I have received many e-mails from readers, both known and unknown to me, asking me to re-consider my decision to close this blog on January 20th. At the same time, my own determination to do so was strengthened daily by the events leading up to Inauguration Day. Bush may not have listened to Cubans, but Obama listens to the wrong Cubans. As soon as it is possible for him to do so, and sooner even than most of us expect, the juggernaut of normalization will roll over every Cuban on the island, leaving them parallel with their surroundings. There is nothing that can be done to stop him and much that we must do to prepare ourselves, as best as we can, for the greatest defeat we have ever sustained in our struggle against tyranny in our country.
In 1959, the United States installed Castro in power and it has been the guarantor of Communism in Cuba since 1962. What it has not done, however, is to underwrite the enterprise. That was a task left to America's enemies. This is going to change now. Cuba will remain the only Communist state under U.S. military protection but now it will also enjoy all the benefits of commerce with this nation, or leastwise its oppressors will. After defaulting on every foreign creditor and exhausting every line of credit while amassing the largest per capita indebtedness in the world, the Castro regime expects and has probably already received assurances that Obama will rescue it, ignoring the floating corpses of all previous "saviors" who have ever extended a lifeline to it.
Since there can be no resumption of diplomatic relations with Communist Cuba until it settles U.S. claims against it, Obama will float the regime a loan so that it can pay pennies on the dollar for the properties it confiscated and nationalized before Obama was born, receiving in return clear title to them, which will enable it to sell those same properties at market value to a new generation of greedy and ignorant American investors, who will pour billions into the island with the assurance that the U.S. government will bail them out when the regime decides again that seizing American assets is more beneficial than trading with the enemy.
The biggest losers in this arrangement will be the Cuban people, who will not regain their liberty, but become subject to the exploitation of even more foreigners. Their masters will multiply but the quality of their lives will not improve. A prosperous tyranny is always to be more feared than one on the verge of economic collapse. The means of repression will expand and be fortified with the profits that the regime will reap from trade with the U.S. There will be no sharing of the wealth, however, because economic rights always anticipate political rights, and a regime that has always regarded both as anathema will not open the door to one knowing that it leads to the other.
The result of "normalization" (what a quaint word as if any relationship with a regime like Castro's could ever be anything but abnormal!) will prove detrimental to all parties except Castro and his henchmen. Those who espouse rapprochement do so because they hope to profit from the suffering of the Cuban people. Obama, besides acting on his ideological affinities with Castro, hopes to score a cheap coup de theatre by renewing relations with Communist Cuba, which the media are sure to represent as the greatest diplomatic feat in history, surpassing the opening of Japan by Perry or of China by either Marco Polo or Nixon. American businessmen, industrialists and agronomists, who have spent 8 years drooling about the prospects of trade with Cuba as Bush dangled that putrid carrot before them, will trample one another like elephants even before they reach the cliff.
To do business with Cuba will become more important than to do justice to Cubans. Human rights there will become as irrelevant as human rights in China without the Cuban people ever being compensated with an extra bowl of porridge for surrendering to the stomach what rightly belongs to the spirit.
This is what the election of Barack Obama means to Cubans and why tomorrow will always be a day of mourning for our country.
For my part, I prefer to mourn in private, which is the reason that I have decided to close the Review of Cuban-Americans Blogs tomorrow.
The Bell Does Not Toll for RCAB Alone