Monday, April 02, 2007

From the Uncommon Sense Blog:

Sunday, April 01, 2007

If Cuba is bad, it must be America's fault

Beware! The Castro apologists are out in force this morning.

Nitwits like labor union leader Steve Thornton, writing in the Hartford (Conn.) Courant:

Before Fidel Castro's revolution took hold in 1959, Cuba was America's brothel, a place where, as Arthur Schlesinger wrote, "my fellow countrymen reeled through the streets, picking up 14-year-old Cuban girls and tossing coins to make men scramble in the gutter." Fidel and his barbudos delivered their country from organized crime, official corruption and U.S. domination. They were determined to disprove President William Howard Taft's prediction that "the whole hemisphere will be ours in fact as, by virtue of our superiority of race, it already is ours morally."

For 45 years, the United States has maintained an economic embargo on Cuba in an attempt to destabilize Fidel's government by strangling its people. But several have condemned this brutal tactic, including the United Nations and the late Pope Paul II. The U.S. blockade mentality has failed, as have assassination attempts, sabotage and invasion.

It may be time to engage this small island nation, whose leader has already outlasted nine U.S. presidents. One way is to recognize what we have in common, both the good and the bad. In Connecticut, that means politics, commerce and baseball.

(Note to Thornton and others who use that tired line: Fidel Castro has survived nine U.S. presidents because since he took power in 1959, there have been 12 presidential elections in the United States. In Cuba, there have been zero.)

And then there is Florida academic Paolo Spadoni, who argues in the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel that it's too much to ask for Cuba to release political prisoners and hold free elections:

Washington would be willing to lift the embargo and pursue re-engagement with Havana only if the latter were prepared to hold free and fair elections, respect human rights, release political prisoners, permit the creation of independent organizations, and embrace a market-oriented economic system. In other words, all Cuba has to change is everything it is today.

What are the chances that such a dramatic transformation will happen anytime soon?

Virtually zero.

But Cuba has not remained exactly the same over the past decade and a half. The Castro regime promoted some significant liberalizing economic reforms around the mid-1990s, and its attitude toward internal dissent has alternated between periods of harsh crackdowns to others of greater tolerance. And since Raul Castro became acting president last July, a debate has been taking place at different levels of Havana's government over potential economic changes to the island's socialist system. Last December, Raul even went so far as to propose negotiations with Washington for a normalization of relations.

Not surprisingly, the United States rejected the offer by reiterating that it will consider negotiations only when the Cuban regime opens democratically. Yet, for a country that has severed almost all ties with Cuba and has practically no leverage over developments on the island, putting forward the same rigid conditions for rapprochement that could never be met in the past is not a very effective approach.

To sum up, apologists like Spadoni and Thornton argue it's all America's fault that Cuba has a gulag, the people are hungry and the opposition is repressed. By trying to change all that, we only make it worse.

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The problem with these idiots (the ones that are idiots not the ones that are mouthpieces for the regime) is that they claim our policy is irrational because it has not worked. No, what would be irrational is to expect a totalitarian dictatorship to respond rationally to the carrot or the stick. By their nature such regimes are capricious and irrational. Having a policy that seeks to limit such a regime's cash flow is the most rational thing to do.

Arthur Schlesinger died in early March of this year. He was greatest maligner of the Cuban people, the inventor of the myth of pre-revolutionary Cuba as as an economically and socially backward country deserving of a Communist Revolution. Arthur Schlesinger was also Kennedy's lapdog for more than 50 years, in life as in death. This "esteemed historian" wrote the infamous "White Paper" on Cuba of April 3, 1961. The so-called "White Paper" was issued two weeks before the Bay of Pigs invasion and may have convinced Kennedy that Cubans deserved nothing better than betrayal as they were the world's most barbaric, immoral and despicable people, fully deserving of whatever fate befell them. According to The New York Times (April 4, 1961): "President Kennedy devoted many hours to the pamphlet, personally going over it with Mr. Schlesinger."

Former U.S. ambassador to Cuba Spruille Braden characterized the "White Paper" on Cuba as "calumny, cheap demagoguery and a despicable act, unworthy of a responsible government and foreign office. The White Paper's direct and implied animadversions as to the poverty and bad economic conditions of Cuba, prior to the coming of Castro, are inaccurate and evidence the socialistic preferences of its drafters."

"This document begins by giving approval, i.e. encouraging what it calls the 'authentic and autonomous revolution of the Americas,' that is, to promote more fidelismo but without Fidel. For my part, I prefer to see the sound evolution of the Americas without the violence, abuse and waste inherent in all revolutions. Nor do I consider it wise or proper for my government to advocate "authentic and autonomous revolutions" all over the American continents."

Schlesinger was the man that Kennedy chose as his conduit to Cuban exiles before the invasion. While he lied to the Cubans about his own and Kennedy's support, Schlesinger literally poisoned the well for them.

In a memorandum to Kennedy, dated April 5, 1961, Schlesinger advised him to abandon the freedom fighters at the Bay of Pigs:

"On balance, I think that the risks of the operation slightly outweigh the risks of abandonment. These latter risks would be mitigated somewhat if we could manage a partial rather than a total abandonment (i.e., if we could put the men into Cuba quietly).

We might also be able to make some diplomatic capital out of the abandonment. We might have Thompson say to Khrushchev, for example, that we have discouraged an invasion of Cuba; that this shows our genuine desire to compose differences; but that K. should tell his friend to behave, because our patience is not inexhaustible and we cannot hope to restrain the Cuban patriots indefinitely. Conceivably we might be able to turn abandonment to some diplomatic advantage within the hemisphere too."

Schlesinger spent the rest of his long deceitful life defending Kennedy's "indiscretions" and blackening the name and past of the Cuban people.


http://www.fas.org/irp/ops/policy/docs/frusX/76_90.html

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