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MaxE
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20 Dec 2014, 8:39 am

Most readers are probably aware that the US and Cuba will most likely resume diplomatic relations, as this is big news worldwide.

I basically support this (ducks!) however I think this a good time for a sanity check regarding the last 50+ years of Cuban history.

The current government in Cuba attained power by overthrowing a dictator named Fulgencio Batista. See the Wikipedia article about Batista for details. Interestingly, this article seems to have been written largely with the aim of justifying the Cuban revolution.

So the first point I wish to make is that it is highly unlikely anyone reading this is a Cuban citizen living in Cuba (I'll admit to the slight possibility). My point being that very few Cubans have regular access to the internet or World Wide Web. Whereas even the most disadvantaged members of WP do, even if just on their mobile.

It should be remembered that within most people's memory, Cuba has been an extremely repressive (albeit somewhat benign) dictatorship. Much of what has been "achieved" there was possible due to extreme obedience of the people to their government plus total government control of the economy.

Despite this, "western intellectuals" especially in Latin America have expressed an unquestioning admiration for the Cuban revolution. Compare the amount of negative publicity given Cuba as opposed to Israel, for example.

Many a westerner who, for whatever reason, has resented the US has embraced Fidel Castro as a hero and has largely ignored his shortcomings as a head of state.

One example I can recall of how Cuba is treated in the press was, a few years ago when a hurricane struck western Cuba, there was much praise of how the government had so successfully evacuated the affected area that nobody died. The truth is that it's easy to achieve 100% compliance with an evacuation order when the citizens have been raised from birth to unquestioningly obey the government. In the US, most hurricane deaths probably occur because of people who refuse to evacuate. Is that the "price of freedom"? It was those peoples' decision to stay and drown. Also, when a glowing report about some aspect of life in Cuba is published, nobody rushes in to fact-check what they read, in fact the Cuban government would probably take measures to stop them. They have demonstrated many times their willingness to lock up foreigners who interfere in ways that would be perfectly legal in most parts of the world, even many that are not considered especially "democratic".


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Persimmonpudding
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20 Dec 2014, 9:29 am

It was the Pope's idea.



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20 Dec 2014, 1:46 pm

Cuba's "efficiency" is mostly a lie, it's propaganda from Havana or useful idiots abroad. The obedience it has achieved is mostly thru violent repression and the exiling of a million people off the island, anybody that causes them a problem is either imprisoned and sent adrift towards the US. As you may know they emptied their jails of murderers, rapists, whatever criminals as well as their insane asylums and sent them towards Miami.

Opening relations with them is the best policy, in all honesty it doesn't go far enough since the embargo and all sanctions should be dropped. We have full and close relations with many many human rights abusers and can hardly look at ourselves in the mirror in that regards either. The embargo is a fail policy that has only entrenched the Castro's on that island, commerce and diplomacy will be far more to promote democracy and human rights than coercive force has in 50 years. Castro's reputation is less about the slave pen of a country he has created and more about him being able to stand up to American hegemony for so long, the US has tried to assassinate him how many times? You make a myth out of a man.

The Marxist regime will fall, it will happen sooner than later. The Castro brothers are near the ends of their lives, if the US is engaged in open relations with Cuba then it will become overwhelmed overtly and covertly. I predict we'll be seeing the patented US-backed color revolution visit the western hemisphere.



Persimmonpudding
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20 Dec 2014, 2:48 pm

Batista's government brought it upon themselves. They had the ability to address the inequalities in their country, and they ignored the problem.

Our country is heading in the same direction, and the outcome is likely to be similar. Anyone care to make bets on who will be the first with their backs against the wall when the revolution comes?



Kraichgauer
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20 Dec 2014, 9:12 pm

Persimmonpudding wrote:
Batista's government brought it upon themselves. They had the ability to address the inequalities in their country, and they ignored the problem.

Our country is heading in the same direction, and the outcome is likely to be similar. Anyone care to make bets on who will be the first with their backs against the wall when the revolution comes?


It should also be remembered how under Batista, the Mafia had sunk it's claws into Cuba, controlling the casinos and a massive drug trade - all not only allowed by the right wing dictatorship, but which also had had a cozy financial relationship with said American and Cuban gangsters. Cubans were as eager to throw off the criminal corruption of the Mafia as they were the repressive policies of Batista. As the CIA had hired on Cuban exiles as contract agents and contacts who had been supporters of the Batista dictatorship, many of whom also had been involved with organized crime, it's no surprise that most Cubans sided with Castro.


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21 Dec 2014, 4:02 pm

With another cold war looming with Russia, one must establish relations with Cuba to prevent another build up of Russian missiles so close to home. It's all just political maneuvering.



andrethemoogle
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21 Dec 2014, 4:29 pm

Cash__ wrote:
With another cold war looming with Russia, one must establish relations with Cuba to prevent another build up of Russian missiles so close to home. It's all just political maneuvering.


Or it could just be becoming allies for the greater good?

That's what I get out of this.



Jacoby
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21 Dec 2014, 4:37 pm

Trying to isolate Cuba is counter productive and we can do far more the improve the human rights and democracy in Cuba with an open and honest relationship than with none at all.



Persimmonpudding
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21 Dec 2014, 5:18 pm

It's Pope Francis. The thing is, South America has maintained fairly fuzzy relations with Cuba, and Pope Francis is from Argentina. Cuba is also a very Catholic country. Besides that, Pope Francis also has very good standing with western liberals, so it was only a matter of time before he got his fingers into brokering a change in US-Cuba relations.



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21 Dec 2014, 5:42 pm

Cash__ wrote:
With another cold war looming with Russia, one must establish relations with Cuba to prevent another build up of Russian missiles so close to home. It's all just political maneuvering.


Funny you should say another. I'm starting to believe the first cold war never really ended. Seems to me all that really changed is some nukes getting reshuffled.


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Kraichgauer
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21 Dec 2014, 5:51 pm

cberg wrote:
Cash__ wrote:
With another cold war looming with Russia, one must establish relations with Cuba to prevent another build up of Russian missiles so close to home. It's all just political maneuvering.


Funny you should say another. I'm starting to believe the first cold war never really ended. Seems to me all that really changed is some nukes getting reshuffled.


With Russia growing away from democracy and toward radical nationalism, and North Korea making renewed noises, I think you very well may be right.


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Persimmonpudding
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21 Dec 2014, 5:59 pm

Nationalism is a hideously repulsive trait in any country, including my own. Russia's nationalist sentiments make me feel very compelled to point out to them that they are virtually a nation of trailer trash, when you get right down to it. Remove them from the Security Council, and remove them from the UN in general. If they don't have respect for the world at large, then they ought to have no say in our affairs.

If Cuba is inclined to develop a more cosmopolitan outlook, then I am open to them. Global citizens are what we need in modern times. They are what we need everywhere, at home and abroad.



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21 Dec 2014, 7:18 pm

cberg wrote:
Cash__ wrote:
With another cold war looming with Russia, one must establish relations with Cuba to prevent another build up of Russian missiles so close to home. It's all just political maneuvering.


Funny you should say another. I'm starting to believe the first cold war never really ended. Seems to me all that really changed is some nukes getting reshuffled.


But the focus shifted somehow: it's no longer about Capitalism vs Communism, but Liberal Democracy versus authoritarian one-party states.



Jacoby
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21 Dec 2014, 7:20 pm

trollcatman wrote:
cberg wrote:
Cash__ wrote:
With another cold war looming with Russia, one must establish relations with Cuba to prevent another build up of Russian missiles so close to home. It's all just political maneuvering.


Funny you should say another. I'm starting to believe the first cold war never really ended. Seems to me all that really changed is some nukes getting reshuffled.


But the focus shifted somehow: it's no longer about Capitalism vs Communism, but Liberal Democracy versus authoritarian one-party states.

i'd say the water is muddier than that



MaxE
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23 Dec 2014, 6:19 am

With regard to my original topic, I just happened to see this article in The Daily Beast. Please pay close attention to the accompanying photograph.

Edit: I decided to post the photograph here to save readers the bother of clicking, but please read the article (disclaimer I don't get any compensation from The Daily Beast):Image

As an American, I can well remember when Pierre Elliott Trudeau was PM of Canada, but I had been unaware of his close personal friendship with Fidel. Now I am well aware that close friendships can develop between individuals of radically differing political and/or religious beliefs, however for Trudeau to publicly flaunt such a relationship seems to me a display of extreme naïveté. It is as though Stephen Harper had publicly embraced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a person friend.

But then another image came to mind:
Image
I think that says it all, except for one post script: Any American who lies awake wondering how in hell somebody like Barack Obama could have been elected President of the US should look at that picture and consider that perhaps half the answer can be seen there.


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Persimmonpudding
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23 Dec 2014, 7:23 am

I sort of resent that sneer against Barack Obama.

If you actually examine Obama's policies closely and measure their results, they have actually been pretty good. For one thing that can be attributed directly to him and his cabinet, the sanctions against Russia have been highly effective. Under his leadership, Congress passed Dodd-Frank and the ACA; although these bills were tremendously unpopular, the empirical evidence (which a few of us go by) suggests that they have been pretty effective.

The harsh public reaction against Barack Obama is based 100% on racism, which is still a reality in this country. Whether you like it or not, most people's objections against him and his policies are based on complaints that are almost entirely fictitious.

Now, you can deny it, and you can dig your heels in like a toddler and refuse to acknowledge a single point. You can call me names, and you can point and taunt. However, I can guarantee that you will not contribute a valid argument to the contrary, and I will refute every news blurb and blog post you cite with citations from actual bills, peer-reviewed journals and AP reports: Obama has been an excellent president, or at the very least, he has performed sufficiently to warrant greater respect than the smarmy backhanded sneer that I see in a post above.