"Give a man a fish, and you will quench his hunger. Teach a man — or in this case — allow a man to fish and he will never go hungry again." — Val Prieto, "Guarantees" (comment), Babalú, April 22, 2008
Give a man a rope and he may hang himself; teach him how to make rope and he will surely hang himself.
This particular chesnut is the darling of Val's eye. He has used this trite expression dozens of times when he wants to suggest that charity precludes self-reliance. Of course, to be self-reliant you must first be free. A regime that circumcribes your field of action and condemns and punishes individualism is not the ideal climate in which to "learn to fish." In Cuba, it is illegal for Cubans to fish in boats. They can hang a line from the Malecón and catch fish not much bigger than goldfish, which, incidentally, many do. I hardly think that teaching a man to subsist on goldfish is doing him any favor. Yet that is precisely what Val wants the already starving Cuban people to learn.
In the same thread, Henry "Economist" Gómez is convinced that if remittances are cut off abruptly Cubans will develop a distaste for goldfish and will overthrow the regime in 6 months. So that's the answer! After nearly 50 years of tyranny, the answer are goldfish! Why, of course! Only an economist like Henry could have figure that one out. Force feed the Cuban people goldfish for 6 months and they will break their shackles without the need of saws or other implements. Well, not quite break; perhaps slide out of them. After that they need only find guns, tanks and bombs and their deliverance will be complete. Or failing that, Cubans will be so wafer-thin that they will be impervious to Castro's guns, tanks, and bombs.
And what about the children?
Will they be double-starved for six months too?
Val's valuable lesson and Henry's "Six-Month Plan" could hardly work if an exception were made for them. Supposedly parents will become more desperate and liable to act if their children are starving too.