Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Thoughts on Cuba

By Carl

As you must certainly know by now,
Fidel Castro has formally renounced the presidency of Cuba. His brother, Raul, will assume permanently the role he's held for two years now, and hints at democratic reforms.

Naturally, and desperate for any win in a time of political cholera, elements of the right wing in this country are hooting how America's embargo forced this change.

Is it not ironic that those who most loudly espouse democracy and freedom for Cuba are in favor of the embargo that imprisoned and tyrranized her people?

To a point, the embargo had a point. That point was lost at least thirty years ago. Rather than collapse the Castro regime along with the Soviet Union and other communist and socialist states, we allowed it to fester by imposing our will on it. Why? It certainly on its own was no military threat to us, and it espoused no dangerous, violent theosophy to kill us in our beds. Indeed, one would be very hard pressed to find where any terror cell would have stood a chance in operating out of Cuba, no matter how much money they were to throw at Castro.

One gets the impression that Castro actually liked America, he just couldn't stand its leadership. Guantanamo Bay exists not in a vacuum, and indeed, America had to ask Castro's permission to use it as a prison for Al Qaeda suspects.

And perhaps he had a good reason for disliking American presidents and congresses.

By banning Cuban goods (something we had never done with Soviet-produced merchandise, or Chinese, for that matter), we enforced a poverty-stricken people with surveillance and hunger. Poor, hungry people act out. They must be controlled, a lesson not seemingly lost on this nation's government, as it imposes non-FISA surveillance, torture, and national identity cards upon us.

We defeated Communism with butter, not guns. The Beatles brought the West to the Soviet Union. Wrangler jeans. A United States-style union freed Poland. A playwright, Czechoslovakia. Reaganauts can claim the armament race put the Soviet Union out of business, but it was the will of its people who pulled the gates down and padlocked them.

I am fully in favor of ending the embargo now, and I think it's not soon enough. Indeed, Raul Castro had already made inroads into incorporating a China-style fusion of socialism and capitalism, by allowing free market farmer's markets to be established.

The best evidence we can give the Cuban people that freedom, democracy and free enterprise work is by lowering the embargo and opening trade with this nation, by allowing American tourism and business development interests to come in and demonstrate new ideas and new ways of thinking.

And in return, we could learn alot about the Cuban way of doing things, and learn ideas that could benefit us back here at home. These folks have been stuck in a fifty year time warp. There is much they know that we've forgotten in our full court press towards the 21st century.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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  • When I consider how the Cuban expat community in Florida tried to shut down every cultural exhange concert, how they used threats and intimidation over the years to assert their interests, the expat Cuban community will be the belligerent, oppressive faction in this unfolding story. I foresee blood feuds and carpetbagging and another triumph of greed in the name of capitalism. I do not see a smooth normalization for Cuba after Castro, and the bad guys are on this side of the straits.

    By Blogger Swampcracker, at 1:22 PM  

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