Demonstrating Solidarity With the Cuban People

May 22, 2008
Cuban Flag Hanging From Balcony in Havana

About the Author: Maria Gabriela Zambrano is a Foreign Affairs Officer serving in the State Department’s Cuban Affairs Office in Washington, DC.

President Bush proclaimed May 21, 2008, as a "Day of Solidarity with the Cuban People" to recognize those who are suffering in Cuba, especially Cuba's prisoners of conscience. For the State Department’s Office of Cuban Affairs, everyday is Cuba Solidarity Day. Everyday, we come to work to support the President’s policy and to support the Cuban people. We show our solidarity when we authorize applications for humanitarian assistance to the Cuban people, when we license travel to Cuba for various categories of Americans, including those who deliver humanitarian aid or engage in religious activities, and when we take action to prevent the Cuban state from obtaining the resources it would use to further oppress its people.

Few people know that the U.S. authorizes companies to sell or to donate food, medicine, and medical devices to Cuba. In fact, in 2007, the United States Government authorized $3.65 billion in sales and donations of food ($3.621 billion) and sales and donations of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals ($20.6 million). Though the Cuban government elected to purchase less than the U.S. Government authorized – approximately $446.8 million – the United States remained Cuba’s top supplier of food and one of Cuba’s top suppliers of medical equipment. One of my responsibilities is to make sure that all these goods going to Cuba ultimately benefit the Cuban people (and not the Cuban state). For me, this is just one way to demonstrate my solidarity with the Cuban people.

Another way we show support is by shedding light on the challenges that the Cuban people face daily. They face challenges on every front: no free speech, no human rights, and no opportunity to provide a better life for their families. We take for granted that we live in a society that allows us to speak our mind, and cherish our differences without fear of persecution. When the Cuban government announced that Cubans were allowed to buy cell phones, we paused to reflect on the great freedoms our democracy provides us. We could not imagine living in a society in which its people must be given permission to own a cell phone.

Today, President Bush announced that the U.S. is changing regulations to allow Americans to send cell phones to family members in Cuba. I believe this will open more lines of communication between the Cuban people and the rest of the world, one of our top policy priorities.

Cuban prisoners of conscience – whether confined to Castro’s jails or simply prevented by his dictatorial policies from exercising the rights we take for granted –need to hear that the world knows about them. Today is the day that the world will send a clear message to the Cuban people that they are not alone. Today, is another day at work in which I show my solidarity with the Cuban people.

Comments

Comments

Syrian P.
|
Syria
May 22, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

When Bush will be proclaiming a Day of Solidarity with the Iraqi People?

Lewis
|
Japan
May 22, 2008

Lewis in Japan writes:

"Our two nations have been trapped in a destructive state of belligerence for 42 years, and it is time for us to change our relationship."
-Jimmy Carter, Havana, 2002

Cellphones and PCs (despite being unaffordable by most) is a small start but a review and overhaul of U.S. policy towards Cuba needs to occur with the next administration.

It does hit hard to realize that a population living a stone throw are unable to enjoy the rights and freedoms we take for granted as part of our daily life.

Jessie
|
Virginia, USA
May 22, 2008

Jessie in Virginia writes:

When will the U.S. lift the embargo on Cuba?!?!?!?!?

Mary
|
District Of Columbia, USA
May 22, 2008

Mary in Washington, DC writes:

I am glad President Bush has clearly stated some of the material benefits to which their relationship with the United States of America entitles the Cuban people. We long for the day when all people enjoy the benefits of political freedom.

Ronald
|
New York, USA
May 22, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

DVD players, Cell Phones ...how about Grand Theft Auto?

A totally rediculous approach to "normalization".

In 20 years, Cuba's pristine natural features will be destroyed by U.S.-style multi-corporate marketing and synthetic eco-disasterous tourism. Cubans will have DVD's and cellphones; and lose a garden of eden.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
May 22, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

I believe that Castros brother understands the situation of his people much better.

Cuba was reduced to an illegal storage facility for world Narcotic after they became dead wood for Russian Politics. Castro tried to reignite his value by forming and maintaining ties to South America via the Latin Manifesto in the 70's. Castro came out again with Venezuela and Putin for oil in the late 90s.

THEY ARE ISOLATED in every respect and not self sufficient. It is only a matter of time now before relations will exist and at some time Cuba will become a U.S. Territory after Castro pass's. They have no choice now as their value is limited to only negative aspects of community life and no society can continue as such, with or without a war in todays economy... I am referring this to Cubas situation given its economic situation and ties to the Global markets. They can't exist on selling sugar and cigars to the Dominican Republic forever.

Cuba has outgrown the ego and policies of Castros attempt of pure Socialism. Even under his rule there were class structures. Which leads to the fact, he was and is a despot. His quest for power outside his country showed in his constant attempt at association to those who were in power elsewhere. A true Socialist would not send his physicians to another country, as he did with Venezuela, and let his own do without.

Castros ideology became an obsession related to his personal ego and his people suffered needlessly for it from day one. He will go down in history as a despot and obviously was mentally ill. He personalized his administration at the sake of his peoples wealfare. Not much of a leader.

God bless that his brother is more insightfull.

Lisa
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District Of Columbia, USA
May 22, 2008

Lisa in Washington, DC writes:

Every day has to be Cuba Solidarity Day due to the corruption in the Cuban government. Recently, a news article was published against the U.S. Interest Section in Havana. The first three lines indicate what the Cuban government is doing -- invasion of privacy (another thing Americans take for granted).

"Cuba on Monday accused America's top diplomat in Havana of carrying mail to dissidents that contained private funds from an organization run by the benefactor of an alleged terrorist.

Authorities presented e-mails and other correspondence they say back their claim against Michael Parmly, chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. But while the evidence referred to 'letters,' it included no direct proof there was money involved." - AP 5/19/2008.

Cuba Libre!

Jessie
|
Virginia, USA
May 22, 2008

Jesse in Virginia writes:

@ Ronald in New York -- I agree with you 100%. Cell phones are definitely not the solution I was thinking of. Cuba -- get ready for GLOBALILZATION!!!!

Ronald
|
New York, USA
May 22, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

More on Cuba;

Seems like Cuba only comes up in the context of extreme political campaigns ...My concern is for the potential backlash of an unstable despot on the Cuban people as a result of USG full-scale propaganda war. Someone needs to tell the president that the cold war is over ...Mr. Castro will fall down by himself ...we don't need to exacerbate the situation.

Zharkov
|
United States
May 23, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The reason behind the Cuban embargo, to punish Castro for nationalization of Cuban industry and businesses, continues to exist but Mao did these same things in China yet President Nixon began the end of all embargos with China to open up trade, and this brought in capitalism in China. The sequence was important. First the embargo ended, then trade began to spread capitalism across the country.

The primary reason why the U.S. did not invade and depose Fidel long ago is the promise President Kennedy made to Soviet Chairman Kruschev during the Cuban missile crisis. It is that promise which has protected Fidel's regime.

Other presidential promises made to the Cuban community in Miami to isolate Cuba have become rules without a reason as most Cuban-Americans no longer think the embargo is effective or worthwhile. At this late date, it appears silly to continue a policy which serves no real purpose and affects Cuban trade with all other nations little, if at all.

There is no special event necessary to change U.S. policy toward Cuba. Nixon opened up China and began the liberalization without any special event to trigger his visit. It would be as easy for Mr. Bush to end the embargo as it would be for any subsequent president to do the same. The average American today has no clue about why they cannot travel to Cuba, and some manage to do it anyway, such as Barbara Walters, Michael Moore, Diane Sawyer, and a long list of many others who have gone to Cuba for various reasons. American trade worked miracles for liberalizing China's internal policies and should work the same for Cuba. Open trade, travel, and normalize relations, and the influence of that liberty will spread.

Raul Castro is not Fidel, and his accession to power presents a real opportunity for a policy change if he is approached in a reasonable manner with positive suggestions for ending the embargo. It doesn't require federal money to buy friends in Cuban government or CIA infiltration of Cuban institutions. All it takes is ending the embargo on travel and trade with Cuba - simple, cost-effective, and long overdue.

Freedom is contageous. Trade, not global government, is the vector to spread liberty. Ultimately, we must trust the Cuban people to act in their own best interest as we trusted Chinese people to do the same.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
May 27, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

1. Nixon was only trying to circumvent the Russian Sino Accord. Nothing more and trade was used as the negotiation chip. If you recall, they were going to sign the Accord, which is now in existence; but Nixon gave the then Soviet military movements to their borders. It was the better of methods at the time. He did mention in more than passing that Congress would have to monitor Chinas use of our currency. They did not take Nixons or Kissengers advice. Quote: Freedom is contagious. Trade, not global government, is the vector to spread liberty. Ultimately, we must trust the Cuban people to act in their own best interest as we trusted Chinese people to do the same. End Quote! Yeah, that worked great. China is displacing the poor in the inter cities to build new structure--with no replacement values. No Unions or labor force can strike. They hold economic leverage over the U.S.A. now and help very few outside their own. They are still on the UN list of disregard for people's freedoms, etc. They don't even need Tibet. You need to re-evaluate what China is all about.

2. Cubas protection has nothing to do with Kennedy at all. Cuba, on its own served no purpose but affords our Base there. Our base was the agreement; but Castros true protection comes from the International level Narcotics trade, nothing more nothing less. Rather than lose power, he made a trade. As the commodity center has been moved and less viable for Castro his power has fallen. That is the primary reason for his association with South America. Mexico wanted nothing to do with him; they don't need him for anything. He is left with only South America for support.

They need to bend, no more no less. All they will become is a resort at best anyway. Even Greece could not uplift itself beyond that.

Zharkov
|
United States
May 28, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

1. Nixon's trip to China was never expected to delay or block any proposed accord with the Soviet Union, because that was an improbable outcome from a single visit. At least, Joe, give Kissinger credit for knowing that much about Sino-Soviet relations. Nixon opened up China for different reasons and the spread of capitalism was a consequence, and remains the outcome today. The reason Nixon gave for that trip, and the main purpose was, that trade would liberalize China, and it did exactly that. Nixon saw that continued isolation of China would do more harm than good. It is absurd to believe that a single visit from Nixon could interfere with Sino-Soviet relations, and it didn't. China subsequently signed numerous agreements with the Soviets. China has a very long history with Russia and no US president can have much influence on that. It was free trade that changed China. Free trade liberalized China's internal policies, and circumvented nothing regarding the Soviet Union.

2. JFK guaranteed to Chairman Krushchev that the U.S. would not invade Cuba, and in return for that promise, the Soviets removed their missiles. Our base in Cuba means nothing to Castro, who had tried many times to cancel that lease. Fidel Castro said he has never cashed a single rent check paid by the US. He wants the land back, not our money. It is laughable disinformation to claim the narcotics trade "protected" Cuba from US invasion. There was far more casino traffic, prostitution, and narcotics in Cuba before Castro overthrew Batista than afterward. Batista was trying to protect his mob franchise, and Castro ended it. Castro was a harsh dictator but the Cuban people credit him with quite a few achievements, one of which was ending mob influence in Havana. I am certain Fidel Castro would deny any involvement with narcotics traffic and if there was any evidence of it, I think that would have been brought up by the U.S. long ago at the UN, or elsewhere.

3. If there is to be any "solidarity" with the Cuban people, the U.S. government will have to stop punishing them for something that happened over 50 years ago, which they can do little today to remedy. It's time to "open up" Cuba the same way, and for the same reason Nixon opened up China.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
May 28, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. --
1. You're wrong on Nixon. Period. We are a Capitalist nation. Ruin our dollar and ruin our structure. Russia had just caused us to get off the gold standard with the Wheat futures deal. Where are you in this? With Russia and China working together, we would have been in one heck of place. The concept of Free Trade is baloney. The idea was to break up the Communistic state by creating GREED, not freedom for the individual. You talk like there were some humanistic values in all this. It was a matter of National Security. You twist history well and totally ignore the impact values it placed on our economy. We were warned by Nixon and Kissinger about keeping control over monetary flow. Why do you think everyone in the world thinks like the U.S.A.? The Soviets should not even be a world power according to OUR CHAIRS ...they are because they did not think like we did. Where is the free trade in Russia now?

QUOTE: Medvedev's statement during his visit in China: "Russian-Chinese cooperation has today emerged as a key factor in international security, without which it is impossible for the international community to take major decisions," Medvedev said during a speech at Peking University. "Maybe not everybody likes the strategic cooperation between our two countries..." the Russian president went on, "...but we understand that this cooperation is in the interest of our people and we will boost it whether or not it pleases some people." Also, the Russian leader did not forget to remind that: "Our activity is not directed against any other country but serves to maintain an international balance," adding that "...we are objectively interested in cooperation and are important for each other. And in the present epoch, our relations are built on deep similarity of national interests."

You note they put SECURITY first and this Meeting between Russia and China last week does not include the U.S. in any way. Not any of the three points of Medvedevs trip included the U.S.A. Do you think it is because they are our friends and capitalist -- or because they are both working toward eliminating the U.S. as a World Power?

Where do you think China is going politically, toward a democracy? Where do you think Russia is going? Both have made obvious movements toward degrading our National Security. China in a very OPEN manner by infiltrating our Military Intelligence Network and openly spying on the U.S.

2. CUBA was about Narcotics period. I could be more exacting, but why? It always amazed me how the Intelligista of all Nations ignored the values of the NARCO dollar as if their hands were not dirty by it all; yet, provided all manners of transportation, military backing and commitments for resale by chosen organizations within their perspective borders. Castro would have been killed by organized crime if nothing else. Why do you want to Dress up the situation there? What did he actually do for his people? Nothing and prostitution is the only reason their AIDs and other sexually oriented disease is so rampant and a major problem. The people have nothing. Casinos and all it offers would have been and will be a much better situation for the people. They can chose may occupations within the resort premises that are not EVIL. Like Castro was not.

After Kennedy died what value would his promise be anyway, what would Russia have done. That holds no merit or value at all Zharkov..I thought the correct spelling is Zhukov by the by.

Why do you think Castro could break the lease with the U.S. or have created so much grief, especially after the failed attempts to remove him, which international pressure would not have forced the US to move out? Why? Give me some convoluted International Legal repartee on this one that circumvents all logical reasoning. Cuba was about the narcoticsãand that is over, so is Cuba of past.

If you want to educate me, do so from a position that has no holes in it. The world does not think as we think or on the level of sitting behind a desk. That is why we are where we are now in the US. So many well educated leaders and now parking lots in California filled with middle class working people who have no homes. Living out of their vehicles, is that the American Dream. We are in a Depression because of our neglected dealings with China and Russia, not the war.

People like you Z, who have no insight beyond paper ...have put the U.S. where it is.

I am an American and know if we fail our people here, we fail the world because Russia and China do not care.

Cuba was just a pawn, no more no less...soon we too may end up like that.

John
|
Greece
May 29, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Joe in Tennessee -- You are absolutely right Joe writing "they are both (Russia and China) working toward eliminating the U.S. as a World Power."

And they are also helped by others: Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Syria and probably from other countries we do not know their secret games yet.

I strongly agree with you that the economic strength of the U.S.A. is a must.

And, I would add, that another prerequisite for success is the national ideological homogeneity, that is Staying Together Like One Punch, believing in Word's Freedom and supporting the inspired ideas that the Great Fathers who founded America offered to modern civilization.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
May 30, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

It is a shame our politics get in the way of our National Self Preservation and Economic Security for all citizens.

Zharkov
|
United States
May 30, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

As long as John in Greece can translate for Joe in Tennessee, I can respond to your points.

First, of course Russia and China are working together to oppose U.S. power because NATO is in their immediate spheres of influence. This is a normal reaction, because the US has military bases in over 100 countries and Russians perceive themselves to be surrounded. It has nothing to do with America being a capitalist or socialist nation. I happen to view the current American federal regime as state socialism little different from Venezuela - particularly as Congresswoman Maxine Waters threatened to nationalize our oil companies. Not only are Russians feeling insecure, the Chinese feel so insecure they are unwilling to risk even offhand comments by a Hollywood actress about Tibet. And they have allies like Syria, who prefer not to be bossed around by the U.N. If our positions were reversed, and Russia and China had over 100 military bases around the world, including Mexico and Canada, I am certain the U.S. would be working to oppose Russian and Chinese influence in our own sphere of influence.

Economic strength is a primary basis of military strength, obviously because it takes money and productive capacity to support a modern defense establishment. In that regard, the Congress and the Bush Administration have failed to strengthen the dollar, failed to eliminate punishing taxation and horrible labor and environmental laws all of which effectively destroyed America's industrial base, and failed to provide a vision and goals to expand liberty and prosperity in America. Indeed, they have done quite the opposite, as Joe suggests.

Ideological solidarity is not enough to overcome Russia's superior position in energy products or China's rapidly growing industrial sector. It takes action, goals, and a vision of America as a free country, not mere words of dependency on a "global community" and other Marxist dialog, to turn America around and point us in the right direction. The remaining question is whether it is too late, whether Congress and the Federal Reserve has run America into a financial iceberg from which the ship of state must sink.

None of the above is very relevant regarding Cuba. Cuba cannot permanently remain America's most ignored enemy forever, any more than China could. There is nothing inherently evil in the Chinese people or the Cuban people that requires U.S. citizens to be permanently isolated from them and their products and services. If you do not like their governments, then deal with their governments, but governments cannot be influenced until their people have been influenced, and trade is the best influence of all.

A trade embargo has proven to be entirely worthless in effecting regime change. It failed in Cuba, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, China, among others, while opening free trade succeeded in liberalizing a regime wherever it was attempted. Anyone can compare Russian liberty under Putin with that under Stalin, Krushchev, Breshnev, Andropov, or even Gorbachev, and see a big improvement, except perhaps some of the posters on this blog.

John
|
Greece
May 30, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- I do not think that Joe needs a translator. No matter if we agree with all the things he writes, he is obviously a high-educated intellectual patriot who loves America and the western world. This is absolutely sure!

I will follow our Blog's policy that does not encourage personal attacks.

I would suggest it to all of us.

The real question, Zharkov, is:
Do you also love U.S.A. and World's Freedom the same way Joe or other plenty of us do? because as you do regularly, I can trace tones of sympathy for Russia, China etc. in your posts. I think that in your mind you still keep the world divided into two blocks and you like the others. Not US!

I almost cried with the "poor" Russians and Chinese you are referring to. With those "sweet, pure, peaceful" guys who feel trapped by the 100 military bases.

Really touchy!

And this is not a personal attack to you, but just irony.

You even made me think of the past, of these "peaceful" years when the "good Russians" who had 1000 military bases around the Globe attempted to "secure" the other "good guys," Cubans, with missiles just around the corner of the world's Freedom spring: U.S.A.

They still have 1000 military bases:

Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, Iran, plenty of ex-Soviet countries which still love the Soviet past against their peopleãs will, sheikhs, friendly Muslim countries from Asia to Africa.

All these are military bases in different places, but against only one target: U.S.A. and the rest of the free world.

So, 100 military bases are really nothing compared to their 1000 cultural and military snake holes they still have.

...So, that's why you see a Putin's "improvement."

I wonder how can you describe ãthe current American federal regime as state socialism little different from Venezuelaã as you write, but you cannot see that todayãs Russia continues to have the same KGB format of the past.

I really felt embarrassed when I read that you dared to call America a regime. I think that your argumentation crosses the lineã Nevertheless, you see, this not a regime, but a Free American site. Would they (your Russian friends) give you the same chance to talk like this against their policy and their country?

No!

America did. America does.

Concerning the Bush Administration comment of yours, I believe exactly the opposite.

They have done a Great job if you consider that they had to deal with 9/11 (worldwide terrorism), Afghanistan and Iraq. This may be one of the most difficult historical periods ever.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
May 30, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

1. Z, you keep skipping decades or omitting secondary decision platforms in what you present. Originally the conversation covered the seventies, not the eighties or nineties. This provides a different platform of conversation completely as you alter premises to suit your pattern of thought. You are very much Like an ideological expert, propaganda expert or politician. You remind me of officers who never had boots to the ground, but know their advise or orders are one hundred precent correct. If it fails, just change platform and show where it has in the past or move on to another time frame where your position would provide new premise to support a view that is altered from the original. Thus, you cannot be wrong. Ego and vanity are what put America where it is now.

2. CUBA: Why should the US have even done anything for Cuba? You still avoid the Narcotics completely and the NARCO dollar and how Castro fit in. In the 70s, the NARCO Dollar was equal to the Oil Dollar, gold came third. You must know this is the only value Cuba ever had after Russia no longer had any value in them beyond aggravating the situation in South America. He nickeled and dimed his personal existence as a leader at the expense of his people. Truthfully, I doubt the American Government wanted to open the door to a free trade of narcotics where Cuba was concerned. Restriction helped regulate. What about Hulls intell report in 2001 Z? Castro openly supports the FARC and the ETA. Basque ETA terrorists have residence AND SANCTUARY in Cuba. These are wanted international fugitives for terrorist activities in Spain and possibly elsewhere. Castro would not sign the Ibero-American papers condemning these organizations either. Even IRA terrorist moved to Cuba in the 70s. He is a leader who has a long history of supporting terrorism or any fugitive who would pay the price to reside there. That alone constitutes embargos in the least. The people should have done what he did in taking back their country. He was no better than Batiste in the long run for his people, worst actually.

Lets us review what the mighty Castro said in 1959: January 1, 1959 In Santiago de Cuba, Oriente Province, Castro makes a victorious speech which includes the following: This time the revolution will not be frustrated! This time, fortunately for Cuba, the revolution will achieve its true objective. It will not be like 1898, when the Americans came and made themselves masters of the country. HE DID ONE WONDERFUL JOB FOR HIS PEOPLE, DID HE NOT?

3. QUOTE: Ideological solidarity is not enough to overcome Russia's superior position in energy products or China's rapidly growing industrial sector. It takes action, goals, and a vision of America as a free country, not mere words of dependency on a "global community" and other Marxist dialog, to turn America around and point us in the right direction. The remaining question is whether it is too late, whether Congress and the Federal Reserve has run America into a financial iceberg from which the ship of state must sink. END QUOTE. What have I been saying all along with this and other blog notations? We have a Congress who was asleep at the wheel for decades, not one administration.

I agree totally, if our Congress acted as Putin, we would never have been in this situation. Saddly, as far as CONCERN for its citizens on a National level of representation, Russia wins hands down. My father always said: How can anyone who does not have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, much less a job, represent anyone. Why should they care? - It seems POP was much smarter than I. and tell me, why should they?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 3, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I don't think lifting the embargo would be showing solidarity with the Cuban people, but I would suggest that the restrictions on trade inherent in the provisions be re-examined and updated to be more in line with the "smart sanctions" philosophy instituted so as not to directly affect the opening up of a society to the modern era and the precepts of freedom that come as a result of cultural exchange.

Tools of communication are just a start.

Even if Raul Castro were to wake up tommorow and see the writing on the wall, a democratic transition in Cuba would take awhile ( years) to complete, for the institutions of democracy to be built, and for the people to ready themselves for participation in government.

Raul won't be around forever like his brother, and if he's smart, and looking to plan an orderly transition, then I would say all things are on the table for negotiation, including Cuba's status as a state sponsor of terror and the embargo itself.

I think it will be a question of what he wishes the Castro legacy to read in the final chapter, when historians years from now describe the history of Cuba and its relations with the US.

The status quo isn't exactly viable for the long term, and change is inevitable. The "global community" of nations exist as reality, not as "marxist rhetoric".

Unless Joe from Tenn. thinks Mr. Bush is a "closet Communist"....(chuckle), because he's a proven internationalist.

Which makes a lot of sense when you consider that the basic job description involved in "Cowboy Diplomacy" is that of mending fences and leading the heard to greener pastures.

The disconect Congress has with the American people is manifest for many reasons, not just because on their salary they don't have to worry 'bout the next meal, but I don't think any one of them would claim job security in the face of public response to their lack of results on our behalf where it concerns domestic issues.

And if the only criteria for electability were not having a job and wondering about bread on the table, then I would have qualified for Joe's vote at 9:00 am this morning, but by 10:30 would have had to disqualify myself as a few phone calls generated a month's worth of work w/ working capital to start in advance.

Now if Congress were truly running the economy into the ground, I wouldn't have been able to do that. It's folks like ENRON that have done more harm to my economic picture over the years than all the dysfunctionality of partisan politics combined.

And that's as far off the topic as I'll go here at the moment in addressing Joe's domestic agenda on this forum.

Zharkov
|
United States
June 8, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A writes:

1. Raul Castro is not Fidel and Raul should not be punished for his brother's sins.

2. Fidel was impossible, but Raul is more reasonable, so why not try?

3. Evidence of Congress wrecking our economy is there for all to see - just look at the value of the dollar today, the approval rating of Congress, the shadow government statistics, and the smoking remains of our airline, banking, and industrial sectors, among other indicators, and maybe we will need Cuba more that it needs us if they succeed in deep water drilling off the Florida coast.

4. When Obama takes the White House, the Cuban embargo will be lifted. Why not prepare diplomatically now? We all know it is going to happen.

5. This isn't the 1950's or 1960's, and Marxists now have control of Congress, and we don't embargo them, do we?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 9, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Zharkov,

1. If Raul perpetuates his brother's ideological mindset, then the parameters dictating cause and effect will not change.

2. Please cite any evidence that Raul is "more reasonable" in real concrete terms.

3. I don't think Sen. Obama will reward bad behavior any more than Pres. George Bush would in Cuba's case.

4. International markets directly effect the exchange rate of the US dollar, not Congress. If they fail to anticipate future economic needs and restrict development of energy resources, then it can be fairly said that they are part of the problem, but not the proven instigator. congress does have the potential to become part of the solution.

5. As far as labels go, one may accurately use the term "dysfunctional" where it concerns Congressional norms and partisan political mindset, but I don't think "Marxist" is in anyway accurate.

You are of course, perfectly welcome to cite solid evidence to try and convince me, but you'll have to do better than this if you expect to do so.

Zharkov
|
United States
June 9, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

1. If Raul kept all of the same policies as Fidel, then I would agree with you but he did not. Did you know that Raul has allowed farmers to begin selling their produce for free market prices? For the first time since the revolution, farmers in Cuba are actually making a profit.

Raul accepts some of the dissent in Cuba and is testing the idea of emulating China's model, perhaps a bit too slowly for us, but he seems headed in the right direction. This is why I believe Raul is more reasonable. You want him to sign a pledge to become a capitalist? If the State Dept. wants him to do more, why not give him our wish list instead of punishing him for trying something new?

2. If you pay sufficient attention to Obama and his close advisors, you will learn their views on Cuba and I think you will discover they are different from the current policies.

3. Any economist will tell you that the value of the dollar rests on America's productive capacity along with the amount of dollars being printed. When Congress diminished our industrial sector with frivolous regulation and oppressive taxation, thereby chasing factories out of America and into Mexico, China, and beyond, the value of the dollar was certain to fall, and to further diminish our national wealth, the Federal Reserve has bloated our money supply beyond all rationality. International exchange rates merely reflect what has already happened.

4. If you do not keep up with what Congressional representatives are saying and doing, you won't know that Marxism is the message out of Capitol Hill. Did you miss the vote to have America's rivers and streams nationalized, whether navigable or not? Did you miss the threat to nationalize America's oil companies?

It is not your fault, Eric, because the problem in America is that most Americans are not paying attention to what their Congressional representatives have been doing, so Congress gets away with all kinds of sleezy tricks they would never attempt if our news media accurately reported it. We still operate on blind patriotism, hoping our representatives are doing their job. Well, guess what? They are not. I wish they were.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 10, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Ok Zharkov, I'll buy that. Raul Castro has accepted the already existing free market and private buisinessmen of Cuba's thriving black market, and farmers are now included. Great.

Why is it do you suppose, that it takes decades for Communist economic ideology in general to finally realize its true nature to be inherently Capitalist? Thus, I don't need any signature from him to know what is what.

I mean think about it, we had to have a cold war to get folks out of the "capitalist closet"? Or did they simply make that fundemental realization on their own because it was in the end, litterally throwing billions of Rubles down the toilet?

It is said America has no permanent enemies, and far be it for me to be a proponent of the status quo. I think it can be fairly said there is no policy created by a human in government that cannot be improved upon to better serve the people as warranted.

Here's an idea of what would initiate a reassesment by the US gov. and it requires only two things on Raul's part to have instantaneously better relations with the US.

The first is for Raul -as a new head of state- to go before this upcoming UNGA, and re-ratify Cuba's commitment to the UN charter, and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Secondly and simultaneously approve the release and pardon of any and all non violent political prisoners to abide by his nation's word to the above.

Now that would convince me he was serious about having a better idea.

I think the US could come up with a few ideas ourselves on modifying the Cuba/US bilateral status quo if that happened, but I'm not holding my breath that Raul will make that leap of faith with his people.

I find it kind of ammusing folks sometimes think money is printed simply to print some. Well, money is paper, backed by government asset. Kind of fragile, so naturally it gets taken out of circulation when it gets damaged. Fluctuations in the total dollars floating out there in the global economy at any one time are natural, and adjustable.

But if you think the US is on the road Zimbabwe is on, think again.

Let me just say this...If my government were to build a refinery on a mothballed military base using taxpayer money as an investment in infrastructure and then turn around and sell it to the highest bidder among private US firms with percentage of royalties on profits going into taxpayer social programs, education and the like...I'd have no problem with that.

Why? because government personel wouldn't have the know how to operate it, and its best run by folks that do that for a living.

That's not Marxism, that's just common sense.

I'd have a hard time envisioning Teddy Roosevelt as a Marxist for "nationalizing" land and turning it into our national park system. So if someone wishes to turn every lake and stream into a national park in order to protect the habitat, that's not Marxist.

That more an American tradition of protecting the great outdoors.

I guess it's all about how you go about looking at stuff like this as to whether one considers ideas to be insideous or not.

Zharkov
|
United States
June 10, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

I supported the embargo against Castro's Cuba because Fidel nationalized private property, promised free elections after the revolution but never allowed anyone else to run for president of Cuba, and he allowed Soviet nuclear missiles into Cuba. The embargo seemed to be the least we could do, and I supported the Bay of Pigs invasion by Cubans who wanted their country back.

Times have changed, and we now see what free trade can do to change countries from communist to capitalist. It's time to give Cuba the same opportunity we gave to China.

Free trade with Cuba will either work out well or badly, but we know for certain the embargo did not do the job of convincing Cuba to abandon Marxist socialism. There is no point in continuing a futile embargo.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 11, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Times do indeed change, and if the embargo was placed on the Castro brothers for being dangerously stupid back in the day, I suppose they have mellowed with age in some respects since.

Question is, have they become any wiser?

.

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