Friday, August 17, 2007

Val Prieto Wants to Give Raúl Castro the Business

[I have a big backlog of posts; the Oscar Corral story pretty much knocked Val & Henry off my front page. It's not that I haven't been writing about their foibles. I have, of course. There just wasn't room to insert them in the prominent position that they deserve. I hope over this week-end to catch-up and publish the lot of them. Here's the most recent one commenting on Val's suggestion of yesterday about rewarding Raúl after Fidel's death in the hope he will abandon communism. A similar idea was floated around 1959 and for some years later and some apologists for Fidel still blame Eisenhower and Kennedy for not trying hard enough or at all to "ween" Castro away from Communism by giving him whatever he asked for and then some. But, really, what more could the U.S. have given him than what it in fact gave him — a solemn pledge, enshrined in a treaty, to do everything in its power to see that he died in office? Here's Val still parroting the "appeasement at all costs" or "surrender without defeat" philosophy made famous by Neville Chamberlain 70 years ago:]

In a post entitled "Buenos Dias, ... grrmmphh" (I guessed he titled it thusly so that nobody in the future would ever be able to find it and call him up it), Val informed his readers that he was up into the wee hours of the night grappling with an idea that had "pitched a tent and a residence" in his mind. It must have been quite a narrow but lithesome idea to have been able to pitch a tent and a residence in the short expanse of land that is Val's brain.

What was this remarkably self-accommodating idea that so tantalized him? "Fidel is the revolution and the revolution is Fidel." I must say that I'm impressed, and I am not being sarcastic. Sure it's a cliché, a very old and oft-repeated cliché, but at least it is true (not the whole truth but a substantial part of it). Val then goes on to expound that no real transition in Cuba will take place until Fidel is actually dead. Now Val has been saying that Fidel is dead for the longest time. I suppose that what he really means is that without Fidel's presence (real or not) an explosion of discontent will erupt on the island which would threaten the foundations of the regime.

And what does Val believe should be the U.S. reaction to widespread discontent in Cuba? Well, we might expect his answer to be that it should tighten the pressure cooker, after all that's what Val has always advocated in respect to exiles providing assistance to their starving relatives in Cuba. But, no, for once Val doesn't want to implode his countrymen in that pressure cooker, but to release the steam. Val proposes that upon the announcement of Fidel's death the U.S. immediately lift the trade embargo and "all restrictions vis-a vis-Cuba." Let us humor him and suppose that such a thing were legally possible (which it is not).

This then begs the question: Was our beef just with Fidel, not with the Revolution, not with Communism, not with Raúl? We were right not to reward Fidel, but would be justified in rewarding Raul for 48 years of tyranny at home and enmity to the United States? Just so long as it is not done in Castro's lifetime (official or otherwise), Val would not hesitate in recognizing and rewarding the monument to political reppression and economic lunacy that Fidel created in Cuba.

Ironically, Val may be right: not in the sense that the U.S. would be justified so to act but that it may act even without justification. Its foreign policy towards Cuba is in fact founded on Val's pressure cooker analogy. It wants to let off just enough steam to reduce the pressure on the regime so that it will not implode. It doesn't matter to Bush, just as it did not matter to Clinton, whether Cuba regains her freedom or not, just as long as whomever is in charge can keep the peace on the island, even if it is the peace of the grave; and, above all else, the U.S. wants someone in charge powerful enough to prevent another (much greater) Mariel in an election year. Whoever can manage that, even Raúl, is America's "Man in Havana." This should come as no surprise to anyone because the U.S. has maintained an attitude inimical to Cuban freedom since the first days of the Revolution and done everything to thwart it even when, as in the Bay of Pigs, it seemed to be supporting it.


Vana said...

I'm very surprised, seems he has changed his mind and his convictions, he wants the embargo lifted? with a Castro in power? that does not sound like the radicals down Miami way.
I for one wanted lifted, 48 years is long enough, it's the people who suffer, not the tyranny, enough of this endless joke

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


The embargo has been lifted for all intents and purposes: Cuba is 25th largest trading partner of the United States, which in turn is Cuba's 4th largest. There are some 260 countries in the world.

The embargo only prohibits Cuba from buying on credit from the U.S. It must pay cash on the barrel. This is a very wise policy since Cuba has defaulted on all its debts to foreign creditors.

Vana said...

I know it's partly lifted, but what of the embargo against us, we are only allowed to travel to the Island every three years, can only send money to our near relatives, and only $100.00 a month, I'm sick of it, sick I tell you

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


The right of Cuban exiles to help their relatives on the island, whether in the form of personal visits or by sending cash remittances, should not be prohibited or restricted in any way by either the Castro regime or the U.S. government.