"They are all people [Ana Menéndez, Aruca, Lesnick, Aruca and Rangel] that hate the exile community and are openly embracing [Joe] Garcia, not because he's a fidelista (he's not) but because the change these people seek is not in Cuban policies that make Cuba a failed police state but instead a change to American policy that doesn't recognize the legitimacy of a government that killed scores of our countrymen and imprisoned scores more." -- Henry "Economist" Gómez, "Barnyard Wisdom," Babalú, April 13, 2008
What's wrong with this statement?
Doctrinally, nothing; we all know what Henry means to say even if he does not quite say it, or says it badly.
First of all, no Cuban patriot should ever refer disparagingly to Cuba when it is Castro that he means. The two are not interchangeable. On the contrary, they are antithetical. If he is going to attack "Cuba" it must be qualified as "Communist Cuba" which is the antithesis of the real Cuba, or, to make it simpler for Henry, the "unCuba."
Moreover, Communist Cuba is not a "failed police state." It is an eminently successful police state. In fact, it is successful at being a police state and nothing else.
It is at the end that Henry's sentence collapses completely, as so many of his sentences do. It is his attempt at an antithesis that dooms it because Castro's repressive policies and U.S. foreign policy are not in any sense equals, much less the same thing. You can compare and contrast U.S. foreign policy and Castroite foreign policy. You can compare and contrast Castro's repression of the Cuban people to American complicity in their repression. But you can't compare the policies of a police state to policies (or even politics) of a democratic state. To obscure, or, perhaps, in a failed attempt to clarify matters the "Conductor" loads the antithesis with too much rhetorical baggage (the "scores" of dead) and derails it at the end.
We are still puzzled by his statement that "the [Cuban] government [sic] killed scores of our countrymen and imprisoned scores more." Does Henry know what a "score" is? It's just 20 people. Of course, one could say that Castro has killed "5,000 score" of our countrymen, but isn't that a bit contrived and self-defeating when the "100,000" he uses elsewhere is far more direct and powerful?
It is possible, of course, that when Henry wrote "our countrymen" he did not mean Cubans but Americans, who are, after all, his countrymen because he was born in this country. In that case he would be correct. Castro has indeed killed scores and imprisoned scores more of his American countrymen. Here, again, we hope that he is not implying that these incarcerations and deaths are more to be lamented than the myriads of Cuban dead. Of course, this is exactly what U.S. courts ruled when they handed the relatives of the handful of U.S. citizens killed by Castro $200 million per head from the frozen assets of the Cuban Republic in U.S. banks while refusing to compensate with even one cent Castro's Cuban victims.
Finally, Henry refers to the Castro regime as a "government" which bestows a legitimacy on it that it does not deserve. Let others who accept it as legitimate call it a "government." Free Cubans never should without calling attention to that absurdity (with "so-called government" or "government [sic]" as above). Otherwise it should always be "the regime," "the dictatorship," "the tyranny," or any other appellation that attests to its illegitimacy. That Henry should use "government" to describe the Cuban dictatorship is particularly ironic because he is condemning those who bestow legitimacy on it (like Charlie Rangel or Ana Menéndez).
We've just noticed something about this post that we had overlooked before. The "Conductor" is no more. Henry Gómez has discarded the moniker that he used since he began blogging and now signs his posts at Babalú by his baptisimal name: "Henry Louis Gómez." (Sounds so very Bourbon). It seems "Conductor" had acquired a rather bitter taste in Val's mouth after Henry tried to wrest control of Babalú from its august editor-in-chief. So the "Conductor" has made his last run on Babalú. Henry could, of course, have adopted a less dictatorial title. "Maestro," perhaps? A "maestro" is also a conductor, of a different kind. Henry, however, is content to be his unpretentious self for now.
Henry can call himself whatever he wants; but we shall continue to refer to him as "Henry 'Economist' Gómez," a name which was bestowed on him when he revealed, to the astonishment of all and sundry, that he majored in economics at college. We shall keep "Economist" because it is a token of the respect we have always accorded him.