President Obama reaches out to Cuba. While the absolute normalization of relations between the two countries will likely be an incremental process, most thinking people are overjoyed with this long overdue step in the right direction. Outside of our clandestine war that failed miserably (the Bay of Pigs fiasco), it isn’t as if we fought an actual war with Cuba, as we did with Germany, Japan, Vietnam and Iraq, and later normalized relations with all of those governments. Our make-believe-it-wasn’t/isn’t-a-war with Afghanistan doesn’t really count to the powers that be (and defenders of them). What we did with Cuba was throw a 50-year long hissy fit over the nationalization of American businesses. The reason behind the nationalization served the revolutionary ideological mantra perfectly; an American business exploitation of the Cuban people and its resources.
Hell, even the mob was pissed off about the inability to rape Cuba of coin via the corrupt Batista government. They even made jokes about it in The Godfather!
“After all, we are not communists.” (2:35 of the video)
Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement achieved its ultimate success when it overthrew the Fulgencio Batista government on the first day of 1959. The movement had everything to do with combating widespread government corruption, a military that policed its people with death squads (which would be no different than Castro’s army after the revolution), and an economic policy that permitted anyone willing to kickback coin to those in power carte blanche operations with Cuba’s resources and people.
You oppress people long enough, they find a way.
Backstory: Prior to Fidel and his cigar there was Fulgencio Batista and his military. Part of a 1933 coup, Batista wound up head of the military. He eventually became President in 1940, oddly enough, with the support of labor unions he apparently approved of at the time. After his first presidency, Batista felt “safer” in the United States and fled Cuba. He remained here for the next 8 years, before returning to run for President again in 1952, except 3 months before the election, he used his military connections to support his strong-arm coup and thus took control of the country (something the United States doesn’t usually look kindly on … unless we deem the overthrow in our interest).
This one we deemed in our interest, so the United States immediately recognized the military coup and the Batista government. Batista then ruled from March, 1952, until New Year’s Day, 1959.
Over time, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., commenting on Batista’s Cuba, stated: “The corruption of the Government, the brutality of the police, the government's indifference to the needs of the people for education, medical care, housing, for social justice and economic justice ... is an open invitation to revolution.”
Yeah, well, no shit. A third of the Cuban people lived in poverty, and disgruntled Cuban nationals were treated no better than political prisoners anywhere else a military dictatorship ran things. Batista’s affiliation with organized crime was legendary, and as stated above, nobody was more pissed off about El Jefe’s revolutionary victory than the Mafia. So, yeah, no shit the ground was fertile for revolution?
Enter Fidel Castro ...
And from our perspective, once there was a godless communist running the show (and after he nationalized American business interests in Cuba), we reached out to (drumroll please) … Sam Giancana and Santo Trafficante to have “the beard” whacked. No, that’s not a crime fiction writer’s fantasy, it’s what was actually attempted. Using the mob was actually one of five documented CIA attempts to kill Fidel Castro.
Of course neither you nor I learned anything about this assassination stuff (in Cuba or anywhere else) in public and/or Catholic schools (where we were forced to pledge allegiance and pray to God daily). We're the good guys, remember? It wasn’t until I attended college (where all that leftist propaganda was shoved down my throat, although I was never forced to pledge allegiance or pray to anything or anybody). When I learned that our (US) conduct wasn’t much different than Mr. Batista’s and/or Mr. Castro’s, well, I thought: Would you look at that?
The panic and fear the political right expresses over socialism and communism, and pretty much everything outside of capitalism (the driving force behind ALL US policy, foreign and domestic), is nothing short of hysterical. Cuban exiles living in Florida view the normalization of relations with Cuba as a victory for Castro and communism. Fifty years down the road, one has to ask, what exactly are they shitting their pantaloons about? They’ve come to America and learned that the way to own the government is really no different than it was under good old Fulgencio, and/or Castro … you simply buy it. These days, thanks to a majority conservative Supreme Court, they’ve made it perfectly legal to bribe officials (see Citizen’s United) … you want legislation to support your business, donate a few million to the candidate of your choice. It’s as simple as that.
The other day I was listening to talk radio on my way to the doctor’s office and of course the lunatics on the right were spewing venom about President Obama’s decision (one of the very best of a less than mediocre lot, in my opinion) … and when it was learned that Pope Francis was part of the negotiations, one psychotic, Michael Savage, doubled-down on his whackjob colleague, Rush Limbaugh’s, name calling. Those two ass hats believe that Pope Francis is a Marxist Pope ... and what's worse, there are people who believe the ass hats are right!
And there’s really no point in pointing out how Marxism (whether you agree with its concepts or not) rejects religion(s) … it’s always about the Benjamin$ when it comes to the political right in this country (or anywhere else, I suppose) … These rightwing morons call a religious man a Marxist in total disregard of actual Marxism … they call him names (one they believe is the greatest sin against humanity—a Marxist) because he believes in charity and is against income inequality and run away capitalism.
Oy vey …
For the record, THIS ATHEIST LOVES THIS PONTIFF.
Savage then used sound clips from Godfather II to make his point (whatever the hell that was supposed to be; comparing the smugness of Obama to Batista? Really?). If that were the case, I’m thinking Obama would have FOX news and Ayn Randers like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Marc Levin used for great white shark bait (my pleasant image of the day).
Anyway, it’s about time we normalize relations with Cuba. We were the ones who attempted to overthrow the Castro government (not the other way around). Our embargo has hurt none of the powers that be in Cuba. Fidel Casto, his brother, and their best friends aren’t hurting. While they proved no different than their predecessor when it came to political oppression and death squads, Cuba today has the highest adult literacy rate in the world, as well as one of the lowest infant mortality rates, with government provided education and health services for all. Could it be better? Of course, and the sooner the Cuban people are exposed to the kind of technology that facilitated an Arab Spring, the sooner the oppressive governments of the Castro brothers will fade.
In the meantime, three cheers for President Obama’s efforts with Cuba and Viva the new Revolución!
Salute! Salute! Salute!
Who’s SONY’s Daddy? Wow, so much for Freedom of Speech, eh? One has to wonder what SONY’s big concerns remain. I can’t think of any outside of lawsuits due to a terrorist attack on a movie theatre. Or maybe movie theatre executives are afraid of being hacked? This was some strange shit, you ask me. I hate being a nationalist about this, so I won’t be one. I won’t shout, “USA! USA! USA!” and support the bombing of North Korea over some hacking of a movie studio, but I will say, “Freedom of Speech” and “I really want to see this movie, damn it!”
I mean, right now, “I REALLY WANT TO SEE THIS MOVIE!”
Maybe if they retitle it, The Cancelled Interview?
Happy Holidays … unless something unusual happens, we’ll be taking a break for the Holidays … so from Temporary Knucksline to all our amici and those who cringe at our politics, sports talk, book and movie reviews … yous all stay safe and happy and healthy … remember to hug your loved ones and do something for someone in need … be kind to one another and if it’s a prayer you need to say, say it (I do and I’m a frickin’ atheist) … basically, do the right thing … or as Morgan Freeman said in character at the end of the Tom Wolfe novel turned movie, Bonfire of the Vanities, (a terrific book and movie, by the way) … be decent. Go home and be decent.
Merry Christmas, amici!