rove” and was the godfather of an effort that became known as the “Blueprint,” which ultimately turned the state towards Democrats in the 2000s.
The Trimpa Group’s #CubaNow campaign launched during the Obama administration was intended to radically alter the Democrat Party’s disposition towards the communist dictatorship, as Mother Jones reported in 2015.
The Trimpa Group pulled out all the stops. It counseled [their client] to make donations to key political figures such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Durbin—donations intended to gain access and “be in the room,” according to Trimpa’s strategic plan. The lobby shop hired Luis Miranda, who had recently left his position as Obama’s director of Hispanic media, and sought the blessing of Jim Messina, Obama’s deputy chief of staff, to launch a public campaign promoting a change in Cuba policy. The Trimpa team also met with key foreign policy officials. To all the players, the Trimpa Group insisted that there would be no political blowback for Democrats in Florida if Obama changed Cuba policy. To bolster that argument, they financed a series of opinion polls. One, conducted by an Obama pollster, John Anzalone, found that Cuban Americans in Florida—especially the younger generation—favored engagement. And the Atlantic Council conducted a national poll sponsored by Trimpa that found, as a New York Times headline would put it, that a “Majority of Americans Favor Ties With Cuba.”
The Trimpa Group’s campaign was a success. In 2015 the Obama administration escalated the process of normalizing relations with Cuba along with facilitating economic activity that ultimately went straight into the coffers of the communist dictatorship.
FLASHBACK: In 2016, Obama praised Cuba’s communist dictators and said that they “should be congratulated” for making “great progress” and “huge improvement” in education and health care. pic.twitter.com/rjjacdMuYj
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 14, 2021
The Trimpa Group’s campaign and the Obama administration’s shift also did something else important; it convinced “mainstream” Democrat politicians to adopt pro-normalization stances towards Cuba.
We have seen this play out in Colorado firsthand.
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter accompanied then-President Obama on the administration’s tour of the island in 2016. The Arvada Democrat was positively starstruck.
Meanwhile, Perlmutter said he spent time on the trip powwowing with Cuban foreign ministers, a civil society activist working to combat racism there and U.S. Chamber of Commerce representatives.
“It’s very exciting,” he said.
If criticizing America’s anti-communist embargo from Cuban soil wasn’t bad enough, then-Gov. Hickenlooper also sought to find new ways to finance Havana’s authoritarian government through an organization he founded in 2010 known as Biennial of Americas.
The Colorado contingent of Biennial of Americas traveled to Cuba in 2017 where Hickenlooper was one of the first American officials to meet with the Cuban government following the election of President Trump.
— John Hickenlooper (@Hickenlooper) February 5, 2017
On an island impoverished by decades of communism and political oppression, Hickenlooper relayed concerns from a few entrepreneurs hand-selected by the authoritarian government who hoped the United States would keep the dollars to the Castro regime flowing.
Ultimately, several months later in 2017 the Trump administration reestablished many trade and travel restrictions on Cuba.
Bennet, like Hickenlooper and Perlmutter, has been at the forefront of efforts on the left in Colorado to normalize ties with the communists in Havana.
To date neither Hickenlooper, Perlmutter, or Bennet have commented at all on Cuba’s anti-communist demonstrations or the dictatorship’s brutal crackdown.