Super Bowl

Stone Cold Stupid

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In an AP article incongruously titled, "Oliver Stone Not Swayed By Castro Charm," the auteur who dared take on the NFL in Any Given Sunday proclaims of Cuba's own Alvin "Pete" Rozelle: "We should look to him as one of the earth's wisest people, one of the people we should consult."

Human Rights Watch takes a different, rather dim view, of Castro's wisdom, titling its 1999 report on the tropical paradise Cuba's Repressive Machinery: Human Rights Forty Years After the Revolution. (If you want the executive summary version, here it is: There aren't any human rights in Cuba 40 years after the Revolution.)

Stone says he's against the U.S. embargo against Cuba. He's right to want to end it, but he seems fails to understand the real problem with the embargo is not that it immiserated Cuba–Castro's own economic and political policies did that–but that it gives Castro a freer hand in repressing his own people.

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  1. “Stone…was keen to point out the achievements of the Castro regime, such as providing schooling and basic services lacking elsewhere in Latin America…”
    …as if there was no schooling before castro! Pre-revolutionary Cuba was nothing like the economic basket-cases that pervade much of Latin America even to this day. So, it’s kinda like saying Bob Jones University deserves praise for providing student mixers lacking in Ethiopia.
    An economically free Cuba would provide all those things and more, and the schools wouldn’t be Fidel-ducation centers.
    Castro “provides” schooling and other basic services only as his program to try to keep the masses indoctrinated and docile, lest he face the stirring of another revolution.
    I support lifting the embargo because I believe that Castro could not maintain his tyranny very long in a freer Cuba.
    Of, course, I could be wrong.

  2. But everyone else in the world is free to trade with Cuba, right? But now that the Soviet props for the sugar industry are gone, and the sugar production is even lower, what does Castro have to trade–besides cigars and young women? Why aren’t France and Germany wading into the breach?
    Ther’s free health care, but no medicine. There’s free education, but no books.

  3. Damn straight, Steve! Now, let’s apply that logic to the Middle East. Rock the Casbah!

  4. I still don’t understand why we do business with Vietnam, but not Cuba. No matter how you slice it, this is absolutely wrong.

  5. Free trade will bring down a tyrant faster than just about anything else. give ’em a little Brittney and a little Coca Cola and a little McDonalds and see how fast Castro falls.

  6. Yeah, but did we have free trade with East Germany? I’m serious, I don’t know. How much trade did we have with East Germany, Russia, etc.? Did the people living under the Soviet Bloc find out about what we had through trade, or did it have more to do with Radio Free Europe, or other forms of communication? I heard there were American goods being sold in Russia during perestroika, but was that a cause of the fall or a symptom?

  7. Steve, I hope you’re right, but I’m not convinced that free trade is the silver bullet that kills tyranny and oppression. If a state, like China, maintains control over all other aspects, the economic boost helps to prop up the regime. Of course in the long run, it may turn out that it leads to reform and greater liberty, slower but more peaceful. It may be a case by case thing when deciding an approach. With China, engagement is the sensible approach while Saddam must be fought and N. Korea needs to quarantined. I think it’s only a matter of a few years with Castro and the U.S. should hold out until that time. Do you think the regime will collapse when he’s gone? I hear his brother Raul is not much.

  8. I believe free trade (real free trade) IS a silver bullet to bring down tyrants. I believe the Berlin Wall came down because the east saw what we had and wanted it (at least in part). While China is still an incredibly repressive regime, it is still less so than it was 40 years ago under Mao. In part at least, because of western cultural influence in the form of Coca cola, Levis and McDonalds. Yeah, I think it works.

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