May 20, 2002
There are a lot more important issues facing the U.S. and the world today;
there are more dangerous and ugly policies currently embraced by the U.S.
ruling war party.
But no policy is more irrational and ludicrous than America's 40-year war against Cuba, fought with terrorism, invasions, an economic embargo, propaganda and exploding cigars.
The anti-Cuba policy has brought untold misery to ordinary Cubans, warped U.S. politics, led to the embrace of terrorism, is helping destroy the Florida Everglades, and nearly brought nuclear Armageddon to the planet.
Hard to beat that in any Stupid Policy Tricks contest.
And the nonsense goes on even today as two U.S. presidents take up their Light Sabers to do battle.
Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter went to Cuba to call for an end to the embargo. It was a note of sanity, largely spoiled by Carter's decision to lecture Fidel Castro on Democracy, even as his own party continues to acquiesce in the fraudulent election of George W. Bush, and enthusiastically endorses the destruction of the U.S. Constitution.
But Carter's hubris in demanding that Cubans battle for a democracy that the U.S. is rapidly retreating from, wasn't enough for the administration of America's appointed president. The Bush administration tried to sabotage the Carter visit by floating a rumor that Cuba was working toward biological weapons, a so-what story even if it were true -- which, of course, it isn't. Moreover, Bush is going to Florida to promise new restrictions on Cuba, a policy which will delight the anti-Castro Cubans who now mostly run Miami and have lots of money and votes to reward friendly politicians everywhere -- i.e., those who will continue a failed and insane policy.
The U.S. has been trying to get rid of Castro since the first day he came to power in 1959 after overthrowing the U.S.-beloved dictator Fulgencio Batista. Ten U.S. presidents later, Washington is still trying to get rid of him. The bumbling idiots in the White House and our acclaimed spy agencies have tried everything from a U.S.-backed invasion force to exploding cigars, a Mob contract, a lethal wet suit, an exploding seashell, and some hair remover.
Yeah, hair remover. You see, the CIA thought that if they could get his beard to fall out....
Because so many of the attacks were so bird brained, it's easy to forget that they were and are also acts of terrorism by the nation now waging a 'War on Terrorism.'
Cuba has been also been subjected to countless terrorist attacks by U.S. based and supported Cuban exiles, including the blowing up of a Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed 73 passengers and crew. Orlando Bosch, the man behind the bombing, eventually served time for other terrorist acts but was pardoned by George Bush the First and, at last reports, was happily walking the streets of Miami.
In 1962, the U.S. hysterical paranoia about Cuba brought the world the closest to nuclear annihilation that it has ever come. The Soviets had installed nuclear missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles off the coast of the United States. This, we were told, was absolutely intolerable and the missiles had to go. Forget the fact that the U.S. had missiles based just as close to the Soviet Union. That, of course, was different. President John F. Kennedy set up an embargo to block Soviet ships, an act of war, and the world held its breath. Fortunately for the world, Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev proved to be a bit more rational and sane than Kennedy and backed down, removing the missiles. It cost him his job, but averted the nuclear war that Kennedy was quite willing to wage.
It doesn't match nuclear Armageddon, but the approaching destruction of the vast Everglades ecosystem can also be at least partially blamed on the holy crusade against Cuba. When the U.S. cut off sugar imports from Cuba shortly after Castro took power, Washington encouraged sugar farming north of the Everglades. The policy has led to inflated sugar prices for American consumers, a disruption of the flow of water necessary to sustain the Everglades ecology, and massive pollution.
Just why does the U.S. hate Castro and Cuba? We probably need the help of some good Freudian psychiatrists to fully understand. The fact that a tiny nation of 11 million people has thumbed its nose at the World's Only Superpower for so long is part of it. Such humiliation.
More importantly, likely, is that Cuba has long proved that capitalism is not the only possible economic model for the world. In socialist Cuba, everyone has free medical and dental care, undoubtedly a factor in Cuban longevity and low infant mortality rates. Cubans enjoy a pension plan, family planning services, an excellent education system.
The typical Latin American division between a few ultra wealthy and many in abject poverty has disappeared under Castro. Income disparity is about one to three. In the U.S., it is one to 100.
There are tradeoffs. The media is tightly controlled by the government and dissent is strongly discouraged. Opposition parties are banned and organizing public protest is illegal. Few people live well by American standards.
But that's also true for a lot of Americans.
Why does the U.S. hate Castro and Cuba? Damned if I know. But whatever the reasons, it's time to end the embargo and begin treating Cuba the way we treat other nations.
Although, come to think of it, Cuba might no longer see much difference.
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Related Internal Links
A Few Cuban Resources (Dossier - May 2001)
The Remarkable Mother of Invention (Michael Stowell - May 2001)
Deck Deckert has spent nearly two decades as copy editor, wire editor and news editor at several metropolitan newspapers, including the Miami Herald and Miami News, before becoming a freelance writer. His articles and stories on everything from alligator farming to UFOs have appeared in numerous U.S. publications. He has written two young adult novels under a pen name, and co-authored a novel about the NATO war on Yugoslavia, Letters from the Fire, with Alma Hromic.
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This Week's Internal Links
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Or Is It Dystopia? - by Gilles d'Aymery
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Operation "Infinite Power" - by Aleksandra Priestfield
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Essays published in 2002 | 2001