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August 24, 2007

Give It a Rest

By Randy Paul of Beautiful Horizons

This is so silly. If Castro dies today, I certainly won't mourn him, but I have enough good sense to know that Cuba doesn't become a democracy tomorrow welcoming the exile community with open arms. Calm down.

August 24, 2007 in Foreign Policy | Permalink

Comments

Oh, Randicito: Who on Earth did tell you that we are expecting Castro's death because we think that Cuba is gonna be Denmark tomorrow? The guy has been oppressing the country for 50 years and each of us has felt the consequences in a way you spoiled mommy's little boy cannot even start to comprehend.


Who cares whether you are going to mourn Castro or not? We are going to celebrate it anyway.


Calm down, my balls. Fuck you, really.

Posted by: Eduardo | Aug 24, 2007 11:11:45 PM

One more thing, Randicito: The welcoming of the Cuban in the diaspora is not what will lead Cuba to democracy, but probably you will agree that a country cannot be a democracy if it doesn't welcome its citizens wherever they are. I usually assume that those things are self-evident but given the quality of your post I thought I needed to state it anyway.

And let me let you in a little secret here. Cubans in the island have no problem with us. We have really strong family ties, believe me.

Posted by: Eduardo | Aug 24, 2007 11:33:10 PM

What's truly amazing is that the nutbag exile Cuban communities of Miami and New Jersey, who are usually given to public exhortations once a month that now, now they have evidence that Castro is dead / dying / etc., have apparently missed that this whole mysterious absence of Castro apparently served as a subterfuge for a post-Castro transition without ever having the sort of public 'crisis' moment they had always assumed they would get.

The raving Castro-obsessed right has basically been out-thought by Raul Castro, and that's a pretty insulting fact.

Posted by: El Cid | Aug 24, 2007 11:36:06 PM

One raving anti-Cuban bigot apparently think that Castro would voluntarily get out of the picture, subject himself to the public humiliation of appearing on TV as the old dying fuck he is now in order to achieve a smooth handover of power. Like they couldn't do it better with him in better shape, slowly, a la Deng Xiaoping. Besides the same egomaniac that would speak for four hours in the UN and would castigate Cubans several hours, several nights a week talking crap on TV until the very moment he had surgery last year would all of the sudden shut up. You don't know what the fuck you are talking about.

Posted by: Eduardo | Aug 25, 2007 12:02:59 AM

Eduardo,

If you read my blog and my posts on Cuba, you'd know how wrong you are. Start here.

As for this comment:

The guy has been oppressing the country for 50 years and each of us has felt the consequences in a way you spoiled mommy's little boy cannot even start to comprehend.

You really don't know squat about me. I ran a Caribbean Regional Action Network for seven years in an Amnesty International Group and focused most of my efforts on Cuba. I've corresponded with dissidents including Claudia Marquez - who initiated contact with me after reading my blog - from Cuba before she was granted her exit visa and moved to Florida. Neighbors of mine when I was growing up in my Miami fled with little more than the shirts on their backs. I had the pleasure of meeting Jorge Valls when I was involved in AI. I've heard firsthand accounts from those who have spent time on Isla de los Pinos.

Apparently in your rage you missed the point of my post: it will take time and far more than the death of Fidel Castro to bring about change in Cuba. While some of you may have strong family ties on both sides, there are plenty who share a strong antipathy towards the other. By all means celebrate Castro's death. Just don't expect overnight change.

Unfortunately, yours is the sort of reaction that I have come to expect if I don't parrot the most doctrinaire line towards Castro. More's the pity that you let your rage get the best of you and decide to insult soemone who is essentially on your side. Think about what that means about your judgment.

Posted by: Randy Paul | Aug 25, 2007 12:10:19 AM

One raving anti-Cuban bigot apparently think that Castro would voluntarily get out of the picture, subject himself to the public humiliation of appearing on TV as the old dying fuck he is now in order to achieve a smooth handover of power. Like they couldn't do it better with him in better shape, slowly, a la Deng Xiaoping. Besides the same egomaniac that would speak for four hours in the UN and would castigate Cubans several hours, several nights a week talking crap on TV until the very moment he had surgery last year would all of the sudden shut up. You don't know what the fuck you are talking about.

Posted by: Eduardo | Aug 25, 2007 12:02:59 AM

First, I'm not anti-Cuban; I'm squarely against the nutbag exile ultra-right wing so-called 'leaders' of the Cuban rightist exile communities in Miami and New Jersey.

Secondly, well, I don't know, I don't know what your raving point is about Castro stepping aside 'voluntarily', I know it's not a response to anything I wrote.

But that's just because my point was correct: the typically screamingly loud ultra-right nimrods who claim that they 'lead' the Cuban exile community have completely missed the fact that Cuba is now effectively in a post-Castro era.

That's reality, whether you like it or not. If you think I'm wrong, well, point to some analyst who predicted that the post-Castro period would be like this. It has always been approached as though it would be a moment of catastrophic change -- yet there is no sign of catastrophic change whatsoever.

In fact, point me to to some Cuban exile ultra-rightist who has ever done anything but personalize the Cuban system to Castro.

Now, I guess you're asserting that you "know what the fuck you're talking about", but so far there's zero evidence of that.

Posted by: El Cid | Aug 25, 2007 12:21:03 AM

At least Castro has stuck a finger in the eye of the U.S. for almost half a century. That ought to count for something. The biggest negative is that his authoritarian rule has made it more likely that after he goes the right-wing fanatics that have fed off that authoritarianism will succeed in undoing the positive achievements of the Cuban revolution. All the more reason for other countries to support Cuba economically today.
http://geo.international.gc.ca/latin-america/cuba/development/dev-en.asp

Posted by: mijnheer | Aug 25, 2007 12:30:13 AM

Just to be clear and unambiguous, Eduardo, feel free to continue insulting me. Just don't expect me to climb in that sewer with you.

Posted by: Randy Paul | Aug 25, 2007 12:33:11 AM

Randy,

About my personal attacks: you are totally right and I surely owe you an apology on that count. I was in rage mode and I attacked you personally without knowing you. Sorry, really.

But you still don't understand why we are expecting his death so much. It is not because we think that change in Cuba is imminent and that everything will be fine after that. I assume that you read the article. I think it is basically accurate in describing how emotionally charged the stuff is. This is the guy that was in your textbooks from kindergarten to College, the omnipresent semi-God always infallible, always deciding both vital and insignificant issues, and a long long etc. I know 60-something, hard liner, ultra-Republicans, gay Liberal Democrats like me, you know, the kind that campaign for Kerry and donate to the ACLU. And I know a lot of people in between. For all us, and for every Cuban in the island Fidel Castro brings very strong emotions that not necessarily mean wishful thinking. And no, this is not silly stuff.

As for "Unfortunately, yours is the sort of reaction that I have come to expect if I don't parrot the most doctrinaire line towards Castro" This is more or less where I stand related to Cuba:

- Any kind of reform, no matter how timid is welcomed.
- I would rather have Raul doing some sort of China like liberalization before a call to free elections because:
- I fear that the almost non-existence of civil society in the island could lead to terribly awful outcomes if things change too quickly. (from total chaos to the "narcotization" of the state)
- I don't have any problem with the lifting of the embargo (although I think it is going to be very difficult for a US president to do it while the government in Havana doesn't really want to have it lifted.)
- I opposed the prohibition of travelling by American citizens to Cuba. I think that our freedom to chose where the hell we go to go trumps any help our money bring to the Cuban government.
- and oh yeah, I hate Communism, I hate Castro, and I am preparing to dance in the streets when the motherfucker dies knowing all too well that the changes will come slowly and painfully and really thinking that Cuba will be at best Dominican-Republican like institutionally and basically poor during all my lifetime (I'm 43)

If that makes me doctrinaire, Ok, I'm one.

Posted by: Eduardo | Aug 25, 2007 12:45:34 AM

From Saturday's Guardian: "Dissidents freed as Raúl Castro signals change of tack in Cuba"
http://www.guardian.co.uk/cuba/story/0,,2155967,00.html

Posted by: mijnheer | Aug 25, 2007 12:55:35 AM

Eduardo I'm glad you calmed done a bit because I'm curious about your reference to Denmark. Exactly which "leaders" of the Cuban Exile community are advocating that sort of social democratic society for Cuba after Castro?

If that isn't what you meant to imply, then exactly what did you mean?

Posted by: WB Reeves | Aug 25, 2007 1:13:43 AM

In case it matters, I actually think Cuba is likely to become a democratically elected state, in stages, with very limited rights at first, and it's even possible that they will be helped in that direction by, gasp, Venezuela, which is the only state that Cuba's regime might listen to who could say, look, you can be socialist and democratic, too.

Posted by: El Cid | Aug 25, 2007 1:18:43 AM

El Cid:

First, I'm not anti-Cuban; I'm squarely against the nutbag exile ultra-right wing so-called 'leaders' of the Cuban rightist exile communities in Miami and New Jersey

I don't know what those ultra-right wind 'leaders' of the Cuban rightist exile communities in Miami you are talking about. But I will go with the ones elected to Congress: Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), a liberal by any means, Congresswoman Ileana Ross Lethinen, Human Right Campaign Score for the 109 Congress = 88 (better than our Democrat candidate to governor, Jim Davis (75). I know she is very pro-war but still, that doesn't make her ultra-right-wing. Then you have Martinez the asshole and the Diaz Balart brothers, big assholes. Still, these people are not ultra. And what you really miss is that we don't need leaders from the right or the left to hate Castro's guts. We have our own experiences.

If I understood you, Castro "disappearance" is a subterfuge to make a smooth transition. My point is, if they wanted a smooth transition while Castro is in reasonable shape they could have done it without presenting him in TV in that awfully sorrow state, without basically shutting his mouth. They could have done it the way Deng Xiaoping did it in China, transferring power piece by piece and keeping the system very stable in the meantime. Implementing a dictatorship is very difficult, but once the system is in full control you don't need to be too smart to "outsmart" the opposition. You send it to jail, to exile or yeah, you can kill some of them too. The exile in Miami is totally irrelevant to what happens in Cuba. Most Cubans here know it. We are not the caricature a lot of people in the left think we are.

But that's just because my point was correct: the typically screamingly loud ultra-right nimrods who claim that they 'lead' the Cuban exile community have completely missed the fact that Cuba is now effectively in a post-Castro era.
Everybody here knows that we are in the post-Castro era and that the system will survive him. Still, a) we want the bastard dead because we are really evil and b)yes, his death will have some at least psicologic effect both in the nomenclature and the people and it is important.

That's reality, whether you like it or not. If you think I'm wrong, well, point to some analyst who predicted that the post-Castro period would be like this. It has always been approached as though it would be a moment of catastrophic change -- yet there is no sign of catastrophic change whatsoever
You are right. But when did I said otherwise?

In fact, point me to to some Cuban exile ultra-rightist who has ever done anything but personalize the Cuban system to Castro.
Here we go again with the "Cuban exile ultra-rightist" theme. Look, the guy has been in power for half a century. He has taken the most important decisions (and many not so important ones, too) for all this time. He is the Commander in Chief, 1st Secretary of the Communist Party, President of the Council of State, President of the Council of Ministers, there has been an omnipresent cult of his personality, he is the only one that has made important speeches or the only one who has expressed ideas of his own for all those years, he is in most textbooks and you don't want people to personalize the Revolution? Please. And everybody does that: they in Cuba, the left, the center and the right.

It is very difficult for me not to perceive a deep animosity on your part to the Cuban community. But yeah, I have no proof that you are "an anti-Cuban bigot." I'm sorry

Posted by: Eduardo | Aug 25, 2007 1:25:13 AM

WB Reeves:

Yes, I calmed down. And I will try to stay very, very calm.

MY reference about Denmark is because, well, I like the Denmark way a lot! See, they have their little strong welfare state while have a reasonable enough free market economy. They are very cult, they have a great civil society, (not the horrible primitive that Castro has inflicted upon us), they have long standing democratic traditions, and they are also a small country. Got it? I could have said the Netherlands, or Sweden, or even, uh, the United States which is a 1000 times better society that what Cuba is now.

You guys really need to get over the "leaders" of the Cuban Exile community. There are like, 500 of them, like it always happens when a) you have your ass kicked out of your country, b) haven been in the losing side for 50 years and c) live in a free society. Some people here really do think that Denmark is all right, most people think the American model is the best and so on. In any case, who cares, the ones who will decide are the ones in the island, where the social-democrat ideas are strong.

Now, social democracy has very deep roots in Cuba. Second, Cubans vote Rep in national elections but elect Democrats like Martinez who reigned in Hialeah for ages until he decided to retired. He is unabashedly liberal and his policies were pretty liberal and those are the one who got him elected. In less intensity, Penellas got re-elected twice as major as a Democrat. He was even thought as a candidate to the vice-presidency before the Elian fiasco.

Once you get over your dislike of the Cuban community, sorry, of the 'right wing leaders' of the Cuban community you will re-direct most of your energies towards the really bad guys here. You know, the ones that have been in power for 50 years.

Posted by: Eduardo | Aug 25, 2007 1:46:15 AM

mijnheer:

At least Castro has stuck a finger in the eye of the U.S. for almost half a century. That ought to count for something

Because....?

Posted by: Eduardo | Aug 25, 2007 1:53:18 AM

I know she is very pro-war but still, that doesn't make her ultra-right-wing.

I'm sure her HRC score is appreciated by all the gay Syrians and Iranians that she wants to bomb, and all the gay Lebanese whose bombing she heartily cheered on last year. She's a dangerous loon.

How about this proposal: when Castro finally shuffles off and the post-Castro thaw takes hold, the first official delegation from the US is composed entirely of gay Cubans? I would be cheering all the way. Better that than a bunch of car salesmen come to check out how much chrome-trimmed profit they can make.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Aug 25, 2007 1:58:13 AM

Venezuela, which is the only state that Cuba's regime might listen to who could say, look, you can be socialist and democratic, too

If for "democratic" you understand that Chavez can win elections while doing all sorts of authoritarian things like closing TV stations he doesn't like, etc, wait until:

a) he deepens the socialist component of his revolution
b) let a couple of decades destroy the infrastructure including the energy and telecommunications companies he just nationalized.
c) the price of oil falls to half of what they are now.

Vivir para ver

Posted by: Eduardo | Aug 25, 2007 2:05:59 AM

NC person:

I certainly doesn't have anything again your proposal about the gay Cubans representing the US, although, frankly since they don't send gays to labor camps since the 70s I found it, a little bit, uhm, silly. But hey, if I had the knowledge and I wouldn't lose my cool now and then I could be one of them!

Car salesmen are part of the deal in a capitalist society. Someone have to sell them, honey. The problem with Cuba is that there are almost no cars, that people make 20 bucks a month and cars are more expensive than here and that even if someone sends you the money from abroad you still have to ask permission to buy one from the gov. Permission that is denied unless you are a big wig. And before anybody mentions "public transportation" let me share a little piece of info: there is very little, there isn't almost any, actually.

Posted by: Eduardo | Aug 25, 2007 2:23:47 AM

Once you get over your dislike of the Cuban community, sorry, of the 'right wing leaders' of the Cuban community you will re-direct most of your energies towards the really bad guys here. You know, the ones that have been in power for 50 years.

Well Eduardo, having lived in in south Florida when the apostles of Alpha 66 and Omega 7 were blowing the legs off of Cubans who dared to disagree with them and were mobbing Peace demonstrators in Bayfront Park with the imprimatur of Miami's Mayor, I can't be as blithe about them as yourself.

BTW, unless you are equating such folks with the Cuban community as a whole, your comment about "getting over" disliking the Cuban community makes no sense in reference to what I said.

That aside, how do you think demands for the restoration of properties in Cuba to their pre-revolution ownership will effect post Castro politics?

Posted by: WB Reeves | Aug 25, 2007 9:45:11 AM

Venezuela, which is the only state that Cuba's regime might listen to who could say, look, you can be socialist and democratic, too

If for "democratic" you understand that Chavez can win elections while doing all sorts of authoritarian things like closing TV stations he doesn't like, etc, wait until...

It would be mindlessly bitter and irrational for someone not to leap were there an opportunity for Cubans to have anything approaching the extensive levels of democracy extant in Venezuela. Any actual Cuban would take that deal in a heartbeat. Sure, maybe they'd prefer some idealized Swiss canton system, etc., and since we're only talking hypothetically anyway, sure, why not?

But as for the other predictions, true, Chavez may turn out to be the autocrat nightmare which all the liberal hawks and right wing desperately want him to be. Lord knows powerful leaders can go crazy.

But you'll get no traction from me trying to laud the pathetic, coup-fomenting RCTV nuts who practically handed their enemy Chavez cause to ban them from over-the-air transmission (they still retain cable & satellite access) on a gilded platter. Idiots, clear and simple, plain idiots who called for the violent overthrow of their own government and then act shocked, shocked! when one day some of their licensing gets yanked.

So far, however, Chavez is still not a tyrant, although just like the U.S. and its ChiCom investors and Central Asian dissident boiling allies and its bankroll from oil state sheikhdoms, he is willing to deal with tyrants, and he still is an incredibly popular and thoroughly democratically elected leader, and is as democratic as other heavily presidential systems throughout Latin America.

But, supposedly this was about Castro, and I merely mentioned the tiresome tendency of certain segments of the Cuban exile community (and yes, I've lived in Miami to hear their ultra-right rants ad nauseum, including the late Mas Canosa, the Alpha 66 paramilitary terrorists, and the entire panoply of exile thugs who gleefully jumped into Reagan's crusade to slaughter hundreds of thousands of non-Cuban Central Americans, and such 'moderate' activities as throwing sh*t in the newspaper boxes of any publication suggesting that the U.S. dialogue with the Cuban government, or did I imagine all this?) to connect all world events to Castro, just like crazy Ahmadinejad connects all world events to Israel, but it's certainly amusing that the liberal hawks quickly raise their global communist bugaboos so quickly.

Posted by: El Cid | Aug 25, 2007 9:45:44 AM

If for "democratic" you understand that Chavez can win elections while doing all sorts of authoritarian things like closing TV stations he doesn't like, etc,

Considering that the TV stations in question colluded in an illegal coup attempt against the elected government, I'd say they are lucky to be dealing with Chavez instead of Castro. Otherwise, they'd have a great deal more to worry about than being closed down.

Posted by: WB Reeves | Aug 25, 2007 9:55:07 AM

The lesson to be learned here is that making leaders literally paranoid is probably a huge cause of most the tyranny we see world-wide.

Thusly, actions and rhetoric that might make said leaders paranoid, if it doesn't work immediatly to remove said leaders, will only make the problems worse.

Posted by: Karmakin | Aug 25, 2007 10:29:24 AM

I agree with Eduardo that it is perfectly understandable why Cuban-American refugees would circulate rumors about Castro's death. Not any more surprising than Zimbabwean refugees who await the death of Robert Mugabe or North Korean refugees who get excited at reports that Kim Jong Il might have health problems. It's perfectly understandable.

That said, I think that Castro's death, when it happens, is going to create a very complicated situation, because many people on the island are big believers in the revolution (if not in Castro specifically) and the Cuban-American community in Miami is now very diverse, with some who will want to try to go back to the island and reinstate the 1950's while others have no interest or even sympathize with the revolution. And, of course, there are plenty of people in the US who are going to try to get their property back, and plenty of people in Cuba who have lived on those properties for 45 years and who aren't going to want to give it back.

This is a recipe for conflict, not democratization. When Castro dies, it's probably going to be a mess.

Posted by: Dilan Esper | Aug 25, 2007 2:25:44 PM

Eduardo,

Apology accepted. No harm, no foul.

If Cuba becomes like Denmark, I'll be thrilled, provided it isn't as expensive to visit as Denmark.

Please give this a read. While I share precious little politically with the proprietor of that blog linked to above, we can find some common ground.

Posted by: Randy Paul | Aug 25, 2007 8:25:46 PM

Randy,

Thanks for your kindness. Give me also a little break: When I went into the rampage rage I was crushing down from the "high" I had got when "learning" about Castro's end :-)

I check Babalu frequently. I think his main author, Val, is a great person, their "kill-the-damn-bastard" rhetoric is almost therapeutic for me, they bring some info about Cuba and I know they truly love Cuba. But their US politics are way far away from mine. A couple of times I have gotten into some arguments with most of the readership.

No, no. Once Fidel dies, in 5 years or so, Cuba is going to be another Denmark, but very very cheap.


Posted by: Eduardo | Aug 26, 2007 12:53:28 PM

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