"An Embargo Question
"Let's say the US lifts the infamous embargo on Cuba, would I be able to, say, fly down to Havana, rent a car, drive to the 'Cuba Si' prison in Holguin and take Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet a pan con bistek from Versailles?
"Inquiring minds want to know."
Val Prieto at Babalú, March 11, 2008
Well, I've heard it all. A joke about Oscar Biscet. I wonder what he would say if he knew that Val would scrap the embargo for the honor of bringing him a pan con bistec sandwich? Is that the sum total of Biscet's aspirations? A soggy day-old or week-old sandwich brought to him by Val Prieto on his triumphant stride through the ruins of Cuba? If Dr. Biscet found any enjoyment in the sandwich, surely meeting its purveyer would sour even this sorry repast for him. Let us hope that he would not assume that Val is representative of all Cuban exiles for that would surely break his heart.
Val seems to assume that discarding the embargo will return the status quo ante to Cuba. Only discarding the Castros will do that. Before the Revolution, Fidel Castro's friends fêted him with Serrano hams and boxes of H. Upmann cigars while he was imprisoned on the Isle of Pines. In one of his prison letters Fidel commented that he had actually gained weight in prison since he spent all day eating and reading in his suite of rooms and private courtyard. The photo of his release from prison after having served 21 months of a 15-year sentence fully corroborates his assertion.
Does Val think that Fidel and Raúl afford their political prisoners the accommodations which Batista did? Or for that matter, does he suppose that as a returning Cuban he would be granted free access to Castro's jails? Yes, he would enjoy special privileges in Cuba which our countrymen there don't, but that would not be one of them.
Bush's medal and Val's sandwich are not going to free Biscet. His freedom will come only when the Cuban people are free to exalt their heroes and punish their tormentors. Or to put it terms that Val can understand: when all Cubans are free to eat pan con bistec sandwiches.
Henry has responded to Val's query with what appears to be a rebuke, warning him that were it known that he intended to visit Cuba for the stated purpose, it is likely that he would be put on the first plane to Miami or that "they would try to entrap him with some illicit behavior and blackmail [him]." Henry seems unaccountably certain about that. Val should listen to him.