It is very easy to cast aspersions on political opponents when you have nothing to lose. Most of the time people do this when they have little, if any, logical argument to use against an adversary. Take the case of special interest groups in this town that support normalization of relations, without conditions, with dictatorial regimes such as Cuba. At the core, these people have an agenda but they never say it. Business? Politics? Just plain Boredom? It is usually one of the three.
Through the years, I have learned to ignore all things U.S.-Cuba policy. Why? For starters, we won. The Cuban people are charting their future, as wobbly as it may seem from the outside, but they are engaging in that process. That is what U.S. law calls for and that is what is happening. Those of us that supported a hard line – economic sanctions on the regime – will be vindicated. While the final chapter has yet to be written, there is ink to paper and the book is about to close on them. What remains to be seen is how Cuba will be officially welcomed back to the land of the politically living.
The American left is depressed about all this. The 1959 Communist Revolution in a country ninety miles from our shores still fascinates these people. For them, the losers, preservation of any sliver of that system is very important. There is no amount of political formaldehyde, however, to save what the regime has done to its people. But back here in DC, they continue to advocate for easing sanctions, people to people contact, and scrapping by for any positive news about “reform” by the regime’s current leadership.
Which brings me to the point for this post. I am always surprised when the some in the establishment media works themselves into a fervor over common day occurrences. For example, the exchange between fellow Floridians Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (D-Fla.) and Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.). A reporter that will go unnamed, went so far as to call Rep. West a racist. Then then Outrage Caucus demanded apologies. Folks, this is Washington, DC. It exists for outburst such as these. Be lucky we have them if not our political system would be downright even more boring than it already is. (Side Note: the Florida Congressional delegation was not always this way).
Anyhow, back to the story.
I was at an event last week and a chap I consider to be quite smart, made a real dumb statement. It went something like this: “You people are like a cult, you’re all convinced that Cuban leaders are incapable of change. It is not about freedom as you all say, its vendetta politics.” When he started out with you people, he almost lost me. When he ended with vendetta politics he crossed the line. Through the years I learned to avoid all political chatter at political events, but not this time. The more he spoke, the more personal he made it.
In the DC area since 1992, I have heard much more asinine statements from enlightened ones. These cocktail party commentaries, at times made after a few glasses of alcohol, are seemingly made in good fun. Yet the reveal a lot about the mindset of people, in this cases, people in this town who are fascinated by the Castro brothers and all things Cuba. There is nothing really good to say about it, so folks attack you personally to make themselves feel good.
Americans of Cuban ancestry have been called mafiosi, drug dealers, capos, corrupt, radical right wingers, and much more not worth repeating. The seeds for these verbal rhetorical gems, especially the Cuban mafia references, came straight from the mouth of either Fidel or Raul Castro or the Communist Party newspaper, Granma. Folks in this town think it funny to repeat it too. Republicans and Democrats, establishment and non-establishment, as well as the mainstream media pile it on whenever and wherever they can.
We should engage with the Cuban regime, they mean us no harm – you people should be open to new leaders, not harboring grudges or vendettas. We should allow all Americans to travel to Cuba, it will help foster a dialogue amongst our peoples – you people are too rigid. Let’s allow university students to study in Cuba … and it goes on and on. You get the point. The fact is that Cuba is an anti-American Potemkin Village. There is nothing to see there but suffering, misery, and political repression. In sum, it is what socialist and communist ideas become if allowed to mature in a political system: a yoke on free people, markets, and ideas.
Americans of Cuban descent work hard, broke many stereotypes – sometimes in one generation – and will continue to do so. The left does not like us because we are not part of their enlightened clan. By and large, we never will be. But the one thing that irritates them most is that we won and always will win when it comes to this issue of how to deal with the Castro brothers and those that support them. They have lost their crown jewel in the Western Hemisphere. Once in its political grave, it will also be a blow to leftist causes throughout the Americas. Good riddance.
And if you have read this far and are wondering what I think we should do about sanctions on Cuba, I will tell you what I told that fellow I mentioned in the post. My grandparents passed away last year after a long and happy life in the United States. Neither one of them, proudly they would say, ever returned to Cuba. “We travel for pleasure not to see evil,” they would frequently say. Neither one of them ever sent one dollar bill to relatives in Cuba, nor did they send one aspirin. In the end, they died as they wanted, as Americans, in freedom.
If you really want to push the Cuban system over the edge and expedite its demise, shut down all travel, including family travel. Also shut down the remittance factories that have been set up in South Florida, some of them established by supporters of the Castro regime. Travel, tourism, and remittances are to Cuba what oil is to Iran, political gold. Shut it down completely and the system will finish collapsing in about six months or less. All we are doing now is keeping it on life support. This is not in the U.S. interest.