Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Nearly 50 years of hopes crushed and lives postponed; a generation already buried and another on the way to extinction; our country in ruins and our people still trapped amid those ruins, our only friend is the clock and also our worst enemy, for its marches bring us closer to the day of our country's deliverance but also shorten our own days. Forty-nine years we have stood on the threshold of the New Year and prayed that that the evil that was born with this day might pass with it. Forty-nine years we have been disappointed. There is always a margin for hope and despair will do no more for us than can hope.

So let us raise our glasses again with the same familiar toast, now unspoken but still as deeply felt.

May this year change everything but our abiding love for country and our boundless faith in our countrymen.

Happy New Year 2008

"Va, Pensiero"

¡Vuela pensamiento, con alas doradas,
pósate en las praderas y en las cimas
donde exhala su suave fragancia
el aire dulce de la tiera natal!
Saluda las orillas del Jordán
y las destruidas torres de Sión.
¡Ay, mi patria, tan bella y abandonada!
¡Ay, recuerdo tan grato y fatal!

Arpa de oro de los fatídicos vates,
¿por qué cuelgas muda del sauce?
Revive en nuestros pechos el recuerdo,
¡háblanos del tiempo que fue!
¡Canta un aire de crudo lamento
al destino de Jerusalén,
o que te inspire el Señor una melodía
que nos infunda valor en nuestro padecimiento!

To listen to the lament of the Hebrew slaves for their lost homeland, click here:

Verdi's "Va, Pensiero," or Chorus of the Slaves, from the opera Nabucco

The Fruits of Rapprochement with Communist Cuba

The first thing that Raúl Castro had to prove to the Cuban people was that the restoration of diplomatic relations with the United States would not lead to even a nominal improvement in the human or civil rights of his slaves, and he is proving it by cracking down on Cuba's leading dissidents even more arbitrarily and ruthlessly than usual.

It is likewise a warning to Obama not to demand more than he got, which was nothing. No prior-conditions means no prior-conditions and no concessions means no concessions. This is the deal that Obama struck with Castro, and Castro expects and demands that the neophyte president uphold it to the letter, which, given Obama's silence, is precisely what he intends to do. Obama in fact is so strict in his interpretation of the terms of his capitulation to Castro that he does not even dare to say one word on behalf of those being trammeled in Cuba because he decided that Cuba's dissidents were expendable, just as JFK decided at the Bay of Pigs that the freedom fighters were expendable, and again as he decided in the Kennedy-Khrushchev Pact that all Cubans were expendable.

Although there was no clause in the Obama-Castro Pact that addressed human rights by name or implication, its supporters assumed that the mere existence of any agreement, especially one wholly beneficial to the regime, would guarantee at least a certain discretion on its part when it came to upping the level of repression. But, on the contrary, the agreement provided Castro with an excuse to accelerate it, not that he ever needed one. Note also the utter contempt which Castro has shown for his camp followers abroad: as if it were not hard to defend the indefensible without also having to respond to every new usurpation in real time,  They don't have the luxury any more of claiming that there is more in this agreement than meets the eye, and that, by-the-by, there will be pie in the sky for all Cubans.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Will Cuba Ever Free Again? Parts I & II

SATURDAY, MAY 17, 2008

Will Cuba Ever Be Free Again?

Part I

Will Cuba ever be free again?

Of course.

There is no doubt that she will be free someday.

Those for whom this assurance is enough, whose vision and faith is Mosaic, should stop reading here.

We have wandered in the desert somewhat longer than Moses did; or, rather, we have wandered away from the desert that has become our homeland in the hope of being able to return there in the fullness of time. That is the remarkable thing about time which we didn't need Einstein to explain to us: it is always expanding. Yet we ourselves are not. Those of us who have already expanded (and expended) fifty years in the hope of catching up with our country's destiny, returning to that desert and making it blossom again, as it once did, cannot cherish the hope of being gardeners there or even of witnessing its blossoming beyond the days of man. Time for us is definitely finite. The nearer we come to the horizon the less time there is left for us to meet it.

So the original question must be rephrased:

Will we live to see a free Cuba?

Is that hope still tenable?

Not for all of us, not even for most of us. Perhaps not even for any of us.

It really does depend on one's individual expectations, that is, how one chooses to define "free." The more you define freedom down, the closer your definition is to the present system (i.e. the negation of freedom), the closer you are to seeing that day. If consumer freedom suffices, then Cubans have already set out on the road to "freedom" with the Chinese model as their ultimate though unreachable goal. If new faces are all that is required, then there will be many new faces in the immediate future, and more importantly, the old familiar detestable faces of communism will all be gone soon if not the thing itself. If that is enough to meet your definition of freedom, then you are that much closer to the "freedom" you desire. If a re-built Cuba, with skyscrapers as high as Shanghai's and state-corporativism (also known as fascism) in full-throttle thanks to a sympathetic U.S. president that will do for Cuba what Nixon did for China (except without prior conditions), then your dream of a "free" Cuba may be here as soon as November. If you believe that tyranny can evolve into something other and preferable to tyranny without guns and against the wishes of a regional hagemon which considers stability preferable to freedom in Cuba, then what are you doing here when the best perspective from which to witness that evolution is there?

If, however, you belong to the majority of Cuban exiles unwilling to make any accommodation with the evil that destroyed our country, or to tolerate a thriving tyranny more than an impoverished one, if progress means to you the fulfillment of man's thriving to be free rather the State's striving to be omnipotent, if you want the best for Cuba and not merely what others would settle for as good enough for our country, our wait has just begun.

TUESDAY, MAY 20, 2008

Will Cuba Ever Be Free Again? (Part II)

Part II

I have already dedicated an essay to explaining why I believe there has been no internal insurrection in Cuba in the last 49 years. Fortunately for us, there doesn't have to be one for our country to regain her freedom because the Castro regime is not and has never been sustained by internal forces.

It is not the Cuban people who are the bulwark of Castro's anti-Cuban Revolution. On the contrary, it is their willingness to sabotage it at any and all moments that has kept it in a state of near collapse for almost 50 years, not just the monumental incompetence of Fidel Castro or the irredeemable insanity of Marxist economics. The Cuban people's spontaneous and near-unanimous resolve to do everything in their power to abet the failure of the revolutionary project would have toppled the regime long ago if the Revolution had ever relied on domestic sources for its survival. In fact, it never has. The Cuban Revolution is not nationalistic in origin or trajectory. It is and has always been an international enterprise sponsored and sustained by foreigners.

Left to its own resources, it would not have survived under any guise but crumbled under the weight of the collective incompetence of its leaders and the resistance of the people. But it was never alone. The U.S., which installed Castro in power, has maintained him there for 49 years and counting. If its nominal opposition favored the regime, the U.S. was there to provide it. If it did not, the U.S. was ready to dispense with any opposition. When Castro said the embargo was meaningless and proclaimed loudly to the world that Cuba did not need the U.S. for anything, the U.S. obliged by maintaining the embargo. When Soviet subsidies stopped and Castro blamed all of Cuba's problems on the embargo, the U.S. relaxed and eventually gutted the embargo to oblige him.

At the most crucial moment in Cuban history, with Castro posed to obliterate the island in what amounted to the first recorded case of "suicide by cop," the U.S., again, blinked. Rather than undertake the removal of the cause of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Americans were content merely to barter for the withdrawal of the instrumentalities. The Kennedy-Khrushchev pact was purchased at the price of our country's perpetual enslavement, for JFK, after betraying us at the Bay of Pigs, agreed to make the U.S. the guarantor of Communism in Cuba, in effect ceding our country to the Soviet Union much as Great Britain had ceded Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany in 1938. Yet the same act of betrayal, which is a source of shame for Britain today, has long been held to be the finest moment in U.S. statecraft. Some nations, it would appear, are more expendable than others.

The Soviet Union underwrote the Cuban Revolution for nearly 30 years, which no doubt contributed to its own economic collapse and hastened the end of Communism in Eastern Europe. It did not, however, bring freedom to the Cuban people. Others were ready and even anxious to take Russia's place. China and all the Western nations, in fact, did their bit to perpetuate Castro's rule. Canada and Spain, which with Mexico have always endeavored to undermine the interests of the U.S. by their support of Castro, resurrected Cuba's tourism industry as the panacea that would save the Cuban Revolution. Despite defaulting on all its foreign obligations and a more than 20-year hiatus on servicing its foreign debt, Communist Cuba was never cut off but continued to be the beneficiary of what amounted to subsidies from countries that periodically purported to deplore its human rights abuses but still underwrote Castro's rule. Even Third World countries have subsidized Castro by contracting for the services of his slaves. This would not have sufficed to sustain the regime if a historical anomaly called Hugo Chávez had not come to Castro's rescue in the hope of some day replacing him.

If Barack Obama is elected president, the Cuban Revolution shall have a new lease on life. The unnecessary sacrifices it has inflicted on the Cuban people will be rewarded in a measure that shall surpass Castro's fondest expectations. The wait has been long, but not a difficult one for the Cuban hierarchy, which always placed their creature comforts before the necessities of the Cuban people. Now they are to be confirmed in all their prerogatives by the United States and accorded not only recognition but vindication. The surrender of the U.S., without prior conditions, has always been Castro's goal and the only terms acceptable to him. Obama has announced that he will negotiate with Castro unconditionally. I am sure that this promise is the only thing that is keeping Fidel alive.

If instead of abetting Castro for nearly 50 years, the U.S. and the rest of the world had opposed his rule, the efforts of the Cuban people to undermine his regime by what amounts to the longest sustained period of passive resistance in history -- the only resistance open to Cubans -- would have liberated them without firing one shot. But that kind of worldwide effort was reserved for another pariah state, South Africa, which, incidentally, is now engaged in the systematic slaughter, almost amounting to genocide, of all foreigners in their country (no, not the whites, but 3 million blacks refugees from Zimbabwe and other African countries).

For Cuba to be free again, the world must not engage Cuba; it must quit Cuba. It is that simple. If in the last half-century the Cuban Revolution has proved anything other than its depravity, it has shown, beyond a doubt, that it is completely unequipped to survive on its own. The Cuban people have done everything in their power to contribute to their own liberation by undermining the system that oppresses them. But that will never be enough while the rest of the world, including the U.S., is complicit in their enslavement.
Reprinted from the Review of Cuban-American Blogs:
Part I
Part II

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cuba Is Now More Hopeless than North Korea

For the last 55 years, with the exception of the North Koreans, no people on earth has undergone physical and psychological torture as unrelenting and horrific as that which Cubans have endured at Castro's hands. There might have been in that time regimes which were sporadically more brutal, but for sustained and consistent suffering without the least hope of relief in the near or distant future, Cubans stand alone in the Western world and are only bested by an oriental satrapy.

An argument can even be made that North Koreans are actually better situated than Cubans at least in respect to the future. Civilized countries look upon North Korea as an unqualified menace to world peace and the international order and there is only one country with a bested interest in its survival (China). With Communist Cuba, no nation except the U.S. ever regarded or treated it as a pariah state, though, unlike North Korea's, Cuba's crazy ruling family actually brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation and its mercenaries disturbed the peace of two continents for decades.

Now Obama has unilaterally, without imposing prior conditions or obtaining concessions of any kind, granted Castro & Co. a free pass to continue exploiting and brutalizing the Cuban people and even promised that the U.S. will join the other foreign despoilers in the literal and figurative rape of the island and its hapless people. The world, in perfect unanimity, applauded Obama's decision to extend a lifeline to the Castro regime just as Venezuela's was fraying and about to snap.

What would have been the world's reaction if Obama had recognized the North Korean regime and resumed trade with it? He would have been  praised, no doubt, in certain unlikely quarters, by America's enemies and other outlaw states, who are North Korea's only friends. But the civilized world would have recoiled in horror at the prospect of a North Korea with the means to carry out what it has so far only threatened or attempted with calamitous results (its perennially self-destructing missiles that may one day not implode).

If  Obama had done for North Korea what he has for Communist Cuba, the U.S. would have forfeited one of its last claims to world leadership. By the way, such a renunciation may actually be in the offing since when Obama leaves office he wants the U.S. to be as unexceptional (i.e. amoral) as any other country, or, indeed, more so, since the U.S. has it in its power to be a force for good or evil in the world to a greater degree than any other nation. The failure to exercise that power for good is tantamount to placing it at the service of evil, as Obama has done in Cuba.

Until that happens to North Korea as well and even if never happens there, Cuba will remain the oldest and most hopeless victim of American foreign policy. North Koreans, at least, have half a country that is still free and is ready and able to do for their brothers what the West Germans did for the East Germans at the time of reunification.

Cubans are more alone in the world now than they have ever been. Their brothers in exile are powerless to help them recover their freedom, but have now been granted permission by Obama to flood the island with dollars that will ultimately find their way into the coffers of the regime and be used to modernize its means of repression.

The price for helping their families to survive on the island is to sustain the regime that makes it impossible for them ever to be self-sufficient much less prosperous. The better fed that Cubans are thanks to their relatives' largesse, the better equipped the regime will be to crush any and all dissent. A mouthful of food equals a bullet, and whoever provides sustenance to his brother also furnishes the tyrant with the means to end his life. No scheme as diabolical was ever devised for the enslavement of man. It is almost a perpetual motion machine with a self-exploding mechanism which functions inside the body of every man, woman and child.

As the Kennedy-Khrushchev Pact proved, the U.S. can extend indefinitely the political viability of even the most dysfunctional country by vowing to respect its dysfunction. The lifting of the trade embargo will further demonstrate that it can animate even the corpse of the Cuban economy and make it work — at least for those who own and control it.

The Armageddon has arrived in Cuba.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Liberal Columnist Miguel Pérez Lambastes Obama for Betrayal of Cuba

'When Cuba Is Free Again'

Columnist Miguel Pérez, an advocate of illegal immigrants and their "rights," who usually sides with Obama's positions on everything and only criticizes him when the incumbent is not pushing the liberal agenda fast enough for his liking, has finally noticed his idol's feet of clay, but only when he was kicked in the teeth while worshiping thereat. Miguel has always been a good Cuban patriot, but was addicted to a long-discredited ideal of "pan-American solidarity" which has never existed on the continent and certainly does not exist within the borders of the United States. The solidarity of other Hispanics, nationally and internationally, is reserved not for the Cuban people but for their oppressors. Supporting the oppressors requires nothing of them but lip service, whereas defending the oppressed entails a moral commitment which, if sincere, cannot stop at mere words. 

Some 54 years ago, when I was a 10-year-old Cuban farm boy, my parents sat me down at the kitchen table and gave me lecture I will never forget.

"We want you to grow up to be a free man," my father told me. "And so we are moving to the United States," my mother explained.

I had a million questions and implied objections. What about my childhood friends? Would I ever see them again? Would I have to learn English, attend American schools, eat American food? And most importantly, when would we return?

"When Cuba is free again," my father said in Spanish. "Cuando Cuba sea libre," my mother confirmed. Obviously, I still have some waiting to do. President Barack Obama's remarkable capitulation to Cuba's socialist dictatorship last week certainly does not meet my parents' definition of freedom. In fact, our astonishingly naive president may have prolonged the day when Cubans are truly free.

At a time when dropping oil prices were threatening to dry up Cuba's remaining lifeline from Venezuela, Obama threw a lifesaver to the Castro brothers without any assurance that they will stop repressing the Cuban people. Obama practically guaranteed that Cuban human rights will continue to be violated and that the Cuban people will continue to be deprived of the freedom my parents sought when they brought me here.

My parents and I came to the United States on April 7, 1962. I was 11 years old. Now they reside in a Miami cemetery, along with my brother, grandparents, aunts and uncle. They all died in Florida waiting for Cuba to be free again. They never returned, and neither have I — and I'm proud to live by their principles.

On several occasions, as a journalist, I've had opportunities to return to Cuba with all expenses paid. I've had editors who tried to pressure me into accepting assignments in Havana, and I've been able to convince them that long before I became a journalist, I was already Cuban and that my Cuban principles took precedence.

Don't get me wrong; there is nothing I want more than to return to my homeland — at least for a short visit — but not this way, not by capitulating to tyrants as Obama has.

In the deal cut between the Obama administration and the Cuban dictatorship, Cuba released an innocent American (whom it never should have held in the first place) in exchange for three tried and convicted Cuban spies who had been held in U.S. prisons. The Obama administration keeps telling us the exchange was actually for an unnamed (Cuban) CIA spy who had been serving for 20 years in a Cuban prison. But though that may be true, pretending that it would have made the exchange only for an unnamed Cuban — without also obtaining the release of American contractor Alan Gross — is an insult to our intelligence. Gross' release had been sought by the Obama administration for several years.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration keeps telling us Gross was released by Cuba solely on "humanitarian grounds" — because it doesn't want to acknowledge the terrible precedent it is establishing by negotiating for Gross' release. If releasing innocent Americans becomes the standard by which we make concessions, many other rogue governments are going to start detaining Americans in exchange for such capitulation.

So we are asked to believe that the Cuban government is suddenly "humanitarian" and that Obama gave up the franchise for a player to be named later.

In fact, Obama has been seeking a relationship with the Castro brothers since he became president. It was Cuba that got in his way by continually rejecting any form of concession that would lead to freedom. The dictatorship showed no respect for human rights, kept imprisoning dissidents, allowed no freedom of expression or the press, and restricted civil liberties in ways that most Americans would find intolerable. Government goons were still harassing old ladies dressed in white and carrying flowers as a form of protest.

So what does Obama do? Without any such concession, he not only gives up the three Cuban spies but also vows to establish diplomatic relations with one of the world's most repressive and oldest dictatorships, second only to the one he openly criticizes in North Korea.

And the American news media, with very few exceptions, are cheerfully welcoming detente with Havana, without questioning the price Obama intends to pay or its cost-effectiveness. You see American journalists naively expecting American tourists to take freedom to Cuba, although other tourists who have been visiting Cuba for decades have not been able to ease the government's repression. You see them naively expecting Cuba to turn over the American fugitives it harbors. You hear them expecting Cuba to buy American goods, when they should know that Cuba can only buy on credit, on which it would probably default and which would eventually be subsidized by American taxpayers.

You see journalists more concerned about acquiring Cuban cigars than freedom for the Cuban people. You see opinion writers celebrating our new friendship with a regime that censors critical opinion. It's disgraceful!

If Obama had announced a series of engagements by which the Castro regime would gradually release its choking grip on the Cuban people, if he had some assurance that freedom is on its way, perhaps some gradual U.S. concessions would have been acceptable. But in regard to human rights and civil liberties for the Cuban people, Obama got nada. And in a Havana speech, dictator Raul Castro confirmed that he gave up nada.

"We won the war," Castro declared in a televised speech before his puppet parliament — as if Obama and the American people had surrendered. He said changes in Cuba will need to be gradual so his one-party government can maintain a system of "prosperous and sustainable communism."

In other words, he'll take whatever concessions Obama gives him, as long as he retains absolute control of his Stalinist-style machine of repression.

Of course, we've seen American presidents betray Cuban freedom before. At the Bay of Pigs, John F. Kennedy abandoned a CIA-trained invasion force of Cuban exiles, who expected American air support that never came. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy sold out Cuba's freedom by cutting a deal with the Soviet Union and promising that Cuba would not be invaded from U.S. soil — even by Cuban-Americans. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter allowed the dictatorship to empty its prison and export its worst criminals to the United States. During the Clinton administration, we caved to the dictatorship by giving up a boy — Elian Gonzalez — whose mother drowned while trying to ensure that he would grow up to be a free man. And now Obama, long suspected of socialist tendencies, makes huge overtures to Cuba without obtaining any significant concessions.

Did you notice that all of these American presidents have been Democrats? Does it help you understand why so many Cuban-Americans are so passionately Republican? Sometimes they become excessively Republican, supporting the GOP on issues that negatively affect Latinos and have nothing to do with Cuba. But at times like these, when another Democrat has stabbed them in the back, can you blame them?

Frankly, Republican politicians have given us great lip service and done very little to help the cause of Cuba's freedom. But Democrats have sustained the dictatorship. And Obama is doing it again.

For the past week, although I was supposed to be writing another column reporting on my Great Hispanic American History Tour across the United States, my mind has been driving my fingers to write about Cuba.

When the news gets this personal, when it affects your own values and family history, when you have written hundreds of articles and columns chronicling the suffering of Cubans who also sought to be free, you can't write about anything else — not with a clear conscience.

Frankly, I think I would burst if I weren't able to express myself freely about my homeland this week.

But of course, if you believe the media, I'm now part of a minority of Cuban-Americans — and of all Americans — who still resist diplomatic relations with Cuba. Using polls that are skewed to produce whatever results the pollsters desire, the media keep repeating — like a broken record — that young Cuban-Americans and all Americans are open to detente, whereas only "old guard" Cubans like me are resisting a change in U.S. policy.

Yet even in those skewed polls — including one conducted by the Atlantic Council earlier this year — when all Americans are reminded of the atrocities of the Cuban government and its unwillingness to make concessions, the majority of them still stand firm against shaking the bloody hands of ruthless dictators.

Nevertheless, for standing up for freedom, "old guard' Cuban-Americans are being ostracized in the liberal media.

We are supposed to be dinosaurs standing in the way of progress. So I say, let's establish diplomatic relations; let's lift the economic embargo; let's succumb to dictators. And then let's see what naive supporters of detente will say when the repression continues. It won't take long for Cuba's sad reality to smack them in the face.

Mind you, this is a regime that made 8,410 political arrests in the first 11 months of this year. Only one day before Obama and Castro told the world that they are newfound comrades, the Cuban Coast Guard rammed and sank a boat with 32 people, including children, who were trying to escape the island-prison on board.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope that the monsters ruling Cuba can suddenly turn into angels. I hope I can see a free Cuba before I join my elders in a Miami cemetery. But forgive me for not joining the chorus of new "useful fools," now led by Obama, who believe detente can do away with Cuban repression.

Forgive me for believing that Obama has diminished my chances of seeing a free Cuba again.

As a 10-year-old boy, I questioned my parents' reasoning for leaving Cuba. But as I grew older, I became increasingly grateful for their decision to allow me to live as a free man and for their letting me live in a country where calling the president a fool will not get me arrested.

Friday, December 26, 2014

In Cleveland, They Also Debate the Cuban Trade Embargo


As an American who lived and studied in Venezuela (pre-Chavez), now living in Argentina for a number of years, I cannot think of a good reason not to begin normalization of relations with Cuba. It just makes so much sense for the U.S. on so many levels. Politically it's a huge win the the U.S. throughout Latin America, a region so important yet neglected. It's been a huge win in public relations from the Caribbean down to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. God knows we could use a few friends in the world, given all we have either offended in the last 13 years. Economically, Cuba is small potatoes. But given its proximity to the U.S. (Key West is closer to Cuba than it is to Miami) and Cuba's symbolic importance politically in the region, there is no better way to remove what influence they have than by gradually bringing them into more normal relations.

The Cold War has been over for 25 years. Cuba isn't an outpost of the old USSR anymore. They lost that sponsor in 1989. They are losing Venezuela as a sponsor because of crashing oil prices. Even if Cuba opens gradually economically at first, political change will follow. The Wall Street Journal fully supports relations and economic ties with Cuba. Other than some understandable feelings of older Cuban Americans and the cries of a few politicians like Ted Cruz and Rubio. There isn't a logical argument against normalizing relations.

Now let's see if Obama follow up for a change. Let's see if this is more than just another lofty speech and an attempt to save his legacy. It's clear that nuclear negotiations with Iran are going nowhere. Relations with powers like China and Russia haven't been this bad in decades. The Middle East is within ruin or on fire. There is no better time to begin the process of bringing Cuba into the society of western nations than now.

Manuel Tellechea

In case you missed it, the end of the Cold War did not result in the liberation of the Cuban people. Cuba may not be "an outpost of the old USSR anymore," but the Kennedy-Khrushchev Pact, which established the United States as the guarantor of Communism in Cuba, is still in place  (Russia, as the successor state of the USSR, inherited all its treaty obligations).

You recognize that the Castro regime is "losing Venezuela as a sponsor because of crashing oil prices," but rather than use that lever to force Castro into democratic concessions that he would not otherwise make except under duress, you prefer to bail the regime out and receive in return no assurances that human rights will improve on the island. It seems that saving the regime is what matters to you, not the survival of the Cuban people. Remarkably, you don't even mention them or their plight in your entire comment.

The fact that the WSJ supports the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba and the end of the embargo simply shows that it caters to the interests of the robber barons who see Cuba as just another market and couldn't care less about the human rights of its people. Certainly Cuban children can sew sneakers for 5 cents an hour just as well as Vietnamese children can, and it would cost a lot less to transport those sneakers to the U.S. from Cuba than it would from Vietnam. There's another "logical argument" for normalizing relations with Communist Cuba.


If you ask Cuban's whether they are better off under Castro or Bautista, I wonder what the answer would be. The issue is for 50 years we isolated Cuba in the hope that it would bring down Castro and it didn't work. Try something different. The Cuban refugees in this country are still mad because they had to give up their property and status to flee for their lives. If they were so good to the average Cuban, why did they flee to the USA?

Manuel Tellechea

Yes, why can't the Cuban people freely express what they think about Castro in democratic elections? Because Castro won't let them. The Cuban Revolution was predicated on the restoration of democracy. Instead, Castro installed a Stalinist regime which denied all civil and human rights to the Cuban people and reduced a country which once had the third highest GNP in the Western Hemisphere to a pauper state. One must have the greatest contempt for Castro's victims, and, indeed, think of them as something less than human, to believe that the only choice that they should ever have is between Batista and Castro. BTW, Batista died more than 40 years ago, and his supporters today, if he has any, are older than Fidel Castro. I suppose, however, that when Poland was still a captive nation you argued that its only choice was between Stalin and Hitler.


Your points are understood but the US has long had normal relations with countries that deny basic rights to their citizens.  The entire Middle East -- sans Israel -- for starters.  China too.  The embargo is useless.

Manuel Tellechea

This is your argument: "I am friends with my neighbor who beats his wife, and because I want to be fair, I must befriend every wife beater even those who are not my friends."


But seriously, if we're going by morals we already trade with much worse countries.

Manuel Tellechea

If you were going by morals, you wouldn't.


Yep. We support some of the most oppressive regimes in the world, e.g. China, Saudi Arabia -- yet there is hardly a whimper of protest. But if Cuba had oil -- or made all the crap we buy at WalMart -- there would never have been an embargo. I'm not saying the Castro regime has been good -- but they have been no worse than many of the totalitarian regimes we support. It's time to move on already. What good is an embargo when every other country in the world still trades with Cuba? It's madness.

Manuel Tellechea

And has the fact that "every other country in the world still trades with Cuba" resulted in the restoration of democracy there? Has swarms of Canadian and Euro-trash tourists (as well as 600,000 Americans in the last 5 years) resulted in any improvement in human rights on the island? It seems that engagement with the Castro regime yields absolutely nothing that would justify consorting with its tyrants. Why, then, taint yourself by underwriting those tyrants and perpetuating their tyranny? Supporting the regime by extending diplomatic recognition to it or trading with it shows only your contempt for the Cuban people, its victims.


Euro-trash tourists? My, you have a way with words! and 600 thousand Americans? I'd like to see some support for that figure--it sounds grossly inflated. Who said anything about underwriting tyrants? The embargo has done NOTHING.

 Deal with it.

Manuel Tellechea

I could provide you with all the documentation that you want for that figure. But what would be the point? Would you admit that you were wrong and that trade and tourism will only prop-up the regime rather than reform it? And Euro-trash tourists, as I'm sure you know, are the middle-aged male pedophiles who flock to Cuba to enjoy with impunity those "people to people contacts"  that they dare not chance at home. In your mind, of course, these degenerates and their American counterparts will constitute a literal beachhead for democracy in Cuba.


If Cuba had oil this would have been done years ago. I hope this doesn't hurt Paul's presidential campaign.

Manuel Tellechea

If Communist Cuba had oil, it wouldn't need to be bailed out. 

Potential Republican Presidential Candidates at Odds Over U.S. Lifting the Cuban Embargo

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What is a Cuban "Hardliner?"

I have never met a Cuban "softliner" either on the right or on the left. The Cuban who supports rapprochement with the Castro regime is fully as dogmatic and intransigent as the Cuban who opposes it. Yet it is only the anti-Castro Cubans that are called "hardliners" by the media. The pro-Castro hardliners are always referred to as "moderates." Apparently, "moderate" defines any position that does not hold Fidel Castro accountable for his crimes while "intransigent" means any position that does.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pilgrim's Progress; or, How Christian Learned to Love The Embargo

Christian C. said:

You must admit that there is no great solution to this dilemma, but there is a least-bad one. If the embargo remains, the Castro regime stays in power and the Cuban people continue to suffer. If the embargo is removed, the Castro regime stays in power and the Cuban people continue to suffer, but perhaps a bit less than before, and definitely not under the fiction that the Goliath to the north is responsible for their plight.

Cuban exiles who haven't been to Cuba in decades underestimate how widespread this myth is in Cuba (and rightfully so). It makes them feel as if they are trapped between Scylla and Charybdis. If you remove the embargo, there can be no doubt to Cubans that the Castro regime is the enemy, not the United States. If you keep it, you give the Castro regime the lifeblood that has sustained it for half a century.

The cases of China and Vietnam are instructive. Communist Parties in both countries were far more bloodthirsty than Castro, responsible for the deaths of millions including, in Vietnam's case, thousands of Americans; and in China, the world's greatest famine. The absurdity that we've restored relations with those more horrible regimes and not Cuba aside, the restoration of diplomatic and economic ties with China and Vietnam hasn't put an end to those regimes but undoubtedly resulted in more economic opportunity and less material deprivation for the Chinese and Vietnamese people.

Ironically, the hostile policy towards Cuba championed by hardline Cuban exiles has been one of the greatest contributors to the Castro regime's longevity. Some Cuban exiles realize all of this more than they let on, leading me to believe that this is no more than another pathetic machista contest to see who has the bigger dick.


Your intentions are good and you are better informed about conditions in Communist Cuba than most. I suspect also that you are very young (as evidenced in your observation about relative penis size, which is rather puerile), so I will treat you differently from the agents provocateur who have lately opined on the subject of the embargo and do my best to educate rather than mock you.

All Cubans on the island, from the youngest to the oldest, know that Fidel Castro is alone responsible for the destruction of their country and for the miserable quality of their lives. If anyone told you otherwise it is because he does not trust you. After 55 years of practicing dissimulation as a survival tactic, Cubans are quite adept at telling foreigners exactly what they want to hear and nothing that would compromise their safety or that of their loved ones. When you visit Cuba consider yourself to be a member of the Red Cross inspecting one of the Nazis' "model" concentration camps. How glowingly the inmates spoke of their lives there. Why they even policed themselves without the need of keeping guards at the gates. The enemy was outside the gates; within, they were safe and looked after. Who would ever wish to escape from such an earthly paradise! So the Swiss redactors were told and so they concluded in their report.

Nobody in Cuba blames the United States for the state of Cuba's economy. Even after 55 years of countless betrayals Cubans still look to "the Goliath to the North" for at least personal deliverance. Now this is wrong because they should blame the U.S. for their country's plight, not because of the embargo which does not personally affect any Cuban just as lifting the embargo wouldn't personally benefit any Cuban except the stakeholders in Castro & Company, the family monopoly that owns everything of value on the island; but, rather, Cubans should hold the U.S. responsible because it installed Castro in power; betrayed the freedom fighters at the Bay of Pigs; and agreed in the Kennedy-Khrushchev Pact to act as the guarantor of Communism in Cuba, which is one commitment that the U.S. has kept.

You write that "Communist Parties in both [China and Vietnam] were far more bloodthirsty than [was] Castro." Vietnam's population is 9 times the size of Cuba's and China has 135 times Cuba's population. Even if Castro had succeeded in killing every single Cuban in the world, as he very nearly did during the Missile Crisis, there would still be more victims of Communism in China and Vietnam. But this is simply because Castro has a much smaller theater of operations for his depredations. Still, even within his demographic limitations, Castro has accomplished a great deal in the way of bloodshed. In just his first year in power, Fidel Castro executed more men, women and children than have been put to death for capital crimes in the United States in the last 225 years (or since 1608, if we also count the colonial period). Yes, take a minute to catch your breath; you are going to need it.

According to the census of June 1933, the Jewish population of Germany consisted of 505,000 people. Jews represented less than 1 percent of the total German population of 67 million. Approximately 300,000 German Jews managed to escape before the Holocaust. Of the remaining 205,000, 170,000 were killed in the Holocaust. (Source: The Holocaust Encyclopedia). The Cuban Archive Project has identified and documented 102,000 Cubans killed by Castro (and this number, of course, is always growing).Hitler killed 170,000 German Jews relative to a total German population of 67 million in 1933 (when he took over). Castro has killed 102,000 Cubans out of a total population of 6.6 million (when he took over in 1959). Proportionally, Castro has killed 7 times more Cubans than Hitler did German Jews. Even if we relate Castro’s killings to the current Cuban population (11 million), he has still killed 4 times as many Cubans than Hitler killed German Jews.Moreover, if all the European Jews killed by Hitler (6 million) in all countries to which he extended the Holocaust are taken as a percentage of the total population of Europe, Castro has still killed more Cubans per capita than Hitler killed Jews.

Now, Christian, does the real extent of Castro's genocide really matter to you? If it did you would abandon this ridiculous conceit of yours that a tyrant's morality should be measured by the quantity of pints of blood that he has not spilled.

Your last point does you the least credit of all.

You claim that the "hostility of hardline Cubans" is responsible for maintaining the Castro regime in power. So it is the victims, then, who are to blame for the crimes committed against them by their enemies. If only the Jews or the Cambodians had tried harder to understand the motives of their persecutors, and had walked into the gas chambers or the Killing Fields with a song on their lips and gratitude in their hearts, they might have been spared or subjected to a lesser chastisement. But their presumptuous hostility towards their would-be assassins whet the assassins' appetite for revenge and sealed their fate. If only they had declined to engage in "a machista contest to see who had the bigger dick," but rather tucked their dicks between their legs, or, better yet, cut off the offensive member, they might have lived serene lives as eunuchs without the least trace of that poisonous hostility towards evil that fuels evil.

So when did you put yours on the chopping block?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Nobel Peace Prize for Obama (Again) and Raúl Castro

At the start of his first term, Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for not being George Bush (an award previously conferred on Al Gore for the same reason). Unfortunately, no individual has ever received the same Nobel Prize twice. Otherwise, the Norwegian Nobel Committee would surely have bestowed it yet again on Obama and Raúl Castro for the resumption of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

Perhaps it was to avoid that possibility that the news was announced a week after the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded. It would certainly have been Obama's just deserts to have had his name coupled forever with Raúl's as Henry Kissinger's is with Le Duc Tho's (even though Tho declined the prize). The only reason that Hitler and Neville Chamberlain were not awarded the Peace Prize in 1939 (though both were nominated) was that the ink was not yet dry on their pact before Hitler broke it. The irony of Castro being awarded the prize when no Cuban dissident ever was would also have been priceless and put into relief yet again the utter moral worthlessness of this political lotto with an 8.0 million kronor prize (about $1.5 million dollars).

Next year, however, the Norwegians can award their blodgeld [what else can you call money (geld) from the estate of the inventor of dynamite?]  to Pope Francis, who is credited by both Obama and Castro with this "diplomatic breakthrough" (i.e. moral breakdown). The Peace Prize was never awarded to Pope John Paul II (though Gorbachev got it). Awarding it to Francis would be a "historical reparation" as was the award to the Dalai Lama in 1989,which the then-chairman of the committee said was "in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi," who was never awarded the prize, either. Or perhaps the award can be bestowed on the Vatican as an organization, thereby honoring the previous three pontiffs, all of whom (including John Paul II) campaigned for the restoration of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Cuba and condemned the trade embargo, though not the tyrannical rule of the Castro dynasty.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Cuban Trade Embargo: On the Eve of Its Repeal

The following exchange took place at Cubanet over the ten days preceding President Barack Obama's announcement that he would re-establish diplomatic relations with Communist Cuba unilaterally and without prior conditions, exactly as the Castro regime has always demanded and as his predecessors from either party refused to do for 54 years. In contravention of U.S. law, Obama has announced that he will do everything within his power and outside his authority to nullify the trade embargo, and, in effect, make this country Castro's economic sponsor as it has been the guarantor of Communism in Cuba since the Kennedy-Khrushchev Pact (which itself has never been nullified). I had no idea when I had this exchange with "Ilumar" that we were discussing what was already a dead letter. I do not think that he was aware of what was in the offing either. Still, his indoctrination was so complete and his demeanor so  shameless, I suspected that he had some tie to the Cuban Interests Section. Whether naturally or by design, Ilumar was the perfect foil. Slavish to the point of caricature, but not smart enough to avoid entangling himself in his own arguments, Ilumar's type is now extinct because superfluous. There are no more arguments to be made against the embargo. Their side has prevailed because a president as ignorant and duplicitous as they come has decreed that 55 years of slavery is not enough for the Cuban people and that their masters should not be deprived of their human chattel, nor the U.S. of the opportunity to exploit them as well, which the embargo, if nothing else, preempted. No, the embargo did not topple Fidel Castro; but lifting the embargo will assure the continuation of Castroism — that is, of a corporate fascist state in Cuba — for the duration of its geological life. The Great Capitulator has seem to that.

MANUEL TELLECHEA If a man refuses to speak to you except with the understanding that nothing that he tells you can ever be repeated by you, then you are either in a papal conclave or in a meeting with Ernesto Londoño, The New York Times' reincarnated Herbert Matthews. How can such a one-sided exchange of opinions — with Castro's subjects openly expressing their views on the record and possibly to their peril while the editorial writer from the so-called "newspaper of record" decrees that nothing which he says can be on record, nor considered "fit to print" — how can such a meeting of unequals be said to have been held "in an atmosphere of mutual respect," as reported in your publication. What respect does a man have for you as a fellow professional, or, indeed, as a fellow human being, who would censor those who are already censored. And yet, you somehow feel honored to have been singled-out for his disdain, and believe that your words are safe in his keeping! His bogus apprehensions about you should be your real apprehensions about him. Your only defense against his proven malice and ill-will is to do what he has forbidden you to do. You have no moral or ethical obligation to abet his mischief with your silence. Speak. Isn't that what this is all about?

ILUMAR Someone in an investigative mission collects information, does not provide opinions. It is perfectly OK for Mr. Londoño to stipulate that any statement by him be off the record. Although he would avoid expressing opinions, it is to be expected that in discussing subjects and trying to clarify an issue, Mr. Londoño would make statements that he doesn't want published, not necessarily because he tries to hide his views, but because it is not his intent to be quoted. Further, he has to mind the distinct possibility that he will be quoted out of context, distorting the meaning of his words, making him a protagonist in the news story. I am not a newspaperman, but I have gathered that knowledge by simple observation and a bit of logical thinking.

MANUEL TELLECHEA Mr. Londoño is not an investigative reporter but an expounder of opinions (i.e. editorial writer), and his opinions are very privileged indeed if they must be confined to the pages of his paper. Mr. Londoño is also, apparently, a believer that a picture is worth a thousand of his words, because he also refused to be photographed with the independent Cuban journalists. He had no compunction, however, about being interviewed by or photographed with the staff of the regime organ Granma. In fact, Londoño himself posted those photographs on Facebook. Anyone who has ever talked to The New York Times or any other media on the record has risked the possibility that he would be "quoted out of context, distorting the meaning of his words." Nowadays, however, most interviews are recorded, and this interview certainly was, if not by the participants then by Cuban State Security, which no doubt has compiled an interesting dossier on Mr. Londoño during his two weeks on the island. But it is not Castro's henchmen whom Londoño fears, only his victims.

ILUMAR I think that the issue I addressed was whether or not Mr. Londoño was correct in demanding that he not be quoted. He does not have to be technically an investigative reporter to be in a fact-gathering mission. As an editorialist of the NY Times, he is part of a committee and can’t go around spreading opinions on delicate or controversial issues while representing the paper. If I were him you would not catch me dead making public statements of my personal views. Therefore, I stick to my thinking that Mr. Londoño’s requiring that he not be quoted makes a lot of sense.

 You go into other issues which are your take of the situation, and certainly not mine. Londoño refused to be quoted by the “independent journalists” while giving a collective interview published by, well, it was his prerogative to do so. Let’s face it, he knows who are the people positively receptive to his views and who are the people who would try to trip him, misquote him and harm his position. In any case, an interview is quite different from a private discussion, which is what he had with the Cubanet people. In the published interview he spoke of facts, such as seeing more openness for opinions in Cuba, but did not make editorial comments that he cannot make.

And there you go assuming, but stating as a fact, that every word of Mr. Londoño during his visits was secretly recorded by the Cuban government. I guess that you give your opinions even if you do not have hard proof on hand, and so can I. I think that those “independent journalists” respond to American government agencies, and are paid by them. I have heard of hard proof of this but I am not researching it now. Needless to say, I agree 99% with every one of the NYT editorials in which Mr. Londoño is involved. And it looks that the majority of Cubans residents of the USA do too, although they are not represented in Cubanet. Check this out:

MANUEL TELLECHEA Your premise that a newspaperman cannot voice a private opinion because it might be at variance with his public opinion presupposes a level of hypocrisy in journalism that would surpass even that in politics. In Londoño's case, I believe that you do him a great injustice. He is undoubtedly an apologist for the Castro regime whether he's on the job or not. And, of course, he felt more at home among "people positively receptive to his views," that is, among Castro's minions at Granma whose opinions he parrots and whose discretion he can rely upon. I don't think that he was afraid that Cuba's independent journalists "would try to trip him," but, rather, that he would trip himself and expose his monumental ignorance about Cuba. Under such circumstances, perhaps silence is best (for him).

ILUMAR A member of the Times' Editorial Board does not go around shooting his mouth up in front of terribly biased and antagonistic people. Mr. Londoño probably doesn't want to disclose a position not yet discussed in a meeting of the Board to which he belongs. I do not think that in his interview at the he went out of his way to express subjective opinions. What I find is that the mere fact that he did not take the opportunity at either meeting to verbally trash the Cuban government is taken by you and the Cubans like you, not a majority, as proof that he is a Castro apologist and that he is ignorant about Cuba. What else is new? That routine has been playing for so long.

 Mr. Londoño's opinions so far are very close to mine, and I am a Cuban immigrant who happens to be in the majority of Cubans on this issue, not even counting the wonderful people currently residing in Cuba who are my primary concern. To us, for example, the embargo and the provisions that make it a "bloqueo" is an absolute disgrace. 188 to 2 was the vote at the UN, remember? It is clear that that terrible policy has politically helped the Cuban government, but the compelling point against it is that it has been profoundly detrimental to the well-being of your compatriots as the policy unabashedly set out to be. On the issue of exchanging the three remaining Cubans in American prisons (unjustly convicted of espionage) for the American operative, Mr. Alan Gross (too harshly sentenced), I also agree with the Times editorials. Right wingers, on the other hand, don't see the humanitarian aspect of that exchange, or don't seem to care.

 There is no need to continue this discussion between us as our positions are clear, opposite, and without much chance for agreement, as it has always been.

MANUEL TELLECHEA You are right in one respect: our positions are clear, opposite and irreconcilable. Mine, of course, is the majority position among both Cubans on the island and in exile. The fact that the Castro dynasty has ruled Cuba for 55 years without the benefit of free elections proves not only that it is an illegitimate government, but also that it knows that it does not have the support of its people. The fact that no Cuban has ever been elected to the U.S. Congress, at any time, who supported the end of the embargo or the restoration of diplomatic ties with the regime proves that Cubans in the United States today are as opposed to Castro's dictatorship as any previous generation. My side has to wait for the deaths of two octogenarians for democracy to prevail in Cuba. Your side must await the annihilation of 12 million Cubans on the island and two million in exile for there to exist a consensus for the continuation of their legacy.

ILUMAR I must say something: in what the heck world do you live? To say that the majority of Cubans anywhere support the embargo, (to reduce this to one issue) is basically saying that Cubans want to starve themselves to see if in that manner they gather the fortitude to take action against the government (which is the premise of the embargo), and that presumes that they are cruel and stupid, which conditions only apply to a small part of the US Cubans, the ones who vote detestable politicians to US congress. I suppose you don't believe in surveys, and, more surprisingly, you don't believe in common sense or evidence. You are outrageous, sir.

MANUEL TELLECHEA So you are in fact admitting that for 55 years the Castro regime has starved the Cuban people rather than recognize their civil and human rights, which is all that would have been required for the embargo to end. The embargo, however, never forbade the exportation of food and medicine to the island. If starving the Cuban people into embracing freedom and democracy were its object, it certainly left some big loopholes which have only grown as the embargo has been relaxed through the years. At present, Communist Cuba can purchase anything it wants from the U.S. except armaments. Of course, it must pay for what it buys upfront and is not eligible for government-backed credit. Having exhausted its credit with every other country in the world — and stiffed every other country in the world — the Castro regime desperately wants the U.S. to extend a line of credit so that it can continue its parasitic existence for a while longer. This is what "lifting the embargo" signifies for Communist Cuba today: being financially underwritten by and dependent upon the "yanquis."

 We are agreed that Cubans do not want to starve, but they do not blame the U.S. embargo for their plight but the catastrophic economic model which Castro imposed at the start of the Revolution, which reduced a country with the third-highest GNP in the Western Hemisphere to a mendicant state whose largest export and source of income is slave labor (before 1991 it was cannon fodder).

No, Cubans do not want to starve, nor do their exiled relatives in the U.S. want them to starve (the largest source of revenue for Cubans are cash remittances from abroad). The only one with an interest in starving the Cuban people is Castro himself, who has always used food as an instrument of state control.

ILUMAR No, I did not admit what you say I admitted, period. I said, to put it differently, that Cubans that want the embargo to stay, cruelly and stupidly act against their own interests, because the intent of the embargo (not that of the Cuban government) is that the people of Cuba starve and no good Cuban would wish them to starve. The ultimate purpose at its inception was of course that the "starvation" leads them to rebel and depose the government just to effect a change that would cause the US to stop the embargo, and they would rebel not necessarily because they blame the government for their vicissitudes, although many would blame it because of confusion. That rebellion has not occurred and every day it is farther from ever occurring.

The embargo can be called an extortion. It reminds me of an election in Nicaragua where the premise was: if the anti-Sandinista wins the election, the war, the aggression ends. Otherwise, the war continues. Talk about influencing democratic elections! Democratic institutions do not develop or work well in a state of war. Stop all aggression against Cuba to increase the possibility of an improvement of civil liberties on the island.

 I do not at all share your opinion that the US embargo is now significantly relaxed, that food, medicine and medical equipment flow to Cuba unharmed by the embargo, that the main problem with Cuban commerce is its bad credit, and other fallacies. You seem to forget that the "embargo" is in fact an economic blockade that punishes foreign companies. The main question remains for those who use your arguments: If the embargo is so benign, why not lift it altogether and thus shut up its detractors: those 188 countries, the pope and virtually everyone else, including (it is crazy to deny it) the great majority of Cubans everywhere? Why not gain the political upper hand and then brag: "see, they keep on sinking, told you so"? My answer is - they don't lift it because Cuba would rise and certain American political circles would be damaged when that is exposed.

 Although poor in terms of material riches, Cuba is a country of high standards in many areas of human rights, the most important being those human rights that lead to long and healthy lives. Imagine what Cuba could be if it is just simply allowed to exercise unfettered the human right of international commerce.

 Only if you misinterpret something material that I said, would I reply to you again on this issue. I hope it is not necessary.

MANUEL TELLECHEA Now you have admitted that an improvement in civil liberties is necessary on the island and that such an improvement will not come until the U.S. agrees to underwrite financially the Castro regime (i.e. lift the embargo without prior conditions).

 There is no "human right of international commerce," as you put it, but if there were such a right, Communist Cuba, which has trade relations with over 200 countries, exercises that "right" fully and without constraint. If a U.S. blockade of the island were in fact in place, Cuba would not be able to trade with any country.

 The U.S. has no obligation under international law to trade with Cuba or with any other country, and if 188 nations think that it does or should, then 188 nations are wrong. All of these countries as well as the Vatican supported economic sanctions on South Africa, and it was their united front that brought down apartheid there. If Cubans had received as much solidarity from the world community, apartheid on the island would also have been long ago extinguished. But the craven institution that is the United Nations reserves its solidarity for leftist tyrants and not their beleaguered subjects.

ILUMAR You and the "admissions" of mine, LOL. Well, yes, civil liberties can be improved if the aggression ends, for there would be no need to keep paid foreign operatives tightly in check. Yes, the US has no obligation to trade with Cuba but has no right to interfere with Cuba's trading with other nations, foreign companies, foreign financial institutions, and that the US does. Hell, Cuba can't get a bank in Washington DC to handle its Interest Section financial affairs!

 You have a funny way to portray what is the meaning of ending the embargo. I will not dispute your view, but add that to me ending the embargo means (1) not interfering with Cuba's right to trade with other nations in order to sustain its economy and improve the livelihood of its people; (2) at least continue trading with Cuba under the present terms, no financing required. (3) Let the Americans visit Cuba as tourists without limitation (it is their right to visit a friendly and safe country!).

I think that further improvement in the US trade with Cuba will occur upon realization that the US companies are missing out on profits. It has been a pleasure talking with you.

MANUEL TELLECHEA The trade embargo is not a policy that can be altered by presidential fiat. According to U.S. law, the trade embargo cannot be lifted until certain preconditions have been met, in particular, the formation of a Cuban government which is the product of free elections and is not headed by either Fidel or Raúl Castro.

What a moral victory could be achieved by anti-embargo proponents like yourself if you could only convince these superannuated tyrants to do what Pinochet did and retire! But they are determined to do what no Cuban dictator has ever done in history — die in his own bed. And if the Cuban people must endure another decade of slavery and starvation to make this possible, so be it. José Martí wrote that "No man is worth more than an entire people." Fidel and Raúl beg to differ.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Barack Obama Fulfills At Last Our Worst Expectations


Barack Obama: The End of Hope for Cuba

I have received many e-mails from readers, both known and unknown to me, asking me to re-consider my decision to close this blog [Review of Cuban-American Blogs] on January 20th [2009]. At the same time, my own determination to do so was strengthened daily by the events leading up to Inauguration Day. Bush may not have listened to Cubans, but Obama listens to the wrong Cubans. As soon as it is possible for him to do so, and sooner even than most of us expect, the juggernaut of normalization will roll over every Cuban on the island, leaving them parallel with their surroundings. There is nothing that can be done to stop him and much that we must do to prepare ourselves, as best as we can, for the greatest defeat we have ever sustained in our struggle against tyranny in our country.

In 1959, the United States installed Castro in power and it has been the guarantor of Communism in Cuba since 1962. What it has not done, however, is to underwrite the enterprise. That was a task left to America's enemies. This is going to change now. Cuba will remain the only Communist state under U.S. military protection but now it will also enjoy all the benefits of commerce with this nation, or leastwise its oppressors will. After defaulting on every foreign creditor and exhausting every line of credit while amassing the largest per 
Since there can be no resumption of diplomatic relations with Communist Cuba until it settles U.S. claims against it, Obama will float the regime a loan so that it can pay pennies on the dollar for the properties it confiscated and nationalized before Obama was born, receiving in return clear title to them, which will enable it to sell those same properties at market value to a new generation of greedy and ignorant American investors, who will pour billions into the island with the assurance that the U.S. government will bail them out when the regime decides again that seizing American assets is more beneficial than trading with the enemy.

The biggest losers in this arrangement will be the Cuban people, who will not regain their liberty, but become subject to the exploitation of even more foreigners. Their masters will multiply but the quality of their lives will not improve. A prosperous tyranny is always to be more feared than one on the verge of economic collapse. The means of repression will expand and be fortified with the profits that the regime will reap from trade with the U.S. There will be no sharing of the wealth, however, because economic rights always anticipate political rights, and a regime that has always regarded both as anathema will not open the door to one knowing that it leads to the other.

The result of "normalization" (what a quaint word as if any relationship with a regime like Castro's could ever be anything but abnormal!) will prove detrimental to all parties except Castro and his henchmen. Those who espouse rapprochement do so because they hope to profit from the suffering of the Cuban people. Obama, besides acting on his ideological affinities with Castro, hopes to score a cheap coup de theatre by renewing relations with Communist Cuba, which the media are sure to represent as the greatest diplomatic feat in history, surpassing the opening of Japan by Perry or of China by either Marco Polo or Nixon. American businessmen, industrialists and agronomists, who have spent 8 years drooling about the prospects of trade with Cuba as Bush dangled that putrid carrot before them, will trample one another like elephants even before they reach the cliff.

To do business with Cuba will become more important than to do justice to Cubans. Human rights there will become as irrelevant as human rights in China without the Cuban people ever being compensated with an extra bowl of porridge for surrendering to the stomach what rightly belongs to the spirit.

This is what the election of Barack Obama means to Cubans and why tomorrow will always be a day of mourning for our country.

For my part, I prefer to mourn in private, which is the reason that I have decided to close the Review of Cuban-Americans Blogs tomorrow.