US-Cuba Rapprochement
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The Razor's Edge
2014-12-19 12:36:03 UTC
US-Cuba Rapprochement by NORMAN POLLACK

I write in anger. America smells blood, or rather New Investment, corporate
swallowing of the total economy, a market for dumping surplus production,
all with the added advantage—at the heart of its hatred for Cuba—of
destroying an Alternative mode of society, culture, values, production,
which, if allowed to exist, represents a moral-political-economic refutation
of US global aggression, widening class differences of wealth and power, an
ethos of self-indulgence and selfish individualism, all wrapped in stifling
righteousness. The python is America, deadly in its embrace—its
proto-fascistic groundswell in Miami, its Congress largely the whores of the
business-financial system, its president, seemingly in quest of peace when
simultaneously straining toward the return to unilateral global hegemony by
whatever means, from drone assassination to regime change to massive
military spending to brinkmanship in a political-ideological confrontation
with Russia and China. To Cubans I ask, do you want this mammoth python
slithering through your house? For more than a half-century we have seen
Captive-Nations propaganda applied to Cuba, people starving, people in
chains—what utter falsehood! Deprivation, yes, thanks to US
strangulation—yet not enough to cripple the medical system, and more basic,
not enough to destroy the spirit of a free people.

My own visit a decade ago—no minders present—showed remarkable strides in
education and quality-of-life issues I value: simple honesty, pleasure in
family and nature, spirited argumentation, quiet chess-playing in the park.
Cuba was everything America was not, hence the hatred on the US’s part. For
Cuba to be allowed to live was like a subconscious explosive under the skin
for Americans with our crazed materialism, our braggadocio, our deep-lying
fear of difference. Cuban multiracialism alone undercuts America’s vested
interest in translating race into a power-relationship. The 1950s cars,
still running fine thank you, a reminder of the silly covetousness in
feeling naked (alas conspicuous consumption) without the latest model
changes. The Cuba I saw stood for harmony, not frenetic movement in besting
one another. So, what does the rapprochement come down to? I fear the
shattering of a nation’s identity.

*** But hopefully Cuba is too internally strong to become another American
colony. Extensive Spanish capital in developing Veradero Beach has not
resulted in spoliation, but Spain is not the US in wanting the merciless
grab of natural resources. Venezuela’s barter-framework with Cuba, Cuba
providing medical education in training doctors for that country, the other
supplying needed oil and other products in exchange, is also
non-exploitative. The US is different. You can’t kill in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and at the same time bestow kisses on Cuba. Soon if not
already, the test of Cuba’s deserving America’s friendship will be
acceptance of IMF and World Bank intrusions in its economy and society,
else—the Rubio, Cruz, Bush, Menendez brigade (for we must be bipartisan)—let
the dirty commies rot, and even then, let them rot. Not that much has
changed; the embargo remains. Tourists are not included in removing travel
restrictions. The propaganda offensive has not abated. Oh those vile Castro
brothers! Essentially, like Vietnam, the US has lost the battle. When Obama
speaks of “an outdated approach that for decades has FAILED TO ADVANCE OUR
INTERESTS” (my caps.), he is not criticizing the approach, e.g., the Bay of
Pigs invasion of another country, continuous CIA schemes toward
assassination and regime change, using Cuba as the poster-child for keeping
up a rigid anticommunism particularly pernicious in US dealings in Latin
America, but also handy with respect to Russia, China, and North Korea, but
only that it did not work.

As with every major policy decision, the US is not in the business of good
Samaritan but, for once the unalloyed truth, he avows the advancement of
American interests. Even the Chamber of Commerce is on board, not noted for
selfless humanitarianism. The snakes will descend on the Island as though
carried by a Plague. Meanwhile, Miami Cubans will do more than grouse—a
volatile core of aggressors right up there with Ukraine’s Right Sector—a
lumpen force ready in waiting to take over. The New York Times editorial,
“Mr. Obama’s Historic Move on Cuba,” (Dec. 18), perfectly illustrates the
inner core of animus and destruction at the heart of so-called
enlightenment. With friends like the US and The Times, the Cuban people
hardly need enemies. The Times praises Obama’s “bold move [Dec. 17] that
ends one of the most misguided chapters in American foreign policy.” Why
misguided, save for losing out? The editorial lists a number of steps toward
normalization (e.g., removing Cuba from “the State Department’s list of
countries that sponsor terrorism”), which it claims “is a change in
direction that has been strongly supported by this page.” Emphatically,
not—see my NYT Comment below.

In its magnanimity, the administration “is ushering in a transformational
era for millions of Cubans who have suffered as a result of more than 50
years of hostility between the two nations.” I pause here to explain, it is
not The Times that is important, but its typicality of authoritative subtle
reasoning to damn the Cuban government and exonerate the American, for a
half-century of unnecessary and cruel deprivation of the people—the millions
who have suffered, no indication as to blame and accountability for this. No
embargo, no blockade, no invasion, no attempt at international ostracism,
nothing but the 50 years of hostility presumably to be laid at Fidel
Castro’s feet. Obama “has courageously gone as far as he can,” in light of
Helms-Burton’s 1996 sanctions regime—more punishing than that applied to
Iran, at least until his latest tightening (mine). Still, NYT persists in
its indictment, even in the context of praising Raul Castro for beginning in
2008 “a process of economic reforms,” when it declares that “Cuba remains a
repressive police state with a failed economy.” I beg to disagree on both
counts, however severe the hardships faced by the people due to economic
sanctions, because the first charge, “a repressive police state,” mouthed ad
nauseam in American political and media circles, in addition to finding more
suitable application among America’s “friends and allies,” is contradicted
by the responsiveness of social and political institutions to the people’s
needs. I saw police in khaki, unarmed, integrated as part of the community.
I saw clinics in operation. I saw no begging, social tension, fear.

The editorial doesn’t miss a dig. Raul also “lifted travel restrictions the
government cruelly imposed on its citizens.” (As the shamus at the synagogue
told me, visas were freely given to anyone wishing to go to Israel.) Let’s
get down to brass tacks. What do Obama, The Times, influential segments of
the American business community like about rapprochement? Contrast what Raul
Castro is saying, “’We must learn the art of coexisting with our differences
in a civilized manner,’” with the editorial’s positive gushing in moving in
for the kill: “The changes the Obama administration announced have the
potential to empower Cuba’s growing entrepreneurial class by permitting
commercial and financial transactions with the United States. The White
House also intends to make it easier for American technology companies to
upgrade the island’s primitive Internet systems, a step that could go a long
way toward strengthening civil society.” Liberation, here we come. And for
greater effectiveness in making over Cuba, the US will now have greater
success “because other governments in the Western Hemisphere will no longer
be able to treat Cuba as a victim of the United States’ pointlessly harsh
policy.” At least the last point, unless drolly put, was allowed to slip
out. My New York Times Comment on the editorial, same date, follows: The
Times has a short editorial memory. Its correspondent at the time of the
Revolution, Ruby Phillips, wrote from her luxury hotel room the most
scurrilous attacks on Fidel Castro and praised the real dictator Batista.
This bias persisted over decades. Now in this editorial more gratuitous
slurs about dictatorship, repression etc. Pour venom on a people the US used
every trick to destroy (invasion, embargo, blockade, sanctions). No, Cubans
do not live in oppression. Their medical system and medical education are
superb. My visit to a synagogue was most instructive, to a country school,
likewise. You demonize Fidel just as you demonize Putin, as though the Left
(which may not even apply to Russia) is the work of the Devil. And now?
Obama has done what he always does: open the country to financial-commercial
imperialism, send in the NGOs to destroy the political fabric of society,
NYT chanting “liberalization” in the background. Hosannas to capitalism.
Find a new Batista and shove him down the throats of the Cuban people. I
wish Cuba would reject US offers of “friendship” for what they are, the
push, as with Latin American policy in general, to economic penetration and
subjugation. Alternatives to the American Way are deemed INTOLERABLE. We
destroyed Chile’s democracy, the same CIA so skilled in torture. We
installed the Generals in Brazil. We despised Hugo and sought to undermine
his leadership. NYT never learns. Oppression of others is too sweet. Norman
Pollack has written on Populism. His interests are social theory and the
structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at
2014-12-19 12:43:52 UTC
Post by The Razor's Edge
US-Cuba Rapprochement by NORMAN POLLACK
I write in anger. America smells blood,
America blinked.
The Castro regime is "anemic" and just got a -possible - lifeline.
The US senate and congress still hold the main keys though.
This isn't over.
Post by The Razor's Edge
or rather New Investment, corporate
swallowing of the total economy,
get your facts right: those that want to swallow the whole economy is
the Castro "reformist" elite.
Obama set in motion a process that will make them even more ademant to
rob the Cuban people.
The military Castro elite is your problem, not the US.
Post by The Razor's Edge
My own visit a decade ago—no minders present—showed remarkable strides in
education and quality-of-life issues I value:(snip)
There is no "quality of life" in Cuba. Since the end of the Soviet
subsidies the lies has been exposed. Cuba's economy can't support the