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Chavez, a close ally, announced in Caracas that he was headed to Havana to celebrate Castro's birthday with him.

"I will be with him as of tonight in Havana. I'm taking him a good present, a good cake, and there we will celebrate the 80 years of that great figure of our America," Chavez said.

Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, has helped Cuba skirt an increasingly strict U.S. embargo by providing oil at preferential terms and boosting trade and cooperation efforts.

A good number of the Cuban American community is very Anti Castro.  Saying 'Viva Castro' in the wrong part of Florida or NJ will start a riot faster than Buck saying "Canadian beer sucks" at a hockey game in the movie Canadian Bacon.  Currently, the Conservative Cuban American Exile Community as epidomied by CANF (Cuban American National Foundation) is very supportive to the Republicans.  

But there is another group of Republicans that are potentially at odds with this sentiment and that is the mainstreet conservatives and the rest of the Republican Party TM.  They want the economy humming a long nicely and to do that, they need oil.  Our second largest foreign oil supplier is Venezuela which is also currently supplying oil to Cuba.

If I remember correctly, the US has a set of laws that state that a company cannot do business in both the US and Cuba.  It's one or the other.  And here is where we can bust the alliance.

The Republicans need the Conservative Cuban Americans Exiles to keep Florida.  And they need the large amount of oil from Venezuela to keep the economy humming.  My guess is that the Republican Leadership would sooner snub the Conservative Cuban American Exiles than turn down Venezuelan oil ESPECIALLY after BP f*cked up the Alaskan Pipeline by not doing preventive maintainance so they could save nickles and dimes.

So, here is the plan.  (1st) Stir up sh*t.  Push "our" conservative Cuban American congresscritters demand that the US to uphold the US laws preventing trade with companies that violate the embargo.  (2nd) Watch the republican leadership have to choose between a powerful but limited sect and the powerful but larger rest of america in  terms of keeping the economy going.  How many Republican Congressmen and Senators would lose if Bush upheld the law and drove gas prices to $5 a gallon?  Too many.  Possibly enough to shift the balance of both houses.    (3rd) Watch the Conservative Cuban American Exiles blame Bush for the new 'Elian'.  We gain house seats in competitve races in Florida and NJ.  

It's mean, it's realpolitik, it's fighting with Brass Knuckles, but may be very succesful.  Just as the republicans use wedge issues to divide the center from the left, so do we need to divide the center from the right.  We need to drive the issues into situations were the Republicans are in Lose - Lose situations.  And the dichotomy of Oil versus CANF is easy.


Originally posted to redwisconsin on Sat Aug 12, 2006 at 03:33 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mikolo, kraant

      Cuz I thought it sucked 'mucho culo'

      •  Rules for Radical by Saul Alinsky (4+ / 0-)

        Everything I have suggested is taken straight from one of the most effective Progressive Organizers Ever.  Please go read Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky.

        One of Alinsky's big points is you use what you have.  What we have is a Unified republican Party with Conservatives that have deeply opposing programs.  So the goal was using that.

        Identify the problem:  Unified Republicans.

        Look for a contradiction within: Oil versus CANF.

        Hold your opposition to it's own rules.  US Export Laws supported by one group.

        Watch them divide themselves and deligitimize themselves.  The New Elian.

        Provide rational answers to irrationality.  

        Win at the Ballot box.  

  •  They will lean back (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mikolo, kraant

    light up an illegal Cuban cigar, and proclaim a waiver for state security purposes.

    •  Which is a big snub! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's the goal. It is to drive a wedge between the different groups.  

      To give you an example of the power this community wields, I want you to take your TARDIS way back to 2000.  The Democrats lost big in Florida in 2000 partly due to the whole Elian Gonzales saga.  There's that famous photo of the heavily armed policeman seizing Elian to send him back to  Cuba.  It didn't matter that the whole situation was in keeping with law and precedent (Elian was wet versus dry, his mom took him without knowledge of his father, his immediate family - father, grandparents were still in Cuba), in the eyes of the Conservative Cuban American Community, Saint Elian was being sent back to Deathcamp Cuba by that horrible, HORRIBLE Janet 'Jackboot' Reno and the despicable CLENIS.  And they showed up in droves for the 2000 election in Florida.  We know how THAT wedge issue affected the nation.

      The Mainstreet Republican wants economic certainty in cheap oil, cheap vacations, cheap sugar and markets for cheap American grain.  The CANF is in diametric opposition to them regarding Cuba.  This is a wedge between two important groups in the Republican Party TM.  And its time to give the wedge a couple of wacks with a sledgehammer.

      •  Are you under the assumption that (0+ / 0-)

        there will be some kind of publicity about this "wedge"?

        •  That's the only troublesome part. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          historys mysteries, kraant

          Getting the fire started.  However, the propect of Castro stepping down has a lot of Conservative Cuban American Exiles saying and doing things that they shouldn't.  They are in the spotlight now and a few careful nudges might get them going in the right direction.

        •  Possible spark. (0+ / 0-)

          I rode my bike home and pondered this very issue.

          How do you frame the issue so that it divides the opposition while simultaneously providing a solution or positive message?

          The Answer:  "Thanks for the Oil, Chavez!" rallies.  It's time to thank him publicly.  Last year Chavez offered to poor people in America (African American Organizations mainly) oil for heating during the winter.  It's time that we publicize the fact that Venezuela provides free oil to poor people in America and Cuba.  

          But we are going to focus on Oil for Poor Americans.  Who could ever speak against that?  Now, we have framed the issue as Venezuela gives oil to poor Americans, Cubans and sells oil to America to keep  

          But it's also a well known fact that Venezuela also props up Cuba through its Oil Subsidy.  This has been thorn in many conservatives cuban exiles side.

          By bring attention to the oil for Venezuela, we are jiggling the thorn.

          Now how do we thank him publicly?  That is to be decided.  I can think of several, they involve rallies in different cities.  The easy one would be held in a safe city. Des Moines, IA  is safe but with little hope of success in injecting the issue into the national discourse.  NYC would be better because of the proximity of NJ, but it might not trigger a discourse response.  The extreme tactic is what I call "Heston in Littleton, Colorado".   The rally would be announced to be held in Little Havana, Miami.  In all likelihood, it would not receive the permits so it wouldn't be held.  But it would cause an overreaction by the opposition in the press.  Going back to Alinsky, the question is where would be the comfort zone of the members.  If they won't go to Little Havana because they fear for their life, it won't happen because the bluff will be called.

          So, the spark would be to (1) frame the issue as "Poor Patriotic Americans say Chavez, Thank you for helping me pay the heating bill".  This would be done in rallies and letters to the editor.  This is something most Americans will understand and sympathize since their heating bill has gone up so much in the last few years.  (2) Publicize the "crazy" response by the opposition.  (3) Point out the non response by their allies, the mainstreet Republicans, thus driving the wedge. (4) Provide the rational solution that enlarges our alliance, End the Blockade.

          Going back to my comments on Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals was designed to give people a way to (1) build alliances, (2) focus the issue and (3) divide the alliance of the opposition so that (4) they win.  The scary thing is that I think it was the Lee Atwaters and Karl Roves who learned all 4 steps.  I think the Democrats are stuck on step 1.

          "The People, United Can Always Be Defeated" if they don't follow through.


  •  I don't plan to support anything like that. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Chavez is a progressive leader do REAL WORK helping the poor in Venezuela AND Cuba, not to mention the US and the rest of the world.

    By the way - fuck those dumb-ass Cubans in Miami.  Miami is full of the right-wing trash from all over Latin America, including Venezuela.  Everytime some asshole steals millions of dollars worth of shit while he was at a government job (say, President of Panama or whatever) and has to getaway or face going to jail, he or she jets off to Miami and starts ranting against Castro.  Fuck them and anything they have to say.

    That law is stupid and outdated.  There is NO REASON for the embargo against Cuba to contine, much less be expanded... so any tactic that reinforces that stupid-ass notion is a stupid-ass tactic.

    Realpolitick is fine and dandy, but part of realpolitick is furthering your own ideology - you don't do that by tearing down your friends.  And Chavez is #1 on my very short "Good World Leaders" list - in fact, I don't have anyone else on the list right now.  Oh wait - Evo Morales is doing good, and if Lopez-Obrador can win his fight, he could end up there quickly.

    I guess I don't see how demonizing Chavez more is good for progressives.  

    •  There is no threat to Chavez in this strategy. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries, kraant, cwaltz

      The point of this whole strategy is to use the stupidity of the US laws and the contradiction of two very powerful conservative groups against one another.  The goal is to either divide the Right or force them into Suicide.

      (1) I am supportive of Chavez.  I wanted to go to the World Social Forum in Caracas but couldn't.  So stop worrying, I'm not trying to "get him".

      (2) Even if the US hung itself with a CANF rope the world would still buy his oil.  And that's because there is no surplus production ANYWHERE.  The Saudis have stated four times in the last year that they will increase their oil production and they haven't.  According to professional oil geologists like Kenneth Defreyes, there is a good chance that THEY CAN'T.  So stop worrying about Venezuela.   Furthermore, and noted earlier, the Alaskan pipeline is down.  That's 400,000 barrels a day that the economy can't afford to lose.  The oil junkie US is not going to turn itself away from him.

      (3) The Right looks more and more foolish every time they open their mouth on Chavez and Castro.  The conservative farmers in the heartland want to sell Cuba and they can't because of these twits.  It's time to pound the wedge.

      (4) When this fight starts, the left puts forward very rational responses on Cuba and Venezuela and looks good.  The rest of the country wonders why are we pandering to these yahoos and notices who is allied with whom.


    •  ??? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      fuck those dumb-ass Cubans in Miami.

      So much for political civility and tolerance.

  •  I think you should note that... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    CANF is no longer the epitomy of the Conservative Cuban American Exile Community. Over the past six years it has taken a considerably more moderate political view on Cuba.

    From Wikipedia:

    Following the death of its founder in 1997, CANF began to lose its ideological cohesion provided by Mas Canosa, which led its hard-liners to split and form the Cuban Liberty Council in 2001. CANF has since drifted a considerable amount from its traditional alliance with the Republican Party.

  •  'Stirring up shit' (0+ / 0-)

    as a mode for diplomacy just smells like "shit".

    How about acknowledging that Cuba and Venezuela are not particularly threatening entities? And that they are entitled to live their own lives without our interference.



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