Category Archives: Cuba


So Fidel Castro is dead – well it’s about time. His “revolution” plunged the island nation of Cuba into a 50-year nightmare. Cuban citizens were stripped of all rights (speech, assembly, movement, property, etc.) and reborn as slaves on Fidel’s Cuban plantation. His lapdog, brother Raúl, was his remorseless enforcer (so do not expect much to change until Raúl is dead as well.) To those with the audacity to oppose either, cold-blooded murder was the response. To those that attempted escape, death on the high seas was the prevailing fate. To those that remained, a life of poverty and servitude to the state was the best one could hope for. Castro’s crimes against humanity are on par with those of Pol Pot, Pinochet, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and every other petty dictator who believes the path to unanimity and consent is to kill all those that disagree.

But while those dictators are (mostly) vilified by the popular media, for some grotesque reason Castro is nearly universally held in high regard by today’s ruling class and ivory tower academics. Then again perhaps it should be unsurprising; they are all cut from the same statist cloth. They differ only in degree, not kind. Would that they could get away with Castro’s methods they’d do so in a heartbeat. Those darn pesky constitutions keep getting in their way. But the people aren’t stupid. We the common folk know what kind of monster Castro was.

If you are still struggling to understand why Trump won, look no further than the difference between his response to Castro’s death and Obama’s. Obama wrote the following: “At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

Talk about whitewashed apologia for a dictator! Obama turns ambiguity into an art form. Assuming you knew nothing about Castro would the reader take away from this that he was a murderous dictator that executed thousands of his own people (yes I suppose murdering someone would alter the course of their life)? Or that he put homosexuals in slave labor camps to “cure” them? Or that he forbade his citizens to leave the country, turning into a Caribbean Alcatraz? This insipid portrayal insults the memory of those that gave their lives opposing him as much as portraying Hitler as an “important figure in unifying Europe and whose aspirations eventually propelled the founding of the state of Israel” would insult the memory of those that died in his concentration camps.

Now, here’s what Donald Trump said: “Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.”

Any questions?

If I had a hammer…

This past week President Obama did a stunning impression of Ron Paul as he outlined a change in US policy toward Cuba. This new, friendlier stance is one Dr. Paul has advocated for years. Nice to see Mr. Obama finally coming around to Ron’s ideas. Perhaps next week Obama will announce an audit of the Federal Reserve! Although I don’t agree with the president about very much, he deserves to be commended for making a move that runs counter to the status quo. Introducing this new policy, Mr. Obama pointed out all the same facts that Dr. Paul brought up in the 2012 debates; primarily that after 50 years the embargo has been an abject failure in its goal of bringing about the downfall of the Castro regime. On its face the policy makes little sense given that the US has strong diplomatic ties and allows trade with other autocratic Communist regimes (China, Vietnam, Venezuela, etc.).

Yes, Castro is a monster, a cruel tyrant that has directly or indirectly, murdered, tortured and stolen from countless thousands of fellow Cubans. In a very real sense the Castro regime is running an island-size plantation; Cubans are in many respects slaves to their government. So it is understandable why Cubans living in the US would be opposed to trade with Cuba. Doing so is tantamount to buying cotton from a slave plantation. So in theory, cutting off trade seems like a moral and pragmatic idea. It is neither. The empirical evidence of the last 50 years shows us its failure at undermining the Castro regime (if anything it has supported the regime, as the embargo was used as the scapegoat for the failures of the communist system). And although trade restraint might be a moral decision if made by the individual, when the option to make that choice is forced upon us by our government, the morality of this course is drained away. It is OUR right to choose whether or not we will trade or associate with someone, not governments.

This change in policy has more to do with how the governments of each country interact with each other and little to do with what the citizens of those countries are permitted to do. For Cubans, all the same government restrictions on basic economic and social freedoms will remain in place. For Americans there will be an ever so slight loosening of the collar that holds back truly free and unrestricted trade. The hypocrisy of this policy, even in its slightly more liberal state, is laughable. It seeks to punish a tyrannical state that subjugates its citizens by subjugating the rights of citizens in this country. The citizens of both countries are but mere pawns in the game of their masters.

While President Obama is heading in the right direction now, it is a tepid first step at best. If Obama is serious about making a true change, he must pressure Congress to repeal the Helms-Burton Act (1996)  (this act makes it impossible for the President to unilaterally repeal the embargo – thank you President Clinton!). Once repealed, Mr. Obama could finally end the embargo once and for all.

Although ending the embargo would certainly benefit the Castro regime, the benefits to the Cuban people would overwhelm any short-lived financial windfall to the government. They cannot levy a tax on information. Through tourism and business there would be a cross-pollination of knowledge that would fuel the fire of change. Once lit, that fire spreads rapidly, nor is it easily quenched. For example, it is has been proposed that the TV show “Dallas” played a pivotal role in cracking part of the Iron Curtain. Back in the late 1980’s “Dallas” was shown on Romanian state television because the state thought it would engender distaste for the decadence of the west. But it backfired. Once exposed to the possibility of wealth, the people wanted that same opportunity for themselves (income equality sucks when everyone is poor). The lies of state propaganda are the dam that holds back the truth. It takes much effort to build and maintain, but once a crack develops nothing will stop the truth from breaking free and spreading. If only our government will allow it, the American people could be the hammers that crack the Castro’s dam of lies.