Sunday, March 9, 2008

Babalú Praises George Will's Bigotted Attack on Cubans

Robert Molleda has replaced George Moneo as Babalú's resident clown; or, rather, we should say that he no longer shares that distinction with him. His latest post, which is commendable only insofar as he has limited his personal contribution to under 20 words of sycophancy, extolls and endorses a George Will column ("Think Twice About Ending the Embargo") which is arguably the most insulting to Cubans ever written by a reputable conservative (if that's what "the one and only" George Will is).

Molleda commends Will's "usually solid and commonsense arguments" but doesn't say what those are. There is at least one in his column: his contention that economic liberalization in Communist China did not lead to greater political freedom. By now this is a trite observation, although there are still those like Henry Gómez who put their hopes in the Chinese formula. (But hopes for what? The consolidation through solvency of tyranny?)

The rest of Will's conclusions are flawed because his knowledge of Cuban history is flawed. He contends that Cuban-Americans "demanded the imposition" of the trade embargo in 1961. The few Cubans who were in the U.S. at that time were not in a position to "demand" anything of Kennedy, not even to hold him to his commitments in respect to the Bay of Pigs. It was U.S. corporations whose property had been seized by the Castro regime without compensation that demanded it; the same companies, which, having long ago written off those losses or passed them on to the American consumer, aspire now to underwrite the very regime that had cheated them. If you are against the embrago, however, it is convenient to have Cuban-Americans as the bogeymen since you can attack them as revanchists without the necessity of explaining what benefit would accrue to the U.S. or the Cuban people by wiping the slate clean and allowing the Castros to sell back to Americans the properties stolen from them as well as those stolen from Cuban citizens (the latter outnumbering the former by a factor of 100).

For one who supposedly supports the embargo, there is very little about it that George Will seems to like. He thinks it is outdated and irrelevant: "The embargo was imposed when Cuba was a salient of Soviet values and interests in this hemisphere. Today, Cuba is a sad, threadbare geopolitical irrelevancy." He thinks it is counterproductive and has benefitted Castro: "Far from threatening Castro's regime, the embargo has enabled Castro to exploit Cubans' debilitating mentality of taking comfort from victimhood -- the habit, more than a century old, of blaming problems on others, first on Spain and then on the United States."

It is Will who knows nothing about geopolitics or Cuban history. To say that Communist Cuba is a "threadbare geopolitical irrelevancy" at a time when its Venezuelan surrogate and patron has already co-opted most of South America and now threatens the peace of the region -- there has been no internecine war there in 70 years -- shows that Will, like President Bush, regards Latin America itself as geopolitically irrelevant, not just Cuba. The truth is that a conflict in South America would be the greatest geopolitical challenge that this country would ever have to face, the equal of ten thousand Iraqs; and if disengaging from the Iraq War seems almost impossible for the U.S. without forfeiting its "victory" and condemning Iraqis to slavery then extricating itself from a trans-continental war in this hemisphere, which it would be oblige to join under all existing treaties and convenants, won't even be an option without forfeiting not just American prestige but American freedom.

As for the embargo benefitting Castro, it must be a very peculiar "benefit" that the recipient so greatly resents and is obsessed with overthrowing. Since the Cuban people have no participation in the Cuban economy except as beasts of burden, the effects of lifting the embargo would benefit only Cuba's capitalists, that is, the Castro brothers and their henchmen in the military who control all aspects (and assets) of Cuba's closed economy.

Now we come to the most offensive part of Will's column, his contention that Cubans are beset by a "debilitating mentality" and "take comfort from victimhood," specifically, "the habit, more than a century old, of blaming problems on others, first on Spain and then on the United States." Apparently, George Will believes that Cubans should have accepted Spanish tyranny with good grace and American tutelage with gratitude. What right do we have to be free or independent? We are, after all, not Anglo-Saxons. Our history and political culture, Will believes, should reconcile us to slavery. Instead, Cubans insist on regarding foreign domination and its attendant calamities as "problems" and blaming those who inflicted them on us.

At the same time, Cubans are also to blame, according to Will, for "Cuba [having] negligible democratic traditions, and no living experience with a culture of pluralism and persuasion." First, this is not true. The Cuban Republic (1902-1958) in 56 years elected 10 constitutional presidents and no Cuban was ever executed or imprisoned for his political beliefs before 1959. Yes, Cuban democratic traditions were fragile (thanks to the Platt Amendment and other usurpations) but they would certainly have become more robust if Eisenhower's State Department and The New York Times had not installed Fidel Castro in power and Kennedy and his "best and brightest" agreed to make the U.S. the guarantor of Communism on the island. But, there I go, again, acting like a typical Cuban and blaming others for fucking up my country.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Robert Molleda who? Another Loser Clown from the Clown Factory.

Anonymous said...

After nearly five decades of economic sanctions, the debate continues.End the Embargo...The embargo is not the cause of the catastrophic state of Cuba’s economy.Mismanagement and the fact that “command economy” models don’t work lie at the root of Cuba’s economic misery. Despite the existence of the embargo, the U.S. is Cuba’s sixth-largest trading partner and biggest food supplier.

Moreover, U.S. tourism will not bring democracy to Cuba. For years, hundreds of thousands of tourists from Canada, Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere have visited the island. Cuba is no more democratic today. On what mystical grounds do opponents of the embargo offer that American tourists will do the trick?

There are many negative unintended consequences to unilaterally lifting the embargo without meaningful changes in Cuba’s political and economic model. Most important of all, it would ensure the continuation of the current totalitarian regime by strengthening state enterprises that would be the main beneficiaries of currency inflows into business owned by the Cuban government.

Ms Calabaza said...

"Despite the existence of the embargo, the U.S. is Cuba’s sixth-largest trading partner and biggest food supplier." ~ anonymous

To anonymous:

Where could I find this information?

Thanks in advance.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

ms. calabaza:

It's true. What's left of the trade embargo only requires the Castroites to pay with cash for imports. Those who favor scrapping the weakened embargo do so because they want to extend credits and subsidies to Communist Cuba, that is, they want the U.S. to underwrite the Castro regime and give it a license to steal (again).

Ms Calabaza said...

. . . give the Castro brothers and their posse CREDIT . . . Priceless!

Anonymous said...

Cuban families are not the only victims of the embargo. Many of the dollars Cubans could earn from U.S. tourists would come back to the United States to buy American products, especially farm goods. The American Farm Bureau estimates that Cuba could "eventually become a $1 billion agricultural-export market for products of U.S. farmers and ranchers." The embargo stifles another $250 million in potential annual exports of fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides and tractors. According to a study last year by the U.S. International Trade Commission, the embargo costs American firms between $684 million and $1.2 billion per year.

Anonymous said...

the embargo actually enhances Castro's standing by giving him a handy excuse for the manifest failures of his oppressive communist system. He can rail for hours about the suffering the embargo inflicts on Cubans, even though the damage done by his domestic policies is far worse. If the embargo were lifted, the Cuban people would be a bit less deprived and Castro would have no one else to blame for the shortages and stagnation that will persist without real market reforms.

Anonymous said...

My Favorite Quote:

"Freedom for the Cuban people is not yet at hand, and the Castro brothers clearly intend to maintain their grip on power."

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Anonymous:

I don't think that Fidel is going to be "rail[ing] for hours" about anything anymore, and if he does, nobody will listen to him.

Placating Castro is not a good reason for lifting the embargo. The suffering which he has inflicted on the Cuban people does not have to be validated by lifting the embargo. It is real and palpable and no one but a fool or a friend of tyranny would deny it.

Vana said...

But the Embargo has been the regimes,read the Castros excuse for keeping the people in misery, all of Fidel's failures have been blamed on the Embargo, there is no Embargo in the tourist's centers, or their shops, so the Embargo does in a way hurt the people, at least that is how I percieve it.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Anonymous:

So what if the trade embargo "costs American firms between $684 million and $1.2 billion per year?" Some CEOs are paid that much in bonuses annually. That's pocket change in the world of commerce. In the moral universe, it's called blood money.

Now tell us how much the Castro conglomerate stands to make from such trade? Nixon's opening to Red China didn't benefit the U.S. economically. It did enrich the Chinese Communists and made them invulnerable to criticism and outside pressure.

Is that what you wish for the Castro regime as well?

Anonymous said...

Manuel:


According to US statistics, China's export to the United States was US$243.5 billion last year, accounting for 32 per cent of China's US$762 billion total exports and 14.6 per cent of US total imports. This demonstrates the fact that China and the United States are big markets to each other.C'mon manuel do that math..Everyone is benefiting from each other.

As long as the Bush administration can greatly deregulate export management with China like the Reagan administration did, the US large- and medium-sized enterprises will have the ability and the possibility to capture more shares in China's rapidly growing new market, and China will surely become a big market for US exports. China's modernization needs a large amount of US capital, technology and equipment, which can push and promote US economic development. Therefore, economic and trade co-operation between China and the United States is mutually beneficial and a win-win situation with bright prospects.

About Cuba, With a net worth of $550 million, stoled from the cuban people.The Cuban thief jefe, Castro's most profitable operations include a convention center, a retail conglomerate and a company called Medicuba that sells pharmaceuticals made on the island, reports the magazine. Not mentioned are Cuba's biggest exports -- seafood, tobacco, sugar and nickel -- which, as El Thief Lider of the communist regime, Fidel naturally benefits from too.In 1993 Castro sold 50% of Havana Club rum, which he had expropriated decades earlier, to the French liquor company Pernod Ricard for, as Forbes notes, $50 million.

Agustin Farinas said...

Anonymous,
The Havana Club name for the Rum and the factory where it was produced was expropiated from the Arrechavala Company in Cardenas Matanzas, not from any French Company.