Castro Dead. What About Cuba?

Cuba’s 47-year nightmare is about to end with the death of the last of Latin America’s old time dictators. In the long run it is hard to see how the demise of the old caudillo can be anything but good news, but the short term will be rough. The U.S. has a plan but no doubt so do regional nuisances such as Hugo Chavez.

All day I have been whistling that song from the "Wizard of Oz". You, know, "ding-dong the witch is dead". Whether Castro sups with the devil tonight or not, his reign is clearly through. An eighty-year-old guy who probably pees in his pants and cannot remember what he talked about yesterday is already knocking on hell's door. How will he come back? His brother Raul has taken power.

Raul is known as the ruthless enforcer. He is the one who killed many of the regime's opponents. He lacks his brother's charisma, but may be a little more practical. He evidently advocated such radical capitalistic steps as allowing small farmers to sell produce at farmers' markets during the hard times when the regime lost its Soviet sugar daddy. But after Hugo Chavez stepped in with subsidies to take the place of the Soviets Fidel was able to kill (sometimes literally) the farmers' markets and roll back other reforms. One possible hope is that Raul will try to go the Chinese route when big brother is out of the picture. Ironic that the best case scenario would make Cuba only just a little more oppressive than China.

Beyond the geriatric Castro brothers, there is no heir apparent. The Castro boys killed, exiled or imprisoned any bright young man or woman with ambitions so Raul is what they get.

We have to remember that Cuba is not a democracy and not even as open a system as the latter day Soviet Union. The strength of a democracy is that it produces lots of leader and independent thinkers. Fidel's did not go for this sort of idea. He executed even ideological allies if he suspected them of disloyalty and his paranoia made him suspect everyone except his brother. (Those who know say "Fidel only praises the dead," many of whom he made that way.) That means Cuba has nobody accustomed to making decisions without asking Fidel first. Anyone with power derives it from a relationship with Fidel. When he is gone, so is that connection. The Cuban communist system will collapse, soon after he shuffles off this mortal coil. We need to be ready.

Cuba is a mess. Fidel really believed the Marxist-Leninist crap he was peddling. He opposed individualism, private enterprise, investments or any of the ordinary freedoms we take for granted. Cuba was more of a closed society than most E. European communist regimes under communism. We will find Cuba more like Albania than Poland or the Czech Republic. It is a long road ahead.

In 1959, Cuba was one of the most developed countries of Latin America. Now it is among the most backward. Most of the rest of Latin America shook off its dictators in the 1980s, but the Cuban socialist showboat managed to stay afloat, even listed a bit to the left. It will not be enough to get rid of Fidel and replace Havana's 1950s vintage automobile fleet. The world will be surprised at the abysmal poverty and corruption when people are free to visit and take pictures all over the island.

The added complication will be Cuban Americans. More than 10% of the Cuban population left the country soon after Fidel se up his socialist paradise on the Pearl of the Antilles. Others followed as soon as they learned to sail small boats or float in inner tubes. Most went to Florida. They were Cuba's best and brightest. Fidel kept their property, but their skills and intelligence were their real wealth. They took their human capital with them. In the U.S., where such things are valued, they were soon successful. They and their children are still interested in their country of origin. Some want to return. Expatriate skills and money will jump start Cuban development. A similar thing happened in Poland. The difference is that Cuban-American numbers are larger in comparison to the population of Cuba. Cubans in Cuba will probably come to resent these guys. There is a real possibility of a divided society, not only divided between haves and have nots, but also between skilled and skilled not.

Think of it like your rich and smart cousin who goes away to school at some nice place, while you stay at home and endure years of hardship. Then he comes back to tell you what to do. The worst part is that he is usually right.

So after Fidel has gone where the goblins go, below, below, below, expect a messy transition, but ultimately a successful one, this time w/o Myer Lansky (who it turns out was a less successful gangster than Fidel).

Posted by Jack at August 1, 2006 5:35 PM
Comment #172645

I am not so sure that Castro’s demise, which may or may not be at hand, will be the end of current government. There is his brother, and he must have other cronies.

If you think about it, Cuba may have one of the most stable governments in Latin America.

This situation reminds of when Arafat died. Some were predicting that peace was on the way in the Middle East.

Posted by: Woody Mena at August 1, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #172651


Remember the lyrics at the end of The Talking Heads song “Once in a Lifetime”?

“Same as it ever was”…
“Same as it ever was”….
“Same as it ever was”…..
“Same as it ever was”……
“Same as it ever was”…….

Posted by: JR at August 1, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #172689

Don’t we have enough problems without adding more?
Personally,I believe that the US has itself so involed in everyone one else’s pie, it’s no wonder our own county is getting buried in the mudpie, and being over-looked.

Yes, I undestand the problems associated with Cuba, I remember all to well the Bay of Pigs, and the Missle Crisis.

However if we leave the Cubans alone, maybe they’ll be able to figure out things for themselves - our forefathers managed to do it years ago with no help from a big nation government, until the Revolution started, and the French helped.

Iraq never got the chance to grow up and mature, because the US decided IT wanted to push them along, and now they are totally lost and confused.

I say leave Cuba to the Cubans and unless they start sometime to actually threaten us, we should simply leave them alone!

Posted by: Linda H. at August 1, 2006 9:52 PM
Comment #172691

My Name Is Roger:





Posted by: ROGER at August 1, 2006 9:59 PM
Comment #172696

My Name Is Roger:


Our forefathers did have help, in fact one of the first thing they did was ask for HIS help.

His name was { G O D }


Posted by: ROGER at August 1, 2006 10:07 PM
Comment #172697


Nobody suggests doing anything “against” Cuba. The articles I linked suggests that when Castro dies there may be lots of refugees washing up on our shores. It is only 90 miles away. What happens there will effect us. We need to be ready for it.

I have to admit that I will celebrate when Castro dies. His rule has been terrible for the Cuban people and he has been trouble for us. But I am not sure.

If you read the second link, you see the author thinks Castro is just a broken down has been. Cuba is an embarassment to leftists, since so many people risk thier lives to try to get out. She contends that new age leftists, such as Chavez will be happy to see the old man die. If he is happy, I have to question whether or not I should be. Have they considered something I have not? Sorry rambling.

Posted by: Jack at August 1, 2006 10:17 PM
Comment #172700

Jack -

I’m not sure it’s quite that black and white. While Castro is probably not the best thing that could have happened to Cuba - our 50 year blockade didn’t help either. Remember - our issue with Castro wasn’t his ideology as much as it his preventing us from making a profit off Cuban resources. A more insightful leader probably could have found a better solution for his people - but I can’t blame him for wanting to take his country on course that was not under the control of the US.

Additionally, I think it’s a little unfair to paint Cuba as an intellectual wasteland. They still have one of the most robust, if not advanced, health care systems in the world. Their infant mortality rate and life expectancy far out does other countries in the region and isn’t far behind the US. The also have a thriving arts and music culture.

Could things be better - clearly. Cuba’s record on human rights is quite awful. But just like in Iraq, our insistence on isolation has only served to strengthen Castro’s control over the country.

When Castro is gone, I think it will be a happy day for US business, but ultimately little else. Looking around the rest of Latin America - our track record speaks for itself.

Posted by: justin at August 1, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #172719

Castro’s death is good news for the Cuban exiles in this country and every other county. What it means exactly remains to be seen.
We can hope that the Cubans demand democracy but I don’t think we should try to establish it for them. But if they ask for our help I see nothing wrong with it. As long as they’re the ones initiating the process.
Of course there’s the chance that the next leader will be worse than Castro. But that would take some doing.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 2, 2006 12:08 AM
Comment #172730

Jack, I’ll be doing a little dance myself when Castro kicks the bucket. I was good friends with a woman whose husband was murdered by his secret police.

But we may not have to wait that long for rapprochement with Cuba. A Spanish oil company just discovered a large field of oil and natural gas off Cuba’s coast.

Republicans immediately introduced a bill to end the embargo against Cuba.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 2, 2006 2:34 AM
Comment #172754

When Castro dies, who will fill the vacuum for the adoring masses of limosine liberals? Chavez, I suppose. Cindy Sheehan (the presidential stalker) has already been seen playing tonsil hockey with him. And what an UGLY picture that was.

Posted by: nikkolai at August 2, 2006 8:39 AM
Comment #172773

Talk about the rudeness of Palestinians and other Arabic peoples dancing in the streets during 9/11…did you catch sight of all the Cubans dancing in the streets of Miami? And the man isn’t even dead yet! And let’s face it, probably half or more of these dancing Cubans have never been any closer to Cuba than Miami…they have grown up listening to their parents, grandparents, but have never had any firsthand knowledge of life in Miami.

Contrast that with Palestinians and others who maintain their hate of their own aggressors…no difference…parents and grandparents have passed on hate in both cases.

Should Fidel die, I could fully see all these Miamians rushing back to Cuba…and these people who fled Cuba in the late 60s were NOT the poor…they were the rich…they will go back and with their bundles of $$$ tear down the society that has been built up by the people (mostly poor) who remained in Cuba, making the residents even poorer by their presence…then there will be a people’s revolution, because the current Cuban residents will rightfully resent the rich coming back to take over once again (the whole reason Fulgencio Batista was overthrown and Fidel Castro took over!!)…

What will the U.S. do with armed rebellion so close to its shores??? I hope Castro can at least last until 2009!

Posted by: Lynne at August 2, 2006 10:11 AM
Comment #172774

Justin, It just sickens me when people like you still want to defend this murdering dictating thug simply because of the health care question. How do you think this data got out of Cuba. How independent do you think the health care assessment is. This is a man that routinely kills opponents that are suspected of disloyalty. Do you think he would allow you to see statistics that do not reflect what he wants you to see. Your premise is just laughable, the most advanced health care system? from where did they get it from? Infant mortality rate? how is the census taken and who is taking it? Jimmy Carter? This would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.

Posted by: frankxcid at August 2, 2006 10:13 AM
Comment #172776


The articles I linked suggests that when Castro dies there may be lots of refugees washing up on our shores.

The opposite will be true…the rich Miami Cubans will be returning to Cuba, causing strife and a people’s revolution…

I went to college with a bunch of fairly new Cuban refugees in the late 60s…believe me, they’ve been indoctrinated enough by relatives that they WILL GO BACK when Castro is gone…they were all kids whose families had more than enough money to send them out of Cuba and to the US…they weren’t poor…all that are left in Cuba are poor…and the rich ones (and their children/grandchildren who are in the US) will go to Cuba and take over.

There won’t be boatloads of poor Cubans coming here, there’ll be yachtloads of rich Miami Cubans going there!!

Posted by: Lynne at August 2, 2006 10:16 AM
Comment #172777

Cuba has oil….
If they establish a democracy there, then we could trade.


Sounds like you like Communism. The rich people from Miami will think “America was great. Let’s make Cuba like it.” Democracy made them wealthy, so they would want to make Cuba free and make everyone wealthy.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at August 2, 2006 10:16 AM
Comment #172779

When Castro underwent surgery, he transferred his power to his brother, Raul. From the way things look, the Miami Cubans won’t be heading back anytime soon. What could make matters worse is that Raul might produce an heir to the Cuban Communist throne.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at August 2, 2006 10:23 AM
Comment #172780

Lynne, It is too bad that you feel such envy against people that have more money than you. You can not equate people who escaped a tyrannical dictator to have a better life with those who are willing to strap bombs on themselves in order to kill a few innocent people. The happiness of The Cuban Beard dying is not because of hatred, it is because the same poor people you care about will have a higher chance of living better lives. Please remember that in Marxist societies, the people own nothing, so what ever they built is no longer their’s now. So why would they be upset if someone with $$ makes a business in Cuba and gives them a job? I make $45K in my work, If anyone makes more than this I will expect a check from them so that we are even.

Posted by: frankxcid at August 2, 2006 10:23 AM
Comment #172783

Stubborn, It is likely that there will be no change. However there is a possibility of Cuban civil war since it appears that there are three factions within the government which may fight for control. If left alone, one will become the winner and we are back to the same problem. This is where America’s Government has failed in the past by backing the faction the is most friendly and inherently the weakest. I propose what I call conquest by Coca-Cola. Sale and trade of America’s goods, will make whoever wins see that trade is more profitable than squeazing poor serfs. Just a thought.

Posted by: frankxcid at August 2, 2006 10:30 AM
Comment #172787

The Cuban people elected their government, and they are the only one to change it. It is likely to happen, but not overnight.
The problem for both Cuba and the US, is not what government but something that has been brewing since 1959.
There are those who want all their property back, want reparations and will do anything to get it.
This means that thousands of lawsuits will be filed in the US to do just that.
I wonder how the old Mafia is going to handle their share of the casino moneys, they are ‘entitled’ to.

Posted by: Joe at August 2, 2006 10:37 AM
Comment #172792


I really don’t see a civil war breaking out, maybe a military coup, but not a civil war. Unlike Iraq the populous doesn’t have access to weapons (other than light rifles), and the U.S. could easily stop any outside attempt to provide them with its navel power.

And even a military coup is unlikely as Castro always made sure he was stronger than any of its leaders. He executed one of the Generals back in the ’80s just to prove this point.

What is most likely, if not certain, is it will be a mess. At least it will only be messy for a while though; Cuba has too many resources and and too much potential combined with plenty of willing investors down in Florida. There will be resentment early on, but eventually it will work its way out.

Here’s an article from the Jamacia Gleaner:

In the absence of the charismatic Fidel Castro it will be tempting, we suspect, to try to quickly pull down the ramparts of communism in Cuba to be replaced by a pluralist political society and to open the economy to the forces of the free market. Much of this is inevitable; but sequencing and timing, we believe, are important.

Posted by: George in SC at August 2, 2006 10:56 AM
Comment #172793


That is funny! Inded the United Fruit Company is also ‘entitled’ to something and what about all of those underage prostitutes that Castro put out of business…..

The US needs to mind its business. Washington is as corrupt as any government. We can’t even have elections without fraud. The CIA has been in the business of screwing latin americans out of everything they have…..the cubans do not need US companies to come take advantage of them.

I say let them be….Haven’t we ruined enough lives already.

Posted by: (_|_) censor that at August 2, 2006 11:00 AM
Comment #172802


You’re too funny…do you always misread everything???

I lived with these Cubans…I know them…the only people who were totally against Castro were the rich Cubans who supported Batista…Castro led a people’s rebellion…it was the rich who managed to have the $$$ to escape to the US…not the poor who were oppressed by the rich and the Batista regime.

These people now live in peace, but the rich Batista-supporters will want to come back and disrupt the entire nation of Cuba…

What don’t you understand about 20th century Cuban history???

Posted by: Lynne at August 2, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #172803

stuborn conservative:

You go right ahead and think what you want…rich Miami Cubans returning to Cuba are NOT going back to make life “better” for those Cubans who remained in Cuba…they are returning to take over their old lives and the poor Cubans (which are pretty much all there are on the island) will be even more poor…they will again become maids and houseboys…that’s not an improvment…

Posted by: Lynne at August 2, 2006 11:36 AM
Comment #172806

“that’s not an improvment…”

Yeah, freedom really sucks!

Posted by: kctim at August 2, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #172809


Even after 47 years Cubans are willing to risk floating across 90 miles of shark infested water to get away from Castro. Surely these are not all rich guys. Are there any rich guys left in Cuba, outside the communist party? Presumably anyone who left after the middle of the 1960s was no longer a rich Cuban.

The first group of Cubans is an interesting case study. Most of those people were well off in Cuba, but they came with almost nothing. Castro kept their assets. But they had skills and good attitudes and within a couple years became rich in the U.S. If a guy who floats over on a tire can make it in America, everybody can.

Re the Palestinians dancing - The dancing in the streets after 9/11 showed blind hatred, since thousands of people died and most of them had no relationship with the Palestinian problem.

Castro is an individual who has personally murdered people or ordered them killed. It is likely that Cubans in Miami have friends or relatives murdered, tortured or imprisoned as a direct result of Castro. This is not the death of an innocent man at the hands of terrorist. It is the death of a monster who created suffering for almost a half century.

The two situations are not even remotely related. If a bomb went off in Havana killing 3000 random people, there would be sympathy and mourning, not celebrations. The death of the old caudillo is a different story. Some individuals deserve to die.


The Cuban people have never elected their government. No matter how good someone is, do you really think he can win every election for 47 years unless the fix is in?

Posted by: Jack at August 2, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #172811

Let us hope Fidel & Raul hold on for another two years. The Bush administration will just screw up Cuba the way they have screwed up everything else. Dictatorship is better than war and anarchy, which is what Bush will certainly bring. The last thing we need is for Bush to trash Cuba too.

And he would, too. Gross incompetence. I shudder to think what Bush, Cheney, and the NeoCons would do to Cuba. Seriously, Cuba would be better of with a continuation of the Castro dictatorship than with attention from the Bush administration.

Iraq. Palestine. Lebanon.

Pray for the Cubans, if you pray. Just two years, long enough for a new, competent Republican or Democratic administration to help establish relations. Republican. Democrat. Either way. Anyone but the current bozos.

Posted by: phx8 at August 2, 2006 12:14 PM
Comment #172812

frankxcid -

First of all - I dont think I was defending anything. My point was simply that nothing is as black and white as the premiss of this post laid it out to be.

As for the heath care system in Cuba - this is just common knowledge. Search google and youll find 1000’s of sites, heres one from Harvard:

I really hope that after Castro - the US will work to remove these blockades; I suspect they will, though I suspect that like every other country in this region - it will be to Cuba’s demise.

Posted by: justin at August 2, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #172814


I remember in the Carter times when we had the Mareil boat lift from Cuba. Many of those Cubans came up to Madison where I was going to school. They were in very poor shape with various long term health problems, even including things like TB and degenerative problems. They all had really bad teeth. I do not know what people say about the health care system, but the results of it were not encouraging.

Many countries have wonderful health care systems - on paper. But when I am sick, I prefer to get real, not theoretical treatment.

Posted by: Jack at August 2, 2006 12:33 PM
Comment #172816

Jack -

There are people in poor shape everywhere. There is an epidmeic of TB here among the homeless population. At any rate - Im not going to keep debating this point as its not a defence of the Cuban government, mearly a point that few things are all good or all bad. The health care systemin Cuba is noted and accounted for, its not ‘on paper’. As a country that until recently had very limited access to any outside medicine or equipement, the focus there is on prevention, it is not as advanced as our system, however, they have one of the highest doctor to patient ratios in the world, and, unlike here - everyone has access to it. And before you say it - no, I dont want to live in Cuba. Still - I cant help but wonder what might have been had we not staved the entire country and solidified Castros control over it.

Posted by: justin at August 2, 2006 12:43 PM
Comment #172820

According to the Pan American Health Organization, the Cuban Government currently devotes a smaller percentage of its budget for health care than such regional countries as Jamaica, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic.

The health care system is often touted by many analysts as one of the Castro government’s greatest achievements. What this analysis ignores is that the revolutionary government inherited an already-advanced health sector when it took power in 1959.

Cuba’s infant mortality rate of 32 per 1,000 live births in 1957 was the lowest in Latin America and the 13th lowest in the world, according to UN data. Cuba ranked ahead of France, Belgium, west Germany, Israel, Japan, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, all of which would eventually pass Cuba in this indicator during the following decades.

Today, Cuba remains the most advanced country in the region in this measure, but its world ranking has fallen from 13th to 24th during the Castro era, according to UN Data. Also you are mistaken in your conventional analysis of Cuba’s infant mortality rates is its staggering abortion rate — 0.71 abortions per live birth in 1991, according to the latest UN data — which, because of selective termination of “high-risk” pregnancies, yields lower numbers for infant mortality. Cuba’s abortion rate is at least twice the rate for the other countries in the table below for which data are available.

In terms of physicians and dentists per capita, Cuba in 1957 ranked third in Latin America, behind only Uruguay and Argentina — both of which were more advanced than the United States in this measure. Cuba’s 128 physicians and dentists per 100,000 people in 1957 was the same as the Netherlands, and ahead of the United Kingdom (122 per 100,000 people) and Finland (96).

Cuba’s economy is in disarray as a direct result of its government’s continued adherence to a discredited communist economic model. This decline has directly affected the health of ordinary Cubans. Lack of chlorinated water, poor nutrition, deteriorating housing, and generally unsanitary conditions have increased the number of cases of infectious diseases, especially in concentrated urban areas like Havana.

The grave economic problems in Cuba were exacerbated by the demise of the Soviet Union and the ending of the $5 billion in subsidies that the U.S.S.R. gave annually to the Castro government. Cuba made significant advances in the quality of health care available to average citizens as a result of these subsidies. However, it devoted the bulk of its financial windfall to maintaining an out-sized military machine and a massive internal security apparatus.

Posted by: John at August 2, 2006 1:01 PM
Comment #172822


You’ve bought into the left’s nonsense regarding castro’s health care system. The US embargo does NOT deny medicines and medical supplies to the Cuban people. As stipulated in Section 1705 of the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, the U.S. Government routinely issues licenses for the sale of medicine and medical supplies to Cuba. The only requirement for obtaining a license is to arrange for end-use monitoring to ensure that there is no reasonable likelihood that these items could be diverted to the Cuban military, used in acts of torture or other human rights abuses, or re-exported or used in the production of biotechnological products. Monitoring of sales can be performed by independent non-governmental organizations, international organizations, or foreign diplomats.
Since 1992, 36 of 38 license requests have been approved to U.S. companies and their subsidiaries to sell medicine and medical equipment to Cuba. Sales have included such items as thalamonal, depo-provera, pediatric solutions, syringes, and other items. The Department of Commerce declined the other two requests for licenses it received for failure to meet legal standards. Both of these exceptions to the general policy of approving commercial medical sales occurred in 1994.
Moreover, the U.S. embargo on Cuba affects only U.S. companies and their subsidiaries. Other nations and companies are free to trade with Cuba. Should Cuba choose not to purchase from the U.S., it can purchase any medicine or medical equipment it needs from other countries. Such third-country transactions only cost an estimated 2%-3% more than purchases from the U.S. as a result of higher shipping costs

Posted by: John at August 2, 2006 1:17 PM
Comment #172823


I like your Coca Cola Conquest. As a Political Science and History major, Ive often thought about how the US can achiece our key objectives with a non friendly nation without force. My idea is much like yours, except I call it McDonalds Diplomcy. My theory is, if we can degenerate another society with McDonalds, Coca Cola, Cable TV (shoot - we might as well air drop a couple thousands Playboys to boot)…we wont have to use our military to “persuade” them. They will either become totally addicted to our decadent lifestyle, or too fat and lazy to put up a fight. Either way, we win! GO US!

Posted by: b0mbay at August 2, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #172824

Castro led a people’s rebellion…

Then he turned around a put the shaft to them.
True the first refugees were the rich. They were running for their lives. But now the refugees are the people that Castro supposedly fought to free. These folks don’t have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of. If Castro made life so much better for them then how come they’re risking their lives to come here.
You say you lived among the refugees. Then you must know first hand how it was the ‘rich Cubans’ that took their boats over to Cuba during the Freedom Flotilla to get the poor ones out. Really sounds to me like they don’t care about their countrymen.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 2, 2006 1:58 PM
Comment #172826


Put the peace pipe down. News flash - the 60s are OVER! Communism is dead, and yes cigarettes do cause cancer. Amazing what a small dose of reality can do.

Posted by: b0mbay at August 2, 2006 2:09 PM
Comment #172829

What evils will the Bush adminstration bring to Cuba? Democracy in Iraq has resulted in tens of thousands of innocent people dead, perhaps hundreds of thousands. Democracy in Palestine has resulted in the destruction of the only source of power generation in Gaza, more violence, more death. When Bush pushed for democracy in Lebanon it resulted in what we see today; hundreds upon hundreds of innocent civilians dead, airports destroyed, roads destroyed, bridges destroyed, communication towers destroyed.

Imagine what the incompetence of this administration would do to Cuba? It is a horrifying prospect.

I never thought I would root for a dictator, but if he can just hang in there, a new Republican or Democratic administration will be able to help the Cubans make a peaceful transition.

Bush & Cheney & Rice would bring only destruction.

Posted by: phx8 at August 2, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #172830

Unfortunately the people of Cuba are so accustomed to following what they’re told, when Castro is gone, they may just follow along with whoever comes up with the power. At this point I would not be surprised to see a military officer with troops to back him up taking over. And with the “beloved” Pres Chavez so eager to needle the U.S. he would back anyone that would oppose any U.S. interest. Again, unfortunate for the people of Cuba.

Posted by: Gary at August 2, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #172835

Sorry Bombay, you still missed the point, running a business even here in the “decadent” US takes 60-70 hours a week, sleepless nights and an ulcerated stomach. Sure, medical problems change from death by police (in Cuba) to death by french fry. The point is that if you want to buy a Mcdonalds franchise, you can. If you want to buy the burger and get fat, you can. No hope of that choice or any other career choice in the Marxist utopia.

Posted by: frankxcid at August 2, 2006 2:35 PM
Comment #172838

The reason I think Civil war is likely is because there is no one person with Castro’s street credit of being at the revolution (no one young enough). I point to history and the turn over of power once Ceasar was assassinated. Three people came to power. Mark Anthony (the loyalist), Octavian (the Heir) and the third one I forgot his name. There was peace for a few year until they fought. I think this get repeated every time a powerful leader with charisma and street credit loses power abruptly. This is from the top of my mind, maybe one of you history majors can correct my details.

Posted by: frankxcid at August 2, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #172842

I will echo ph8x. What has democracy done for any country. It is better that people die out of sight in authocracies.
Who do you think is killing those 100’s of thousands of innocent people? It is not the American Military, or the Iraqi Military. Could it be the people that like to kill other’s. What is their objective? They are killing people who are not connected to the war one way or another. Now you will probably expect me to believe that people will strap on a bomb, walk into a market, and explode himself, he is doing it because it will hurt democracy? I will argue that he is not doing it because it is his choice. Your own arguement is mine: they need to be told what to do!

Posted by: frankxcid at August 2, 2006 2:57 PM
Comment #172855

“We barey made the airport
For the last plane out,
As we taxied down the runway
I could hear the people shout, they said:
“Don’t come back here, Yankee!”
But if I ever do
I’ll bring back more money…”

Don Henley
“All She Wants To Do is Dance”

The idea of the Bush administration bringing democracy to Cuba is the stuff of nightmare.

Early in the administration, BushCo was caught backing a coup against Chavez in Venezuela. Whoops! No doubt they are aching for revenge.

But some of these Bush people are the same ones who backed the murderous Somaza regime, the right wing National Guard, and the ensuing death squads of Nicaraugua. The Iran-Contra scandal involved backing so-called freedom fighters with the profits Republicans generated by selling arms to Iran; people such as Elliott Abrams, John Poindexter, and Oliver North. John Negroponte made his name in Central America, running the death squads of El Salvador out of the US embassy in Honduras. Killing tens of thousands of poor El Salvadorans worked out pretty well for the Republicans, but still, there is the matter of revenge; revenge for the failure of the Venezuelan coup against a democratically elected leader, revenge for the failure of the right wing death squads to overthrown the democracy of Nicaraugua, and much much more.

What would these greedy thugs bring to Cuba? If the Cubans so much as flinched at the idea of delivering their industries to the highest bidding multinational corporation, the results of the Bush version of democracy are easy to foresee. How long would it take to institute the right wing death squads? Would Miami ex-pats be sufficient muscle, or would we have to pay privatized armies top dollar to slaughter the Cubans?

For their sake, I hope the Cubans can just delay the transition just two years.

If BushCo and the NeoCons get into Cuba, the blood will flow in rivers.

Posted by: phx8 at August 2, 2006 4:38 PM
Comment #172875
Gosh, Lynne. How is it that you have managed to completely master the history of Cuba but have not even looked into the grammar and simple sentence structuring of your own native language?

Kindly point out the mistakes…I’ve reread them and find it structured quite nicely…perhaps you’re one of the younguns’ who never diagrammed sentences.

I know I am not as old as you and do not personally know any Cuban-Americans, but I also know that most refugees of Cuba are/were poor.

Well, then, you’re not old enough to know that during 1959-the late 60s that it was the rich who sent their children here to the US…I studied and was roommates with several of them.

You’re probably thinking of the Mariel fiasco when Castro sent us people from prisons and mental institutions…that occurred much later.

Posted by: Lynne at August 2, 2006 6:00 PM
Comment #172889

That is a cheap effort to make questionable criticisms of writing style, rather than simply acknowledging and addressing the comments. The simple fact is, Lynne beat you like a gong in open debate.

Posted by: phx8 at August 2, 2006 6:42 PM
Comment #172900


Too bad you can only comment on grammar and not content…however, you have yet to show any mistakes other that a followup mistyped wording…when one types 120wpm it’s easy for fingers to get ahead of anything else. What a picky little mind you have demonstrated…

Too bad you only know of the Mariel Boatlift have no demonstrable knowledge of the original flight from Cuba…and you most certainly shouldn’t be proud of sassing elders without knowing whereof they speak. You have clearly demonstrated your lack of knowledge of recent history…it is nothing of which to be proud.

Posted by: Lynne at August 2, 2006 7:36 PM
Comment #172902

Make you a bet. If Republicans are in power when it happens, within one year after Fidel & Raul are gone, the US will be financing a fight against Cuban “terrorists,” and death squads will be executing Cubans by the score.

It comes with the territory when Republican administrations are in power.

Posted by: phx8 at August 2, 2006 7:43 PM
Comment #172925

I’ll take that bet commie. Your argument is based on what the enemies of America choose to tell you. Why can you not understand that totalitarian communist countries are TOTALITARIAN. That means they control everything including what is displayed to the capitalist pig media. You commie partner in Cuba only appears to be stable because they are not going to report bad things about themselves. In Democratic countries, the news displays everything whether the countrie like it or not. Look at this country, no matter how much I like the current president, he HAS TO step down and hand power over. NO DEATH SQUADS unless they come from the communist. I wish people like you would put your money where your mouth is and live in a communist country. Lets see if you can type anything like you do.

Posted by: frankxcid at August 2, 2006 10:08 PM
Comment #172926

All I can say to Lynn is SO WHAT! The rich saw what would happen first and the poor, being poor, could not leave. If you are so afraid of being rich, send me your money!

Posted by: frankxcid at August 2, 2006 10:09 PM
Comment #172930

What is the problem with being rich?

Many of the first group of Cubans were rich in Cuba. But they lost most of that wealth to Castro. They arrived in the U.S. poor. Almost all the subsequent refugees arrived with only what they could carry on a small boat or an inner tube. In either case, we should admire their energy and intelligence. No matter how you look at it, they are a success story.

Envy is a very strong and dangerous emotion. Please do not confuse envy with justice.

It is not a virtue to be poor or rich. If you are poor because of bad choices or rich because of dishonest ones, you are deserve censure. If you are poor for virtue’s sake (rare these days) or rich because you are smart and hard working you deserve admiration. In both cases it is the character that counts, not the cash.

Posted by: Jack at August 2, 2006 10:39 PM
Comment #172934


“Gosh, Lynne. How is it that you have managed to completely master the history of Cuba but have not even looked into the grammar and simple sentence structuring of your own native language?”

Why is it that when you and your liberal friends can’t find anything better to dispute in someone’s post, you resort to attacking their writing style and grammar? How does that matter? So Lynn doesn’t use “proper” punctuation…SO WHAT!!!! IT’S A BLOG FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!! It’s kinda like texting…it certainly isn’t a thesis or a paper meant for publication. Step down from your pulpit and lower your nose so you can see clearly.

As for Cuba…think what you want people. Any time that a murdering slimeball dictator dies that’s a good thing. Even if his government has been “the most stable” in South America. It is, after all, pretty easy to maintain “stability” when you are holding a gun to someone’s head. Most people tend to do exactly what you want them to when they are in fear for their lives.


Posted by: DaveR at August 2, 2006 11:06 PM
Comment #172941

Throw off the shackles of the imperialist system, Frank. You have nothing to lose but your chains. Take your hand off the chain you grab so tightly, comrade, and read my posts. If you skim over them like a capitalist running dog who has been victimized by an exploitative educational system, you will notice I am concerned about the timing of the fall of Castro and the withering away of the Cuban state. I do not support the Castro, for he is violates the tenets of Bolshevism with his concern for the farmers, rather than the industrial laborers, which are the true source of capital. If
Cuba falls while that lackey of the ruling classes, Bush, is still president, then the dark minions of Republicanism will cause horrendous & unnecessary suffering for the Cubans. Wait until Castro is consigned to the ash heap of history, and almost any other American administration should be able to manage the transition peacefully.

Posted by: phx8 at August 2, 2006 11:52 PM
Comment #172944

Do you really believe that other than the criminals Castro tried to force on us the only ones that came over on the Mariel Boat lift were rich? Where did these rich folks come from as the average person in Cuba has nothing?
I remember when Castro took over Cuba. He immediately declared himself a Communist and confiscated everyone possessions. The only rich folks in Cuba sense then are him and his cronies. And I seriously doubt that any of them are wanting to escape Cuba.
I also remember the boat lift. It was those rich Cubans that you seem to despise so much that was taking their boats over to Cuba to bring their fellow countrymen to the US and freedom. Not the other way around.
And I didn’t have to live with them or go to school with them to know this.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 3, 2006 12:19 AM
Comment #172947

BTW Lynne
I was in the Air Force stationed at McDill Air Base in Tampa during the Boat Lift. We were sent to Miami to help the Coast Guard patrol the route the boats were taking and rescue anyone that got into trouble.
We had to help 4 or 5 boats out during that time and the only rich folks I saw on any of them were the owners who were already in the US. And they were more concerned with us getting their passengers to safety than they were for their own saftey.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 3, 2006 12:32 AM
Comment #172960
If you are poor because of bad choices or rich because of dishonest ones, you are deserve censure. If you are poor for virtue’s sake (rare these days) or rich because you are smart and hard working you deserve admiration.

How about if you’re rich because your Daddy was rich? Censure or admiration?

Posted by: American Pundit at August 3, 2006 2:18 AM
Comment #172972
How about if you’re rich because your Daddy was rich? Censure or admiration?

How about ignoring them? We don’t have to praise them (they did nothing) and we don’t have to hate them (they did nothing).

If you gain further wealth, possible admiration. If you use your wealth to help other people, further admiration. If you squander the wealth that your parents created for you, you deserve censure. If you step on the backs of others simply because you can, you deserver further censure.

So… how does that work?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 3, 2006 7:22 AM
Comment #172976


Right on! I love how anyone whose parents actually did well is supposed to feel guilty. My father is upper middleclass. He earned this by working in a zinc mill for 30+ years and advancing up the system because he is an intelligent man and a hard worker. He provided for me, my mother, and my two siblings, should I feel bad that he cared enough about his family to succeed? Its not my fault that not everyone’s parents aren’t rich, but I’ll be damned if I should feel guilty for my father being a decent and successful man. Capitalism is the unequal sharing of happiness, communism is the equal sharing of misery.

Posted by: 1LT B at August 3, 2006 8:19 AM
Comment #172981

That’s pretty funny phx8 :). POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Posted by: frankxcid at August 3, 2006 8:52 AM
Comment #173003

Ron Brown:

If you actually read the thread, you’ll know that the rich came over during 1959-late 60s…the Mariel Boatlift wasn’t until 1980…and I completely separated these two incidents…you obviously have not actually read what was said, but only the responses to my postings. If you’d actually read what I posted, you’d know better.

Posted by: Lynne at August 3, 2006 10:19 AM
Comment #173040

Cuba, bah!

We oughta just invade the place and make it the fify-first state.

Think of the vacation opportunities! And it would give the major leagues a new infusion of baseball talent.

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 3, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #173043

I know when the rich came over. I also know when the boat lift took place. I was in Florida at the time of the boat lift.
You seem to coming down the the rich who left Cuba right after Castro took power like they were some kinda low lifes. Maybe some were but I know what I saw during the boat lift. I saw these rich Cubans that you’ve been putting down risking their lives to help their follow countrymen that were poor.
Like I said last night. I was sent to Miami to help the Coast Guard patrol the route the boats were taking. During that time. My crew assisted 4 or 5 boats that were in trouble. Every time the boat owner was more worried about his passengers than himself. A lot of these boats were way over loaded.
BTW there were some folks that weren’t rich operating boats during that time. One of the crews had to pull a guy out that was in a row boat. He said he was going after his sister and the boat sank on him. Don’t know if she ever made it here or not.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 3, 2006 1:37 PM
Comment #173053

Ron Brown:

I think you did not completely read all my postings.

And I’m pretty sure that the people in the early 60s with the boats weren’t poor nor were they bringing the poor out of Cuba…they were bringing their families. I lived with these kids…

Those who made it out early on in the game would have nothing to do with the Mariel Boatlift people…

I’m making the point that the majority of Cubans who are currently in the US are NOT from among the Cuban poor; the majority of Cubans who are currently in the US are NOT native Cubans, they were born here or were so young when they came they have no adult experience with Castro (and who’d want to!)…the Cubans who live here will most definitely want to go back to Cuba and take their country back…

This negates the revolution which took place in 1959…which was the poor against the rich who controlled the country thru Batista…Castro took advantage of that revolution.

But I do not see that Cuba will be better off with returning Cubans…they will desire the old status quo which is what caused the original revolution…the people currently living in Cuba will not want to go back to being maids and houseboys.

So it will NOT be a peaceful situation…and it will not be good for ALL Cubans.

Posted by: Lynne at August 3, 2006 3:17 PM
Comment #173075


You’re “pretty sure that the people in the early 60s with the boats weren’t poor nor were they bringing the poor out of Cuba.” Ron Brown was actually there. Why should any of us believe you when you are generalizing the economic status of refugees based on a few with which you lived?

Posted by: Tommy at August 3, 2006 4:54 PM
Comment #173097


Let’s hear your firsthand experience…Ron Brown didn’t even distinguish between the Cubans coming to the US in the 60s from those on the Mariel Boatlift in 1980.

Posted by: Lynne at August 3, 2006 5:56 PM
Comment #173107


Funny, I don’t remember saying anything about myself having firsthand experience, and I think you’ve made it quite clear that you think the ONLY people that ever came from Cuba either came to your house or were on the Mariel Boatlift.

Posted by: Tommy at August 3, 2006 6:24 PM
Comment #173116

Oh, Tommy…how disingenuous of you, pretending to not understand…

Funny how you take Ron Brown as gospel…do you know him intimately???

Posted by: Lynne at August 3, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #173126

That is too funny Tommy!!!

Lynne - get over the pinko commie thing. It didnt work for Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot or Castro.

I recommend you go look in a mirror and repeat the following phrase:

“It is ok to have money.”

Posted by: b0mbay at August 3, 2006 7:52 PM
Comment #173167

Ron Brown didn’t even distinguish between the Cubans coming to the US in the 60s from those on the Mariel Boatlift in 1980.

I don’t need to distinguish between the one’s that came in the 60s and the ones that came in 80.
That speaks for it’s self.
What I’m saying is the one’s that came in the 60’s were the ones supplying the boats in 80.
True alot of them wanted to get their families out of Cuba. Wouldn’t you? I know I sure as hell would. But they also took a whole heap of folks that weren’t family. They were willing to help others get to the US and a better life as well as wanting to get family members out.
You might not want to believe it but there are rich folks out there that do care about the poor folks.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 3, 2006 11:47 PM
Comment #173203

I understand what Lynne is saying and agree with part of it to a degree. When the Castro brothers assume room temperature the rich cubans who had to abandon their wealth will want it back. That will probably be true in a lot of cases but I think litigation will bet the way they seek it and after this much time I don’t think most would have a chance to win.

I see a scenereo of power being passed down to the next in command and if he is strong enough to hold it not much will change. I see an increase in refugees comming to Miami to start but if the sucessor to Castro is strong enough he can control that.

If the next in command not strong enough to hold on to power, then I see a civil war or a coup.
If so, I hope the United States only serves as a deterent to stop outside forces from intefering.
Then MAYBE we can trade with the new leadership

BTW We don’t have a blockade around Cuba as someone suggested. We simply don’t choose to trade with them. Kinda like free choice on a geopolitical level.

Posted by: Tom D. at August 4, 2006 5:21 AM
Comment #173205

December 18, 2005
Tensions Rise as More Flee Cuba for U.S.

MIAMI, Dec. 17 - The number of Cubans intercepted at sea while trying to reach the United States is at its highest level since tens of thousands took to the Florida Straits on makeshift rafts and in small boats in the 1994 exodus sanctioned by President Fidel Castro.

The sharp rise - and an increase in clashes between would-be immigrants and the Coast Guard - are inflaming tensions over a policy enacted in response to the 1994 migration that allows Cubans without visas to stay if they reach American soil but turns back those caught at sea.

The “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which does not apply to any other immigrant group, is being blamed by critics for at least 39 deaths this year in the Florida Straits and is testing the resolve of the Coast Guard, which the critics say has become too aggressive in enforcing the restrictions.

In offering a permanent escape to Cubans who make it here, they say, the policy encourages them to risk their lives.

Coast Guard data show that as of Friday, 2,683 Cubans had been intercepted at sea this year, nearly double the number for all of 2004. And while the high season for migrant crossings, when the sailing tends to be smoothest, is already past, scores have kept trying the journey despite the perils.

Some of the migrants, hoping to avoid confrontations with Coast Guard patrols, are taking unusual routes, to the United States Virgin Islands and the Gulf Coast of Florida. A fast-growing number - including 6,744 counted by Customs and Border Patrol in the fiscal year that ended in September - are entering the United States by slipping across the Mexican border, often after sailing some 500 miles to Honduras from Cuba.


Posted by: Scottie at August 4, 2006 5:40 AM
Comment #173209

Here are some great links for you all to look at that are very mainstream. Then the informed can decide if Lynn is right or wrong in the facts stated.

Look it up yourselves.

CNN hires Fidel Castro’s estranged daughter
Alina Fernandez will provide commentary and expertise about Cuba:

This might also provide some great insight!

Posted by: Scottie at August 4, 2006 6:02 AM
Comment #173263


Nothing you posted refuted anything I’ve said…I said nothing about 2005 or 2006…I was discussing 1959-mid 60s and 1980 Mariel Boatlift.

Posted by: Lynne at August 4, 2006 10:45 AM
Comment #173266

Ron Brown:

What I’m saying is the one’s that came in the 60’s were the ones supplying the boats in 80. True alot of them wanted to get their families out of Cuba. Wouldn’t you?

The only people coming out in the Mariel Boatlift were from prisons or mental institutions…and Castro sent them, their families didn’t show up to get them. In fact, the Cubans already in the US in 1980 wanted nothing to do with the people who showed up on our shores during the 1980 fiasco.

It was local church groups all over the Midwest and other regions who helped these people (although many ended up in U.S. prisons!), NOT the Cuban community. There might be some indidividual exceptions, but they were indeed “exceptions”!

Posted by: Lynne at August 4, 2006 10:48 AM
Comment #173299

And I’m pretty sure that the people in the early 60s with the boats weren’t poor nor were they bringing the poor out of Cuba…they were bringing their families. I lived with these kids…

Posted by: Lynne at August 3, 2006 03:17 PM

The only people coming out in the Mariel Boatlift were from prisons or mental institutions…and Castro sent them, their families didn’t show up to get them. In fact, the Cubans already in the US in 1980 wanted nothing to do with the people who showed up on our shores during the 1980 fiasco.

Posted by: Lynne at August 4, 2006 10:48 AM

Which one is it Lynne? Did they or did they not want anything to do with the folks coming out of Cuba in the 80?

Castro did send criminals over. He forced the folks to take a boat load of criminals then they got to take a load with their relatives and others wanting to come over.
Immigration arrested most of the criminals and the boat owners were glad to give them up. The others were processed for their Green Cards.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 4, 2006 12:20 PM
Comment #173318

Ron Brown:

You would do yourself a real service if you actually went back and read all my posts…then you wouldn’t be asking questiong like “Which one is it Lynne? Did they or did they not want anything to do with the folks coming out of Cuba in the 80?”…you’d have already known the answer.

Posted by: Lynne at August 4, 2006 1:41 PM
Comment #173333

Hey, just want you all to know that the Republican “Adrienne” who has been commenting to Lynne in this thread is not the same person who has been posting here for a long time now under that name.

Note to the Republican Adrienne — do you think you could pick a new blog tag (you know, something like Adrienne #2, or GOP Adrienne?) when posting to this blog? I’d hate to have to change my name after I’ve used the same one in Watchblog for so many years, and it’ll be really confusing for readers not to know who is who when reading our individual responses.
Thanks in advance,

Posted by: Adrienne at August 4, 2006 2:45 PM
Comment #173395

Everyone is picking on Lynne a bit much. In fact, she’s bringing up an aspect of this that is incredibly underreported.
This morning, they had a story about this on MarketPlace

They have a transcript at the bottom:

He says the first problem will be figuring out who really owns what.
SHAHOULIAN: “You have all these properties throughout Cuba that in a sense have two owners. Their original owners who have their deeds and are likely here in the United States. And then their new owners who got new deeds. You’re going to have two different innocent owners saying they are the rightful owners of these properties.”

Already the US government’s certified nearly 6,000 claims of confiscated property in Cuba. Including interest, they’re worth an estimated $6 billion.

Whether the original owners are rich or poor - and there are some at all ends of the spectrum - this is going to be a problem.

The Helms Burton Act, passed by Congress in 1996 to strengthen the embargo on the island, will likely delay an economic opening even more. It requires any democratic successor to the Castro government to settle billions of dollars in seized property claims before the US can lift the embargo.

And I think we have plenty of examples why abrupt shifts from communism into capitalism is not good for populations. Russian ogligarchs come to mind. I also think Iraqi Reconstruction is a lesson we should study.


Posted by: Christine at August 4, 2006 7:32 PM
Comment #173400

Adrienne (the real one):

Thanks for letting us know it wasn’t really you…the fake “Adrienne” certainly didn’t present the same measured arguments that you normally do…

Posted by: Lynne at August 4, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #173420

Thanks, Lynne.
I didn’t think GOP Adrienne had any point to make at all, and clearly the WB manager felt the same way since I’ve noted her posts have now disappeared.

Btw, good posts — don’t let anybody convince you otherwise! ;^)

Posted by: Adrienne at August 4, 2006 9:16 PM
Comment #173449

“Hey, just want you all to know that the Republican “Adrienne” who has been commenting to Lynne in this thread is not the same person who has been posting here for a long time now under that name.”

THAT certainly explains a lot!! Adrienne (the “real” one), I thought maybe you had changed sides, or else I was going crazy. I am happy to know that I am not crazy, although if you want to renounce your liberality and come over to the “right” we will welcome you with open arms. LOL


Posted by: DaveR at August 5, 2006 1:48 AM
Comment #173521


“Thanks for letting us know it wasn’t really you…the fake “Adrienne” certainly didn’t present the same measured arguments that you normally do…”

Thank goodness—for a minute there I thought I was losing my marbles. (No snide remarks from the Republican peanut gallery, please.)

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 5, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #173578

Tim Crow
Thank goodness—for a minute there I thought I was losing my marbles. (No snide remarks from the Republican peanut gallery, please.)

I thought you’d already lost them. Sorry couldn’t resist. Besides I’m not Republican.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 5, 2006 11:33 PM
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