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.

43 comments:

Christian C. said...

Manuel:
If white people's adoration of Cuba had nothing to do with rum, cigars, and charming colonial architecture, they'd also praise North Korea's fabulous 99% literacy rate, universal health care system, and lack of chain restaurants.

Christian C. said...

It turns out you are quite reasonable when not suffering from dissociative post-rapprochment stress disorder.

Mr. Hyde says, "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."

Dr. Jekyll says, "To make the Cuban people stronger is to weaken proportionately the regime. To keep them in a state of pauperism, without knowing where their next sip of water or morsel of food will come from, makes resistance impossible and the regime invulnerable. That is why remittances are subversive, because they offer an alternative to complete dependence on the state, which is really what "feeds" the tyranny."

http://reviewofcuban-americanblogs.blogspot.com/2008/09/castro-steals-tuna-from-cuban-people.html

I pray that you recover from this bout of derangement and regain you bearings.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

You forgot the women. They rank higher in white (and black) people's [read men's] adoration of Cuba than do the rum, cigars and charming colonial architecture. The rum and cigars are now debased and the architecture is literally a shell of its former self. The women alone are still unchanged.

Tourism to Cuba today consists almost exclusively (90%) of unaccompanied males. There is no family tourism to the island. Castro has converted Cuba into his own personal whorehouse, and the role of Maximum Madam is one that he was born to play.

You are right that North Korea has never been praised as lavishly as Communist Cuba has for its 99% literacy rate, universal health care system, and lack of chain restaurants (more a function of a lack of food than an aesthetic repugnance to the golden arches).

North Korea's Stalinist architecture, its towering office buildings (which are hollow on the inside), its unoccupied modern cities (built for the benefit of spy satellites), its kitschy monuments to its moon-faced gods (the Kims), and its legalized marijuana (reputed the best in the world), have not been enough to attract tourists there except from China. Perhaps its nascent market for body organs will do the trick.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

I am flattered that you are endeavoring to become an expert on Tellechea-thought, and with the master to guide you there is even a chance that you may one day understand what you already admire.

I once supported and do still support remittances to Cuba at the rate of $200 per quarter established prior to Obama's subsidization of Communist Cuba, which was enough to keep the Cuban people well-fed (and then some) but only slightly increased the Castro brothers' apparatus of repression.

Obama's concession of $2000 per quarter (or $6000 annually) is not intended to feed the Cuban people, but to assure the survival of the Castro dynasty (and, yes, to feed the Castro brothers' Swiss bank accounts).

I thank God that I have no hostages left in Cuba and hence do not have to calibrate some kind of compromise between my conscience and my heart. But for those who must, I have only the greatest sympathy. This is what distinguishes me from those who want to starve the Cuban people in a political pressure cooker and those who want to provide Castro with a blank check.

BTW, Obama has made it possible for not just relatives but for anyone to send money to Cuba. I am sure you are lining up at your local Western Union office to make real and tangible your concern for the starving Cuban people. Try to keep your unbounded generosity in check. Remember that you have already done enough for them by supporting Obama's concessions to Castro.

Christian C. said...

The survival of the Castro dynasty was a forgone conclusion long before Obama's detente with Cuba. Cuba's experience during the Special Period demonstrates that even in the absence of its most important financier, the regime will do whatever it takes to stay in power: enact just enough market reforms to keep itself afloat; starve its people; look the other way as girls prostitute themselves to tourists on the Malecón. Even if it means realizing the cruel irony that Cuba reverts to the Batista-era excesses that inspired the revolution in the first place (save for the growing economy, large middle class, and thriving civil society).

The Castro regime's greatest achievement is its own longevity, which it continues to perfect. The state has anticipated the unreliability of Venezuelan aid and instituted sophisticated plans to remain in power long before Venezuelan oil dries up.

The previous U.S. policy towards Cuba was futile and would have continued to fail because the Castro regime can only be brought down by homegrown insurrection, a full U.S. military invasion, or multilateral sanctions. The likelihood of any of that happening is nil.

Changes to Cuba's political system are non-negotiable for the intransigent Castros, but Obama could have asked for more concessions as far as easing the internal blockade on Cuba's incipient private sector and civil society. Nonetheless, detente with Cuba means more remittances to fund small businesses and fix crumbling infrastructure beyond the previous remittance limits that Cubans privileged enough to have family abroad depend on for survival; expanded internet and telecommunications infrastructure; expanded availability of agricultural products; and for Alan Gross, an American spy, and 56 political prisoners, their freedom.

BTW, I will continue to support my family in Cuba by directly providing them with cash and supplies when I visit.

Vana said...

Manuel:

Had it indeed been North Korea Obama gave a pass to, we would all be dancing to an altogether different tune, instead is Son for the masses.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

I agree with you that an armed insurrection; a foreign invasion, or multilateral sanctions are all highly unlikely at this time, however desirable any and all would be.

What I have not given up on is Fidel and Raúl dying. I trust that you, too, are as certain of that occurrence in the near future and understand its ramifications: then the psychological chains will be broken if not the physical ones, and even if they are not a whit freer, Cubans at least will no longer live in their shadow and neither will the henchmen who succeed them.

The success or failure of the Castro dynasty will not be determined by its two original dynasts, but by those who will attempt to succeed them.

That transition — a million times more difficult than from Fidel to Raúl — will not be long in coming and cannot come too soon. Then we shall know for sure whether the curse of Ham is indeed upon the Cuban nation, or whether Cubans will be the second people in the Western Hemisphere to overthrow slavery by their own efforts and without the help of any foreign power (Haiti, of course, was the first).

You do not oppose the embargo on principle. You are against it because no other country supports it but the United States. If, say, 188 countries voted in favor of the U.S. trade embargo at the United Nations and imposed their own sanctions on the Castro regime, I presume that then you, too, would support the embargo. Does that not seem strange to you? It certainly seems strange to me. Is the United Nation to become the third legislative branch of the U.S. government?

I can think of no more effective means to destroy the U.S. and thereby remove perhaps the greatest obstacle to Cuban freedom. I am not saying that this would be a desirable outcome, but just an inevitable one if the U.S. framed its foreign policy with the sole view of obtaining the unanimous approval of other countries.

You and I agree more on the nature of the Castro dictatorship than we disagree. But being Cubans we focus on what divides us and avoid common ground as if it were a minefield. It is our way, I suppose, and one more reason that we are where we are. It is no different now with us than it was 120 years ago, or, rather, there is one great and fundamental difference, and this blog is devoted to that man. Without Martí, who was both intransigent and inclusive, we are like wise men in the desert without a star. (When I start to wax poetic, I know it is time to stop writing).

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Vana:

More likely we would all be goosestepping to a different tune, and is there anything more ridiculous than North Koreans mimicking Hitler's Sturmtruppen?

Christian C. said...

Here are some pictures from my last trip
http://imgur.com/a/511x8

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian C.:

I enjoyed the photographs very much, and appreciate the fact that you avoided depicting the omnipresent decay insofar as possible. I do not like to see pictures of ruins, and to console myself have advanced the theory that even less of Cuba's colonial architecture would survive today if progress had not been halted in 1959.

The Cuban housing stock must increase by at least 2 million habitations in order to accommodate Cuba's current population. It would probably have increased by twice that number (as would also be the case with population) if Cuba had not been pauperized and forced into communal living (the only part of "communism" that was ever realized on the island).

But where would those 4 million modern houses have been built except on the buried artifacts of the old? Much of what still remains today would be underground. Cubans, at least, will not have to excavate their Pompeii since they still live among its ruins, as squatters at an abandoned cemetery.

Christian C. said...

That's right. Many mistakenly believe that ancient buildings were destroyed in China during Mao's Cultural Revolution, but it was actually China's rapid economic growth following Deng Xiaoping's market reforms that proved most destructive to China's architectural heritage, reducing once-great cities to polluted, industrialized dystopias. Historic districts are completely razed and tourists are charged steep admission fees by corrupt local governments to see the hastily-built reconstructions.

This doesn't bode well for Cuba. Fidel has taken a personal interest in the restoration of Habana Vieja, which has translated into evicting most of the neighborhood's residents and turning it into a theme park for tourists replete with costumed characters and lousy state-run establishements (though some of the buildings have, admittedly, been well-preseved).

In the Plaza Vieja, for example, residents were evicted and their homes were turned into million-dollar condos that have been snatched up by foreign investors and Cuba's military elite. To this day, the original residents haven't been compensated.

Luxury real estate like this is sprouting up across the country because it provides corrupt Cuban militaries with a safe investment vehicle to protect profits laundered from state-run corporations and joint ventures.

What Raul promotes to gullible foreigners and far less gullible Cubans as allowing the people to buy and sell property is actually a desperate ploy to preserve the Communist Party elite's rule over Cuba indefinitely.

P.S. -- Guess which newspaper published two of the most incriminating pieces on the Castro regime I've read in a mainstream American outlet as of late?

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/world/americas/cubas-reward-for-the-dutiful-gated-housing.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/opinion/sunday/for-blacks-in-cuba-the-revolution-hasnt-begun.html?_r=0

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

I have heard of the selective restoration of La Habana Vieja, under the supervision of Eusebio Leal Spengler, and confess that even the thought of such an undertaking makes me shudder; for I cannot believe that it could be done competently, let alone with historical fidelity, under present circumstances.

No doubt more has been disfigured than saved by such "restorations." I suspect that the first step in this process consists of ransacking all authentic elements that still survive in place within and outside these structures and selling them to foreign collectors (like Goering, Leal Spengler himself is a collector and cherry picks the best artifacts).

These are replaced in turn by inauthentic reproductions that do not fool even the tourists (who are for that reason kept at a respectful distance). The rest is accomplished by patching everything with cement, using cut styrofoam to replace the missing or looted architectural elements, and holding the ensemble together with a coat of garish paint. Nothing is done structurally to stabilize the buildings or preserve their historical integrity: the goal is to make them look pretty at fifty paces and nothing else.

Many of the so-called owners of these properties that were forced from their homes and never compensated for them had in fact "inherited" them from the original owners when these fled the island after the 1959 Revolution. It is ironic that those who benefited from the first confiscations are now themselves the victims of the latest.

There is certainly a lesson there for anyone who wants to acquire property in Communist Cuba or invest in joint partnerships with the Castros.

At The New York Times, the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. The editorial writers obviously do not read the critical news stories published about Cuba in their own newspaper for they never make reference to them nor base their conclusions upon them. With them, it is all uninformed speculation and wishing thinking.

As someone who is informed, you must have been as shocked as I was by Ernesto Londoño's recent editorials on Cuba.

Christian C. said...

The New York Times opinion pages are widely dismissed, even among the newspaper's most ardent fans. The editorial page at The New York Times is even resented by the rest of The New York Times! (see: http://observer.com/2014/02/the-tyranny-and-lethargy-of-the-times-editorial-page/)

I thought 14ymedio's criticism of the Cuba editorials was spot-on.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yoani-sanchez/cubas-14ymedio-journalist-spends-time-with-ernesto-londono_b_6279912.html

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

The New York Times is the charnel house of expired ideas.

I pity those who get their news or opinions from it; or, worse still, their culture.

The Times is going to lead the print media into extinction.

Christian C. said...

For the record, I’m a New York Times-reading, Obama-supporting center-leftist who’s come to many of the same conclusions about the Castro regime as you have. Anyone who approaches Castro’s Cuba with empathy and intellectual honesty will find much to disagree with regardless of their politics.

Christian C. said...

I doubt you’d apply the same degree of intellectual honestly to right-leaning dictators like Pinochet, Batista, and Franco (who you praised in your previous blog if I remember correctly).

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

I also read The New York Times (and Granma, too), but I don't absorb its contents. One must know what the enemy is thinking in order to rebut him. I suppose that this is also the reason that you visit this blog, though I am not your enemy, but, on the contrary, your mentor. At least that is how I see myself.

How many of your fellow center-left readers of The Times "approach Castro’s Cuba with empathy and intellectual honesty [and] find much to disagree with regardless of their politics?"

I should think very few. And if you in fact embrace the intellectual honesty you extol, then you will agree with me.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

Actually, I don't like Franco because he was the first to come to Castro's rescue when Cuba's economy was on the verge of collapse after the implementation of the embargo and before Communist Cuba's adoption by the Soviet Union. When Franco died, Castro declared nine days of official mourning in Cuba: the earnest tribute of one Gallego SOB to another Gallego SOB.

Surprised?

I am not predictable and neither is Cuban history predictable.

I will say this, though, for both Franco and Pinochet: they provided for the restoration of democracy in their respective countries.

As for Batista, I have always said that I would prefer a thousand years of Batista to a single day of Castro, because a thousand years would not have been enough for Batista to destroy Cuba, whereas one day is all that Castro would have needed to blow up the island (as he nearly did).

Christian C. said...

I share your contempt for leftist Castro sympathizers who, following Obama's changes to U.S.-Cuba policy, lamented that their favorite vacation destination would be spoiled by ugly American commerce -- as if Cubans did things like drive old cars and survive off the ration shop for their entertainment. (BTW, the New York Times published a nice rebuttal of this here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/19/upshot/cuba-the-next-cancun-it-should-be-so-lucky.html )

Left-leaning Cubans don't have the luxury to romanticize about Cuba and revel in some perceived symbolic victory over 'Yankee Imperialism' because we're the victims of it and know that true revolution is still an elusive goal.

As for Franco, I wrote my undergraduate thesis on a little-known Cuban exile front group under Operation Mongoose that went far outside their CIA-mandated boundaries, putting together a government-in-exile and negotiating with Franco to secure his support for a plan to retake Cuba. He agreed and promised to send thousands of Spanish legionnaires. When LBJ received word of their plans, he allegedly called off all covert paramilitary operations in Cuba and said that the Cubans could not be controlled.

BTW, I already have a mentor -- http://www.amazon.com/Lillian-Guerra/e/B001JOBQ40

Christian C. said...

"Left-leaning Cubans don't have the luxury to romanticize about Cuba and revel in some perceived symbolic victory over 'Yankee Imperialism' because we're the victims of it and know that true revolution is still an elusive goal. "

I feel a little uncomfortable bunching myself in with Cubans and even Cuban exiles because I was born in the U.S. and lived a relatively privileged life. I once casually called myself a 'Cuban' to someone who grew up there and experienced the worst of the Castro regime and they found it a little offensive -- "no, tu eres Norteamericano"

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian C.:

Don't let others define who you are. If you feel Cuban, you are Cuban. In fact, you and your generation are not only de facto Cubans, you are de jure Cubans as well.

The Constitution of 1940 accords native-born citizenship status to anyone born in a foreign country who has at least one Cuban parent. I suppose that when Cuba is free citizenship will be extended to the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of exiled Cubans, who were robbed of their birthright by the Castro regime.

I should think it is even possible for you to obtain a Cuban passport now, but I would advise against it (the regime would charge you $600 for the passport and $400 to issue you a citizenship carnet. On the positive side, you would also be eligible to receive a ration card and be enrolled in that one-of-a-kind health care system. Tempted?)

I am fascinated by the fact that a woman is your mentor. I have never met a man who acknowledged having a female mentor. It never even occurred to me that such a thing was possible. Everyday I receive further proof that it is indeed a brave new world.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

P.S.:

I buy all books about José Martí published anywhere in the world, not excluding Cuba.

I own but have never read Lillian Guerra's The Myth of José Martí. I now have a reason to read it. It will teach me nothing, of course, but it might give me the key to understanding you.

Even without having read her book, I think that I can confidently say: better Lillian Guerra than Laura Lomas.

Christian C. said...

More of an advisor to my Cuban history studies than a full-on mentor. Her painstakingly researched, award-winning book "Visions of Power" makes the case that Cuban support of the revolution was initially near-unanimous.

Christian C. said...

I'm temperamentally opposite of most Cubans (shy, not boastful, pragmatic, willing to admit I'm wrong) so I feel more comfortable calling myself Cuban-American or American.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

OK, I definitely need to read that book. I know the cause of the contagion now, anyhow. I wonder what other mad delusions have influenced otherwise sane historians.

Does the fact that many people once believed the earth was flat prove that it was flat because they believed it to be so? And how is that wrongly supposed flatness central to understanding the earth in all its now undoubted roundness (or, sphericity, to be more exact)?

"Near unanimity of Cubans?"

There has never existed anything like a "near unanimity of Cubans."

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

"I'm temperamentally opposite of most Cubans (shy, not boastful, pragmatic, willing to admit I'm wrong) so I feel more comfortable calling myself Cuban-American or American."Christian C.

So Americans are "shy, not boastful, pragmatic, willing to admit [they're] wrong."

Where have I been living, then, in the last odd 50 years?

Christian C. said...

It doesn't prove anything other than the desperate desire for change at the time. I take it you believe in Cuban exceptionalism, but Cubans are vulnerable to populist charlatanry just like any other population. The book goes on to argue that Cubans in effect gave up their civil liberties in exchange for the revolution's promise of national sovereignty and social justice, but were betrayed. This goes against so much of the exile conventional wisdom I was taught que casi me da un infarto. But she makes a strong case for it.

And national stereotypes are never completely accurate, but the U.S. is a country that's larger, more diverse, and more individualistic than Cuba and thus, probably more accommodating to people who don't fit into the overarching culture (if there is one at all). In Cuba, they seem to think there's something terribly wrong with me if I want to stay inside alone and read a book all day.

P.S. -- One forum where Cubans at least pretend to be reserved and near-unanimous is that awful Mesa Redonda program on Cuban state media, especially when El Comandante is on and he's the only one allowed to speak https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ap66phqRRk

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Christian:

An exchange made at the point of a gun can hardly be considered a fair exchange. If Castro had told the Cuban people from the first that he intended to establish a military dictatorship that would deny to Cubans their civil liberties and human rights, pauperize and enslave them, but that in exchange for voluntarily submitting to his rule, he would assure Cuba's sovereignty and bestow on them his version of social justice, and the Cuban people, fully informed of the choice before them, and having in fact a choice, voted in free elections to become Castro's chattel, then and only then would this deluded woman have a point. Cubans, yes, were betrayed by Castro; but at no time did they consent to that betrayal, much less welcome it. Such a trade-off would have required a Faustian bargain which the Cuban people did not make and which no people would ever make in their circumstances.

Why argue that the Castros' 56 years of unelected rule is the product of a mutually agreed upon pact between Fidel and the Cuban people unless it is to make Cubans complicit in their own oppression and exculpate Castro in part or wholly for it? The fact that Cubans did not get what they supposedly bargained for is irrelevant because no such bargain ever existed.

This woman's contempt for Cubans is boundless and equal only to the Castro brothers'. I did not think that evil could grow another facet, but you have shown otherwise (or rather she has).

And this is your "mentor" — in matters historical or anything else?

Christian C. said...

It was an unfair exchange but at the revolution's outset they were not coerced with threat of violence. The rallies would later become state-orchestrated events where attendance was mandatory. And it is important to stress that it was Castro who saw it as evidence of "unanimous" support for the revolution when in reality it was likely a strong majority of Cubans who supported the revolution to varying degrees.

The argument does not aim to establish Castro's legitimacy or Cubans' complicity in their own misfortune. To the contrary, it details how their hope for true revolution was betrayed and documents the subsequent history of passive resistance using previously unexplored historical evidence. This inspires empathy towards Cubans, not contempt.

Instead of arguing against my second-rate summary of the book's main points you should read it yourself. Within a few years it'll become a standard text in the field.

Christian C. said...

And all that counterrevolutionary joke-telling... Los Cubanos son jodedores.
"...Fidel had a acquired a new nickname after delivering the overtly socialist and rhetorically boring "Second Declaration of Havana" in February 1962. On the street, people were calling Fidel "Sarita Montiel" after a famous Mexican movie star known for her melodramatic songs of lamentation and regret." (204)

Sarita doesn't like jokes.

Christian C. said...

http://imgur.com/Aw3VCjs

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

You do yourself a great injustice: your summary of Lillian Guerra's insane proposition is both succinct and comprehensive; not second-rate, but decidedly first-rate.

It makes the reading of her book unnecessary and, moreover, undesirable.

If you don't already review books on Amazon, I should strongly advice you to do so as a public service. You have a gift in that direction.

At the onset of the Revolution, as I've already pointed out, Fidel Castro reintroduced capital punishment in Cuba (which had been abolished by the 1940 Constitution) and executed without due process more Cubans than died of natural causes in his first year in power; more, in fact, than Hitler had killed in his first year in power (and that's in raw numbers).

Even if you were correct in your assumption that in 1959 a majority of Cubans wanted to enthrone Castro as dictator-for-life and become his willing slaves, why would their decision be incumbent on all generations of Cubans, forever and ever?

Why is Castro's generation the only one with a right to decide Cuba's past, present and future? And why is the Castro family the natural masters of the Cuban people and proprietors of the island?

According to Lillian Guerra and you, it is because 56 years ago the Cuban people wanted it so. I say that both of you are full of shit.

Christian C. said...

The 1940 Constitution was abrogated by Batista after his 1952 coup, not Castro. Restoring the 1940 Constitution was one of the promises Castro cruelly reneged on after consolidating power.

Castro was able to consolidate the revolutionary state and mobilize the population by deceiving the people and manipulating their desperate hope for a better future. If a majority Cubans supported a false bill of goods it does not follow that this justifies the subsequent 56 years of oppression, which they indeed did not ask for. Castro didn't deliver; thus, the regime is illegitimate.

Twitter has given this generation a knack for brevity but I can't do the book justice. What I've talked about is only part of the argument. The historical evidence really speaks for itself but I can't imagine you'd be swayed by it. I'd be interested in your take on it nonetheless.

P.S. You only need to press send twice, old man

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

The Constitution of 1940 was reinstated by Batista for the 1954 elections. The opposition did not accept the reinstatement of the Constitution because Batista still occupied the presidency, which they posited negated the Constitution.

No matter, Batista still abided by the provisions of his Constitution, which is the reason that Castro and his cohorts were not subject to the death penalty at the Moncada trials, which they would have been in any other country, including the United States.

When Batista seized power in 1952, he did not dismiss the judges that had been appointed by Grau or Prío, nor did he interfere in any way with the independent judiciary. That, too, reverted to Castro's favor.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

P.S.:

It is not "Twitter [that] has given this generation a knack for brevity," but a certain mental vacuity fostered by an inane culture and a fear of sounding educated (an unrealistic fear in most cases, anyway).

The previous generation was fixated on the expression. "You know." This generation is just as fond of "I dunno."

Young people used to think that they knew everything. But now they only know that they know nothing.

Progress?

I dunno.

Vana said...

Christian:

I'm Cuban to the marrow, although I'm not shy, I'm also not boastful, I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong, in fact I will apologize when I'm wrong, so I fail to see your comparison.

By the way Sarita Montiel was not Mexican, she was Spanish, and she did so have a sense of humor, look her up in youtube, she sang Cuplets and Boleros, I personally loved her and was sad upon hearing of her passing in 2013.

Vana said...

Manuel:

I too would have prefered a thousand years of Batista, than one year with castro, at least we would be home.

Seems Christian is quite taken with Ms Guerra's writing of Cuban history, looks like he's not open to learn from anyone else.

I dunno.

Christian C. said...

Manuel:

Didn't Plato also "know that he knows nothing"? We're in good company. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/534070-i-am-the-wisest-man-alive-for-i-know-one

Christian C. said...

"I'm Cuban to the marrow, although I'm not shy, I'm also not boastful, I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong, in fact I will apologize when I'm wrong, so I fail to see your comparison."

The shyness is a problem. In Cuba, you're shy and keep to yourself at your own peril. You can't go at it alone. Your survival is dependent on the support you receive from your network of family, friends, and neighbors much more so than in the US. This fosters a sense of community and mutual solidarity that I wouldn't mind having more of (without the poverty and struggle that necessitates it, of course).

Christian C. said...

The latest chisme from Cuba: Fidel falleció. His silence demonstrates he's either dead or about to die. Or there's the even likelier possibility that he's a zombie who will haunt us for eternity.

http://www.14ymedio.com/opinion/asi-le-recordamos_0_1703229674.html

Christian C. said...

"I too would have prefered a thousand years of Batista, than one year with castro, at least we would be home."

I'd prefer Batista precisely because, unlike Castro, he wouldn't have lasted for a thousand years. He wasn't as smart as Castro, wasn't a fanatical utopian revolutionary, and of course there's the biological factor: he was older than Castro.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

That same "sense of community and mutual solidarity" existed in Cuba before the Revolution but then it was without the tragic sense which pervades such "comradery" today. Cubans today are united in a common loathing for the present and pessimism about the future. It was not always so. Once upon a time we were a happy people and our highest aspiration in life was never to have to leave our country.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

"I'd prefer Batista precisely because, unlike Castro, he wouldn't have lasted for a thousand years. He wasn't as smart as Castro, wasn't a fanatical utopian revolutionary, and of course there's the biological factor: he was older than Castro."Christian

If results are any indication of a ruler's intelligence, then there is indeed no comparison between Batista and Castro, just as one cannot compare, for example, a country with the third-highest GNP in the Western Hemisphere to one which is almost as poor and unproductive as Haiti.

When Batista first came to power in 1933, he was only 32 years old, that is, one year younger than Castro when he assumed power in 1959.

Batista ruled Cuba, intermittently, for 17 years (1933-1944, 1952-1958), as both constitutional president and dictator. He actually won and lost elections.

When his presidential term ended in 1944, Batista handed the office to his chief rival, Ramón Grau San Martín, whose provisional government he had unseated ten years earlier.

The New York Times editorialized on that occasion: "Let no one doubt that democracy exists in Latin America; it does, in the youngest of her republics." Of course, The Times never got anything completely right about Cuba: it was not the youngest but the second-youngest Latin American republic after Panama.

My point was that I would prefer a thousand years of Batista to one day of Fidel not because Batista's legacy wouldn't have lasted that long, but because his capacity for destruction was infinitesimal compared to Castro's. A thousand years hence, Batista's Cuba would have been modern, rich and prosperous; its government might have been a democracy or a dictatorship, or some hybrid thereof, but not an uninterrupted despotism without hope or promise for the future.