Jorge Más Santos is our Fidelito. Or, at least, that's how he perceives himself. Which means, of course, that he is nothing without his father, in whose posthumous shadow he suns himself as if he were something more than a rich man's son with twice the presumption of his father and none of his personal achievements. Jorge Más Canosa, founder of the Cuban-American National Foundation, also had his entente cordiale with Bill Clinton, which gave us the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy and the Elián abduction. So I am not going to lament here how far the acorn fell from the tree. The only difference between Más Canosa and Más Santos is that the father was bigger than his creation (CANF, that is), which derived its relevance and authority from him. In the case of the son, it is the Foundation, or what remains of it after the purge of 2001, which is his political lodestar. Without CANF, Más Santos' opinions would matter as much to the Washington Post as any other Cuban exile's, and it is doubtful whether it would even have reported his endorsement of a presidential candidate had he picked McCain instead of Obama. But because he did endorse Obama, the red carpet was laid out for him at The Post and he was invited to expand on his vision of the impact an Obama administration would have on U.S.-Cuba relations.
Más Santos Op-Ed piece is elliptically titled "How to Win the Cuban American Vote." Whether it is his own headline or the copy editor's I don't pretend to know. However, from the content of the article itself, it is obvious that a few words were lost in the printing. Here is how it should read with those missing words restored: "How to Win the Cuban American Vote for Obama." It is understandable why those words would go a-missing. If his article is intended as some kind of primer for Obama on courting the Cuban-American vote, then it's a bigger fraud than is Obama himself. The Cuban-American vote is wedded to McCain and the marriage grows stronger the more that Obama's affinities to Fidel Castro become apparent. If McCain gets less than 85 percent of the Cuban-American vote, Más Santos can press his case for an ambassadorship (supposing Obama wins). Although the migration of Cuban exiles from the Republican to the Democratic party is a fiction, Más Santos wishes to convey the impression that there is a vanguard among them, made up of second and third generation Cuban-Americans, who are not afraid to tread where their fathers never trod; and leading these invisible legions of "forward-looking" and "proactive" younger Cubans in the thrall of Obama is -- whom else? --Más Santos himself.
I do not disagree with him that the Bush administration has followed a policy towards Cuba during the last 8 years that can indeed be described as "static" and even "counterproductive;" and it is also obvious to me that the U.S. has been more interested in maintaining the "sad status quo" than in fomenting freedom in Cuba. Unacceptable as I find this state of affairs, there is a case scenario that I would find even more objectionable: if U.S. policy had not merely stalled but rushed headlong in the wrong direction. In other words, if Bush had done to Cuba what Obama has said that he intends to do and has already substantially done. It has always been the regime's official position that it would not enter into negotiations with the U.S. or any other government, on the basis of prior conditions. If one wants to sit at the table with Castro, it must be on his terms, which are that no concessions should be requested of him that would diminish his control over the Cuban people and increase their freedom of action. This is in fact what Barack Obama has agreed not to ask. Such a dispensation means that nothing is negotiable except the terms of U.S. capitulation.
The resumption of diplomatic relations with Communist Cuba, which Obama's disposition to placate the tyrant will ensure, would be the greatest victory ever obtained by the Revolution at the expense of the United States since the Missile Crisis (1962): the first established the U.S. as guarantor of the Castro regime, but the latter would institutionalize it, also, at the literal expense of the U.S. Communism in Cuba, then, would not survive at the sufferance of the United States but through its patronage. Cubans would lose their freedom forever but gain a new and very active agent in their subordination, which, by making Communism profitable, would make it permanent for them.
Más Santos describes this as a "policy of support and engagement directed toward opening new avenues of freedom for the Cuban people as well as enhancing stability in the United States." Yes, they will be very new indeed because freedom never before was found on tyranny's Appian way. The "stability" that the U.S. would supposedly enjoy by cultivating amicable relations with Communist Cuba presupposes that Castro would cease being an antagonist if the U.S. ceased to oppose him. Such an expectation of reciprocality would only ensnare a fool or a fellow traveller who was only too willing to leave every avenue open, not to freedom, but to the unhampered advance of socialism.
One of the questions that Más Santos says Cuban-American voters will be asking themselves on November 4 is: "[I]f dissidents in Cuba had a vote in our election, for whom would they vote?" Nothing is more ridiculous. It is well to acknowledge that dissidents on the island are better acquainted with Castro's predations, as practiced on them and others, than is anybody else. They are the undoubted experts on Castro's apparatus of repression. However, it is the greatest folly to suggest that we should take our cues on U.S. politics from those who are the least informed on the subject, through no fault of their own, but because they live in a totalitarian state with a monopoly on the dissemination of news and rigid controls on the internet. If the MSM can conceal (as they have) from the American public the truth about Obama, are we to suppose that Cubans will unravel that truth through Castro's praise of him in Granma?
Más Santos also expressed the hope that a democratic Cuba would become "another Israel." An online commenter reacted thusly to this suggestion: "This guy wants Cuba to become 'the Israel of Latin America?' Do you guys at WP understand the motivation any Cuban would have to wish such a fate for his country? Who is this maniac anyway?" Indeed, Israel is not only the poorest Western democracy but the most embattled one (and, if Obama is elected, soon to be ever so more embattled). Is this the fate that Más Canosa imagines for Cuba? Have not the last 50 years of continuous belligerency been enough for our people? After all, Cubans don't have any enemies in the world pledged to our destruction. It is not necessary for us to defend ourselves from foreign threats that would not exist for a democratic Cuba. If Más Santos means that we should at least act independently of the United States even if actually dependent on it like Israel, then I would agree, although I should hope that a future democratic Cuba would not have to be dependent on the U.S. or any other country. We have had enough of that over the last 50 years too.
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