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Well the vote is in, and now we have lost Palau. 22nd annual slam dunk contest ends 188:2.

The U.N. will vote tomorrow [Edit: now today] on whether to condemn the U.S. blockade of Cuba. The world anxiously awaits to see if Palau will once again join the U.S. and Israel as the only nations in the world to oppose the lifting of the blockade. While the Obama administration has lifted some restrictions on travel and sending remittances, it also has contradicted these policy improvements with a counterproductive and unfair $2.5 billion in fines against embargo violators, domestic and foreign, so that what is called a U.S. embargo may be fairly called a U.S.-forced blockade.

I strongly support ending the blockade. The blockade is truth-squandering. I read the anti-Castro commenters at the blogs like Yoani Sanchez's excellent Generation Y, English edition. They write from places outside Cuba about the blockade as being not even an embargo because of all of the supposed loopholes, but at the same time, they oppose lifting it without meaningfully justifying their position. If it truly is as toothless as they say, then by all means, let's do what the U.N. says every year by an overwhelming majority and lift the blockade.

I am a strong proponent of democracy and human rights in Cuba and around the world. I have taken grief at Daily Kos because of my strongly worded expressions of disapproval at the government of Venezuela for to some degree going in the wrong direction on human rights. Even in the aftermath of the attempted rightwing coup it was and is important for the Venezuelan government to protect the political and civil rights of the opposition. (The same goes for Cuba, but also for China, Saudi Arabia, etc., places with which we are happy to trade.) I have tried to express creatively the fact that human rights violations on the left disparage the lessons we should have learned from the past.

At the same time, I have defended Venezuela's right to determine its own course without U.S. interference. The same goes for Cuba and all of the Caribbean and Latin America. While the blockade is a Cold War relic, even more so I believe it is a neocolonial blight on the reputation of the U.S. At the behest of U.S. business interests, the Platt Amendment was forced down Cuba's throat in 1903 by the U.S., which had supposedly helped to liberate Cuba from Spain. The Helms-Burton Act, aka "Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996," further made express the U.S.'s free market designs for Cuba, its intent to restore the neocolonial business and property interests of the corporations and wealthy elites who pre-Castro had their way on the island, and its refusal to allow the Cuban revolutionary leadership to have a role in any transition to democracy in the country they freed from U.S., Cuban oligarchic, and mafia control.

According to Ted Cruz, "We need 100 more like Jesse Helms" in the senate. If that does not tell you which side to be on, I don't know what more could.

And while we are ending the blockade, we should get out of Gitmo too. Not just the detention camp, where the U.S. stained its reputation with torture and other human rights abuses--we should also give the people of Cuba back their 45 square miles of land and water where the naval station is, which we took with a bogus lease that was part of the disgustingly exploitative Platt Amendment. That would really upset Cruz and a few other crazies, but it is the right thing to do. Let's do the right thing with Cuba for a change-110 years of U.S. oppression is long enough.

5:30 PM PT: Please see my response to Sky Net below regarding the important difference between ending the blockade, which I support, and what should thereafter be Cuba's trade policy with the U.S., which should be up to Cuba.

Tue Oct 29, 2013 at  9:03 AM PT: Please see the thread below with Vegas Dave and lotlizard about an idea for Cuba, on its own terms and free of U.S. meddling, to transition to constitutional democratic socialism. The blockade/Helms-Burton/U.S. meddling/democracy-lite/neoliberal or else/"market economy" or else approach has been a disaster and to continue it would be counterproductive to the true cause of democracy and human rights in Cuba and around the world.


Originally posted to Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 04:24 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (44+ / 0-)

    My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

    by Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 04:24:01 PM PDT

  •  Promises, votes and flowers (6+ / 0-)

    In South Florida, the "historicos" are still waiting. The almost-free land they got from the government to grow their Florida sugar (making them enormously rich) is now almost useless, and the deal (to buy it back from them to miraculously "restore" the Everglades and make them fabulously rich as they "return") is looking pretty hard. (The tea party isn't so hot on bucks for even pseudo-environmental projects.).

    So the historicos keep voting Republican and waiting for Castro to disappear.

  •  free market (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Galtisalie
    The Helms-Burton Act, aka "Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996," further made express the U.S.'s free market designs for Cuba, its intent to restore the neocolonial business and property interests of the corporations and wealthy elites who pre-Castro had their way on the island, and its refusal to allow the Cuban revolutionary leadership to have a role in any transition to democracy in the country they freed from U.S., Cuban oligarchic, and mafia control.
    If you think the US is planning to restore neocolonialism to Cuba, why are you so determined to reopen trade and investment there?

    Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

    by Sky Net on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:12:34 PM PDT

    •  Good question. It is important not to confuse (8+ / 0-)

      lifting the blockade, which I support, with what Cuba should do once the blockade is lifted, which should be up to Cuba. That would be much better decided if Cuba were not authoritarian, but it is still Cuba's decision to evaluate:

      As long as Cuba is not a democratic socialist country, but rather is a state monopoly capitalist country, its ability to represent the best interest of the people in matters of trade is highly suspect. Party leaders may (or may not) skim off revenues generated by the imported goods rather than equitably using the revenues for the people. A “free” Cuba should not in my opinion necessarily be a “free-trading” Cuba, anymore than any other country should be. Any international trade outside a social compact should be undertaken only with great care. I am not for neoliberal free trade that benefits capitalists and may actually harm the people overall by, among other things, harming the ability of a country to ensure that the basic needs of all of its people are met. Neoliberal-created or enlarged slums of desperate people the world over are evidence of free-trade’s potential harmful effects.

      Food is one area where unbridled dependency on imports is highly problematic. Food is a justice and security issue of the first order. I place a lot of emphasis on the concept of “workers’ gardens” because I believe it makes sense as a matter of soil science, sustainability, and social planning to allow everyone the opportunity to grow at least some of their own food. Often-times, as with Dominican Republic food imports, free trade can foster unhealthy levels of dependency, hegemony, and other harmful effects. (See my photo and discussion of “Harina Blanquita.”) It can engender an alienated and vulnerable people fully dependent upon capitalist-provided hiring and adequate wages to buy food. (Adequate jobs and wages will not materialize for all people, leading to acts of desperation such as crime and prostitution. In times of broader capitalist crises such as recessions and depressions, ever-present capitalist desperation merely becomes more widespread.) It can effectively drive small domestic food producers out of business and into urban slums, run counter to a peasant-friendly land distribution, and contribute to a large-scale export-driven limited-commodity agricultural sector, one that in turn might be driven toward non-food production (bioenergy, for instance) or be susceptible to international land-grabs. It can put people out of work, lower traditional crop production, and make customary varied diets less accessible, leading to health problems and micronutrient deficiency even if consumption of protein and calories is adequate.

      That does not mean that I am always against food trade and never for large-scale industrial agricultural production. Bread baskets of the world must be fully utilized (but much more sustainably than is currently done). Soil is a critical global resource that must be carefully stewarded to meet everyone’s basic needs. I believe a robust international entity such as a modified U.N. needs to be capable of participating in this stewarding to make sure that no one is left hungry and vulnerable. All the Caribbean islands import most of their food, and the world is full of hungry people who have to eat. However, as I discuss in A Winding Path to Workers’ Gardens/Un camino de bobina a jardines de trabajadores, to its credit, Cuba is the one island doing a good job of obtaining a high level of sustainable domestic food production, particularly with respect to fruits and vegetables. It is allowing more and more small-scale farming operations to use otherwise idle good arable land, empowering the farmers to work hard and receive material incentives for their high production. It would not be good for Cuba to lose these gains.

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:23:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Galtisalie - is it really a blockade? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Galtisalie, nextstep, Shockwave, ColoTim

        Blockade usually means stopping any ships from entering a port(s). I don't think the US Navy is stopping any vessels from entering Cuban ports.

        Do you mean the embargo where US goods can't be shipped to Cuba?

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:34:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another good question. Here is what the (4+ / 0-)

          Reuters article cited above says about that. It is a "blockade" in my opinion, and certainly Cuba's, which does not necessarily require a militarily-forced blockade, but can also relate to economic duress placed on companies that may be tempted to violate it.

          Obama has lifted some restrictions on travel and on the sending of remittances to the island, but Moreno said the embargo and its enforcement had been broadened in other areas.

          "The blockade not only is being maintained, but strengthened in some aspects," Moreno charged.

          "I ask what right does the United States have to sanction companies that are not North American," he said, charging that since Obama took office in 2009, fines against embargo violators, domestic and foreign, had dramatically increased and totaled $2.5 billion to date.

          Cuba says the embargo is a blockade because it punishes third country companies for doing business with Havana.

          Many critics of Cuba's one-party system, including dissidents on the island, also have called for lifting the embargo, saying it is counter-productive.

          My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

          by Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:39:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We have every right to tell foreign companies that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hmi

            they must choose between doing business with the US or Cuba.

            •  The "right" would be wrong in that case, (0+ / 0-)

              as all of the nations of the world except three will likely remind the U.S. of today.

              My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

              by Galtisalie on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 03:38:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Is that an 'inalienable' right? (5+ / 0-)

              Given to our nation from on high by our anti-communist Supreme Being?

              "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

              by Crider on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 05:32:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, just basic national sovereignty (0+ / 0-)

                We have no obligation to let any particular foreign company do business with or in the US.

                •  Well, not until all the free trade treaties (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AuroraDawn

                  are signed.  Then, according to diaries here on DKos, the US will not have many legal rights to challenge companies from those other countries from doing business here.

                  •  Actually, EU has used the WTO's dispute resolution (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sky Net

                    process against the US on this issue.

                    The back and forth has been very complex, but apparently for now the US has the upper hand.

                    The jeremiads on DK claiming that WTO and similar free trade agreements run rough shod over US sovereignty are rather exaggerated.

                    •  Gitmo and the blockade of Cuba are not about (0+ / 0-)

                      a trade dispute. It is important that trade issues with Cuba be put on an equal playing field with the rest of the world. Many complexities exist in international trade, and many injustices. None of this excuses putting Cuba on a special blockade list. None of it excuses the continuing occupation of Gitmo under an unjust 1903 lease deeply resented by Cubans.

                      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

                      by Galtisalie on Wed Oct 30, 2013 at 05:50:13 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  "el bloqueo" (5+ / 0-)

          In Cuba, the word used is the cognate of "blockade." But in practice it is an embargo.

          What makes it more like a blockade is that the US has exerted extreme pressure on other countries and non-US companies to try to prevent them from trading with Cuba either. It's been wildly ineffective (you can buy Coca-Cola -- from Coca-Cola Mexico -- everywhere on the island, computers from Asia preloaded with Microsoft software, and pirated first-run US movies with Spanish dubbing). But Congress (thanks to its hardline Cuban-exile members) keeps trying to control all trade in and out of Cuba, not just US-based.

      •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

        I see your point, but you seem to be walking back on the usefulness of lifting the embargo.  If you want strict restrictions on trade and investment, there doesn't seem to be much point.  I'm sure you're not in favor of having US workers compete with Cuban workers that make $12/month, and if you don't want the US to export food to Cuba, there's not much left of an economic relationship.  Tourism, I suppose, but that's it.

        Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

        by Sky Net on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:41:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  $2.5 billion is a lot of fines. That is fact, (5+ / 0-)

          and not insignificant. I am not for Cuban workers making widgets for slave wages to export to the U.S., any more than I am for Chinese or Indonesian workers doing the same. We need a global social contract. I appreciate the complexity of the trade issues, especially regarding any impacts of trade on U.S. workers. Worker protection is not the basis for the U.S. blockade or most of what the U.S. does internationally.

          I am not an expert on the Cuba-U.S. trade issues, but I have looked a fair amount at the DR-U.S. trade relationship, and I would hope that it would not emulate that relationship.

          I think that U.S. sugar imports from Cuba could be a big economic issue, and on the U.S. side, guest workers are heavily exploited, while on the Cuba side, by Cuba's low wage standards, I am told that they incentivize Cuban sugar cane workers' pay based on productivity. I also think that Florida hotels and resorts, and other Caribbean resorts could be fearing the competition. I think that travel is actually a big deal for that reason, as it would be much bigger if U.S. citizens were freely able to vacation in Cuba.

          The complexities you raise are real, but I maintain that they do not excuse the blockade (much less Gitmo's existence).

          My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

          by Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:55:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Also, I am not against food exports from (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bisbonian, flowerfarmer, lotlizard

          the U.S. to Cuba per se, but against the collapse of domestic food production and healthy diets, which happened in the DR. No island in the Caribbean is food self-sufficient, but Cuba is a lot better than any other comparable place on that issue. The U.S. exports to Mexico have driven a lot of people off the farm and into urban slums, and many to the U.S., where they, like the Haitians in the DR, work harassed and in limbo, without political or civil rights.

          My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

          by Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 06:05:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Cuba is a repressive oligarchy (0+ / 0-)
      its refusal to allow the Cuban revolutionary leadership to have a role in any transition to democracy
      Any future transition to democracy will likely be over the dead bodies of much of the current "revolutionary leadership".  The rest of them are welcome to whatever constructive roles they care to play from within the confines of their well deserved jail cells.
      •  That is exactly the non-constructive thinking (6+ / 0-)

        that goes into freezing the U.S. into the past for another 54 years and having Helms-Burton as an embarrassing part of U.S. law. How are they supposed to transition to democratic socialism when U.S. law says (1) they are not allowed to help in the transition; and (2) oh by the way, any transition must be to a free-market economy? Dissidents in Cuba want the blockade ended now. The blockade should end. The communist leadership in Cuba will indeed face a choice, of whether to (a) reform socialism to go to constitutional democratic socialism; or (b) abandon/sell-out socialism and adopt austerity and become a new Hispaniola, as Jeffrey D. Sachs would have them do, but it will be their choice, not Jesse Helms's or U.S. citizens still fighting the Cold War. I do not in any way excuse violations of human rights, but truth and reconciliation also must be determined by Cuba, not the U.S. There are many ways to truth and reconciliation.

        My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

        by Galtisalie on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 03:33:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wrong on many counts (0+ / 0-)
          U.S. law says (1) they are not allowed to help in the transition
          Of course not.  How can they help in the transition to democracy when they will be dead or in prison?

          That's like talking about Ceausescu helping in the transition of Romania to democracy.  Hard after he faced a firing squad.

          oh by the way, any transition must be to a free-market economy
          I challenge you to point to the US law that requires this.
          but it will be their choice, not Jesse Helms's or U.S. citizens still fighting the Cold War
          No.  Their choices will be to die fighting or surrender and then to plead guilty or demand trials for their crimes.
          I do not in any way excuse violations of human rights, but truth and reconciliation also must be determined by Cuba, not the U.S.
          Truth is fine, but why would the people of Cuba be interested in reconciliation with their tormentors?  
          •  Helms-Burton is replete with references (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lotlizard, AuroraDawn

            to the requirement for a "market economy" to satisfy the U.S. After all this was among the great crimes of the Cuban government, in the eyes of Senator Helms at least. As per SEC. 2 "Findings":

            (3) The Castro regime has made it abundantly clear that it will not engage in any substantive political
            reforms that would lead to democracy, a market economy, or an economic recovery.
            For Senator Helms types, and perhaps you, democracy is synonymous with a market economy:
            SEC. 206. REQUIREMENTS FOR DETERMINING A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED
            GOVERNMENT.
            For purposes of this Act, a democratically elected government in Cuba, in addition to meeting the
            requirements of section 205(a), is a government which--
            *
            (3) is substantially moving toward a market-oriented economic system based on the right to own
            and enjoy property
            ;
            There is nothing mysterious about this. It is part of the modus operandi of U.S. trade relations with former socialist countries. Interestingly, even proponents of this market-based outcome are against the blockade: See the Washington University School of Law journal article entitled, "THE HELMS-BURTON ACT: A STEP IN THE WRONG DIRECTION FOR UNITED STATES POLICY TOWARD CUBA." The reason the U.S. government, and the business interests that run it, promote "democracy"-lite, like we have in the U.S., is so that it can obtain investment treaties that accomplish the following:
            The [Poland] BIT “established two foreign policy strategies: (1) to encourage the
            development of pro-investor international legal norms; and (2) to promote free-market economic
            reforms.”
            (Id. at n. 120, p. 234.)

            My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

            by Galtisalie on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 07:54:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  and what is China? (5+ / 0-)

        besides a Most Favored Trade "Partner"

        Through early morning fog I see visions of the things to be the pains that are withheld for me I realize and I can see...

        by Keith930 on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 03:40:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If the Cuban oligarchy can manage their economy (0+ / 0-)

          as well as the Chinese have for the past 30 years we'll probably have to end up accommodating them as well.  Luckily, that seems highly unlikely.

          •  If Cuba had 1.3 billion potential consumers (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Galtisalie, AuroraDawn

            The U.S. would care one iota how the Cuban "oligarchy" managed their economy (or their people, for that matter).

            Through early morning fog I see visions of the things to be the pains that are withheld for me I realize and I can see...

            by Keith930 on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 08:10:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't be silly (0+ / 0-)

              No one cared about China's 1 billion potential consumers until the 90s when their economy started booming.

              •  Actually, U.S. corporations desperately want full (0+ / 0-)

                access to Cuba's 11 million plus population, so that it can be converted into a dependent country, just like the DR, with its population of 9 million plus. The only thing stopping that is the balance of power in the Republican Party currently still tilts slightly to the dying out Anti-Castro hardcore because of the importance of Florida in winning national elections. If Cuba were as big as China, or even as big as Mexico, I have little doubt that the transnational business elite part of the Republican Party would win out. For now the status quo persists in the Republican Party.

                The question for Democrats if the U.S. should continue embarrassing itself with its hypocritical neocolonialism in front of the whole world through its Cuba policy because a small part of the rump of the minority party says so.

                My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

                by Galtisalie on Wed Oct 30, 2013 at 06:14:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  I'm wondering about Vietnam here as well. n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  I agree. And I am so afraid. They are communist (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Galtisalie, claude, AuroraDawn

        too dontcha know?  As the worlds last corrupt oligarchy,  they must be brought down or the terrorists win!!!!

        The rules to monopoly are fair and apply equally to all. So what is your problem with joining a game-in-progress where all the properties are bought and the bank is empty...???

        by ban48 on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 03:54:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Depends on your definition (7+ / 0-)

        I was there several years ago on the day (Sunday) they were voting for the provincial assembly, with a hotly contested local race and lots of heated discussions about who people were voting for. I'm sure there are limits to dissent, but there is also a lot more popular engagement than "repressive oligarchy" implies. And many of the policy changes have been forced by changes on the ground -- so many people were buying food directly from farmers, illegally, that the government was forced to legalize that through a system of farmers' markets.

        If you want to see "repressive oligarchy," look at pre-Castro Cuba, when it was governed by the military plus the NY-NJ Mafiosi, with the full support of the US government.

        •  Recommending; however, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          claude, AuroraDawn

          the repression in Cuba, like China, is real and should end. Same can be said for Saudi Arabia.

          My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

          by Galtisalie on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 05:12:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The United States is a repressive oligarchy (5+ / 0-)

        We have far more percentage of our citizens rotting away in prisons than Cuba does. Just try being black and dare to mouth off to a cop.

        Our government has been captured by the wealthiest corporate interests and also by a few true oligarchs — billionaires whose self-interests are at extreme odds with a well-functioning society. And our own citizenry are so duped that they actually believe they can vote away the oligarchy!

        "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

        by Crider on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 05:52:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  hmmm? (0+ / 0-)
        Cuba is a repressive oligarchy
        you may not have noticed yet,  but readers here like to see back-up references to document extraordinary claims.

        don't always believe what you think

        by claude on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 12:47:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree. It should have ended a long time ago (4+ / 0-)

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 06:36:39 PM PDT

  •  the U.S. should carry on trading, travel, etc. (5+ / 0-)

    with all countries, and otherwise stop screwing around. Jesus, you're over 200 years old, grow up already.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 06:49:54 PM PDT

  •  Here's an old Navy take on Gitmo (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, Galtisalie, Buckeye54

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 07:21:31 PM PDT

  •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)

    Rethinking the embargo and reworking our policy towards Cuban refugees should be part of any immigration reform negotiations.

    •  Recommending because I think we share the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude, tle

      same sentiments, but I do want to make my opinions clear in a few respects, although hopefully these things go without saying:
      1. I am greatly sympathetic to the Cuban refugees, and rather than seeing them lose rights, I would like to see other refugees and immigrants in the U.S. gain all the rights of citizenship that Cuban refugees enjoy. I do not want any human beings treated in the U.S. the way the DR is treating persons of Haitian descent.
      2. I realize that Helms-Burton probably has to be revoked to do all that needs to be done to fix the misguided policies of the U.S. toward Cuba, but a lot of good can be done by the Obama Administration even without revoking that terrible neocolonial act, and all that can be done, should be done immediately, unilaterally, and without preconditions or negotiations with or within the U.S. Congress or externally with the Cuban government. It is time for President Obama to get engaged and serious about finally resolving the Cuba issues (when he is not desperately trying to save the food stamp program and handling any number of other truly essential issues on our collective U.S. and global plates), and I think that the vast majority of the U.S. people will support him if he works for the things I have tried to outline.
      3. I hate to even think about negotiations with or within Congress. I do not think the Tea Party will allow anything sensible to happen regarding immigration. I hope that I am wrong, but I think that may have to await a better Congress, hopefully coming in 2014. And, specifically as to Cuba, where there are many actual communists, not all of whom are bad by any means: as far as the Tea Party goes every Democrat is a communist, so I do not expect anything good to come from the Tea Party in any respects, but especially toward Cuba. And since they control the Republican Party, except in extreme situations where Boehner has no choice but to depend on Democratic votes, these will remain tough times for sensible policies making it through Congress, including on issues of Cuba and immigration.  

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 10:19:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gotcha (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Galtisalie, MPociask, claude, tle, AuroraDawn

        Let me clarify one thing, too.  
        My biggest problem is the lack of consistency - it's the bias against the "bad, lazy immigrants" (who vote Democratic) coming in from Mexico with the simultaneous bias in favor of the "good, industrious immigrants" (who vote Republican) coming in from Cuba.   So I agree with your Point #1.   It should be made clear that IF we go down the road towards harsher anti-immigration laws (what so many on the right want) there will NOT be special exemptions for Republican-voting Cuban immigrants who have such an unproportional influence on US politics.  I much prefer your way - but if it goes the other way - no more special treatment for Cuba (or for white European immigrants either, which is rarely mentioned).

        •  Excellent points. I am so glad you also (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AuroraDawn

          mentioned the racism and other biases in immigration laws.

          My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

          by Galtisalie on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 08:30:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Galtisalie - I don't think the Tea Party cares (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AuroraDawn

        a whit about our Cuba policy. They want a smaller federal government and lower taxes. However the GOP is too reliant on the Cuban immigrant vote in FL to allow any changes for at least one more generation.

        Personally I thing the embargo should have been lifted decades ago. It would have subjected Cuba to market forces that would be in the self-interest of the US and Cuban people.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 09:21:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "the GOP is too reliant ... to allow (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          claude, AuroraDawn

          any changes for at least one more generation." You are right--if it is up to the GOP, then nothing gets changed for the better, pretty much anywhere, anytime, on any issue, especially if it is a high-minded "liberal" idea--albeit one supported by in-Cuba dissidents we are supposed to be caring about as well as by the newer generation of Cuban ex-patriots.

          As a U.S. voter, I, with my one vote and my one voice, demand better than that. U.S. foreign policy should not be stuck in concrete for another generation because the minority party is placating an even smaller subpopulation than the Tea Party. Maybe you are right on much of the Tea Party, but certainly some of them do not seem like analytical libertarians but rather to be concerned about the Kenyan Marxist in the White House threatening their precious bodily fluids. Therefore, I do not want to underestimate that for President Obama to be accused of making nice with commies would take courage. He would also no doubt face pressure from some Democrats who are afraid of changing the status quo.

          I can only hope that he will have the courage to do the fair and rational thing, which I think will appeal to the vast majority of U.S. inhabitants: (a) lift as many aspects of the blockade as legally possible; (b) take as much action on Gitmo as legally possible; and (c) push for repeal of Helms-Burton and any other legal impediments to the complete ending of the blockade and closing of Gitmo. Last I checked, our "beloved and infallible" constitution does not offer ex-patriots with delusions of a restoration a veto.

          My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

          by Galtisalie on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 11:32:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have always favored ending the embargo (0+ / 0-)

            But I am for keeping the naval base at Guantanamo. It has important strategic value. I don't have a strong view on closing the prison for terrorists.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 04:28:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Uh uh. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AuroraDawn
          They want a smaller federal government and lower taxes.
          I think that "smaller federal government" claim is pure BS.  What they want is an ever metastasizing military, massive spying on the citizenry, and a federally supported, miltarized police, through "Homeland Security"; all part of a larger federal government.  

          As for taxes, I'll just say I trust them as much as I would Charles Manson.

          I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

          by tle on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 04:11:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  To clarify. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AuroraDawn

            I don't think it's your claim, but rather a continually-repeated trope that has been accepted as true.  And I call it BS, because it's a perversion of the truth, worse than a straightforward lie.  Sure, they want a smaller government; smaller in the areas they hate.

            I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

            by tle on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 04:23:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually the Tea Party does not approve of the NSA (0+ / 0-)

            spying activity and an ever expanding military. They do give the military a lot of leeway because to provide for the common defense is an enumerated power of the federal government. There are members of the Tea Party who you can find in any of the winger sub groups, but as an official organization they stay focused on a smaller federal government and lower taxes.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 04:25:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Embargo is a Cold War Relic (9+ / 0-)

    The impetus for the embargo seems to be driven by aging Cubans in Miami who somehow believe if the Castro's are overthrown, they will be welcomed back with open arms and magically get back the property nationalized over 50 years ago.

    Their children and grandchildren consider themselves Americans now and are not as interested in their parents and grandparents visions of past glory.

    The citizens of Cuba know who was responsible for the decades of economic turmoil caused by the embargo. After decades of doing everything they could to make a better life for themselves in spite of the hurdles thrown their way by the United States, what makes the exiles think they would be welcomed and allowed to reinstate the Oligarchy that existed before the revolution.

    Before the flames come my way, understand I did not support many of the things Fidel did after seizing power. But I also temper that with the knowledge that Cuba turned to the USSR when the US turned its back after the overthrow of the Oligarchy running the country before. A drowning man will look for help no matter the source. We are not blameless for what happened in the early years of the revolution.

    •  Salvador Allende *didn't* do what Fidel Castro did (6+ / 0-)

      … and look how he, along with the peaceful attempt in Chile to evolve in a socialist direction, ended up.

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

      by lotlizard on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 08:29:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Recommended-part of a long saga of tragedy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard, purplepenlady, AuroraDawn

        It would be nice if one day the U.S. would stop meddling in favor of capitalism. I keep waiting. In addition, the U.S. has plenty to work on--to democratize its own economy and improve on its own political democracy-lite (filibuster, gerrymandering, Speaker of the House power to control matters coming to a majority vote, voter protection, restoration of voting privileges to people who have served their time in prison, etc., etc., etc.) We cannot turn back the clock on anything. I hope that Cuba will turn the page and figure out a way, for its own sake, to move to constitutional democratic socialism, with multi-party elections and human rights. The blockade and Gitmo do not help in this regard. They are bad gifts from history that keep on giving and holding both sides in the past.

        My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

        by Galtisalie on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 08:46:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We need to dismantle all colonial... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Galtisalie, tle, AuroraDawn

    Trappings, neocolonial or otherwise.  The United States was founded on the principle of republican self-rule - and yet we occupy Cuba, we "protect" Puerto Rico and the USVI - what kind of democracy is that?  Either we believe that people should be allowed to vote for their leaders and implement their own policies, or we don't.

    Post World War II we made a dramatically wrong choice, when we embraced whatever authoritarian we could, so long as they opposed communism.  We chose security over liberty.  It was the wrong choice then, and is the wrong choice now.

    •  Well said. Please add to the list Palau ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask, lotlizard, arlene, AuroraDawn

      Sold by Spain to Germany, then taken over by Japan, then the U.S., which finally "freed it," in "free association" with the U.S. in 1994. Sad what happens when a colonized people adopt the "superior" Western diet:
      Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
         48.9% (2008)
      country comparison to the world: 7
      per the CIA. When the U.S. government assistance money (which perhaps plays some role in securing Palau's cooperation at the U.N.) runs out, if that ever happens, starvation/Haiti style soil erosion/Easter Island conditions can take the place of obesity; people can try to emigrate; or, like Cuba, they can try to learn/re-learn how to be as food self-sufficient as possible under times of extreme duress. Cuba has a lot of valuable information to share with other island nations about sustainable agriculture.

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 07:14:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I listen to Radio Havana often (0+ / 0-)

    It sometime fill with the state run propganda ,but sometime you find out stuff that our media is not telling us ,they broke a story how Bush was spying on members of Dailykos,a story first reported in the New york Times,the have some reporter that are white ,i know thier famous reporter on Radio Havana is Ed Newman

    •  I have sent a message asking that (0+ / 0-)

      a part of this comment be clarified. I think there may be a misunderstanding or typo. Please see the message. Thank you.

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 08:34:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Castro = Blockade (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn

    Bottom line is that as long as Fidel lives the blockade will be in force.  The day he dies it will be lifted.  

    I think of it as a reverse of Pete Rose and his ban from baseball.  Only Bart Giamatti could lift it.  Unfortunately Bart died.  

    No US President is going to lift the ban while Castro is alive.  No one thought it was going to be an issue this long.  Do you realize he has outlived 6 Presidents and been in power for 5 more?  If he hangs on he could make it an even dozen in 2016.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 08:59:27 AM PDT

  •  It's time to loosen those sanctions drastically, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buckeye54, MPociask, AuroraDawn

    but I do disagree with the term blockade. That is the official Cuban government term. The only actual blockade we have ever had against Cuba was during the Missle crisis.

    If the sanctions made any sense during the 60s or 70s, they certainly don't know. Cuba is in no position to export instability anywhere these day. Also, the sanctions had pretty much lost their effect by the eighties.

    Communism as we know it is something that will probably not long outlast the death of the Castro brothers. I say let's open up Cuba as much as possible. Let's have Americans going down there to visit. Let's have exchanges of culture and sports.

    I'd love to see their ballplayers be able to come up here and play, and still go back home to Cuban and be heroes, and be able to spend their money. I'd love to American baseball teams going down their and playing exhibitions again. I'd love to see Afro-Cuban jazz performer coming up here, and Springsteen performing down there.

    The sanctions are still in place for one reason only, the electoral block of votes in Florida. But guess what, the younger generation of the Cuban diaspora are not so hard line about Cuba. They don't like the Castros any more than I do, but they know they don't share their grandparents dreams of storming the shores of Cuba and claiming their plantations. It's not going to happen.

    Lifting sanctions under the right terms can perhaps help open up Cuba all the quicker, and hasten the day when we'll see constitutional government there.

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 09:16:02 AM PDT

    •  The great thing is that the vast majority of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RhodeIslandAspie, AuroraDawn

      U.S. inhabitants agree with you and me that the embargo (if you don't like the other term) should go, AND we all do not have to agree on the reasons it should go. The status quo is unproductive, and we do not have to agree on what Cuba should look like in order to agree on that.

      Since 1959, the future of Cuba has been out of the U.S.'s hands, and it has never fully accepted that fact. We should not wait on the death of the historic leadership and then finally begin to do the fair and rational thing. We should do the fair and rational thing now because it is fair and rational. The up-and-coming generation of chosen much younger PCC leaders needs to see that they can do better by their country and by the world if they set a good example of reforming socialism to make it politically democrat and protective of civil rights within a constitution that does not cast aside Cuba's noble aim for economic justice for all its citizens. I sincerely hope that it is not Jesse Helms'/Ted Cruz's vision of Cuba that we see one day.

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 11:56:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I look foward to the day where I can celebrate the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Galtisalie, AuroraDawn

        end of sanctions with a real Cuba Libre, with real Cuban rum, and hopefully a Cuba on the war to being Libre.

        If it hadn't been for the Bay of Pigs debacle, perhaps we wouldn't have had Cuban missile crisis.

        Certainly, the US had legitimate reasons to not want the Soviets to be using Cuba as a base of subversion in the Western Hemisphere, but we we would have had far more legitimacy had we not had blood on own hands with our support of various despots, and destabilization of governments who were not threat to anyone.

        Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

        by RhodeIslandAspie on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 01:24:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Cubana Sound (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Galtisalie, AuroraDawn

    Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

    by arlene on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 11:38:13 AM PDT

  •  Who owned Cuba? (0+ / 0-)

    Before John d Rock... owned Cuba not United Fruit.
    When Fidel took control he entered the banks and burned the mortagages.
    To pay tribute to Esso ie. "Exxon"  the Cuban people are held hostage by American oligarcy.

  •  Apart from seizing property and wars (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Galtisalie

    of nationalism, what did communism ever do to us ???

    I'll allow for the Korean War being a mixture of local dynastic ambition and global politics at the start. But ultimately China coming in had nothing to do with economic systems -- that was power politics.

    And Ho Chi Minh didn't throw out the French and then us because we were capitalistic.

    Cuba ??? The missile crisis in the 60s and what since?

    Really ? We paid money that got one of their airliners blown up.

    •  Recommended, but the history of the past century (0+ / 0-)

      was greatly complicated by Stalin's awful totalitarian model of "communism," which continues to have vestiges in paternalistic authoritarianism (to use Professor Carollee Bengelsdorf's description of the Cuban government) and other forms of authoritarianism such as we see in China, and still worse, full blown totalitarianism as is still in place in North Korea. I strongly side with George Orwell against totalitarianism and in favor of democratic socialism, and it is a crying shame that socialism ever became associated with anti-democratic governance, a bad development foreseen by Rosa Luxemburg.

      Yet we can see that even with a legitimate concern about totalitarianism because of Stalin that the Cold War involved a drastic overreaction by the U.S. that led it to have a massive military-industrial complex and to oppose anti-colonial movements around the world as long as the friendly power we supported was anti-communist.

      But we cannot turn back the clock. Moreover, as we look around the world, we see lots of authoritarian governments that have nothing to do with any form of "actually existing socialism" (i.e., state capitalism). My hope is that Cuba will truly reform to go to a constitutional democratic socialism George Orwell would have found exemplary and not go the way of the Soviet Union OR China.

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Wed Oct 30, 2013 at 06:46:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  and Castro should tell us about JFK murder :) (0+ / 0-)

    What he knows about Oswald, Cuba and the KGB. And then we have peace.

    •  The U.S. should lift the blockade and get out of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tari

      Gitmo. I do not think we should be waiting on anything from Cuba to do the right thing, much less hinge our doing the right thing on hypothetical supplementing of the Warren Commission report. Cuba and the U.S. each have a long list of historical grievances. For that matter, Mexico and the U.S. has a long list of historical grievances. We have to move on and do the right thing on the U.S., which will remove truth-squandering impediments to improvements in Cuba and is what in-Cuba dissidents want.  

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Wed Oct 30, 2013 at 06:24:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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