As for the Wall of Shame, the Babalunians only regret that such a barrier cannot be constructed along the Eastern seaboard to thwart Cuban refugees. Although they are not as explicit in their condemnation, it is their fellow Cubans that they fear the most and whose fate concerns them most because it impacts them also. The "American-Cubans" regard the newcomers as a sub-species who resemble us in some respects but are unlike us in many more. They despise the similarities especially because these are all that Anglos can see. These new refugees threaten the status quo of previous generations of exiles. This is not a new phenomenon; assimiliated Jews were often embarrassed by immigrants from the ghettos and sought to distance themselves from them. This politic indifference no doubt contributed to the tardy and half-hearted exertions on the part of establishment Jews to rescue their European brethren before Hitler delivered on what he had long-promised. Many Cuban exiles, like those Jews, have found an accommodation here which they do not desire to be disturbed by those who do not share their assimilationist tendencies, which do not exclude even annexation.
In a Babalú post this morning, rsnlk, whose views are probably closer in line with Val and Henry's than any of the new batch of editors, laments what may or may not be an increase in the number of Cubans fleeing to this country, even labelling it a "mass migration" bigger than Mariel (1980) or the Balsero Exodus (1994). This is plain looniness. If a crisis of comparable dimensions existed at this time, Dade-County would be paralyzed now as it was then. Of course, it is not. The newcomers are absorbed without straining available resources because it is not a mass exodus. The mass exodus which they fear will come and soon, and it will test to the breaking point all mechanisms in place to prevent or stem it. We all know when this crisis will come and what will trigger it. It certainly will not be Raúl's interrregnum.
Cubans fleeing Castro's island hell, whether singly or as a group, is not a new phenomenon and Castro has never had to encourage it, though when he did the numbers of refugeees naturally increased. Still, because they do not want the refugeees to come here, whether by their own volition or Castro's leave, they take it as a "foregone conclusion" that any migration from Cuba will be "favored" by the Castro regime and hence should be opposed by the U.S. These children and grandchildren of old Cuban refugees see the new refugees as "deserters" who owe them what their own parents and grandparents couldn't give them — a free Cuba purchased with their blood. This is the "red carpet" that the "American-Cubans" expect will be rolled out for them. They regard migration from Cuba unfavorably because it is "as an escape valve to relieve the periodic build-up of internal socioeconomic pressures." The Babalunians don't like valves on their pressure cookers, as we have pointed out on more than one occasion. Their fondest wish, as they have on more than one occasion admitted, is for the pressure cooker to blew up. The new Cuba that they foresee has no place for those who are actually living there now. Their exclusionism is nicely balanced by Castro's acolytes here, who want Cuban exiles to be excluded altogether from any part in Cuba's future. The notion that Cuba belongs to all of us, which Cuban dissidents on the island have always stressed, is regarded as apostosy here by hardliners on the right and the left. To the latter, the exiles forfeited their citizenship (and everything else) by leaving Cuba; to the former, all who stayed are collaborators and should be proscribed in the future.
A civil war should not be Castro's fatal legacy to the Cuban people. Those who foment it on either side are the ones who don't deserve to be called Cubans.
So in summary, you want:
- Permanent legal status on demand for all Cubans who step anywhere outside the island regardless of numbers. Lets coin this the new "Off Island Foot" policy - step off the island and you're in.
- Unlimited visitations to the island by anyone (is the 1 year and a day waiting period for new arrivals OK or is this too restrictive?)
- Unlimited remittances without restrictions or limits.
- I believe you are also in favor of the US continuing the "embargo" (wink) right?
And this is supposed to result in a free Cuba? Socialist or capitalist? With Castro Inc. or without? Also, who or what will catalyze this change after we pump those few extra billion a year in remittances into the Cuban economy?
You are against the "pressure cooker" idea which is based on hardship-as-catalyst for change. So if I read you right, once everyone is flush with donated dollars from remittances, able to eat, dress and live well thanks to newfound access to the FAR's CUC stores. All relatives able to visit each other as frequently as their dollars can take them, etc. etc. — then what? Is there a timeframe for freedom that we can expect? You're concept is that once people don't have to worry about food, fashion and electronics then they'll revolt?
You also don't want a civil war — here I am definitely with you — who can want anyone to die?
The only problem so far, is that all I see is — not much.
I want to believe! I just need more info.
12/02/2007 11:09 PM
Manuel A.Tellechea said...
This is what I want:
1). The laws of the United States to be obeyed. The Cuban Adjustment Act (1966) is the law of this land. It requires that all Cuban refugees who apply for asylum and are not otherwise excludable under U.S. laws be granted asylum here. This is the reason that you are here and that I am here. A law — any law, not just the Cuban Adjustment Act — cannot be altered by presidential fiat, which is an expedient used only in dictatorships. Yet that is precisely what Clinton did by inventing the "Wet Foot/Dry" policy. Bush is just as guilty as Clinton because he has enforced that legal travesty longer than Clinton did.
2). I have never visited the island nor would I while any vestige of the Castro regime remains. I recognize, however, that others are free to do as they please in accordance with their own circumstances. I do categorically reject the idea that Castro or the U.S. has the right to tell any Cuban whether he can return to his country or dictate the conditions of his return. We are not hostages in this country nor is Castro the one who determines if we are Cubans.
3). Yes, unlimited remittances. Starving the Cuban people is not the only course available for securing their freedom. In fact, all it accomplishes is to extend Castro's control over them.
4). Yes, the embargo should remain in place. The fact that Castro wishes it to be removed is sufficient reason to retain it.
I never claimed that "all this" would result in a free Cuba. Neither what I recommend nor its exact opposite will result in a free Cuba. Unfortunately, we cannot legislate freedom to the Cuban people. I do believe, however, that there is a right and a wrong way to react to the Castro regime and that my way is the right one.
You are wrong when you say that nobody wants a bloodbath or civil war in Cuba. You should read Babalú rather than just write for it.
There has never been a successful populist uprising against Communism because tanks are mightier than fists. Either Communism must implode as it did in the Soviet Union or someone who controls the tanks (like Pinochet) must use them to rescue the people.
Manuel, You have treated me more than fairly in the past. And I respect your obvious knowledge and intellect, although I think you often squander it in pursuit of the "Babalusians." Yes, I read your blog and cheer you on when you take on the useful idiots on the web. But enough presumption on my part.
I do have to object, however, to the characterization of my post as lamenting the mass exodus. I very deliberately refrained from commentary because I wanted the numbers to speak for themselves. A look at the title should have linked the numbers to the situation on the island. Other than that, I left it to the reader to make whatever connections he or she wished.
The only direct commentary had to do with the way statistics were being used- two years worth of arrivals were being compared to those of one summer and seven years to two — to make it seem as if we were being overrun. That is hardly in keeping with the position you ascribe to me.
And if my views, in general, are similar to Val and Henry's, so be it. I admire what they have done, given a voice to our common cause: the liberation of Cuba. For that is the most fervent wish of all of us.
I am saddened. I had hoped to avoid getting involved in this internecine warfare, because I think it is counterproductive. To wit, I have commented once to set the record straight, and you are free to do what you do with my comment. However, as far as I am concerned, it ends here.
12/03/2007 9:21 AM
Manuel A.Tellechea said...
I am glad that you are a reader of this blog. Most of Babalú's editors are, and the few who aren't simply don't read other blogs. However, you don't appear to know much about me. Unlike your boss, I do not delete comments — ever; I do not ban commenters, nor issue anathemas against them. It is my belief, which I defended long before Val banned me, that so-called moderation is preemptive censorship and I have never practiced it on RCAB. Hence you need not fear what I will "do" with your comments. I will do nothing but answer them.
You and the other new Babalunian editors have real gifts which you are squandering in the service of Val Prieto. Like ancient Rome, Val co-opts and assimilates his potential competition. I should not be surprised if next year there are 15 more editors at Babalú and 15 less Cuban blogs. Very sad indeed, but nothing that I can do about it.
Finally, if what you say here is what you meant to say in your post, then you should have said it. I cannot read your mind or react to what you meant to say.