Cuba Sans Fidel

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Guysanto
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Cuba Sans Fidel

Post by Guysanto » Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:21 pm

February 20, 2008
http://www.counterpunch.org/eckardt02202008.html


Cuba Sans Fidel
By STEVE ECKARDT

I t's big news in the U.S. that Fidel Castro has declined to accept election when Cuba's Parliament meets this Sunday to select the country's Ministers--it's the headline story in every form of media, along with more than the usual background and opinion pieces.

But it's the media brouhaha itself that's the real big news, for the actual top story is that there's almost no news here at all.

Look: despite half a century of U.S. portraying Fidel as the Western Hemisphere's Stalin ­and the Cuban people as both suffering and ready to explosively grasp freedom the moment his totalitarian grip slips­ there are no demonstrations, let alone riots, in Cuba today.

Nor are there any prospects of them.

Nor was there any form of unrest or disruptions of daily life when Fidel first handed over his posts to a team of seven leaders after falling ill at the end of July 2006.

Indeed Cuba just completed an immense and thorough-going Parliamentary election process where some 96% of the electorate (voting age begins at 16) cast secret ballots--and 92% of them chose the united slate put together by union, women's, youth, small farmers' and other popular organizations (the Communist Party cannot field candidates).

This puts the percentage opposing what Washington calls the 'Castro regime' ­read the Cuban Revolution­ at 10% under the most liberal possible interpretation.

With the vast majority of Cubans solidly backing their revolution and government, the effect of Fidel's reassignment to regular columnist for Juventud Rebelde (the newspaper 'Rebel Youth') goes little beyond ache at the tragedy of human aging, especially of the world's greatest leading political figure -one so popular that he's almost universally and uniquely referred to by his first name.

Without Fidel, is the Cuban Revolution about to collapse? What are the chances that Cuba's about to go down either the Soviet, Yugoslav, or Chinese roads?

The old phrase "slim to none" is a too generous an answer.

What about U.S. policy toward Cuba? Without Fidel ­ and, for that matter, without Bush ­ what are the chances that will change?

Call that one slimmer and none-er.

Look no further than the statements by the Democratic candidates (even granting the far- from-certain assumption that one of them will be the next U.S. president) responding to yesterday's news, statements solidly fixed in the past half-century of Washington's obdurate hostility to the Cuban Revolution:

Declared Hillary Clinton:

"As you know, Fidel Castro announced that he is stepping down as Cuba's leader after 58 years of one-man rule. The new leadership in Cuba will face a stark choice ­continue with the failed policies of the past that have stifled democratic freedoms and stunted economic growth­ or take a historic step to bring Cuba into the community of democratic nations."

Declared Barack Obama:

"Today should mark the end of a dark era in Cuba's history. Fidel Castro's stepping down is an essential first step, but it is sadly insufficient in bringing freedom to Cuba."

(For their complete statements, along with those from other leading U.S. politicians, go to http://www.lawg.org/)

Of course no surprise here ­after all, if there's been one eternal bipartisan constant across the past fifty years, ten U.S. presidents, and 23 Congresses, it's the unwavering agreement on crushing Cuba's socialist revolution, on the demand that (as the 1996 Helms-Burton Act puts it) Cuba "return property taken on or after January 1, 1959."

(Want to guess which country's corporations owned most of Cuba's valuable land and infrastructure then?)

This is a central and inescapable fact that all those favoring restoration of travel rights to Cuba and normalization of relations need to grasp. Washington is no more about to recognize Cuba's government and allow its citizens to travel there with Fidel out any more than it did after Cuba met all of Washington's previous demands: that the island end its special relationship with the Soviet Union, that it remove troops from Africa, that it halt support for rebel movements in Central America, that it sign on to international anti- terrorist and nuclear proliferation treaties, that it deploy forces to halt drug trafficking in its waters, or that etc, etc, etc.

When it comes to U.S. demands on Cuba, one thing is certain: the goal posts always move.

It's not enough that Fidel is no longer part of Cuba's government, he needs to be dead. Until ­ and even after ­ then, Raul Castro needs to go as well. And when that inevitably happens, it'll be "well, the Castro brothers might be gone, but their regime lives on."

And so on and so on into eternity ­until Cuba returns "property taken on or after January 1, 1959."

Cuba's free and universal healthcare? Its free education through college and beyond? Rent-free home ownership? Guaranteed foreclosure-free farm land? Twenty-eight thousand (28,000) volunteer doctors providing free medical care in 67 countries?

All that has to go.

Property relations must be restored to their pre-January 1, 1959 condition.

Unfortunately for Washington, as the most recent events ­and the past 50 years ­ have clearly demonstrated, the chances of that happening goes all the way to slimmererer and none-erer.

And it's that 'no news' that's the big news.

Steve Eckardt produces CubaSolidarity.com for the National Network on Cuba. He can be reached at: seckardt@aol.com

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Post by Guysanto » Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:46 pm

[quote]Declared Hillary Clinton:

"As you know, Fidel Castro announced that he is stepping down as Cuba's leader after 58 years of one-man rule. The new leadership in Cuba will face a stark choice ­continue with the failed policies of the past that have stifled democratic freedoms and stunted economic growth­ or take a historic step to bring Cuba into the community of democratic nations."[/quote]
58 years??? I guess Hillary is counting Fidel's years in power in the same manner that she had been counting her delegates, until the Obama tsunami. 58 years ago would bring us back to 1950!! And who was the real dictator in Cuba then??? Someone that the Mafia and the U.S. government apparatus could keep under control, while sucking the bone narrow of the then-illiterate Cuban masses. Could it be that Hillary's mind blurs the transition between Batista and Castro. Forgive then all who would blur the transition between Bush and Clinton.

[quote]Declared Barack Obama:

"Today should mark the end of a dark era in Cuba's history. Fidel Castro's stepping down is an essential first step, but it is sadly insufficient in bringing freedom to Cuba."[/quote]
Obama, we're counting on you to change the rhetoric and not sound as stupid as the rest of them. But then again, talking nonsense about Castro seems to be a prerequisite to holding power in America.

But where's the change, bro?

Dr Roger Malebranche

Cuba and Castro

Post by Dr Roger Malebranche » Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:24 pm

Hi Guy

The hatred of Cuba by American governments both democrat and republican has for years puzzled and angered me. I was listening to the radio in P-au-P when Castro took power from Batista. I was young then and I thought Che was the coolest thing on 2 feet. Mother is originally from the Santiago province in Cuba and 2 of my uncles stayed on the farm there. I have never met them, I am sure they are now deceased but I would love to take a trip to a land that contributed to the fact that I am here on earth.

Besides the point that Cuba is part of what the Yankees call their BACKYARD the American government has always been in the pockets of big industry and their lobbyists. They are the ones making sure Cuba is punished and isolated. The USA has good relations with most of their former enemies including some who killed and tortured thousands of Americans (Vietnam, North Korea, Japan, Germany) etc... They pretend to abhor communist regimes but Russia and China are close to their hearts.

China is at the present happily chowing down America's lunch.
Did you know that under Batista (A light skin black man... They call themselves Hispanics now)... racial segregation was a fact of life and there were beaches and other public facilities RESERVED for whites? Shades of the deep South of course and something that the racist Helms never forgot... One of the many reasons why he so deeply hated Castro and the Cuban revolution.

American love to "fantasize" about moral values. Talk is cheap. They should canonize Fidel. He cleansed Havana from prostitution, drugs, vices etc... and brought pride to the black Cuban majority.

The original so called Cuban "exiles" were for the most part profiteers, Mafia money exchangers and beige looking "morenos" who had for centuries raped Cuba while riding the backs of their white-pigmentation challenged brothers and sisters.

I wish the USA would introduce Cuba as an exemple to follow to all the small countries of the world, particularly in Central America and the Caribbean islands. I wish Castro had been our leader instead of the severely mentally ill Duvalier. You must know that Cuba is a beacon of medical and surgical knowledge. Infantile mortality is almost nil and their alphabetisation program is a shining example of success while being constantly under the guns of the USA.

I can understand Hillary's old and older rhetoric and I was disappointed with Obama's response. But he is a politician and he has to reach the prize first. I am sure he will show his true colors when there.

Perhaps he is trying not to completely lose the "HISPANIC" and REDNECK vote.

Sometimes I feel (Am I the only one?) that blacks are the ultimate hate objects in this world. Every one coming to the USA: Koreans, Chinese, Indians, Hispanics etc... try to dump on blacks as a rite of passage. Being black in Miami is like being branded with the scarlet letter. The Hispanic world is going BIG for Hillary and the republican candidate. It is obvious that while whites may be ready, the hispanics are still far from ready for a black president.

What does the Haitian constituency think?

Your friend and rabble rouser compadre... Roger.

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Post by Guysanto » Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:43 pm

Hi Roger,

Well put... and thanks for reminding us about the all-important Hispanic vote which Hillary is counting on to put her over the top in Texas and other states. What bothers me is that all the candidates try to outdo each other in their denunciations of Castro, but I personally cannot equate the Hispanic votes with the old guard Miami Cubans who cannot get over losing their lost opulence. The Hispanic population is a lot more diverse than that, politically and intellectually. Then again, Florida as a pivot state can never be too far off the mind of the candidates. It could well be in the end that whoever wins (or steals away) Florida will be the victor for the next eight years. Sounds like a bad movie, that we have seen before (not long ago) or a nightmare that we are still waking up from.

I hope you are right about Obama, but I am not as confident: when you go to bed with the devil, there's a good chance the devil will still be around when you wake up.

Castro is not a saint, but compared to George W. Bush, aye... give the cat his dues. There was no Katrina on his watch. No Enron, and no Halliburton either. What he accomplished in terms of providing health and education to his people, regardless of income level, the U.S. can only dream of. He did not create or nurture the Duvaliers, Somoza, the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden and other monsters. The U.S. did all of that. Never mind the fact that the U.S. always tries to sound so pious in the end, when they come around to denouncing their own carefully cultivated creatures. They have done it so many times in so many generations that you have to wonder how come ordinary citizens still fall for that cr.. . But it must be working. To make people forget about all the sweet deals with Saddam Hussein, you just have designate him as the newest and latest Hitler and decapitate him. That somehow proves how dedicated you are about propagating f-r-e-e-d-o-m in the world?! One keeps repeating boldface lies over and over again, and soon enough people will come to believe them. I guess that's Politics 101.

Yes, we are looking for change, and I dearly hope, Roger, that you are right about Obama. But my hopes and expectations are, for the moment, not on a level playing field.

Long live the Cuban Revolution. Beyond 50 years. Beyond Fidel. [He resigns from the presidency, and oops... there is no counter-revolution. Go figure!]

Guy

P.S. We will meet this year, I promise!

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Post by Serge » Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:32 am

Gentlemen, greetings.

I just wanted to add some personal comments on this subject. Guy and Roger, I generally agree with what you said about the Cuban issue.

To tell you the truth though, I am not surprised by the comments of Clinton and Obama on that issue. Even though Obama is marginally more open on Cuba than Clinton, I find that their positions are not fundamentally different. In fact, as analysts rightly say, Obama is retreating a bit from his previously more "radical" position. Granted, because of the politics of the campaign, the candidates have to be careful and nuance their positions. However, were Obama to win the nomination and the presidency, it is on the domestic front that I am most optimistic that he will change things. But in the area of foreign policy, the US Establishment is way too entrenched for the US to modify its foreign policy. It will be easier for Clinton, if she wins the nomination and the presidency, to adjust to the Establishment. She is a pro and she has proven to be an old hand at weaving herself in and out of politics. That is why she is in such difficult position now anyway. The new generation is tired of the same old.

As fas as I am concerned, there are 3 areas where I would be most interested to see how an Obama administration would react.

1) In terms of Cuba, how would he handle the powerful reactionary Cuban lobby and reverse the absolute brainwash of the American public about Cuba, the powerful press? It's absolutely mind boggling to hear how the whole political class reacts to Cuba, while finding totally normal that the US engages in relations with China, North Korea, Vietnam (where it was so humiliated). But Cuba, this anathema! I call this the Imperialistic Syndrome.

2) In terms of the Middle East, how would an Obama administration handle the Palestinian issue? Would it recognize the legitimacy of Hamas (which was elected following democratic elections sponsored and promoted by the US itself)?

3) Would an Obama administration be able to oppose Israel policies of destroying any possible infrastructure in the Palestine area so as to increase their dependency to better strangle them later? Since the US govt is occupied by the powerful Jewish lobby, will he be able to oppose Israel's pressure? Affaire à suivre.

On the domestic plan, I do have hope that he will be able to change things, at least certain things, namely in the area of health care. I hope he will be able to dispel this stupid notion in this country that to have Universal Health Care is equivalent to communist or "socialized medicine" as they call it.

Anyway, we will see. Let us wait for the next Super Tuesday.


Serge

Dr Roger Malebranche

Post by Dr Roger Malebranche » Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:20 pm

Hi Guy, Serge, Gelin, Aragorn and all you other Haitian Studs out there...
I am getting old, and in the good old Haitian tradition you have to listen to your elders and respect their views, even if you don't agree with what they have to say. Experience and the passing of years have made me humble and have dulled the sharpness of my views.

1) I bemoan as much as you do the powerful Jewish lobby and the Palestine situation. I am amazed at the amount of influence Israel has managed to amass, not only in the USA but the world, and to tell you the truth I wish Haiti would steal a page from the Jewish modus operandi.

But I cannot forget that when I came here in 1961, the Jews of Manhattan were the only whites who extended the hand of friendship. They sympathized with me because they had been oppressed themselves and they looked at me, not as one more " N " but as a member of the human race who could listen to music and discuss literature with them. You Guys are too young to remember but there was a time , not that long ago, that going to the South was taking your life into your hand. You had to prime yourself to be insulted, use fourth degree lodgings and accommodations. Those were the DARK days and the Jewish liberal lobby was extremely helpful in getting us over the hump. Young idealistic Jews lost their lives for the cause and I will never forget their ultimate sacrifice. I know there are bad Jewish dudes out there but this is the way of the world. There are bad dudes in any race, country or civilization. I have been called " Kafir" in Cairo. I have met many prejudiced Arabs and if you remember your slave history they were instrumental from the very beginning in us being on this side of the world. We were their black gold, not their brothers, and they still look at Blacks as somewhat of a lesser beings than they are. Have you been following Sudan ? Anyway I am reluctant to demonize any country or civilization. With the years I have become convinced that there are demons and angels in any religion, sex, country, skin color etc... We are all human, all imperfect and the sooner we realize that the better the world will be.

2) I believe Obama will make a great president ( if he is not assassinated first ). I will go gentle into that good night knowing that one of us, a child of disenfranchised AFRICA has reached the pinnacle of power and touched the fringes of the clouds. Obama ( even if he does not fulfill all of our expectations ) will be a symbol of the power of blackness in the world and I feel good about that. Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Indians from India etc... look at Blacks as third class Americans, and having a black president will make them think and ponder. The world will think.

3) Sometimes I feel like screaming at America and Americans, the racism, the unfairness, the arrogance, the ignorance, the bellicosity... and then I realize that no other country would have accepted our boat people, our professionals our downtrodden. You have to give the devil his due. I don't think I would have gotten the respect and accolades I have received in the US if I had been in Russia, Egypt, France, India etc...I love my Haiti First and foremost but I am grateful to the US for opening their arms to me when our demented PAPA DOC was killing and maiming Haitians.

4) As a doctor and one who has practiced 40 years in some of the best American institutions I have to say that the American Medical system is one of the worse in the world. There are so many HMOs, so many medical entrepreneurs, so many leeches draining the medical blood/money, that American medicine has become a bloated, anemic corpse about to collapse... and the leeches are getting fatter and fatter. It is time, past time to have some form of One party payer, socialized medicine (whatever you want to call it), a form of medical care for eveyone from cradle to grave, like in CUBA.

Viva Fidel and may success smile on Raul.

It was a long and winded peroration almost as bad as one of the Guy's ones. Please don't scalp me Guys.

Roger

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Post by Leoneljb » Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:43 pm

WOW!

This is truly Wisdom!

I don't know what to say than say that I like that thread entirely. Dr, Kudos to you.

Although I am not that Wise. But, I've witnessed that truth which differentiate USA than other European Countries. By the way I think that the US is treating its illegal alliens or undocumented people much better.

Anyway to go back to Obama and Hillary, it's amazing to see what They call Universal Health Care. When one will have to come out with some money anyway to pay... Why? It's simple, they are getting paid by Insurance Companies.

Universal Health Care should be paid by the Government like the Scandinavians. Instead, they are financing Irak, Israel and Egypt. The military or Defense dept budget is incredibly high.

Si se Puede, yes we can have free Health Care!

Leonel

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Post by jafrikayiti » Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:07 pm

Well, so much have already been said. As far as I am concerned, Cuba will retain the best that Fidel had to offer his people (the list of changes indicated by both Guy, Roger et. al.). In addition, if in November the American people block the Republicans from stealing another election, Cuba will likely see the embargo lifted.

With a highly educated population, a motivated workforce Cuba will be a powerful member of the Caribbean family.

Lesansyel nan lavi se pou youn moun kite (bon) tras. Fidel left an enviable legacy.

Respè pou ou commandante! Vwayaje lè lide ou di w !

Dr Roger Malebranche

Post by Dr Roger Malebranche » Sun Mar 09, 2008 9:38 am

Hi Young Friend :
I am so proud of Cuba. I am so proud of Fidel.
Did you know that Bush is so used to be surrounded by " white ??? ", hispanic ???, rich former profiteering Cubans that he still thinks Cuba is a white country ?
Did you know that before you were born, when I was a young man roaming the hills and villages of Haiti... in the 40s and 50s, before Duvalier destroyed the spirit and beauty of that land, Cuba was the place where American pedophiles went for their kicks and Havana was the center of perversion and depravity in the world ?
Did you know that Batista was de facto a black man but despite that Cuba was as much a segregated place as the American South, with for whites only beaches, hotels, places of entertainment etc... ? Do you understand now why Jesse Helms hates Castro so much ?
My last surviving aunt came to Philadelphia ( her son was a physician there ) to have a hip replacement. The costs were so prohibitive that she subsequently went to Havana for the surgery, The total cost, including follow up in a Cuban hotel, and rehabilitation came to about 1/10th what it would have been in the US .
When Fidel started, profiteering, corruption, education, health care, infantile mortality etc... were on a par with what we have in Haiti now.
Do you think if we get a Fidel and break relationship with the US and get into place a cadre of young Haitian " JEDI " like Gelin, Serge, Leonel, yourself... forget Guy he is too old and too conservative, Do you think if we do that, Haiti would then be able to break the chains that are keeping her down ?
Enjoy life. We only have one. I sure would love to spend my last days sipping " tafia ak ? absinthe " on the seashore in some small village in the Haitian South. Like you I am a dreamer.
Roger.

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