Viva Something or Other
Today marks the 44th anniversary of the trade embargo on Cuba. Now, I know that they aren’t doing all that well there, and Castro is, shall we say, a leader of mixed virtue, but every time I think of the trade embargo I am impressed with the resiliency of the Cuban people. Every time it crosses my mind I also think that Communism must be more stable than we like to think if it could survive all this time cut off from its biggest, richest, and nearest potential trading power.
Which is not to say I think it’s really evidence that Communism is stable, but that continuing the embargo makes it appear that it is stable. Our sanctions can’t kill it!
I also haven’t done the research to back up my impression, but I suspect that the oppression of the Cuban people is really small potatoes compared to our Most Favored Nation trading partner, the Peoples Republic of China.
Sanctions without end will not change anything. Why not enter into negotiations to renew relations contingent on improvements in their human rights record? We’ve got billions of dollars worth of tourists and cigar buyers which, if I were dictator of Cuba, would be a nice incentive to let political prisoners out of jail and not crack down on protestors. After all, people don’t have (meaningful) protests when they’re well-fed.
Maybe that’s just my idle idealism talking though.
2 Replies to “Viva Something or Other”
As you well know, I strongly
As you well know, I strongly advocate for dropping the embargo. If it hasn’t brought Castro to his knees in 44 years, it isn’t going to. It only hurts the people of Cuba, not Castro. And it hurts the people of the US, because we are denied access to the most beautiful island and nicest beaches in the Caribbean — probably the world. Oh, and cigars.…
I think what you are seeing is the resiliency of the human spirit, not some resounding affirmation of the value of Communism. All of the Cubans I met were dirt-poor due mostly to the US embargo, but they universally voiced the opinion that it was a problem between the stupid American government and the stupid Cuban government, not between our peoples. We were well treated everywhere we went.
As for oppression, there may be some, but there appeared to be no reluctance on their part to speak to us about their lives or their feelings about the government/Castro. They did not seem to be concerned that someone would overhear their political views. Castro is actually pretty popular there. He used the Russian foreign aid to build up a modern medical system that is better than most “rich” countries. Illiteracy is extremely low there. The schools are excellent, although it is only recently that they have started teaching English instead of Russian. He hasn’t made himself wealthy or wavered on his beliefs, unlike our pols.
I only saw one policeman in all the time I was there, and he was going into the main police station in Havana. We saw no soldiers, either, although every civil servant wears fatigues. They feel it would be unseemly to dress better than Castro, and he (except for a few required formal appearances such as the Pope’s visit) still wears his fatigues, which he swore to do until Cuba was back on its feet.
I would love to go back again to that beautiful land with the wonderful people.
I think that oppression
I think that oppression in any country occurs rarely enough that few people actually witness it themselves. Sort of like automobile fatalities in the US. In my life, there have been around 50,00 deaths per year in the US. I’m 60, and only one person has died in one that I actually know personally or even indirectly. I do hear of a a lot of fatalities here, but I bet few dictators put many of the names of their oppressed in the papers. Probably that is the only way they can avoid getting their Bastille stormed.