One Hollywood Cuban Waiting for Castro to Croak

|

As the latest Castro death watch begins in earnest, it's worth reading this anti-Castro interview with actor Andy Garcia, himself a refugee from Cuba:

Some people think Castro is a savior, that he looks out for kids and the poor. It's a bunch of hogwash. In the 45 years since Castro has been in power, Cuba has been in the top three countries for human rights abuses for 43 of those years. People turn a blind eye to his atrocities….

He waves the fist of "I'm fighting Yankee imperialism." Never mind that he didn't care about Soviet imperialism in the 1960s and '70s. It's a whole political game. It's hard to fathom that people would go down there to shake his hand, because he's got blood on his hands.

He's not too keen on Che Guevara, either.

That interview ran in the LA Daily News in April and the whole thing is online here. Garcia's Cuban epic, The Lost City, is just out on DVD. He also starred in the 2000 anti-Castro For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story.

(And while we're talking about anti-communist movies from unexpected sources, don't forget Joan Chen's searing Xiu Xiu or The Sent-Down Girl [1998] and Julian Schnabel's anti-Castro Before Night Falls [2000].)

Hat Tip: Kathryn Jean Lopez at NRO, who gives it a rave here.

Reason on Castro here and here and especially here. On Che here and here. On lack of movies exploring left-wing totalitarianism here and here.

Advertisement

NEXT: Patrick Henry Spins In His Grave

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Andy Garcia is a cool actor with zero policy understanding. He’s all worried about “blood” on Castro’s hands, forgetting (1) our own blood-stained hands, and (2) that while we are playing grab-ass with the Miami Cuban vote, Dutch and Canadian companies are securing the best Cuban real estate. Oh yeah, and (3) China is way worse in terms of blood, yet we still trade with them, and it seems to have fostered free markets to an extent. The Cuban community in South Florida has flexed its muscles in an ill advised way. They don’t want to go back to Cuba, they want to hold a grudge and continue to live the American dream. Instead of engaging the Communist regime, especially since the fall of the Berlin wall, we’ve continued the embargo, the most conspicuously failed policy left over from the 60’s. There are plenty of realistic countries who were there to pick up the pieces of gold we left behind.

  2. “In the 45 years since Castro has been in power, Cuba has been in the top three countries for human rights abuses for 43 of those years.”

    Does anyone actually believe this statement is a reflection of the reality is Cuba, rather than the attention that is paid to it? The last 43 years have seen the Great Leap Forward, Pol Pot, the Burmese regime, Kim Jong Il, Rwanda, Congo, South Africa, the Khomeinists, Saddam Hussein, Uzbekistan, the Taliban, the Saudis, El Salvador in the 70s and 80s, and Operation Condor across South America. And no doubt, I’m missing a few. Has Castro ever wiped out a single village? The man’s a piker compared to every one of the examples I’ve cited.

    Which is not to say Cuba has a decent government, but claiming the people in Cuba have had it anywhere near the worse in the world for thte last 43 years is absurd.

  3. Cool – Castro apologists.

  4. While I’m not one to bellow ‘media bias’ very often, NPR’s report on the Castro situation this morning left me with little option but to mentally declare them to be soft Fidelistas. Castro was repeatedly referred to with the familiar, freindly “Fidel.” While Kim Il Sung is described (accurately) as a dictator by most news services, Fidel is described as “the Cuban leader.” Not once was Castro’s grotesque human rights record mentioned. Nowhere was there any discussion of the grinding poverty that typifies life in Cuba. No reporter asked if things would be better or worse with his brother at the helm-to do so would be to acknowledge the above factors.
    I honestly do not understand the continuing infatuation with Castro and that murderer Guevara in some circles. Every time I see one of the Guevara shirts, I’m reminded of a Cuban friend’s story about the night the secret police hauled his father away.

  5. No offense to the serious suffering of the cuban people, but I suspect that we are one step closer to the sweet, powerful smoke of cuban tobacco on my palette, which (on a macro level) will create value, jobs and wage increases for scores of cuban citizens. Not to mention much better baseball as MLB drops a franchise in Cuba!!

    One can only hope for a warm April opening day in Havana, bands in the stands, all the cuban players working trades to go back home, it almost brings tears to my eyes.

  6. joe, joe, joe. I know what you’re saying. You’re saying that the worst spots for many of those years should go to some under-hated thugs. That we should not underestimate the brutality of Mao and Pol Pot and Saddam and the Taliban and others of that ilk when awarding the 3 worst spots on the list.

    But, come on man, pick your battles more intelligently! You’re practically begging for the worst stereotypes to be applied.

  7. I will say that “Lost City” sucked. hard.
    Worst movie I have seen in the last 5 years.
    Worse than Pol Pot or the Taliban.

  8. The United States arguably has more political prisoners at Guantanamo than Castro has in the rest of Cuba. It was said in 1999, “Moderate opposition and rights groups estimate there are about 380 political prisoners in Cuba — a figure generally accepted by foreign governments” (http://www.nocastro.com/archives/ayuno3.htm). Reports in more recent years indicate a slight decline in the number of political prisoners.

  9. I will say that “Lost City” sucked. hard.
    Worst movie I have seen in the last 5 years.
    Worse than Pol Pot or the Taliban.

  10. The next time someone shoots 3 people from a watchtower, we can all console ourselves by pointing out that he wasn’t nearly as bad as Charlie Whitman.

  11. “Not once was Castro’s grotesque human rights record mentioned. Nowhere was there any discussion of the grinding poverty that typifies life in Cuba.”

    This is another example of how most complaints about media bias is really a complaint about lack of bias in favour of their own views. Anti-Castro activists complain that whenever any story about Cuba appears, the media fails to repeatedly list all human rights violations committed by his regime. Pro-Castro activists want every report about Cuba to repeatedly remind us that life expectancy in Cuba is only a few months behind that in the U.S., that Cuba’s literacy and infant mortality rates put those of the U.S. to shame.

  12. “Not once was Castro’s grotesque human rights record mentioned. Nowhere was there any discussion of the grinding poverty that typifies life in Cuba.”

    This is another example of how most complaints about media bias is really a complaint about lack of bias in favour of their own views. Anti-Castro activists complain that whenever any story about Cuba appears, the media fails to repeatedly list all human rights violations committed by his regime. Pro-Castro activists want every report about Cuba to repeatedly remind us that life expectancy in Cuba is only a few months behind that in the U.S., that Cuba’s literacy and infant mortality rates put those of the U.S. to shame.

  13. The problem with “Who’s the worst dictator?” arguments is that people who think the list needs to be revised to reflect somebody else’s atrocities have an annoying habit of coming across as apologists for the guys currently at the top of the list. I don’t think that’s joe’s intent, but that’s the unfortunate way that it comes across.

    There’s a fine line between “This other guy was even worse than the guy on the list” and “The guy on the list really wasn’t as bad as this other guy.”

    See the difference in connotation?

    The Onion had a nice little piece on this:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/42781

  14. With Florida as a primary swing state in presidential elections Cuba is/has been a hands off issue for both parties.

    I am not sure what Cuban Americans expect when Castro vanishes. Invasion? Return to take back lands/homes? Instant democracy? US taxpayer support (like Israel)? Statehood?

    Separate from that issue, I do think Cuba is the potential jewel of the Caribbean and will become a mega-tourist hot spot.

    Florida could annex Cuba and make it part of the state or secede, take in Cuba and become Floruba.

  15. Hey, Hmmm…I am a reporter and an editor. I’ve been on the end of complaints about bias, usually from both sides on the same story. I know damn well that bias is in the eye of the beholder. I also know that a five minute radio story about Castro and the possible end of his regime that does not mention his human rights record is an incomplete one.

  16. “Cool – Castro apologists” –ignorant comment by Passing Through
    Saying the embargo is a failure is not a defense of Castro. It is a criticism of allowing personal grudges drive politics, the results being that Castro has stayed in power way too long, Canadian and Dutch companies have cornered the tourism market to our own detriment, and the idea that America represents freedom has a black eye because we don’t allow our businesses or citizens the freedom to travel and engage in business.

    Further, it is no defense of Castro to cite to our support of Guatemalan and Salvadoran butchers, nor does it help Castro that China has a problem with human rights. These are all criticisms of our failed policies, not apologies for Castro.

  17. “The United States arguably has more political prisoners at Guantanamo than Castro has in the rest of Cuba.”

    Yeah, emphasis on argueably. People like Kalid Shak Mohamud the brains behind 9-11 and Hamden Bin Ladens driver and aide are in GITMO for their political beliefs. Jesus where does this crap come from?

    “Pro-Castro activists want every report about Cuba to repeatedly remind us that life expectancy in Cuba is only a few months behind that in the U.S., that Cuba’s literacy and infant mortality rates put those of the U.S. to shame”

    If Cuba is so wonderful, why is it a 20 year + prison sentence for trying to leave? Why do the Cubans rountinly shoot people trying to escape? Wherever a boot is on top of a face, there is someone like HMM in the world to tell us how that face has universal healthcare and a great literacy rates.

  18. The next time someone shoots 3 people from a watchtower, we can all console ourselves by pointing out that he wasn’t nearly as bad as Charlie Whitman.

    That individual showed what one motivated Marine and his rifle can do!

  19. “Wherever a boot is on top of a face, there is someone like HMM in the world to tell us how that face has universal healthcare and a great literacy rates.”
    If John is a libertarian, why does he support the embargo? Could there be a more blatant impingement on freedom? And the US takes away this freedom because Cuba isn’t free? What kind of message does that send to the troops?

  20. Lamar, did I miss something? Did Andy Garcia make a statement in the linked interview approving of China’s or any other country’s human rights record? How would wrongs on the part of other nations right Castro’s abuses?

  21. Mike, it’s not about how bad China is, the issue is how America deals with bad actors. Andy Garcia is emblematic of the personal hatred of Castro that clouds our policy judgments.

  22. Mike, it’s not about how bad China is, the issue is how America deals with bad actors. Andy Garcia is emblematic of the personal hatred of Castro that clouds our policy judgments.

  23. Another case where a parody from The Onion is almost identical to the “real” news: http://chattablogs.com/podge/archives/images/dictator.jpg

  24. Further, it is no defense of Castro to cite to our support of Guatemalan and Salvadoran butchers, nor does it help Castro that China has a problem with human rights. These are all criticisms of our failed policies, not apologies for Castro.

    So what does Guatemala and El Salvador have to do with Cuba? I mean, that’s what we’re talking about, right? Castro and Cuba, and not Latin America in general?

  25. Oh, never mind. The Onion’s cover said “Best”, thus the joke. I need more coffee.

  26. Further, it is no defense of Castro to cite to our support of Guatemalan and Salvadoran butchers, nor does it help Castro that China has a problem with human rights. These are all criticisms of our failed policies, not apologies for Castro.

    When you reflexively cite the human rights records of countries halfway around the world at the mention of Castro’s sins, it’s hard to read it any other way than a defense of Castro.

  27. Josh and Rafuzo: It’s not about how bad other people are, it’s about how America treats bad actors, and how we screw ourselves by letting personal grudges guide our policy. That’s the second time I’ve stated this. Are you folks illiterate?

  28. Mike, it’s not about how bad China is, the issue is how America deals with bad actors.

    Which neatly illustrates the principal Article of Faith for most of the modern American political Left, including many left-leaning libertarians: No matter how bad a brutal, repressive, totalitarian dicatorship may be, the US government is always worse.

  29. 1. It is naive to assume that every person at Guantanamo is somehow involved in terrorism or conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism. There is considerable evidence that many detainees are completely innocent. The Pentagon, wanting to get information from anyone who may be anywhere near the battle, has been slow to release innocent people in order to interrogate them, using torture at times, about anything they may have seen. As such, there are individuals being held for situation near those who commit crimes.

    2. Note that I said that pro-Castro activists believe that these facts should be cited. I am of the opinion that they are equally as much a part of Cuban life as various human rights violations. Also note that the literacy and health statistics are relevant in the context of the potential benefits of trade and aid. A country such as Cuba that has a better health and educational system than the vast majority of developing countries is one that may stand capable of doing quite well in the absence of the U.S. embargo. I don’t see why anti-Castro militants find it necessary to attack anyone who points out a few facts suggesting that Cuba actually doesn’t do too badly for a developing country.

  30. Captain Holly,

    The argument is not that the U.S. is always worse, but rather that the U.S. has little moral authority to lecture the world. The U.S. is clearly better on most matters than the overwhelming majority of countries, but it does poorly enough that it can be seen as hypocritical for the U.S. to describe itself as the world’s indispensible nation.

  31. Hey, I’m with Bubba here — not a cigar smoker, but I’m eager to see Cuba out from under the thumb of its horrific dictatorship. I do think that that dictatorship has been largely a matter of a cult of personality surrounding the caudillo Castro, and I cheer for his arrival in some specially-prepared circle of Hell.

    And of course the embargo of Cuba is an embarrassing failure of a policy – if anything, it’s propped Castro up, since he’s always been able to point at those evil Yanquis as the cause of all of the suffering in his country.

    joe’s popped up before as a Castro apologist (most recently in the discussion of the Forbes listing), so I don’t think that the label’s misplaced.

    As for the media coverage, I’ve been nothing short of apalled at how fawning the headlines and stories have been, particularly from the predictable idiots at the NY Times, the Washington Post and Reuters.

    Thinking I may mix up a batch of cuba libres when I get home tonight…

  32. Postmodern Roommate still insists that Cuba has better AIDS treatment than we do, and prays to Che Guevara as a saint (no, I’m not making this up).

    Why, again, can’t I find countercultural libertarians to hang out with? What the fuck is with being a bohemian individualist and apologizing for dictators?

  33. Hey, I’m with Bubba here — not a cigar smoker, but I’m eager to see Cuba out from under the thumb of its horrific dictatorship, so that it may assume its rightful place as the “jewel of the Carribbean,” as Don Coyote termed it.

    I do think that that dictatorship has been largely a matter of a cult of personality surrounding the caudillo Castro, and I cheer for his arrival in some specially-prepared circle of Hell.

    And of course the embargo of Cuba is an embarrassing failure of a policy – if anything, it’s propped Castro up, since he’s always been able to point at those evil Yanquis as the cause of all of the suffering in his country.

    joe’s popped up before as a Castro apologist (most recently in the discussion of the Forbes listing), so I don’t think that the label’s misplaced.

    As for the media coverage, I’ve been nothing short of apalled at how fawning the headlines and stories have been, particularly from the predictable idiots at the NY Times, the Washington Post and Reuters.

    Thinking I may mix up a batch of cuba libres when I get home tonight…

  34. …the issue is how America deals with bad actors…

    I dunno – he was good in the Untouchables

  35. highnumber,

    I just about spit on my computer screen! Well done.

  36. I think the problem has been that Castro was demonized in the 60s, because he really did represent a threat. Now, post cold war, he is no threat.
    Why do we continue the embargo? What purpose does it serve?
    We do trade with more despicable types around the world. It would make so much sense to allow US citizens to trade with whom they choose.
    This embargo is a relic. Let us live in the present.

  37. Cant say I see any “apologists” for tyrants in the above.
    I remember poll watching in the back of beyond, El Salvador, around 91. Like i noticed in “free” S.VN, the common folks were friggin terrified of the Army & police.
    Spent three weeks in Cuba, in, I dunno, 93 or so. Folks spoke thier mind there, gettin pretty hot under the collar.
    Wernt scared of the cops or Army. Spoke thier minds, cops around or not. They noted they could talk, say anything- just not organize. Off you go- not to the dump with a bullet in your head, like the Central American Democracies we heard so much about in the 80’s, but off to the slammer. In our Latin American satrapies, they couldnt even whisper. So- what country is gonna be at the top of my personal scumbag list?
    And they KNEW (the Cubans I talked to) the US dont mean them any good. The US didnt want to turn them into another Florida, but another Honduras. Theyd rather fight.
    As per usual, important US policies are driven by crackpot constituencies. US/Cuban relations is but one more example. As per usual (even here, evidently) failure to quack the Party Line means you support some equivalent of Saddams rape rooms. Is EVERYBODY friggin retarded, or what?

  38. Cuba is not free, Cuba is not well off, we haven’t handled Cuba very well, and Castro sucks. Gimme a mojito and leave me the heck alone.

  39. I think the problem has been that Castro was demonized in the 60s, because he really did represent a threat. Now, post cold war, he is no threat.

    Unless you happen to live in Cuba, of course.

  40. GSgt. Hartman,
    You left off the money quote:
    And by the time you leave my island, you will all be able to do the same thing.

  41. So, Lamar, is your main point that the trade embargo of Cuba is bad policy?

    If it is, I agree. Trade embargoes seem to hurt the enslaved citizens of dictatorships more than the dictators. In fact, the isolation seems to prop up their dictators.

    Not to mention that free trade tends to promote peaceful relations. With a huge caveat about corporations that are in league with oppressive governments.

  42. Anybody besides me suspect that if Castro does get better, Raoul’s not about to give up as boss?

  43. Mistah Castro–he dead.

  44. Andy Garcia also produced/directed the concert documentary Cachao about legendary Cuba musician and expatriate Israel ‘Cachao’ Lopez.

    Like the musicians from Buena Vista Social Club, they only are appreciated once they are exposed to a Western audience. Everyone is too dirt poor in their “workers paradise” to afford the luxury of supporting the arts. But of course Castro never hurt anybody, no.

  45. Cuba is by all accounts a beautiful place full of interesting people and a wonderful culture that has been turned into a latino communist shithole. It is a horrible tragedy. I am just really sorry that Castro is meeting his appointment in hell via natural means and not at the end of a rope. Perhaps the embargo was a terrible policy. It certianly didn’t help but I am not so sure that trading with Castro wouldn’t have just given him more money and made him a continued threat after the Soviets cut off the money. It is one thing to be against the embargo. It is another to defend that rat bastard. The way the American and European left and entertainment figures kiss his ass is just disgraceful.

  46. Well Hmmmm, there may be some “innocent” people held in GITMO, but not too many librarians. Probably none, I am willing to take a stab here. The embargo, or blockade as the bearded one prefers to call it, was begun by Democrats, who also tried to kill him (the Dem’s “dear one” Bobby) on several occassions. And, I might add, long before the Cubans in Florida had any votes, much less the power they now wield. It was an atempt, like the embargo of South Africa, to free an oppressed people. It is a “failed” tactic if looked at from historic perpective, sure. But now, it is purely an emotional thing. Fidel will die before the embargo is lifted. At this juncture it will be a bitter pill for him to swallow as he lays dying.

    Maybe that is poor foreign policy, but so what? Cuba has little other than nice beaches, great cigars, and a sex industry to trade. Opening Cuba would not be the equivalent to opening China. China had nukes. That was pure geopolitical maneuvering by Kissinger to give the Ruskies something more to worry about.

    Oh, and three points about literacy and health care. First, it was actually pretty good even before FC. Really. You can look it up. Many free clinics both in the cities and in the countryside pre-1959. And it was getting better as time went by. Second, the statistics are mostly from Cuban sources, so a little skepticism might be called for. Finally, what a price to pay for having only Granma to read, and sit through 7 hour speeches. I guess that’s why thousands get on friggin’ inner tubes for pete’s sake, to come to work in WalMart, where they don’t get health insurance at all!

  47. Why does “end the embargo” seem to equal “I ? Fidel Castro” to so many people?

  48. Highnumber, because to many, it does mean that. I am was born in Cuba. I always thought it was bad foreign policy. I think I said that before. But now, it is pure emotion. And by the way, the mid-western politicians speaking out against the embargo are not doing it out of humanitarian concerns. It is political. They want their farmers to sell wheat and corn to Cuba, on credit. So it just gets kind of confusing, and people don’t really know who is motivated by what.

  49. Could there be a more blatant impingement on freedom? And the US takes away this freedom because Cuba isn’t free? What kind of message does that send to the troops?

    Lamar, every country in the world does this. Does it make it right? No it doesn’t. A country (or its leaders) should always attempt to see past personal grudges when forming a foreign policy. And now, returning to reality.

    I’m not sure if it’s because foreign cultures and countries are…foreign and exotic and as such we can only see our own foreign policy for what it is, but see the policy of a foreign nation as an exotic animal, not to be touched or criticized, but to be left ‘as is’. If you think that Cubas foreign policy isn’t completely run by grudges and emotions, you’d be flat wrong. It’s only because Cuba has neither the clout or the economy to act on its urges.

    I was against the embargo when it wasn’t cool to be against the embargo, mainly becaues it would allow Cuba to act on its emotional urges and subsequently implode. On this, you and I probably agree. But criticizing Any Garcia because he hasn’t mentioned the larger policy implications is making a mountain out of a molehill. Any Garcia, unlike 98% of the other dimwitted actors in hollywood has an actual, first hand understanding of a repressive regime- unlike the “hey, they’ve got universal healthcare” reactionaries that make up the bulk of the Hollywood elite.

    Does that make Garcia right about everything that comes out of his mouth? No, but he makes far more sense than [insert favorite actor here]’s inane ramblings about Che or whatever social-revolutionary-cum-murderer they so often apologize for.

  50. Lamar, correction to previous. I quoted the wrong segment, this is the section I ment to quote:

    Josh and Rafuzo: It’s not about how bad other people are, it’s about how America treats bad actors, and how we screw ourselves by letting personal grudges guide our policy.

  51. Why no crusades against tyrannies WITHOUT “universal health care”? Why no crusades against tyrannies WITHOUT public education? Thats what I dont get.
    Cuba gets compared to, say, Florida. Comes off bad by any standard. (Florida comes off good only when compared to Cuba) But Cuba DOSNT get compared with duly approved “free market” “democratic” utopias like, oh, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, or Bylorussia.
    Why IS that?
    Could it be because the people makin the comparisons are….hacks? Just wondering.

  52. I would hope that we could all agree with my sincere hope that Castro is suffering a tremendously painful and horrible death as we speak and that when his horrible rotten wasted life ends we can all give a fervent prayer that there is in fact a hell and that Castro has taken his rightful place in it.

  53. Muttt,

    They don’t have to shoot people who try to leave Guatamala to keep the population from fleeing. Compare Cuba to any country you like short of North Korea or maybe Burma and it comes off as the communist shithole of an island that it is. I will steal a line from John Derbyshire, “whereever there is a boot on face i the world, there is a Western liberal there to explain how the face has universal health care and education.”

  54. Florida only comes off good when compared to Cuba? Huh?

  55. MUTT-I don’t think anyone here likes dictators of any stripe. You ask why we’re not inveighing against those other dictators. My answer is that right now, we’re talking about Cuba and Fidel. That was the topic of the fing thread. We’ll bitch about those other baddies when the subject comes up.

    You won’t be here for that, though. Trolls rarely stick around for long.

  56. The real question in my mind is whether MUTT is as bad as Kim Jong Il. Anyone have an opinion on that one?

    Just askin’…

  57. well, i dunno. ive been reading a lot of comments here, over the past month. Not long, to be sure. But it seems to my eyes tyrants are conveniently those regimes the US dosnt own. This becomes more apparent when it gets into places I actually know something about, like, say, the US & Central America, or the US & VN.
    My question stands. Castro is an easy, approved target.
    Guatemala & the rest are off your screens….think about it, free thinkers. Why is that?
    Cubas harsh response to people fleeing is a direct response to US pressure to limit people trying. You want another Mariel, Havana will provide it Im sure.
    Whats really wierd, is these questions translate immediatly into support for the Cuban state.
    Its an observation of fact. Period. You hate Cuba because youve been trained to. The reality is, there are places far more ugly and repressive, by orders of magnitude, financed daily by your extorted tax dollars, past & present.
    And you are indeed correct re: Fla/Cuba comparisons, Huh…..Fla comes off a lot worse on some kinda basic-since the Roman days standards of health, sanitation, etc. Thats just the way it is. Dosnt make me a commie (!) or a troll…..or is that shorthand for someone who dosnt quack the party line?
    Im new here, just figurin it out……

  58. Well. I have loads of friends who have been to Cuba (I live in Tampa), and they to a person have not come back saying that Cuba was in any way better than here. If you choose to believe that everything you hear here–in a mostly free society–is lying propaganda and that everything you hear from the Cuban government is true, then I think a rational discussion is difficult, if not impossible.

    Cuba has demonstrated a high level of oppression for quite a long time. Ignoring that fact when discussing Cuba is disingenuous at best. Castro may not be Stalin or Pol Pot, but that doesn’t make him a good guy nor does it make Cuba a happy place.

    For the record, I’ve opposed the embargo for years. It’s not doing any good, and we’re likely going to be the ones who pick up the pieces, anyhow.

  59. I’m all for overthrowing Castro, but I think the best way to do that is to send C-17s criss-crossing over the island air-dropping consumer goods. Completely open the floodgates for travel to Cuba, sending money to Cuba, exporting anything but SAMs to Cuba. Maybe allow imports, maybe not – I’m inclined to think that American freedom will be infectious enough to overcome any propping up of Cuba that there might be from buying Cuban goods, but I’m OK either way. Mostly, though, just drown the sonnofabitch in consumer goods.

  60. They don’t have to shoot people who try to leave Guatamala to keep the population from fleeing.
    John, do you have any idea what goes in Guatemala? Hint: it involves raping, mutilating, cutting out tongues, and fire-bombing entire villages–and that’s just the government. Guatemala is so repressive that nobody dares leave. No embargo there. Mutt actually has a valid, albeit poorly spelled, point. Check out Massacre at El Mozote, for instance. In the end, I expect Garcia to have these feelings. And I expect the US Government to deal sternly with Cuba. But to hold our foreign policy hostage to such personal animosity is against reason.

  61. There is nothing contradictory in thinking that the embargo has been a bad idea, while also concluding that every Hollywood twit, like Stone and Spielberg, or some other type of American celebrity-scum, who has travelled to Havana over the past thirty years or so to kiss the ass of Castro, is an irredeemable gaping orifice from the same anatomical region.

  62. John, do you have any idea what goes in Guatemala? Hint: it involves raping, mutilating, cutting out tongues, and fire-bombing entire villages–and that’s just the government. Guatemala is so repressive that nobody dares leave. No embargo there. Mutt actually has a valid, albeit poorly spelled, point.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, nice shootin’, Tex, but we’re getting way off track. MUTT doesn’t have a good point, because we’re not talking about Guatemala. If the Reason OP’s want to start a thread about Guatemala, I’ll be the first to give it a requsite verbal buggering. Why is it that any time someone puts the words ‘Cuba’ and ‘bad’ in the same sentence, the subject has to be changed about how some guy in some other place might have done something else bad, too, so we shouldn’t be focussing on Cuber?

    Hell, if we want to get all off-topic and everything, let’s just do it. I think most real libertarians would love to rag on the following (no particular order)

    The United States (where most Libertarians love our country, but increasingly despise our government)
    China
    North Korea
    Haiti
    Guatemala
    Chile
    D.R.
    Hell, everything south of Mexico.
    Mexico
    Canada (the country everyone likes to make fun of)
    Europe
    France (special consideration over Europe)
    Germany (both pre and post-war)
    Former Soviet Republics
    Russia
    The Middle East.
    Countries with Islamic Law (oh hell, I’ll just say it, countries which are predominantly Muslim)

    and the list goes on. Cuba is merely the topic of the minute.

  63. When Castro goes, there will be a revolution in favor of the one person all sides like: Elian Gonzalez

  64. RAC, The best statistics come from the last census conducted in the 1950s before the end of the Batista regime. The literacy rate was 70 per cent (but much higher in rural areas), which isn’t bad for a such a poor country, but nowhere near the rates of today.

    Pro Libertate, I know very few people who say that a country such as Cuba is or could possibly realise the standard of living of the U.S. The fact that they do as well or better than the U.S. by a few measures of education and healthcare indicates not that it’s better than the U.S., but rather that it does extremely well for a poor country.

    Does anyone have any statistics on Cuban emigration to countries other than the United States? Emigration to a country as rich and close as the U.S. is not surprising. Emigration to a country as dysfunctional as Haiti, however, would be.

    I am of the opinion that while Fidel needs to be condemned for censorship, the several hundred political prisoners, etc., we shouldn’t forget that his regime was replacing one that was extremely brutal.

  65. …the mid-western politicians speaking out against the embargo are not doing it out of humanitarian concerns. It is political. They want their farmers to sell wheat and corn to Cuba…

    rac,

    That sounds more economic than political to me.
    I understand that for Cuban exiles and Cuban-Americans this is of course a sensitive issue, but as you yourself said, the embargo has been bad foreign policy.
    There is no reason to maintain it other than as a grudge.
    It is foolish for a nation to bear grudges.

  66. So don’t expect a whole lot from Cuba after the embargo is lifted. They have nothing to export, and they blame the embargo for not being able to import, even though most countries do not abide by the US embargo.

    But that’s the point, Gene. Those of us who have long wanted the embargo to be lifted want it so because then Cuba would have no demon to blame for its failing. As such, the economy and government would collapse under pressure from its own people. I sincerely believe that the U.S. has merely extended Castro’s rule by giving him a target of his so-called revolutionary thinking.

    In regards to the economic failures of communism, to paraphrase O’Rourke: Can’t get a decent cigar in Cuba, can’t get good vodka in Russia… that about wraps it up for communism.

  67. Probably can’t get any decent sweet-and-sour in China, either. Damn commies.

  68. … we shouldn’t forget that his regime was replacing one that was extremely brutal.

    OK, let’s say for the sake of argument his need to repress supporters of the old, brutal regime gave Castro a free pass to lock up a bunch of political prisoners until he consolidated control. What’s his excuse for still running his own brutal regime decades later? What excuse ever justifies censorship?

  69. the following reminds me of something I remember reading once, a pov of a group of immediate post Soviet era citizens of Russia, who made it to the US, & had time to observe & consider. In a nutshell, they said while they never believed Soviet propaganda, (the US practiced racial segregation, & turned dogs on people wanting to vote? Never!!) they were quite taken aback to see how much US citizens believe US propaganda. The (dispised here, I imagine) Chomsky sorta lays out the whys & wherefores of this. The Kommissars didnt give a crap about what you thought. You acted wrong, they kicked in your door, & that was that. Here, perception management is far more important. Vast amounts of effort are devoted into molding what you think, because (this was pre Hysterical Patriot Act) the State couldnt kick your door in & drag you off.
    Its very logical when you think about it.
    And, no, life in Cuber isnt better than it is in 99% of the US. Ive been trying to point out its better than vast swathes of the Central Americvan “Democracies” .
    You know, our “allies in the region”. My time in Cuba was spent with potheads, hotrodders, naer-do-wells, & low level nieghborhood responsables. And Fidel, @ 2am, I was drunk, but upright. Couldnt get a word in edgewise. Old boy told some pretty good war stories, tho.
    Any spelling errors are deliberate and soley for the pleasure
    of pettifoggers……

    “Well. I have loads of friends who have been to Cuba (I live in Tampa), and they to a person have not come back saying that Cuba was in any way better than here. If you choose to believe that everything you hear here–in a mostly free society–is lying propaganda and that everything you hear from the Cuban government is true, then I think a rational discussion is difficult, if not impossible. “

  70. “What’s his excuse for still running his own brutal regime decades later? What excuse ever justifies censorship”

    They don’t. That’s why Fidel deserves severe condemnation in this regard. I was merely pointing out that when we look at how things have changed in Cuba, we have to recognise that the U.S. was supporting an even more brutal regime and then became infinitely more hostile to the Castro regime.

  71. they were quite taken aback to see how much US citizens believe US propaganda. The (dispised here, I imagine) Chomsky sorta lays out the whys & wherefores of this.

    Ahh, yes, Chomsky being ‘hip’ to how we’re all controlled. The illusion of choice, the lie that is freedom.

    Personally, I din’t know many people who believe U.S. Propaganda– and even then U.S. Propaganda falls into many nuanced catagories and subcategories. For instance, there is a fair amount of propaganda which can and does come from a particular presidential administration- but may be very different from, or not dovetail with general ‘government’ propaganda. For instance, I find journalists in this country to be very skeptical of a given administration, but look very favorably on government as an institution- and repeat without question that propaganda from government which transcends administration. The MSM tends to be anti-establishment- but not particularly anti-authoritarian.

    In places like (old) Soviet Russia you had one government, one administration, one message- very different from what we have in this country. propaganda is everywhere in this country, but much of it opposes itself, is coming from different institutions which are often at odds with eachother- and there’s a lot of bottom up propaganda coming from people like… Noam Chomsky… one of the greatest independednt churners of the propaganda of modern times.

  72. Paul,
    You have a point that we tend to get off-track, but in addition to Cuba, and even more so, we are talking about the United States’ treatment of Cuba. In that context, it is valid to highlight what can reasonably be perceived as hypocrisy in our policy. In my case, I highlight the excesses of Guatemala and El Salvador to show that our policy is not one based on the stated reasons of human rights abuses. We don’t give a rat’s ass about human rights abuses, because if we did, we would have a lot more embargos. My whole point was that the understandable passion and anger of the Cuban community has translated into an indefensible national policy, a policy that has hurt businesses, taken away our freedom to travel, and failed in its stated goal of removing Castro. The subject is not Guatemala or El Salvador. These two countries are merely counterexamples to the passionate but uninformed Cubans such as Andy Garcia.

  73. Regardless of anything else you might thihnk about this, remember: Who was the 1st to conquer space? It’s incontrovertible!

  74. Lamar, are you sure you even know what Andy Garcia thinks about the embargo? The interview with Andy Garcia that Gillespie linked to doesn’t mention the embargo, and a Google search reveals lots of interviews where Garcia never spells out exactly what he thinks of the embargo. Just rhetoric like (paraphrasing) “Castro doesn’t want the embargo lifted”, and, “I favor lifting both embargoes: the U.S. embargo and Castro’s embargo on human rights.”

  75. “Conquer Space…”

    The Klingons?

  76. soooo… the US Gvt dosnt run “perception management” campaigns, because Chomsky wrote about it?
    Thats odd. Feith’s “Office of Public Diplomacy” & Elliot Abrahms similar office, back when, – CALLED them perception management campaigns.
    All sorts of people can offer insights. Karl friggin Marx offered insights.
    Thats the thing about free thinkers….they arent self limiting when it comes to seeking insight.

  77. Heres an insight for ya. Fred Engels wrote (in Hun, Im paraphrasing) “If you wish to understand the brutality (?) of bushwah culture, dont look for it in the Mother Country, but in the Colonies , where it strides forth naked”
    Thats the thing, when you leave the US, & hang w/ the peasants. You see Uncle Sam, naked.
    Ugly, scabrous bastard.
    You want Fidel to die in agony? Id like to see every US prez since the Founders pretty much do the same. All depends on where youve been, maybe, or if you got any human empathy.
    Its a flag, gang, not a blindfold.

  78. “In that context, it is valid to highlight what can reasonably be perceived as hypocrisy in our policy.”- Lamar

    That is a terribly lame criticism of US foreign policy. Of course you can point out perceived hypocrisies in foreign policy, since our policy with most countries is based on pragmatic concerns. We do not have the resources in physical material or politcal capital to pursue idealistic goals with every nation that we could. You have to pick and choose your battles. Our policies against Castro’s Cuba started because that regime was a legitimate strategic threat in that moment, and there were limited ways to deal with that threat short of potentially provoking a global war. The policy continues because there has been little reason to change it, unlike say, China, as well as it is seen as an affront to have such a foul little tyranny right on our doorstep. And while I agree that embargoes have historically been a poor vehicle for changing the nature of governments in other countries, opening trade has not been a spectacular success either(see China again).

    Foriegn policy is mostly driven by pragmatic nods to strategic interests, and only by idealism when it can be afforded. Diplomacy is by nature a dirty, rotten, smelly set of affairs, so complaining about “hypocrisy” towards your pet dictator in an effort change US policy towards him is a fool’s errand.

  79. Cool – Castro apologists.

    this made me spill my drink…

    almost as funny as finding out castro’s brother would have held meetings with the US on the Moon

  80. But, come on man, pick your battles more intelligently! You’re practically begging for the worst stereotypes to be applied.

    wha?!?!

    come on even me, joe basher extrodinair, can reason through joe’s argument and not think that he is a castro lover.

    I was fully prepared to by the way…but this time around i can pretty much agree with him. castro was a dick but probably not in the top 3 for the last 43 years.

  81. Pro-Castro activists want every report about Cuba to repeatedly remind us that life expectancy in Cuba is only a few months behind that in the U.S., that Cuba’s literacy and infant mortality rates put those of the U.S. to shame.

    i wonder if like the political prisoner numbers you elude to that the life expectancey numbers exlude poeple who are executed for disagreeing with the govenrment

  82. “Conquer Space…”
    The Klingons?

    No, Castro Convertible.

  83. What amazes me are the left-wing Cuban expatriates (like Gloria Estefan) who despise Castro, yet favor measures on the American homefront (e.g. draconian gun control) that would in effect turn the U.S. of good ol’ A. into another Cuba.

  84. Thank you, joshua. An intelligent opposition is so much more worthwhile than, say, John or Clean Hands.

    There is so much legitimate criticism of Casto, it’s a shame the way it gets drowned out by the hysterical identity politcs of the exile crowd.

    Framing a guilty man is a bad idea, because he’s liable to walk. See “Simpson, O.J.”

  85. What’s that about Castro’s brother and the moon?

  86. That’s Raoul, not rowooo!

  87. MJ: If one only shows how US policy is hypocritical, then yes, that would be a lame criticism. Of course, you conveniently forget that Cuba is no longer a threat of any kind, that Cuba represented at least a couple of billion bucks worth of investment potential, that the embargo spits in the face of the idea that Americans are free to do as they desire, and that isolation has utterly failed as a tool of coercion. Add to these things the fact that the “human rights” justification is demonstrably a sheen, then what you have is a real case against the embargo, not just a lame criticism.

  88. Heres an insight for ya. Fred Engels wrote (in Hun, Im paraphrasing) “If you wish to understand the brutality (?) of bushwah culture, dont look for it in the Mother Country, but in the Colonies , where it strides forth naked”
    Thats the thing, when you leave the US, & hang w/ the peasants. You see Uncle Sam, naked.
    Ugly, scabrous bastard.

    Confessions of a hit and run libertarian:

    I use to think Joe was a far left nut job…and then I met MUTT

  89. What’s that about Castro’s brother and the moon?

    from this article:

    http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/07/31/D8J7CLM80.html

    Yet Raul made occasional conciliatory moves toward the United States. In 1964, he said he was willing to hold talks with the Americans “even on the moon.”

  90. Lamar, the idea that Cuba is a potentially good investment under the Castro regime is dubious at best. The Cuban economy is in shambles because of the regime’s adherence to a discredited economic theory, as long as Cuban economic policy is tied to that theory, there will be little money to make off of the dirt poor general Cuban population.

    I did not say that Cuba was a current threat to the US. I beleive that US policy towards Cuba is largely running on inertia because there has been little compelling strategic reason to alter it. I also don’t believe embargoes (particularly unilateral ones) are practically effective tools of statecraft.

    “Add to these things the fact that the “human rights” justification is demonstrably a sheen,…”

    If you honestly beleive that Castro has not been a been seriously abusing human rights, then you do not live in reality, and despite your protests to the contrary, you are a useful idiot for Castro.

  91. MJ: Dubious at best? There are over 40 4- and 5-Star resorts in Cuba, run by people other than Americans, making money for investors other than Americans. That’s not dubious, that’s capitalism. Your petty analysis is just plain silly. Instead of looking at the reality on the ground, you rely on your misconception of what “shambles” mean to foreign investors. Then you show your true colors by citing to the ideology of a “discredited” economic system. How about actual investors making actual money?

    Most annoying is your continued insistence on equating criticism in US policy with blindness or support for Castro’s human rights abuses. The human rights issue is an afterbirth used to justify a failed policy. I challenge you to show me where I said I didn’t believe Castro’s regime is responsible for such abuses. You can’t find it, because you made that argument up so that you could refute something. If you want to argue, fine. But if you address my handle, why not address my arguments as well? OH! That’s right, you did: “I also don’t believe embargoes (particularly unilateral ones) are practically effective tools of statecraft”. Good to see we agree. Why not practice what we preach?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.