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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

What’s Representative Dennis Rehberg doing in Cuba?

Posted March 18, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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By JON RUSH | Helenair.com

Representative Dennis Rehberg, a strong backer of President Bush’s push to unseat Saddam Hussein, recently spent part of this late winter in Cuba. For the representative to take a junket at the behest of a foundation that wants to open trade between the United States and Cuba shows either ignorance of history or that he desperately needed a suntan.

Assuming that the representative can afford a couple of tanning booth visits then the other option must be the reason he showed up for a photo-op with Fidel Castro.

Rehberg is quoted as telling the dictator for life that Montana would be happy to trade its wheat for maybe cigars that we could prohibit people from using. Did the representative miss some of his world history courses? Or maybe his next junket will be to visit the refugees from this madman, or the relatives of the people he has murdered. All this bowing and scraping to a communist dictator for the possibility of selling some wheat.

This nation now trades with some pretty awful regimes around the world. China comes to mind, South Africa in its heyday of Apartheid, even the French. But just because our greed has overcome our principles in some areas of the world, two wrongs still don’t make a right and Castro is definitely a wrong. People will protest my stance saying that the trade is to help the people not the government. Tell that to the Chinese peasant making 25 cents a day sewing for Liz Claiborne while their government, growing richer, still denies human rights. Castro is a madman who has spent over 40 years exporting death and despair to places like Angola and Nicaragua. This is the man who, through his dealings with the Russians, brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Stopped by President Kennedy from getting into a position to blackmail the United States, he turned to softer targets and the mayhem that resulted reverberates to this day. The thought that the congressional representative from Montana could even contemplate dealing with such an evil man makes me want to go screaming into the night.

What makes me heated about this misguided mission is that I still remember the death and terror that communism imposed on the world through the likes of Stalin, Mao and yes, still under Castro. I remember the iron curtain that slammed down over millions of people and cut off their freedoms and in many cases their lives. I remember the work of President Reagan to destroy communism. The success he encountered by strangling the USSR, by denying them access to goods and technology until that corrupt system fell down under its own weight. This may make me an unreconstructed Cold War warrior, but someone has to remember the cruelty, the death and destruction wrought on innocent people.

Man’s inhumanity to man can’t be seen any clearer than in the effects of the communist system. Someone has to remember that, Mr. Congressman, and learn from it, not reward it. And for God’s sake don’t trade with it.

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