I never really knew I felt about the whole Cuban-U.S. relations until recently.
As a kid growing up, I heard about the tenets of Communism and frankly it all sounded GRRREAT to me. Especially in light of the Christian teachings I heard growing up about how Christ was for ALL people, and this semi-universalist slant was taught in the church and in my house by my parents. As I got older and actually read Marx’s words and had seen the effects of Communism versus Democracies, I started to see that if I had to pick between the two, I’m sure I would go with Democracy any day. Personally, the biggest flaw I see with Communism is that it’s too much room left for dictatorships and despotism to take place in the governmental heads.
Since I’m not a fan of the autocratic government, nor the plutocracy that seems to have manifested itself in the form of a Democratic Republic here in the United States, I think a Democratic Socialist government would be a nice fit for this country.
Say what you want, say what you will this is my blog. (I’ll defend that statement later on sometime in a whole blog.)
Moving right along….
I was talking to one of my friends earlier this semester and he was telling me about how one of our professors, whom he TAs for had ran into a Cuban-American in his field of study at this conference out of the country and that he prefaced a comment to her at a dinner table that “Oh, you’re Cuban? So you defected from the revolution?”
I just laughed.
Prevailing pop culture was that former President Fidel Castro stepped onto a scene that was fraught with chaos and coup after coup on the island and restored order on the idea of dealing with the unemployment numbers and addressing the stark differences between the poor and the rich despite the large middle class that had been established on the island by 1959. Moreover, no doubt that Castro’s communist associations at least leveled the playing field for those readily identified as negro on the island, it still hasn’t exactly bared out according to plan.
What Fidel Castro ultimately did was create an autocracy that he ran gangsta. I mean, let’s bow down at the man’s feet. He single-handedly receives all the credit for telling the U.S. to effectively kiss his Cuban ass for half a century. Am I in favor of state-run newspapers, radios and television stations? Of course not. Am I condoning the probably torture that has taken place against dissidents of the Castro regime? Hell no. But, still it seems that those who “left the revolution” did so because their way of life was being taken away from them.
I remember watching the crowds of over a million people celebrate for something in Cuba, and also watching the various travel channels go to Cuba, and I’m sorry people, but I never saw the scores of unhappy people that many Cuban Americans claim to be wandering the streets. Say what you want, say what you will, but I think a good half of this is propaganda on behalf of the empire of the United States.
Kudos to President Barack Obama for saying that this amounts to a bunch of tomfoolery by having such major embargoes on this country. A sovereign nation that’s been forced to honor a decree from 1902 that gives the U.S. the land space at Guantanamo Bay and ultimately had to deal with unnecessary U.S. involvement up until the Bay of Pigs and subsequent Cuban Missile Crisis incident and finally the U.S. got the hint that Castro was NOT to be effed with in any shape form or fashion. I mean if the shoe was on the other foot, wouldn’t many Americans do the same thing? Oh yeah, I forgot we just got out of eight years of said policy. Think Iraq. ’Nuff said.
Let me be clear, I’m not touting Cuba as some paradise we should all emulate, not at all, but I really do question how and why some leave, but so many stay back. Is it really attributed to the syndrome that has been associated with Harriet Tubman’s famous saying “I would have freed more if they only knew they were slaves.” Or is it that that those who left were so entranced by the trappings of capitalism and a free-market empire that they just had to come here the best way they knew how.
I always view Cuba in one of the following ways:
1. I personally remember the early nineties and hearing about the whole Haitian problem and how they were NOT keen on accepting nationals who were fleeing from the coup of Jean-Bertrand Aristide the first time back in 1991, but hearing about how they were still keeping the “wet foot, dry foot” practice in full effect down in the Keys off of the Florida peninsula. I just remember hearing about the scores of Haitians trying to make it just to Cuba and away from all of the fighting and violence that had erupted following the Duvalier family dictatorship and the first free elections in Haiti.
What was keen to me was just how the bias of Haiti, which has a recognized 90% black population to Cuba’s 12% (2+/-), to that of Cubans. It was the white Cubans who were fleeing to Florida and making a living.
2. The whole Elian Gonzales scandal. We, in America, really tried our best to make that poor boy a political token. That was nothing more than a big power play. Had that been any other Latin American country, even Venezuela, no questions would have been asked, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have made the news except locally.
From there, I’ve viewed the whole diplomacy, or rather lack thereof between these two countries and I must say that Obama is taking the step in the right direction. Whereas I could understand the argument that many hold as far as Obama saying that he’d “sit down and talk” with leaders such as Irani Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for instance, because of the expressed belligerence on his behalf, but neither Castro has expressed sentiments in quite some time that could even been interpreted as bellicose; Cuba poses no threat to the U.S.
So why do we still have trade embargoes on Cuba?
Seriously, what does it profit Cuba? Clearly they’ve survived since the arms embargo of 1958. And most certainly what does it profit the U.S. as a country to not do business with Cuba?
I think many critics fail to see that the U.S. beginning with Nixon and through the Reagan administration had begun this type of isolationism. Not quite the isolationism of the thirties with reference to World War II, but a type of ideological isolationism that gives off the air of empire. Empires believe that they are the only enlightened nation. This is not just simple, garden variety nationalism that we see on a day to day basis from smaller countries, but rather the result of empire-minded leaders. While Obama has assumed the head of an empire and still has some questionable actions that support the Empire of the United States, his approach toward Cuba and foreign policy does ring with anti-empire sentiments.
Fact of the matter is that right now, the U.S. has no political capital with the rest of the world. Whatever Clinton hadn’t done to piss off foreign leaders, Bush made sure to come back around and step all in it. Our credibility on the world stage was shot all to hell and gone. Even with his popularity alone, Obama has left many other countries on tip-toe anticipation as to what change in direction he’s going to make. Fact of the matter is that the U.S. would get away from this manifest destiny bullcrap that hearkens back to the era of the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary and the Clark Memorandum, all of which are evident of the hegemonic practices of this nation which we call home.
I mean hell, John F. Kennedy was invoking the damn Monroe Doctrine, c. 1823 in order to justify the embargo on Cuba. So, from 1823 to 1962, we were still operating on the same code of ethics? What the crap?
Whew! Sorry, that was a tangent.
What I was trying to say was that, by lifting this embargo, the sovereign nations in our own backyard–in the Caribbean and Latin America–will have much more respect for us. As opposed to having to view us as some random specter of a benevolent dictator, maybe they will be able to see us as an equal and fellow nation.
So, to those who left the revolution, what are you really willing to fight for? Merely things that point to my material wealth or something greater than that. I guess it’s your choice. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not all that damn impressed.
What do you think about Cuba-U.S. relations? Do you think Obama’s going in the right direction with his current approach toward Cuba? Do you think Raul Castro has taken the right approach of “it’s all or nothing” with Obama? Should the US ultimately lift the embargo?
Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL