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View Diary: What Is Different About This Time (370 comments)

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  •  Armando (4.00)
    I'm sure you've made it clear before, but what is your position on the embargo of Cuba? Even if Cuba has done some good things, I think no thinking person who looks at the history, or just reads, say, Before Night Falls, can hang on to his/her Castro worship for long. But what of the embargo specifically?
    •  I oppose it (4.00)
      because it does nothing good, only bad.

      I do not think it immoral, just incompetent.

      For example, I supported the embargo on apartheid South Africa, because it WAS effective.

      The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

      by Armando on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 04:29:03 PM PST

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      •  The quickest way to get rid ... (4.00)
        ...of Castro, at least since the end of the Cold War, is to get rid of the embargo. The Cuban caudillo has used the embargo as an excuse for repression, for the failures of the regime and as a means to unite Cubans who would otherwise oppose him. In other words the embargo has been counterproductive, almost from the get-go.

        Now, with Castro showing his age, we have all the more reason to dump the embargo, helping to lay the groundwork for the transition to a new era in Cuba when Castro passes from the scene, a new era that merges the benefits of the revolution - education and, previously, health care - with the benefits of freedom and democracy.

        Unfortunately, the majority of both our political parties are in thrall to the fascist wing of Cuban-American exiles, men and women who, frankly are as obsolete in their thinking as Castroism.

        •  I am woefully... (none)
          ...uninformed about Cuba.  Is Castro's presumed successor already known, and if so, is a peaceful transition likely when Castro dies?  

          Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

          by Barbara Morrill on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 05:36:09 PM PST

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          •  Still expected to be brother Raul, no? (none)
            As for a peaceful transition -- that depends a lot on us, I expect.  Unfortunately it's hard to imagine a middle ground between what they have now and what they had under Batista, which is what I'm afraid the powers that be here would like to see again.  I'd be happy to get Armando's and MB's views on that.

            Sixteen scandals in my heart will glow: click "A is for Abramoff"

            by Major Danby on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 05:53:22 PM PST

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            •  His brother? (none)
              Fidel must be nearly 80, right?  How old is his brother?  And what happens when he goes?  Oh, and thanks.  ;-)

              Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

              by Barbara Morrill on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 05:58:18 PM PST

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              •  Wikipedia sez (4.00)
                that Vice President Raul Castro is 74.  Fidel is 79.  I don't know who is expected to succeed Raul or if there's even a process in place.

                I can't imagine that converting Cuba to a Swedish-style paradise has been made easier by the Bush Administration's penchant for turning island nations associated with the U.S. into slave wage territories.  (Talk to Jack Abramoff about that.)  As an Amnesty Int'l type I expect that I might well be in jail if I lived in Cuba, but I also expect that if I weren't I would be very wary about "help" for my society coming from the U.S.

                Sixteen scandals in my heart will glow: click "A is for Abramoff"

                by Major Danby on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 06:05:51 PM PST

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        •  Certainly (none)
          it would not hurt to lift the embargo.

          It can only help.

          The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

          by Armando on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 06:29:21 PM PST

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          •  US evicts Cuban delegation from Mex, City Sheraton (none)
            The embargo proves what exactly? That the US hubris knows no bounds, it looks like.

            Heard on Latino USA* tonight that the US gummit forced the Mexico City Sheraton to evict a 16 person Cuban delegation there to meet with Texas oilmen to discuss off shore drilling in Cuba. The American delegation's leader was William Rogers, a Republican and former Undersecretary of State. Both Cubans and oilmen moved down the street to a Mexican owned hotel, and the US Treasury was richer by the $6,000 deposit that the Sheraton handed over.

            The columnist suggested this was part of an on-going US effort to embarrass Fox and to interfere in Mexico's upcoming elections, because only the PRI is thought to be strong enough to keep international drug cartels and northward migrants under control - to keep Mexico from becoming "a failed state".

            *Found it in the Mexico City edition of the Miami Herald.

        •  how can anyone trust the US in this? (4.00)
          This talk of "laying the groundwork" for the post-Castro future scares me, based on the US record with small countries in the Caribbean and Central America.

          What our government does is fuck these countries up for the most venal of motives. Recently we adopted a child from Guatemala, which gave us occasion to review our country's history with Guatemala.

          Two very low points -

          in 1954 the US undid the democratic process in Guatemala, because we thought the elected guy was too left and would get in the way of United Fruit's extraction of profit from the work of dirt-poor indigenous people.

          in the 1980's, the army and paramilitaries killed tens or hundreds of thousands in the civil war there. the killers were supported by the US govt and some were trained in the US.

          If I were Cuban the last thing I would want is help from the US in planning the post-Castro future.

          an ambulance can only go so fast - neil young

          by mightymouse on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 06:46:47 PM PST

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          •  You have a very good point ... (4.00)
            ...I spent a good deal of time in Guatemala in the '80s when Ronald Reagan's pet general, Efrain Rios Montt, was ordering the slaughter of Mayans, sort of the third round of slaughter consequent to that coup.

            But as I made clear, the Cuba I'd like to see is one that combines the good from the revolution - and there has been some - with real democracy and real liberty. Obviously, the last thing Cuba needs is a return to the likes of Batista. But, let's face it, right now in Cuba we've got some of the worst of the ancien regime without Batista, prostitution, black marketeering and corruption. I don't think the lifting of the embargo need lead to a Cuba run by a U.S. puppet.

            •  good vision for post-castro cuba (none)
              Your vision is one I can agree with. And clearly you know whereof you speak.

              I am just afraid that some in the US may be naive about our government's role in "helping" our neighbors to the south.

              the other thing that bothers me is that people run down Castro, Chavez and other leftists without putting them in the proper reference, that is, comparing them to other governments in the region.

              Many of which also have problems.

              an ambulance can only go so fast - neil young

              by mightymouse on Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 06:50:52 AM PST

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          •  Don't worry... (none)
            Armando is probably pro overthrowing leftist Central American governments, whether elected or not.  It's pretty clear what his MO is from his dislike for Chavez and some of his previous statements.  

            In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

            by Asak on Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 01:57:55 AM PST

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        •  Truisms (none)

          I'm not greater fan of embargos than anyone else here, but that said, we never seem to learn much about how little impact opening up countries can have.

          Reforming China through trade turned out to be one of the biggest jokes we ever perpetrated against ourselves.

          Not that we shouldn't trade with them (China OR Cuba), just that we shouldn't get all starry-eyed about it.

          "Almost every desire a poor man has is a punishable offense." - Louis Ferdinand Celine

          by goneblank on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 10:52:48 PM PST

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      •  On Cuba and Castro (none)
        In 1959 when Castro and his brother came to the UN they were on the Jack Paar show where I saw them. Films were shown of Batista's wife's hundreds of shoes and other things I have forgotten. Castro talked about the distatorship of Batista and how it oppressed the Cuban people. He said he wanted to open up trade with the US (he was not a Stalinist). He was intelligent,sincere and hopeful fo communication between the two countries. Which was why he wa on the Tonight Show which was The Jack Paar Show at that time.

        Women in Cuba have free PAPS tests evey year,people's cadres were sent in the mountains to bring literacy to far flung peasants,and friends of mine joined Vinceremos(sp)to go to Cuba and help harvest the sugar cane and live there.

        After World War I the western world put up a curtain around the Soviet Union to encase it,to block it off to western communication,to contain the disease of communism,which Stalin then turned into an iron curtain of immense strength. The Cuban blockade was instituted for the same reason. To stop the spread of socialism in South and Central America. Much preferred were the right wing dictators in alliance with the USA. All South America looked to Cuba as the ideal of their own salvation. If Castro could do it,then they might also. It supplied them with the hope they needed.

        If Cuba is harsh,more Stalinist than in the bginning,we have ourselves to congratulate. Castro was forced to turn to the Soviet Union for economic aid,and of course,they expected certain reciprocity from him,i.e. a hard line I am sure. He used and was used in turn by the Soviets,and we were the catalyst that forced this response.

        We planned to assasinate him for years,and tried numerous times. What do we expect from him except hate? and we do the same with Chavez. But he returned love when he wanted to send help and doctors to New Orleans,albeit for his own political purposes. I mean,how does it look when America has to rceive aid from Cuba for a natural disater that Cuba,a Communist country,has prepared for and handled so well on its own that they can send help to us. And we refuse it to cut off our nose to spite out face.

        But I agree wih Bernard Henri Levy. Socialism and capitalism lead to totalitarianism,althought by different routes and philosophies. And,as he says,a pox on both our houses.

        •  i do not believe that (none)
          Castro was a Marxist-Leninist. He lied to the Cuban people when he said "this Revolution is as  green as the palms."

          The joke was it was "green like a watermelon."

          Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and Raul Castro did not become Marxist-Leninists on a whim.

          Indeed, it is rather an insult to them to argue that "the US pushed them into it" if you ask me.

          The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

          by Armando on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 06:28:27 PM PST

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          •  Isn't Castro.... (none)
            ....essentially just a Marxist-leaning nationalist?
          •  I am not so sure Armando (none)
            I can remember very well when Castro was only a rebel
            fighting against Batista because of the corrupt rule that
            Batista represented. I lived in south Florida and I followed
            and I  was in the service at the time and followed both
            sides of the issues in his revolution pretty close.

            At that time he appealed to the US for help in his groups
            struggle to oust Batista. The US refused but Russia did
            not and they gave him the backing that he needed.
            Even right after he was in power he expressed the
            desire to have good relations with the US, but again
            we refused. Instead we set the embargo.

            Regardless of the fact that the man has lead his nation
            under the old russian style dictatorship, he did have some
            very good ideas and goals when trying to oust the corrupt
            ruler. However his ideas about getting rid of corruption
            would not have fared well for the rich here that was
            profiting quite heavily from that Cuban corruption.

            If the US had not wanted so desperately to maintain the
            Batista regime in  power or someone that was their
            puppet like he was, it would have seen the wisdom to
            give Castro the aid he needed.   The problem was that
            they knew that the main reason Castro was fighting
            to get rid of the corrupt garbage that was fed
            and fueled from our country.

            So our country bears a lot of the blame for the things
            that have fallen on the Cuban people over the past 40
            plus years.

            Aint scared of nobody cause I want my freedom. Aint scared of nobody cause I want my freedom now.

            by eaglecries on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 09:27:50 PM PST

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            •  Yes well (none)
              You were not getting good information.

              To be honest, your perceptions are not, in my view, even close to the mark.

              The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

              by Armando on Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 05:27:47 AM PST

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              •  Actually (none)
                his account of the history is very close to the mark, except that Russia didn't support Castro until after he came to power.

                U.S. opposition to Castro is rooted in his decision to nationalize the sugar mills and the prostitution and gambling driven tourism industry.

                "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories" -- Amilcar Cabral

                by Christopher Day on Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 06:42:16 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

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