By CHERYL FERRARA | Staff Writer | [url=http://www.marcoeagle.com]http://www.marcoeagle.com[/url]
As Iraqis wait for the fruits of liberation and the taste of democratic freedom promised by the American government, those in other oppressed countries must be watching with hopeful eyes. Iraq’s plight is not unique in the global political sphere. Take our neighbor, Cuba, for instance.
Dictator Fidel Castro could play one-upmanship with his colleague Saddam Hussein. Both rained terror on their populations with death squads, bully raids and mock justice. Both seated a close-knit and fiercely loyal ruling class over a populace that had little hope of retaliation, resistance or government overthrow. Both controlled the media, military and mind-thought of the people.
Castro, like Hussein, shuns the pressures of world sanctions and laughs at first-world leaders who believe that a government should care about the sufferings of its people. In fact, United States embargoes may have inadvertently strengthened both dictators’ positions by the attempt to isolate and punish. The repressive government deflects blame for all its ills on an uncaring and alien external power while crying foul to its countrymen.
Differences in the two dictators’ plights sadly brought both countries to a bleak poverty and hopeless situation. While Hussein may have offered some stability to a disjoint and war weary desert country, Castro took a prosperous island and stripped it of its culture, color, vitality and economic stability, turning it into a quagmire of ignorance and want.
So why not earmark Cuba as our next tyranny hot spot? Its army would probably offer about as limited a resistance as Iraq. We are closer to Cuba and could save millions of dollars in troop and equipment transportation. Since Cuba is surrounded by water, we don’t have to ask another country for military air or base space. And Cuba has acted aggressively in the past taking one American president to the brink of conflict. Cuba may even be harboring weapons of mass destruction and terrorists.
The question, “Why not?” may be complicated and intricate, begging diplomacy and statesmanship in exchange for aggression and hostility. Patient and prudent relaxation of sanctions and travel restrictions could lessen the grip of this oppressive regime. Let’s hope the answer isn’t that a barrel of oil is worth more than a box of good Cuban cigars.