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Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:58 PM

In Defense of Ozzie Guillen: Cuban-Americans Have Held US Policy Hostage Long Enough


===== right wingy but interesting to see what a *storm this has kicked off

he Marlins are no ayatollahs, and Castro is a dictator. But it was no less dictatorial of the Marlins to punish Guillen for speaking his mind. Not to mention hypocritical. The Marlins had no problem using Muhammad Ali, the most famous and politically outspoken athlete of his day (“I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong,” he said in 1966, when he refused to be drafted, “no Vietcong ever called me nigger”), who in 1996 traveled to Cuba, handed over a $500,000 check to Castro for humanitarian needs, and had a famously playful encounter with the dictator as the pair pretended to punch each other and posed for video and camera crews. It was not his only visit with Castro. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel prize winning writer and one of the greatest novelists of the last hundred years, has also spoken famously of his affection for Castro. Maybe he’s on the Marlins’ black list, the way he was on the State Department’s, which refused to grant him a visa for a 10-year stretch for the same reason, although the State Department came to its senses in 1971.

In Little Havana, home of the new Marlins stadium, it’s still 1959. The real scandal is the Marlins’ $600 million stadium, built mostly with taxpayer money at the behest of a bunch of investors who may end up selling the team and run as quickly as their predecessors, leaving Miami Dade holding the colossal bag and its retractable roof. The real scandal is a Marlins organization more interested in placating its Cuban-American ticket holders than honoring those American principles of free speech, which makes the singing of the national anthem at the beginning of games rather pointless.

The real scandal is the degree to which South Florida’s Castro-era Cuban community continues to hold American foreign policy toward that island hostage to seven decades of juvenile antagonism even as every president from John Kennedy onward has gladly worked hand in hand with regimes far more despicable than Castro’s, even as Barack Obama does today.

The United States has no problem trading or maintaining close alliances with Saudi Arabia, a regime more oppressive to all, more demeaning to women, more torture-ridden than Cuba ever was. It has no problem romancing Bahrain, where the United States headquarters the Navy’s 5th fleet, despite Bahrain’s murdering of dozens of democracy protesters last year, at times with American munitions, and imprisoning and torturing of thousands. It has no problem curtseying to China for that matter, our second-biggest trading partner after Canada and our biggest lender, but still one of the most repressive countries on the planet. MORE

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Reply In Defense of Ozzie Guillen: Cuban-Americans Have Held US Policy Hostage Long Enough (Original post)
flamingdem Apr 2012 OP
Vogon_Glory Apr 2012 #1
flamingdem Apr 2012 #2
Vogon_Glory Apr 2012 #3
flamingdem Apr 2012 #4

Response to flamingdem (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 10:29 AM

1. Diplomacy Is A Matter Of Interests

Diplomacy is a matter of interests. If I didn't learn that in college, I picked it up elsewhere while reading both fiction and non-fiction written as often as not by some very right-wing authors.

The US and Cuba may not be friends, and US and Cuban foreign policies are often at loggerheads, but the US and Cuba DO have common interests and concerns--notably regarding such matters as the ecological health of the Gulf of Mexico and its fisheries, the threat to stability and law and order poised by international drug cartels, climate change and its effects, as well as the co-ordination of weather monitoring and co-ordination of hurricane alerts.

The hard-line emigres have distorted US policy regarding Cuba for decades. I think it's pretty clear to everyone except them and a clutch of ivory-tower right-wing ideologues that the emigres not only lost the 1959 Cuban revolution, but that their arrogance and actions will freeze them out of the nacent post-Castro mixed-market economy growing on the island. To be very rude about it, they're losers, and even hard-right politicos can see that they're losers, and that with their current agenda they're still losers, and IMO, they'd continue to be losers if they got their fondest wish and had the US military occupy the island and then stage free and fair election.

One of the crueler facets of the background social-darwinist assumptions driving Texas Republicanism is that you dump losers. Most of the time, right-wing Texans define such "losers" as the poor, the handicapped, the sickly, minorities, and the helpless, but they occasionally look at other political groups and make the same judgement call. I suspect that even right-wing Texans might admire how many right-wing Cuban emigres have prospered in exile and how they acquired political clout in their new residences, but they still shake their heads in bemused condescension regarding those emigres plans to return to the island and take over where they left off when Batista flew out on New Year's Eve, 1958.

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Response to Vogon_Glory (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 11:05 AM

2. Some good points

The Republicans gain from the circus however because they use the Cuban American vote to gain seats.

Cuban Americans are winning in that sense, they hold incredible power for their numbers, and their
operatives have enriched themselves with USAID money as well. (See Alan Gross).

Yes, they think any idea of return to Cuba is a joke, we all know that is not the point anymore, but they
may have other avenues over time with which to colonize the island via their power in the US govt.

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 09:32 AM

3. Not So Many As They Think...

Not so many avenues as they think. In some ways Cuba's current economic state resembles the way it was in the early 1870's--exhausted infrastructure, limited capital, and the US largely on the outside looking in.

The differences these days is that Cuba's infrastructure may still be exhausted (this time by the disastrous capital starvation caused by state socialism), but it's got a large, well-educated population, and alternative pools of potential investors. The US might be able to bully some foreign companies away from investing in Cuba, but it can't bend all of them to the will of the Cuban emigre leadership, and in a contest of wills between foreign governments and a bunch that has proven politically clueless overseas (And the emigres have proven to be especially clueless when dealing with Latin American governments and with Europe), the former will prevail.

I suspect that the primo places in Cuba for resorts are likely to stay with European partners (And also with Asian and possibly Gulf-State partners, too). They're the guys who fronted the capital and if the EU weathers this financial crisis, they're likely to remain better-positioned than would-be American investors. Would-be US investors have to deal with all the legislation that would require the Castros' departure, a regime change, and other stipulations, wait for such legislation to be repealed, wait for new rules to be put in place, then work on finding capital for their investments.

In the meantime, Cuba and their foreign partners can cement their relations, and foreign partners can (very quietly) close out (at least some) emigre property claims by quietly buying their pre-1959 documents as the emigres clean their desks or as the emigres' life circumstances change for the worse due to death, divorce, illnesses, business reverses, etc.

Unless the descendants of the pre-1959 emigres can reconcile themselves with Cuba's changed circumstances, they are going to remain on the outside looking in. I can't see ANY likely US president fulfilling certain Cuban emigres' favorite wet dreams putting hundreds of thousands of US boots in the ground on Cuban soil.

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Response to Vogon_Glory (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 10:17 AM

4. I guess the Cuba emigres banked on power in Miami

via congress and the strength of their voting block to develop comfortable knowing that return would be
unlikely. Or were they really so blinded by their emotions that they couldn't see they'd be left out...?

They made some good choices, they re-created their homeland in favorable conditions. Now they risk losing
power to new Latin American immigrant voting blocks without the same agenda.

So I have to think about how they'll try to leverage into Cuba. You're right about the Europeans -- and Chinese
locking things up there. I think that the British have locked up some huge golf resorts.

The question of claiming property has not been realistic for a while as far as I understand -- they can't kick out
the current residents and of course Miami Cubans will not be trusted ... but I did hear that many families left a
family member in charge of some properties with the long term notion of return. But the years go by.

So I appreciate what you're saying and haven't thought out how much the exiles have marginalized themselves
from Cuba's future. I guess they are essentially resigned to the role of attacking from afar for whatever that
might gain for them. Incredibly shortsighted indeed.

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