Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Failure of Hope

Hope in nothing is not hope. Four years ago Americans founded their hopes on nothing and got nothing. We can only hope that they have learned one lesson since then: failure has no color. Or, rather, it comes in all colors and all combinations thereof.

You can't whitewash failure with rhetoric; you can't hang curtains of hubris around it; and you can't stamp a new expiration date on it. Failure is final.

One must be shameless beyond the common type, indeed, shameless beyond any previous conception of what shameless means, to betray the hopes of millions and yet expect them to sanction that betrayal and embrace that failure.

The only thing that would be even more shameless is a people that surrenders its future because it cannot or will not learn from its past.

We Cubans, of course, are the resident experts on that subject.

One would think that if nothing else we would be an object lesson to the world. But no; our failure, as much ours as imposed upon us, is denied by the same people that do not acknowledge Barack Obama's. They regard Fidel Castro as a boon unto our country and all nations, and we must pay with our grim realities for their fond illusions.

If Barack Obama is re-elected president today, the same fate awaits this country: to be a byword for failure without even the pity that failure amounting to national suicide should inspire.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Willard "Mitt" Romney for President

The best thing that can be said about Barack Obama's presidency is that, horrible as these last four years have been, they could have been much worse if the prospect of re-election had not contained to some small but still significant degree his socialist tendencies and radical agenda. Were he re-elected, however, he would not labor even under this restraint and we should see "the hope that failed" fail again, with still more calamitous consequences for this country and the world. We have no great faith in the constancy of Mitt Romney's conservative principles; but even admitting that he is something of a chameleon, his colors, at this moment at least, are not a cause of concern to us, as we have less apprehension of possible apostasies than rampant heresy. If this seems a half-hearted endorsement of "Mitt" Romney, it is not. I have never desired anything more in my life than his election, if not for the good that it will do then for the good that it will not undo.

I have no illusions, however, about what Romney's election would mean for the future of Cuba. As he demonstrated 4 years ago when he spoke to a gathering of Cuban-Americans in Miami and concluded his prepared remarks with Castro's cry of "¡Venceremos. Patria o Muerte!," Mitt Romney may be on our side but he knows nothing about our history or about us. Still, even that is better than someone who knows all the wrong things and has no respect for our struggle. The cancellation of the annual Cuban Independence Day celebration at the White House, and the failure to mark in any official way the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs, which was this country's first Vietnam and will not disappear from history because it is ignored or denigrated, carry far deeper symbolism than Romney's fatuous gaffe because they represent an attempt to erase the collective memory of our two countries' shared history, which is the prelude to rewriting that history with the villains as heroes and the heroes as villains.

This, ultimately, is Barack Obama's intention. It may not be his personal obsession; but it is certainly that of the advisers who have steered his Cuba policy over the last four years and made the U.S. an active partner in promoting regime conservation in Cuba. By eliminating all restrictions on cash remittances and facilitating (even promoting) U.S. tourism to the island  -- a "stimulus" package worth more than all of Cuba's exports combined -- the Obama administration has in effect circumvented the trade embargo, which cannot be rescinded until Communist Cuba has met certain conditions stipulated in U.S. law, which it has not and never will. This Obama stimulus actually has worked if strengthening the hand of Raúl Castro, the sham reformer, was its object, and whether it was or no such has been its effect: it has emboldened him to undertake the biggest crackdown on dissidents since the inception of the Revolution, culminating in the assassination of their most prominent leaders. For the consolidation of Raulism in Cuba, which resulted in these human rights outrages, Barack Obama shares the responsibility and should be held accountable.

Now for some real politik. Every Republican president from Nixon to Bush II -- including Ronald Reagan -- initiated secret talks with the Castro regime aimed at "normalizing" relations with an abnormality, which failed not because the U.S. did not negotiate in good faith but because it expected the other side to do likewise, having assumed, incorrectly, that since Communist Cuba had the most to gain in the bargain, it would be at least as accommodating as the U.S. which, by the mere act of engaging in such negotiations, had already signalled its disposition to be duped. But as every man believes that he is too smart to be duped, it is inevitable that Mitt Romney too will reach out to Communist Cuba, and just as inevitable that he too will fail. Barack Obama would not fail because there are no conditions that he would insist upon or concessions that he would not make. Negotiations carried forth upon such terms cannot fail to succeed: there has never been a capitulation that did not succeed. Because we don't want these negotiations to succeed and are confident that they won't succeed if a Republican is president, we are endorsing Willard "Mitt" Romney.

Saturday, July 24, 2010