Monday, November 30, 2009

Cuba policy: A blend of futile and stupid....

First was the Cuban revolution on the first day of 1959. Then, the April, 1961 US-sponsored, US-financed and US-botched military assault on Cuba. It was inevitable that the deployment of Soviet missiles--or some other equally provocative move on the island of Cuba in 1962--would be the response.

Nikita Khrushchev and Jack Kennedy stared each other down. Then they both blinked. They both wanted out of the stand-off without nuclear war; and from that flowed the good result. US missiles pointed at the soviets came out of Turkey. Soviet missiles aimed at the US came out of Cuba. The only sensible move out of US policy-makers in the past half-century.

Ever since, it has been all clandestine stuff, mostly mischief carried out by the Miami and New Jersey bunch, with loads of CIA support and black budget cash, including repeated attempts to assassinate the Cuban leadership.

All of our attempts to wage cold war and proxy war on Cuba have amounted to making the 11 million stay-at-home Cubans pay for the sin of a love/hate relationship with the guy who pulled off their revolution, the guy who kicked Uncle Sam in the shins and threw out the mafia and waved goodbye to the fat cats who exploited their fellow Cubans.

So Radio Marti and TV Marti are merely a laughable sideshow. The production values are awful. Believe me, I’ve been there; I’ve seen and heard it. The real underlying purpose of both of those broadcasting efforts is to funnel money to the producers--Miami bitter-enders. The quid pro quo is electoral support--money and votes--every presidential election year. Republicans and Democrats are on the same page; they compete with each other to prove who really hates Castro the most.

Cubans just don’t find the Radio and TV Marti stuff appealing. Anyone who wants to see and hear the Miami broadcasts can see them or hear them. They just don't really want to. The jamming is half-hearted…and has declined in the face of this massive Cuban indifference. Some outside evaluators found that the listenership/viewership is in single digits. There is much better stuff on TV coming from Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Spain. The Miami bunch who run the radio/tv operation are equally half-hearted. They don’t care whether anyone listens/watches. They are getting their checks and that’s all that matters.

Fifty years of pushing the same tired policy…fifty years of failure. That cold-war saber-rattling never worked, just hardened the Cuban rejection of it. And the saber-rattling has devolved into piss-into-the-wind cold war rhetoric spewing unheeded out of some very big transmitters, disappearing into the ether above the Florida straits.

Why do we insist on backing it? Cuba is no threat, has never been a threat. Whatever we think of Cuban leadership, it is up to the Cuban people to choose their government. They stick with the basic tenet of the Cuban Revolution of 1959: “We’ve seen what the Yanquis do… Get the damn Yanquis out of here… and keep them out of here". more thing. Here's the latest on international support of our Cuba Embargo and Travel Ban, reported in Trans Africa Forum, Oct. 30, 2009:
United Nations Votes to Condemn U.S. Embargo against Cuba for 18th Consecutive Year

For nearly two decades, the majority of the world has voiced its opposition to one of our most problematic foreign policies – the nearly 50 year U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. On October 28, 2009, the United Nations General Assembly condemned it for the eighteenth consecutive year. 187 countries voted in opposition to the embargo, three countries voted in favor (the U.S. itself, Israel and Palau) and two abstained (Micronesia and Marshall Islands). This is the first time that the General Assembly vote has occurred under the administration of President Barack H. Obama and the first year the vote has occurred where the U.S. is the only country in the Western Hemisphere to not to have diplomatic relations with Cuba.

During a two hour debate, representatives ranging from countries such as China to regions such as the Caribbean (CARICOM) voiced strong opposition to the embargo and called it criminal, illegal and immoral. The Group of 77 (the largest intergovernmental organization of developing states in the UN) and the Non-Aligned Movement (an international organization of states not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc) expressed their disagreement. Even traditional U.S. allies, such as the European Union countries, came out unanimously against the policy and were openly critical.

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Of the biblical allotment of three score and ten I have lived only three of them more than a bicycle ride from one of the Great Lakes. I grew up ten blocks from Lake Erie in the (once Irish/Italian ghetto, now newly-hip) "Near West Side" of Cleveland. I can still cycle to the Milwaukee lakefront in an hour and a half; but, a round-trip has always been more than I would (noror ever did) attempt. -0- I'm a "...somewhat combative pacifist and fairly cooperative anarchist," after the example of Grace Paley (1922-2007). -0- I'm always cheerful when I pay my taxes (having refused--when necessary--to pay that portion of them dedicated to war). -0- And I always, always vote.