The Cuban Embargo
By: Humberto Fontova
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, February 23, 2007
Political and academic soothsayers insist that change (for the better) looms in Cuba. With Fidel Castro's incapacitation, and his "pragmatic" brother, Raul, at the helm the process is ratcheting forward inexorably, we're told. But for relentless hen-pecking by those insufferable right-wing Cuban- Americans, unconsciousnable blackmail by their slick politicians, and cowardly kow-towing to these uppity immigrant ingrates by the Bush team, the U.S. would "open" to Cuba, the process of liberalization would snowball, and Cuba would quickly blossom into Hong Kong in the Caribbean.
Common sense, commercial savvy, U.S. self interest, simple decency--and especially-- the Cuban people's welfare, all scream to high heavens for a thorough overhaul of the archaic, counterproductive and vindictive U.S. "embargo" of Cuba.
(Note: The U.S.currently ranks as Cuba's biggest food supplier and 5th largest import partner. I have searched high and low, near and far, hither and yon, for a dictionary definition of embargo that allows for such a state of affairs and failed completely. Hence the quotation marks around the term embargo throughout this article.)
"It's time for a change (on Cuba)!" recently gushed Congressman Jeff Flake, rogue (on Cuba) Republican from Arizona. Among the media/academia axis the above mantra has risen greatly in both volume and repetition lately. Even the Wall Street Journal, National Review and The Washington Times have clambered aboard the bandwagon. In light of the exciting and unprecedented “opening” in Cuba, bills have been recently introduced by Representative Flake, by Mark Delahunt (D-Mass), by Jose Serrano (D-NY) by Jackie Moran (R-Kansas), all aimed at easing the Cuban "embargo," at this opportune time.
In fact: Raul Castro recently took Cuba's version of Lavrenti Beria out of mothballs and assigned him one of the regime's most powerful positions: minister of Communications and Technology--Cuba's Joseph Goebbels. Ramiro Valdez is the gentleman's name and he served for decades as head of Cuba's KGB and STASI trained secret police. Everyone conversant with Cuban history knows him as the most repressive and sadistic figure on the island, except for Raul Castro himself.
'There's a new dynamic now!" gushes Jeff Flake.
In fact: those who read the samizdats smuggled out of Cuba by her courageous underground reporter Carlos Serpa knows that since the succession in August, forty of Cuba's human Rights activists and reporters (including Serpa himself) have been jailed or severely beaten by mobs of the regime's plainclothes hoodlums and sadists, Raul Castro's version of Hitler's early S.A. More significantly, more such mobs are being trained and deployed throughout Cuba as I write.
Cuba is as essentially totalitarian today as ever--in fact it's more totalitarian today than in the mid 90's when sanctions had some teeth. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, Cuban-born and privy to the above developments in Cuba, begs to differ with the cocksure Congressman Flake and his sagacious colleagues. "Now isn't the time to ease the restrictions" he stressed this week. "There is nothing in his (Raul Castro's) past to suggest that he is a reformer." The Bush team is not fooled.
In August of 1960, Time magazine crowned Raul Castro "the fist" of the Cuban Revolution. (Fidel was "the heart" and Che "the brains.")
The Flake/Delahunt/Rangel song is an old tune actually. The Pope's visit to Cuba in 1998 started a similar craze. "SEE?!-SEE?!" gushed the media and the Think-Tanks. "Cuba is opening up! Who can deny it now?!"
Only those "crackpot" Cuban-Americans, that's who. Which is to say, those with the most experience with the regime. And again they emerged from the hoopla, along with their Republican allies, as the only party without egg on its face.
The Pope's Cuba visit also gave birth to an outfit called Americans for Humanitarian Trade with Cuba. "Ordinary Cubans are paying a severe price for the ban on U.S. food and the most severe restrictions on the sale of U.S. medical products," mourned the AHTC manifesto. "Forty years of the strongest embargo in our history has resulted in increased misery for the people of Cuba …. We can no longer support a policy carried out in our name which causes suffering of the most vulnerable -- women, children and the elderly."
On the Board of this AHTC sat David Rockefeller of the Council on Foreign Relations, Wayne Andreas of Archer Daniels Midland and Frank Carlucci, at the time chairman of The Carlyle Group, the worlds biggest private investment corporation, which is headquartered on Washington DC's Pennsylvania avenue itself. Carlyle Group is widely regarded as the most politically-connected corporation in the world. George Soros was among it's founders and major investors.
A few years later something called the U.S.-Cuban Trade and Economic Council, burst upon and scene. Lo and behold, Dwayne Andreas sat as Chairman. Follow the money trail and most of these names keep popping up on practically everything associated with easing the Cuban "embargo.” Somebody sees dollar signs and it’s not the U.S. taxpayer.
When it comes to political influence, liberals denounce Cuban-American lobbyists as singularly unscrupulous, diabolically clever, and awash in ill-gotten lucre-- unlike those babes-in-the-woods Dwayne Andreas, David Rockefeller and George Soros.
The anti-"embargo" reasoning seems to go something like this: The Carlyle Group, Archer Daniels Midland and The Council on Foreign Relations, along with Congressmen representing the most heavily taxpayer subsidized sector of the U.S. economy, spend most of their waking hours agonizing over the welfare of the Cuban people and yearning to succor them. The Cuban peoples' cousins, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters in Miami, however, want only to starve and torture their relatives. Never mind that these Cuban- Americans risked life, limb and treasure in a mad scramble to rescue their relatives and countrymen during the Mariel boatlift. Never mind that earlier many of them put their lives on the line attempting a wholesale rescue of their their countrymen at the Bay of Pigs. Never mind their near-suicidal armed attacks against Soviet arms in subsequent, years, all launched to free their countrymen.
Never mind all that. Cuban-Americans are malicious and pig-headed scoundrels who simply cannot be made to see reason. They hate their relatives and want them starved.
Furthermore, after a couple of junkets to Cuba, executives of the above mentioned Corporations and their crony Congressmen and lobbyists become endowed with an uncanny clairvoyance. This enables them to divine the whims and motives of Cuba's Communist officials much more accurately than those who lived for years under Cuba's communist system, and often within the system. These latter often had daily contact with Cuba's current Communist officials.
But never mind. They know nothing. They cannot be trusted. Jeff Flake and Charles Rangel are much shrewder judges of Raul Castro's psyche than Alcibiades Hidalgo, Raul Castro's adjutant and Chief of staff for over a decade who defected to the U.S. in 2002 and flatly stated: "ending the travel ban would be a gift to the Castros," meaning it would further enrich and thus entrench the totalitarian regime.
Amazingly a recent AP poll on Cuba revealed that 48% of Americans favor the embargo vs 40% against it, with 12% not sure. I say amazing because in spite of the lopsided nature of anti-“embargo” reporting and commentary more Americans favor the embargo than oppose it. Cuban-American blogger Henry Gomez (BabaluBlog.com) who works in this field looked at the figures more analytically and revealed something even more astonishing. Of those with an opinion on the issue, which is to say, those who studied the writing and commentary, a solid majority of 54.5 want to continue the embargo vs. 45.5. against it.
Again, considering that the anti-“embargo” propaganda juggernaut involves everyone from the Wall Street Journal to The New York Times, from The Brookings Institute to the CATO Institute, and from CNN to ABC, you have to wonder just how often the average American reads or hear anything in actual favor of the embargo? So the figures blow you away.
Or maybe not. Row, upon row, upon row of graves from Normandy to North Africa and from the Yalu to the Elbe attest to Americans' abhorrence of tyranny. Why should those fallen heroes' children and grandchildren favor subsidizing a tyranny 90 miles from their borders?
Maybe---juuuuussst maybe—Messieurs Flake, Delahunt, Rangel, Andreas, Rockefeller, etc, that embargo owes less to sleazy Cuban-American lobbying and more to the instincts of a generous and liberty-loving people.
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