Thursday, December 18, 2014

On Cuba, Obama and Conservative Hypocrisy

[Photo from The Famous People]

It's about time.  No, it's way past time!

What follows is from Shakesville:

"The United States and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. The announcement came amid a series of sudden confidence-building measures between the longtime foes, including the release of American prisoner Alan Gross, as well as a swap for a U.S. intelligence asset held in Cuba and the freeing of three Cubans jailed in the U.S. Gross arrived at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington late Wednesday morning. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro were to separately address their nations around noon. The two leaders spoke by phone for more than 45 minutes Tuesday, the first substantive presidential-level discussion between the U.S. and Cuba since 1961."

Finally!  I have always thought our policy toward Cuba which evolved when we dropped support for the dictator Batista as he fled the land, and turned toward Castro only to dissavow him when his growing affinity for "Communism" became evident, was not only misplaced, but outright wrong!

And stupid!

But, in south Miami there is a contingent of anti-Castro Cubans and their descendants - many of whom were quite happy with Batista as they had become wealthy and powerful under his dictatorial regime, but lost it all when Castro came to power - who for years have fought every attempt to modify the U.S. position toward Cuba.

The U.S. position included open hostility, economic embargo, the discontinuation of diplomatic relations, and discouragement of any travel between the two countries or communication between Cubans in the U.S. and their families in Cuba.

One of the silliest actions was the ban on Cuban cigars!

Our position over these many years cemented Cuba's hatred for the U.S., created terrible economic hardship for much of Cuba's population, and gave our enemies around the world more ammunition to use against us.

Communism is a failed system.  We've known that from the beginning and it has failed over and over again.  That doesn't mean that every Communist country is going to become capitalistic and democratic overnight or ever.  China many never become a democratic society in the same way the US is a democratic society, but major changes have occurred there over the years so it is a much more open society and its economy has been modified to include some capitalistic characteristics.  It remains, however, a communist country!

But we haven't dared act on what we knew.  The anti-Commie neo-cons in this country are too strong and too numerous and what president or Congressperson doesn't want to be reelected?  The Miami Cuban bloc was always a threat to anyone who came out in favor of mitigating our stance on Cuba; in fact it was courting political death.

Jeb Bush, ex-governor of Florida, who made a mess out of that state, and now wants to be a another "Bush" president, criticized President Obama for restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba.   This is, he whined, a "dramatic overreach" of executive authority.

Jeb said "Cuba is a dictatorship with a disastrous human rights record, and now President Obama has rewarded those dictators."  It's going to hurt the Cuban people but help the "heinous Castro brothers."

Marco Rubio, the dim bulb Senator from the Miami area, who has lied in the past as to how his father came to this country from Cuba, implying he was fleeing persecution from a terrible regime when in fact he sailed to the U.S. in 1956 (before Castro) without incident, has also thrown in his two cents.  Obama's move, which rewards "the Castro regime," is inexplicable, saith Marco.  Furthermore, as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Western Hemisphere subcommittee, he intends to "make every effort" to block Obama's normalization action.

Another wacko on the far right, Teddy Cruz, is also whining and complaining about Obama's "overreach," and Obama's flirtation with Communism, and is terribly pissed off to think that our President would reward terrible dictators like Fidel and Raul.

The hypocrisy is mind-boggling.  None of these people have bitched about our continuing support of dictators throughout Latin America or elsewhere.  So long as the U.S. could buy the dictators, they became our dictators and "good" guys because with enough money passing into their hands they would seek to protect American business interests in their countries.  The only time the conservatives in Congress gave a damn about a dictatorship anywhere was when the dictator stopped doing our bidding!

The Bush family really has no clothes.  They've been in bed with the Saudi rulers for many, many years because of a mutual interest in money and oil.  Anyone who thinks Geo. W. Buski led our troops off to die in Iraq was because of WMDs or the terrible Saddam is terribly misled. Bushki's Iraqi adventure was a way to guarantee that Iraqi oil went to the right place as dictated by Saudi Arabia!  Hell, Saddam, terrible dictator that he was, remained our friend for years and we basically armed his army, which, ironically, gave him the firepower he needed to at least resist our military incursions into his land after he fell out of our favor.

If there is any country with a worse record on human rights than Saudi Arabia, such country would be hard to find.  Some 50% of the Saudi population are treated as chattel without any of the rights we consider necessary for human and humane life - the Saudi women.  Yet Saudi remains on the A-list so far as the U.S. is concerned!

And China is no paragon of human rights, yet these conservative hucksters in the U.S. have no problem with our continuing diplomatic relations with that country.  They've even made it easier for American companies to flee to China to manufacture products which rake in huge profits when they're sold back in the United States.

Rubio's staff and the staff of another rabid anti-Castro Republican in South Florida, Ros-Lehtinen, went on a junket to China recently - a junket that included luxury hotels and visits to all the great tourist sites such as the Great Wall of China.  These junkets were paid for by the Chinese government and cost upwards of $10 grand per person!

Yet, when Jay Z and Beyonce traveled to Cuba on a U.S. Chamber trip, Rubio bashed them, saying it was "misguided and fraught with peril of becoming a propaganda coup for the Castro regime - to the detriment of America's strategic interest in protecting human rights around the world, as well as the Cuban people."

And that, Mr. Rubio, is hypocritical bullshit!  What fools are these conservative twits.  Everyone knows we support all kinds of dictators and always have.  Everyone knows Rubio's concern with "protecting human rights" is a display of hypocrisy that boggles the mind!

We cannot remake the world in our own image.  We've tried over and over again and we've failed miserably.  The fact is democracy is not in the future for much of the world.  We are learning that we must accept that and try to find a way to live amicably so we don't end up killing everyone on earth and destroying the planet in the process.

In an essay titled "Under Western Eyes" by John Gray in the November 2014 issue of Harper's magazine, he claims "All Western mainstream political parties and sections of opinion hold to a creed in which tyranny and empire are relics of the past, ethnic nationalism is fading away, and the rise of militant religion is a temporary aberration."

Unfortunately, that creed is a crock.  "The practical upshot" of this thinking "has been a type of evangelical democracy, and the principal legacy a litter of failed states."

And that's why, later in the essay, he comments "The West has yet to acknowledge the possibility that it is going to live with an authoritarian Russia indefinitely."  He might as well have said "Cuba" instead of Russia.  And we've lived with an authoritarian Cuba since 1960!  We've lived with other authoritarian states just as long or longer!

Thinking that given enough time, people in these states, seeing the advantages of democracy, are going to rise up and demand change is a false hope.  Gray refers to the American historian, Barbara Tuchman, who noted in her 1984 book, The March of Folly, that "many of history's catastrophes have been the result of hubristic policies that should have been known in advance to be unworkable or self-defeating.  Much that the West has done over the past quarter-century can be described in this way."

Certainly our policy toward Cuba can be so described.

My point is that had we treated Cuba, not as our enemy, but as our close neighbor (only 90 miles from Key West), worthy of recognition and a smidgen, at least, of respect, it is likely that we could have developed a positive relationship which would have benefited both countries, and created one hell of a lot less heartache for all concerned!


William Kendall said...

From outside America, the American policy towards Cuba has been baffling. The embargo's been nonsensical, but all sides were too scared of offending that Miami Cuban community and thus scaring off votes.

The Anti-Castro members of that community are some of the more undemocratic people you will see in America- they allow no compromise, no differing views. For that, they've held American policy where Cuba was concerned hostage since the revolution.

They no doubt believe they'll be welcomed back, but I think the Cuban people are well aware that much of the fault for this nonsense lies with those exiles.

Lowell said...

Thanks, William. You are so right; one thing I didn't include was the fact that many of the south Miami bunch are totally corrupt!

Buttermilk Sky said...

Remember how the right lost its mind back in 1972, when Nixon began normalizing relations with China?

Neither do I.

Bob Poris said...

Rubio and others of his ilk, ignorance and Hippocratic blather, speak of returning Cuba to the wonderful days of its democratic life before Castro.

They and their families, endorsed and profited from a brutal dictator that sold Cuba’s wealth off to the American Mobs that paid a percentage to the dictators, business men and plutocrats that kept the people almost in slavery.

The very wealthy left Cuba, taking many millions of dollars with them rather than staying and fighting Castro. They left others behind that thought Castro would bring democracy instead of Communism and tyranny. Our failures with the Bay of Pigs, kept us on a path of isolating Cuba, which only reinforced the Cuban’s desire to seek independence still thinking Castro would eventually relax his hold and they would have freedom. Total dictatorship and crushing rule was their fate, as the US isolated them in the hope Cuba would be starved into submission. Instead Russia and eventually South American dictators helped keep them alive, as did Russia, all hoping to maintain a potential threat to the USA.

The wealthy Cubans in The USA used their money to gain political and lobbying power with false dreams of taking Cuba back for themselves. That will not happen. Few second generation Cuban Americans would return to Cuba and give up their American citizenship, if the old wealthy families returned and took over again, under the guise of guiding them to some form of controlled democratic rule.

Rubio believes his future is in American politics. He’ll stay here unless someday he can gain more in Cuba, if he cannot make it here.

Propaganda and rhetoric are tools to gain power here in the USA and for some to take over Cuba.

We should have used our proven way of gaining friends and influence, by bringing business and technology to a destitute and desperate people. Our right wingers will find ways to profit by fighting Obama, as usual. Politics will remain a war between our parties and for awhile the Cuban issue will remain a good media and partisan battle. Few care what happens to Cuba other than Cubans.

Bob Poris said...

Wouldn’t it be nice if Congress used the same laws and logic to apply to all nations, groups, etc, that they do to a select few that are no better than Cuba and some that are actually worse?

We pick and choose and help many that should have been condemned years ago. It has little to do with democracy, human rights, fairness, etc.

The two Castro’s are quite elderly and not long for this world anyway. Will the changes help or not. We shall have to wait and see.The Cuban people will still be there in any case.

Bob Poris said...

As usual. He is so right on!

I guess they loved the dictatorship they had before. Castro wasn’t good, but he did not sell the country to the American Mob and share in the profits. Those that profited and remained alive, want their country back in their hands and to keep the benefits they arrived in the USA with. Many left early and took their wealth with them. The people stayed and got Castro and kept their poverty and another dictatorship, Some even received education and health care. The jailers and government employees, if they lived, got something.

Maybe things will be better if we join the rest of the world trading or whatever. Talking might work better than whatever we have been doing or not doing all these years.

Rubio and others will stay here and talk, while enjoying life here. The Cuban people will have to do what they can with a little more help. It cannot be worse for them so they can have some hope for a change.

opinions powered by