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Posted April 07, 2009 by publisher in Cuban History

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Are Cuba’s Communist leaders eager to see the U.S. embargo end (as Marc Thiessen suggests) or terrified at the prospect (because it would unleash forces they can’t control)? In 2003, Ann Louise Bardach noted that every time relations with Cuba seemed to be easing, Fidel Castro did something calculated to ratchet the tension back up:

  Consider what happened in 1996, after the Clinton administration and Cuba had settled on migration and drug interdiction accords.

  Castro (after months of warnings) shot down two planes operated by the exile group Brothers to the Rescue, killing four people.

  The upshot was the signing of the Helms-Burton Act, which significantly tightened the embargo and codified it into U.S. law.

  Did Castro know this would be the result? Of course he did.

  In 1980, president Jimmy Carter re-opened the U.S. Interests Sections in Havana as a de facto embassy. Castro responded by sending 125,000 refugees to Florida in the Mariel boatlift.

  In the mid-1970s, in a remarkable and audacious act of diplomacy, then-state secretary Henry Kissinger and his assistant, William Rogers, conducted secret negotiations with the Cuban government on ending the embargo. Just as they believed they were closing in on a deal, Castro sent troops into Angola - scuttling the talks.

And gee, now that President Obama is preparing to lift family travel and remittance restrictions—and there’s talk of lifting the entire travel ban—we hear about plans for Cuba to host Russian bombers, while Raul Castro conducts a dramatic, power-centralizing purge. But those surprises don’t seem to have derailed the anti-embargo plans. If Bardach’s theory holds, then, we should expect something even worse from Raul, and soon, no?

  1. Follow up post #1 added on April 07, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I have been wondering about this myself.

    Does Raul really want the Embargo lifted or does he need it in place to maintain control?

    I suppose he would love to have the travel ban lifted. That’s just easy cash and most American tourists would be on the beaches.

    However, if the economic Embargo is lifted, that would take away the crutch that Fidel has used for decades as a reason for his failures and the failures of Communism and a centrally controlled economy.

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  2. Follow up post #2 added on April 07, 2009 by paul

    Lifting the credit blockade wouldn’t make life better for Cubans. Look at the numbers in terms of how much trade Cuba does with the United States already, along with many other countries, and you’ll see that their failures boil down to mismanagement and geriatric military officer monarchy. Even when they were on the Soviet dole, they spent that money on proxy Soviet Imperialism in the 1960’s.

    Like I have said before, the Cuban government and admirers know that what they are requesting will not damage the foundations of Cuban socialism. They simply want an open credit card to run debt on…like they have done with several countries they’ve borrowed from.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on April 07, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    “run debt on”

    You mean the debt that always has to be renegotiated?

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  4. Follow up post #4 added on April 07, 2009 by paul

    haha yes.

    but of course it’s the blockade’s fault, because America is to blame for everything.

  5. Follow up post #5 added on April 07, 2009 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    I feel that the Castros would continue showing the world that they are fighting the “blokade” as they have always done but in reality they would do anything to avoid lifting the embargo.

    Pure and simple propaganda.

  6. Follow up post #6 added on April 07, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    Fidel Castro, the longtime communist leader of Cuba, met with members of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus on Tuesday, a day after his brother, President Raúl Castro, did the same, according to a U.S. official in Havana.

    According to the source (a U.S. diplomat) the three members of Congress were visiting the Latin American School of Medicine when they were invited to meet with the senior leader.

    There was no immediate response from the Obama administration on the meeting. But asked earlier about Monday’s meeting with Raúl Castro, State Department spokesman Robert Wood declined to say what, if any, role it could play in a possible warming of a decades-long diplomatic and economic freeze.

    “Members of Congress have the right to travel where they want and to discuss issues with whom they want,” Wood said. “And I am sure members of that delegation will be raising some of the concerns that the U.S. government has with Cuba, in terms of allowing Cubans to have some of the same rights and freedoms as other countries in the hemisphere.”

    Obama has said he is in favor of changing the relationship with Cuba but has not offered specifics. Government officials have hinted that he may soon lift travel restrictions between the two countries.

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  7. Follow up post #7 added on April 08, 2009 by Cubana with 282 total posts

    Did they ask Fidel and Raul why there are so few black faces in the Cuban government? Or why the Cuban prison population consists mostly of blacks? Or ask after the health of Dr Oscar Elias Biscet and demand his immediate release from prison? Or meet with any dissidents?

    Thought not.

  8. Follow up post #8 added on April 08, 2009 by paul


    Get ready to be called a fascist right winger spreading disinformation about heaven on earth.

  9. Follow up post #9 added on April 08, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    I doubt it.

    I watched their CSPAN news conference yesterday. Most were in awe of Raul and Fidel and the Cuban system.

    Watch it here http://www.c-span.org/Watch/watch.aspx?MediaId=HP-A-17226

    They talked about how nice Raul was and how Fidel’s wife answered the door when they went to his house.

    When asked about human rights, one person said pretty much “There are human rights violations in China but that doesn’t stop us from talking.”

    As regular readers know, I support lifting the Embargo but this Black Caucus’ press conference was pretty sickening.

    They went down to Cuba and drank the Kool Aid. They are talking like hypnotized zombies.

    Watch the news conference and you’ll see. It’s pretty sad.

    No balls at all. NONE. Of course they were treated nice, they were kissing ass the whole time. They met with the wives of the Cuban Five. No mention of Biscet or any other items that would make Fidel or Raul uncomfortable.

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  10. Follow up post #10 added on April 08, 2009 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    Dream about it. Fidel Castro has been playing this game for loooooong time, and he always does something at the end to keep the embargo in place.

    The embargo or “blockade” as he call it, is to precious to him, is among the most important tools on his propaganda machine.

    If the embargo is lifted it would be unilaterally from the US but do not count with the Castros to do anything in favour of lifting the embargo.

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