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Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Travel, What's Left | 0 comments

Cuba Libre

 

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Today’s breaking news that the United States of America might finally normalize diplomatic relations with the island nation of Cuba comes as a long-overdue surprise and welcome stunner.

The arguments in favor of such a bold new foreign policy adjustment — based on a 21st Century vision of the world we now live in, rather than outdated Cold War sentiment drummed up back when President Eisenhower was in the White House — do seem so overwhelming, that space in this article won’t be wasted away justifying what should clearly be obvious.  Normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations is not only politically wise for the vast majority of citizens of both countries, but morally it is the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, some right-wingers still crowing over last month’s election results here in America which seemingly validates a hard-line agenda, and especially the military-industrialists profiteers who salivate at the prospect of any instability and conflict, are already pulling out daggers and stabbing away at President Obama, espousing yet further evidence that the Commander-in-Chief is a traitor.  See, we told you so, they insist.  Obama is a Marxist, after all.  Look for plenty of Obama-Castro cartoons in the week to come.

What’s most repulsive about the collective outrage expressed so far by many conservatives is that it’s American business interests — in other words the very puppet masters who pull the strings on the Republican Party talking dummy — who are likely to benefit the most when travel and trade with Cuba eventually opens up.  And it certainly will.  Very soon.

Look for American factories to swarm south in search of a fast buck, where businesses can pay the locals a fraction of the U.S. minimum wage.  Look for big hotel chains and casinos to open up all over Cuba again, which will benefit the giant multinational corporations looking for the next travel hot spot for investment.  Look for American carpetbaggers to flood into Cuba like a late-season hurricane, a nation which will be used and at times exploited as a source of cheap labor, its rich natural resources to be milked, and its art to be sold off for amusement.  Cuban rum and cigars are destined to become the next en vogue cultural fad in America.  Cuban musicians will invade the music scene.  Bank on it.  That’s a sure thing.

As for winners, they will be America visionaries who embrace change, and probably most of all — the Cubans themselves.

But no one who’s now calling President Obama a traitor really gives a damn about Cubans.  They never did.  It’s never about common people.  This is just another ruse to hold yet more political fundraisers and pontificate hysteria.  Accordingly, objections to establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba are based primarily in two centers of power inside the U.S., which include — [1] the powerful Cuban expat community based largely in South Florida who are mostly the offspring of the despicably corrupt former-Batista regime and its Mafia-laced partner henchmen, and [2] America conservatives wedded mostly to the Republican Party who want absolutely nothing to do with a Community regime (unless it’s China where they can make money) which admittedly has a troubling human rights record.

I’d be perfectly willing to concede this noble argument that goes, as follows:  America shouldn’t embrace dictators nor reward totalitarian regimes which deny individual rights.  Indeed, I’d gladly march in this parade, provided that (first) we lived up to those virtues ourselves, and (second) applied the same standards of judgment and conduct across the globe with some consistency.

But the sad fact is, we don’t.  We never have.  The United States has a long-established, some might even say humiliating record pock-marked with blatant contradictions when it comes to human rights.  We’ve admittedly overthrown democratically-elected governments.  We’ve backed monstrous dictators.  We’ve raped the natural resources of nations, propped up oppressors, and ruined state economies.  We still do.

Before anyone criticizes today’s bold decision based on the human rights argument, first let’s consider the many regimes in the world the United States not only grants cozy diplomatic relations, but in many instances also provides generous economic assistance and military aid.  Where were those protests by human-rights minded conservatives then?  Where are they now?

Take a look at the following list of countries and regimes, both past and present, that the United States has supported over the years.  Then — and only after rightful comparisons are made — try and make the argument that Cuba is any more “evil” and doesn’t merit inclusion as an economic and trading partner.  Most of these regimes, long backed by America, were (and are) far worse than Fidel Castro’s regime.

Note that the following governments are only the ones we gave/give foreign aid to.  If I were to list all the nations with which we have diplomatic relations, the list would be far longer (and even more troubling):

 

Latin America

Porfirio Díaz (Mexico) (1876–1911)
Institutional Revolutionary Party (Mexico) (1929–2000)
Juan Vicente Gómez (Venezuela) (1908–35)
Manuel Estrada Cabrera (Guatemala) (1898–1920)
Jorge Ubico (Guatemala) (1931–44)
Fulgencio Batista (Cuba) (1952–59)
Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic) (1930–61)
Efraín Ríos Montt and the rest of the military junta (Guatemala) (1954-86)
Revolutionary Government Junta of El Salvador (1979–82)
Hugo Banzer (Bolivia) (1971–78)
National Reorganization Process (Argentina) (1976–83)
Brazilian military government (1964–85)
Somoza family (Nicaragua) (1936–79)
François Duvalier (Haiti) (1957–71)
Jean-Claude Duvalier (Haiti) (1971–86)
Omar Torrijos (Panama) (1968–81)
Manuel Noriega (Panama) (1983–89)
Alfredo Stroessner (Paraguay) (1954–89)
Augusto Pinochet (Chile) (1973–90)

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Asia-Middle East

Syngman Rhee (South Korea) (1948–60)
Park Chung-hee (South Korea) (1961–79)
Chun Doo-Hwan (South Korea) (1979-88)
Ngo Dinh Diem (South Vietnam) (1955–63)
Lon Nol (Cambodia) (1970–75)
Yahya Khan (Pakistan) (1971)
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (Iran) (1941–79)
Ferdinand Marcos (Philippines) (1965–86)
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (Pakistan) (1978–88)
Saddam Hussein (Iraq) (1982–90)
Suharto (Indonesia) (1967–98)
Truong Tan Sang (Vietnam) (2011–present)
Islam Karimov (Uzbekistan) (1990–present)
Pervez Musharraf (Pakistan) (1999–2008)
Ali Abdullah Saleh (Yemen) (1990–2012)
Emomalii Rahmon (Tajikistan) (1994–present)
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow (Turkmenistan) (2006–present)
House of Saud (Saudi Arabia) (1945–present)
Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (Bahrain) (1999–present)
Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (Qatar) (1995-2013)
Qaboos bin Said al Said (Oman) (1970-present)

 

Africa

King Hassan II, predecessors and successors (Morocco) (1777-present)
Gaafar Nimeiry (Sudan) (1969–85)
Samuel Doe (Liberia) (1980–90)
Apartheid South Africa (1948–94)
Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia) (1991–2012)
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (Equatorial Guinea) (1979–present)
Mobutu Sese Seko (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (1965–97)
Hissène Habré (Chad) (1982–90)
Hosni Mubarak (Egypt) (1981-2011)
Idriss Déby (Chad) (1990–present)
Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) (1986–present)
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (Tunisia) (1987–2010)
Paul Kagame (Rwanda) (2000–present)

 

Europe

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Francisco Franco (Spain) (supported from 1959 to 1975)
Greek military junta of 1967–74

 

There you have it.  Now, please drop the ridiculous argument that Cuba has a piss-poor human rights record.  The United States abandoned the principle of protecting human rights abroad a very long ago, to say nothing of discarding such virtues with its own record of practicing methods of torture.

The train of moral self-righteousness left the station a very long time ago, and it’s not coming back.

 

Source on authoritarian regimes:  Wikipedia

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