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No-Drama-Obama LIPITOR FOR SALE, quietly and gently has begun to reverse a full fifty years of errant U.S. LIPITOR dangers, policy toward Cuba.

The set of executive orders issued Monday lifts all travel restrictions by Cuban-Americans back home.

They also erase the $1200 a year limit imposed by G.W, LIPITOR brand name. Where can i find LIPITOR online, Bush on the amount of money American residents can send to family member in Cuba. The policy shift also broadens the list of goods that can be sent to Cuba while nudging open the door for U.S, LIPITOR reviews. telecom companies to provide much-needed phone and cell service between the U.S, LIPITOR FOR SALE. LIPITOR samples, and Cuba.

No high drama, online buying LIPITOR hcl. Buy cheap LIPITOR no rx, No major move. But just enough to be nothing less than historic, order LIPITOR online overnight delivery no prescription. LIPITOR FOR SALE, Historic because, as noted, this move begins the reversal of long-standing and failed policies. LIPITOR dose, The best part, is that Obama has made the first move and one very, LIPITOR australia, uk, us, usa, No prescription LIPITOR online, very early in his administration.  It will disappoint those who want the embargo lifted immediately (more on that in a moment). But it's a measure that garners the support of much of the usually right-wing Cuban exile community, herbal LIPITOR, Buy LIPITOR online no prescription, a pro-Republican interest group that got mighty p.o.'ed by the draconian restrictions on travel and remittances ordered by George Bush.

It's also a measure that now puts the ball squarely in the court of the U.S, where can i cheapest LIPITOR online. LIPITOR for sale, Congress...and of the regime in Cuba.  Thanks to the inane Helms-Burton law, enacted in 1996 and signed by none other than President William Jefferson Clinton, is LIPITOR safe, LIPITOR coupon, lifting the embargo is no simple task. It would require an act of Congress who can hide behind a series of preconditions packed into the legislation, LIPITOR FOR SALE.

Obama's move also puts some much-needed pressure on the Cubans to get their act together, LIPITOR street price. What is LIPITOR, I might be wrong, I admit, LIPITOR no prescription, LIPITOR treatment, but I have long argued that the Castro dynasty has never really wanted the U.S. embargo lifted, ordering LIPITOR online. LIPITOR pharmacy, The barbudos doth protest a tad too much. LIPITOR FOR SALE, The embargo -- rationalized as a measure to destabilize the Cuban dictatorship-- is, in reality, the glue that continues to hold the whole shoddy show together. The now-phantom threat of U.S, LIPITOR over the counter. LIPITOR schedule, invasion and the economic sting of the embrgo, is a wonderful nationalist bonding agent -- about the last weapon left in the political arsenal of the Castro Brothers, LIPITOR steet value. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Obama's move Monday, his clean break with the last half-century of American policy, in itself begins to rob the Cuban government of its convenient bogeyman.  Who in Cuba is going to believe that an Obama-led America poses a threat of invasion. (Answer: only a few dozen "revolutionary" Americans who at any given moment can be found in a Havana hotel bar telling themselves they are vacationing in Paradise), LIPITOR FOR SALE.

I never bought the argument that the reality of a belligerant Bush admin in Washington somehow justified censorship, repression and oppression in Havana. It's a non-sequitor. We don't believe the threat of Al Qaeda justifies suspension of the U.S. constitution, do we. LIPITOR FOR SALE, Are Cubans somehow entitled to a lower grade of civil liberties than we are.

So those of us who wish to lift the embargo now have the obligation to demand that the Cuban government start to make some tangible concessions toward democratization.

Raul Castro putting a few cell phones up for sale and his family members suddenly embracing the same gays and lesbians that were once relegated to UMAP labor camps ain't gonna cut it.

If Obama can enact a policy -- no matter how modest-- of creating an opening toward a "hostile" nation, then the Cuban government ought to be able to do the same in regard to its own population.

We will now see if Havana really wants the embargo lifted. Anyway you cut it, it's going to be very tough to get it through Congress, LIPITOR FOR SALE. But at least there's now a glimmer of hope. That too will fade if nothing positive is forthcoming from Cuba.

For openers... If the U.S. government has lifted its travel restrictions on Cuban-Americans, why can't the Cuban government lift travel restrictions on Cubans.


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98 Responses to “LIPITOR FOR SALE”

  1. Bob Williams Says:

    Castro will do whatever it takes to sabotage an improvement in relations. That’s his pattern.

  2. Traveler Says:

    If the US can beg China to continue buying US Treasury Bonds what is the big deal in making ammends with Cuba? It’s long past due.

  3. Anna Churchill Says:

    Marc, I have that same post card in a little frame on my wall.

    # Bob Williams Says:
    April 14th, 2009 at 3:03 am

    Castro will do whatever it takes to sabotage an improvement in relations. That’s his pattern.

    Not true, in this case, Bob. Castro is already on record as anticipating improvements with the election of Obama. He knew it would signal a shift. He is desperate for the squeeze to come off.

  4. DJ Slim Says:

    I never bought the argument that the reality of a beligerant Bush admin admin in Washington somehow justified censorship, repression and oppression in Havana.

    You not only spelled belligerent wrong, your history is cockeyed. Cuba abridges democratic rights for the same reason that any country under threat from a foreign power does. Cooper obviously would prefer that Cuba have the same kind of multiparty democracy that Chile under Allende did. Any fool can see where that led.

  5. Jim R Says:

    “For openers… If the U.S. government has lifted its travel restrictions on Cuban-Americans, why can’t the Cuban government lift travel restrictions on Cubans?”

    Since when has a communist country ever given their citizens freedom of movement. How are you going to keep them ‘down’ on the Animal Farm after they’ve seen Pariee.

    This is what governments of the government, by the government, and for the government, do. You give them control over your life and your freedoms, they give you equality of outcomes ……excepting themselves of course.

  6. Woody Says:

    Who in Cuba is going to believe that an Obama-led America poses a threat of invasion?

    Or, who here thinks that Obams will be a threat to any nation? North Korea and Iran sure don’t. China and Russia don’t. Cuba doesn’t.

    I can’t believe the way people on the left are falling all over themselves for a murdering, torturing dictator who still enslaves his people. The Congressional Black Caucus sure loves Castro.

    And, many of you have your Che Guevara posters up and wear his t-shirts, just like Cuba has his portrait on buildings and in text books as some hero and Obama had him in his campaign offices. (Word on the street is that Obama threw out the bust of Winston Churchill in the Oval Office and replaced it with a bust of Che Guevara.)

    Castro shouldn’t be rewarded for lasting so long if he hasn’t changed anything. See 50 Years of Oppression

  7. Woody Says:

    From the linked site above:

    From his grave, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. answers the members of the Black Caucus who went to Cuba

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 and cannot comment directly about the hypocritical members of the Congressional Black Caucus who went to Cuba to lick the bloodied boots of a dictator that has enslaved 11 million Cubans for 50 years.

    But we can quote the leader of the American Civil Rrights movement to show what he would have told those who today proclaim to follow his principles, while doing completely the opposite of what he preached.

    Here is a famous quote by Dr. King, that applies perfectly to those members of the Black Caucus who went to Cuba to support an evil dictator:

    “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. … So in order to be true to one’s conscience and true to God, a righteous man has no alternative but to refuse to cooperate with an evil system.” From Dr King’s book “Stride Toward Freedom,” Page 51.

    I thought you would like a quote from MLK more than from Michelle Malkin. Of course, I expect you to twist MLK’s words into something else that he didn’t mean.

  8. FRANCO Says:

    Cuba is an unexploited area that is thirsting for United States technology and American Capital. The land is cheap. The labor is cheap.
    The prospects for American – owned Cuban tourism, manufacturing, agro-farming, etc …is great. All that is needed is a shift in Cuban policy to reflect our model. Cuba needs to become a country ruled by the rich, for the rich. The United States supports and has supported and will support human rights violators just as long as the American paradign of greed becomes the law of the land. The problem presently is that the Cuban people are vested in their country. We need to be able to let an abundant flow of capital to Cuba and President Obama has the right idea. Cuban – Americans who wish to create an American haven in Cuba must begin by getting their relatives in Cuba to invest in tourism, auto dealerships now.The same Cuban – Americans who oppose the Castro Regime will pressure together with American business, for the lifting of the American Embargo. Cuban Guayabera manufacturing, celebrity travel, Casinos, Agro-business of Caribean produce to new York, miami, Los Angeles, etc.. can then become a reality for the betterment of the rich for the rich and the people may be swayed by the cheaper and more abundant food supplies and possibly more work opportunities, to allow health care, housing and education to follow the American model, in which the rich have the best, the middle class something reasonable, and the working poor what if anything may be left.
    Free elections to elect candidates among the wealthy who vie for office assures a democratization of sorts. At the very least the classical greeks would agree.

  9. Marc Cooper Says:

    So, DJ, it’s a privilege to have my spelling checked by such an erudite individual as yourself. Therefore, allow me to exploit your intelligence a few moments more in order to soak in your wisdom.

    After New York City was attacked and 3,000 civilians were killed in a direct attack on territory of the U.S., just exactly which constitutional rights SHOULD have been abridged. What rollbacks in rule of law would you have supported?

    Second question: you taunt the Chileans for being stupid to have engaged in mutliparty democracy, unlike the Cubans. The former country suffered a military coup (of course the latter has suffered 50 years of “abridged” rights). Please, wise one, explain the difference between your analogy of Chile allowing itself to be victimized and those who argue that girls who wear short skirts invite rape. I’m having trouble seeing any difference. Please enlighten. Or, alternately, make urself disappear. Either one works for me.

  10. Marc Cooper Says:

    Franco.. I cant help but note you are the namesake of another great authoritarian. Quite fitting.

    I take back what I said. Cuba should remain exactly as it is. Where there are no wealthy candidates running for office because there are no elections. Where there is no conservative press because there is no press. Where there are no Cuban-Americans running exploitatve capitalist enterprises because all exploitation is now in the hands of an autocratic state that literally rents out an non-unionized workforce to foteign multinationals: to Canandian firms that own Cuban mining interests, the Spanish and the Dutch who run the tourist industry, and those fine,upstanding Mexician conglomerates that have been given Cuban airlines and telecom to suck dry. Yes, let’s keep the gusanos out. There’s no room for them as it is at the trough.

  11. reg Says:

    Woody, as an apparent devoted follower of Dr. Martin Luther King (my guess is that he wears an MLK teeshirt), should buy himself a bicycle and stop passively cooperating at the gas pump with the evil regime in Saudi Arabia. (But he’d better not buy the bicycle at WalMart because those are imported from “Communist China.” ) Oh wait a minute…such a commitment of non-cooperation with an evil system would involve some inconvenience in pursuit of righteousness. Forget it !!!

    Anyway, hasn’t Woody implied here that King was a troublemaker who moved too abrubtly to end segregation, which was just a gentlemen’s cultural tradition to keep black people from getting too stressed and overburdened with responsiblities they weren’t ready for – sort of like when they were content to be working on those plantations. I know I’m paraphrasing, but I distinctly recall remarks that implied such sentiments. The truth is that Woody is exactly the type who, when King was alive, was spreading stuff about his “communist” sympathies, his “subversive” associates and his “anti-American” sermons. (He might even have treated us to a bogus picture of King shining Strom Thurmond’s shoes.)

    Woody’s talk about becoming a “righteous man” obviously comes from a very deep place…somewhere near the tail end of his long intestine.

  12. evets Says:

    ‘Castro is already on record as anticipating improvements with the election of Obama.’

    Yes – IIRC he was already musing hopefully about the potential similarities between Rahm Emmanuel and Immanuel Kant in his weekly Granma article.

  13. reg Says:

    Better than him musing on similarities between Rahm Emmanuel and John Rambo…

    When you’ve got a head of state (or “ex”) who prattles on about Immanuel Kant in a newspaper column, it’s pretty evident the guy has never had to worry about getting elected to office.

  14. Anna Churchill Says:

    Marc, Franco’s Swiftian rejoinder is right on the money. THE MONEY, honey.

    Its exactly what is destined to happen. Once FC and RC loose their grip foreign investors will be invited in and thats that.

    Castro screwed up by not undertaking to make their fertile island as self sustaining as possible. He busily ripped out food bearing trees in order to plant trade crops–following more the capitalist model than a revolutionary one.

  15. Anna Churchill Says:

    Evets, my comment wasn’t meant to be a slap on Fidel’s back. But the man–hough a megalomaniacal tyrant–he is also very canny–he liked Kennedy, too. He knew there would now be some wiggle room.

    Nice point, Reg! Means Woody should be elected to some sort of office very soon.

  16. Anna Churchill Says:

    Since this is a Cuba thread again I will, again, remind everyone to read Reynaldo Arenas’ Before Night Falls. I would bet there is not a better more beautiful evocation of the price the betrayed revolution extracted, of Cuba, of the people, of…just read it. And of what Cuba was like before the revolution and during the aftermath.

    Its when Arenas describes Castro outlawing being able to swim in the sea that you realize what tyranny is.

    And the movie is as beautiful as the book.

  17. Anna Churchill Says:

    Oops. Marc, just realized you went on to make the point that because of the failure of Castro et al to organize their economy/and the embargo that foreign interests already have been used to try and prop things up. The country will go back to being a colony of foreign capitalists. They will just get the benefit of an even more desperate workforce that is educated.

  18. evets Says:

    “Evets, my comment wasn’t meant to be a slap on Fidel’s back.”

    I know.

    Still I was taken aback by Fidel’s sudden Kant infatuation.

    I mean, what about old Hegel? Is he just chopped liver? And what about dialectical materialism?

    Does it all go out the window for a can-do young Hebrew with a missing middle finger?

  19. DJ Slim Says:

    you taunt the Chileans for being stupid to have engaged in mutliparty democracy, unlike the Cubans.

    Well, I wouldn’t use the word stupid. I would use the word reformist, the same word I would use to describe you, Dissent Magazine, Jay Lovestone, Max Shachtman, Todd Gitlin, and Alexander Kerensky.

  20. Justin Says:

    The embargo — rationalized as a measure to destabilize the Cuban dictatorship– is, in reality, the glue that continues to hold the whole shoddy show together.

    Ah, yes. Almost three years ago, Cooper was telling us that Fidel’s death was imminent, that a mass Cuban revolt was just around the corner, and that the whole regime was about to come crumbling down.

    When it comes to failed predictions, Marc Cooper could give the Miami Herald’s Andres Oppenheimer a run for his money.

  21. reg Says:

    “Is he just chopped liver?…Does it all go out the window for a can-do young Hebrew with a missing middle finger?”

    A missing middle finger which ended up, apparently, in the chopped liver.

  22. Woody Says:

    reg, your “recollection” and interpretation are far from what I’ve said about integration. I was supportive of integration when my high school enrolled its first black. There were no Confederate flags around our school.

    I was on the commie-sympathizing Huntley-Brinkley Report for a couple of days as the new student and I walked into the school together. There is no truth that I was trying to block the door or trip him.

    The next year we had no blacks, but the year after that a number of “those people” transferred in from a black school and our basketball team never looked back. Our point guard was a white guy and the rest of the team was black. We called them “Hagler and the Four Tops.”

    But, regarding MLK, Jr., you forgot to include his extramarital affairs. J. Edgar Hoover kept those thick files updated.

    I take it that you believe that MLK felt differently about Cuba than did JFK and LBJ and liked what Castro was doing. However, I never saw MLK fawning over Castro as do today’s members of the CBC.

  23. Anna Churchill Says:

    Richard Goodwin. He had a lot to do with advising Kennedy and he misread the signals Castro and Che were giving him. And this was the man who got unparalleled face time with Che and I forget what who he met in Cuba. He fucked up. And I think a wee bit of rethink about him necessary.

    And, Marc, the CIA started a dossier on Castro and Che back in Mexico in the 50′s. Like BEFORE the revolution. Lets not forget who really fueled the push towards dependence on the Russians and then the downward spiral.

    It was mad men like LeMay that Kennedy had to deal with and the crazies Eisenhower warned about (despite Eisenhower’s wrong take on Cuba. At one point the CIA was making putting out feelers to Castro cause Batista so nuts he was threatening business. US interests wanted Batista out) all this conspired to fuck up Cuba.

    I think, Marc, your harping on Castro–who is a madman–needs to include harping on the madmen and pathological attitudes towards Latin America that to this day are warping any attempts of the various Latin countries to shed the vesitges of colonialism.

  24. reg Says:

    Woody – that’s a different version than we’ve been treated to by you in the past – with suggestions of happy blacks on the plantation and civil rights activists moving too fast. I didn’t make those references up. But I’m glad you’re reverting to a more benign approach. And, typical of your bullshit, your presumptive “take” is based on your own delusional thinking – I have no idea what MLK thought about Castro.

  25. Woody Says:

    Well, at least plantation workers had jobs.

  26. Mavis Beacon Says:

    DJ Slim. Oy. Your foreign threat argument also justifies the human rights abuses of Iran and North Korea and many, many other nations that have nasty governments and dangerous neighbors.

  27. Kevin Says:

    Perhaps DJ Slim should re-name himself DJ Stalin.

  28. Anna Churchill Says:

    So, Woody, you have gone from being an enlightened high school cracker to pasty faced, bean counting, racist tat posting freak? How do you square the filth you have posted to the all embracing and accepting white boy you paint yourself as being while in high school?

  29. DJ Slim Says:

    Your foreign threat argument also justifies the human rights abuses of Iran and North Korea and many, many other nations that have nasty governments and dangerous neighbors.

    The comparison between Cuba and these two countries is idiotic. Iran represses people because it is a theocracy. Before the US ever got involved in backing Iraq against Iran, the mullahs were rounding up leftists and throwing them into prison. On North Korea, the government models itself on Stalin’s Russia. The movements and thoughts of every citizen is highly regulated. If you think that Cuba is some kind of totalitarian dungeon like North Korea, don’t let me interfere with your paranoid fantasies. However, movies like “Strawberry and Chocolate” and “Buena Vista Social Club” describe a completely different reality. My guess is that you don’t want to be disturbed by complex realities, so you might as well go back to sleep.

  30. DanO Says:

    So it seems that DJ can spot a despot when he sees one, but for some reason has a bizarre blindness when it comes to Cuba. Why is that?

  31. DJ Slim Says:

    So it seems that DJ can spot a despot when he sees one, but for some reason has a bizarre blindness when it comes to Cuba. Why is that?

    I guess that the Congressional Black Caucus, Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, the Nation Magazine, James Wolfensohn (the former head of the World Bank), Paul Farmer (the Harvard physician who works with AIDS patients in Haiti), and Ry Cooder must be getting paid by the Cuban government to say more or less the same things that I say. The dirty commies…

  32. reg Says:

    James Wolfensohn thinks that the controlled press and supression of any political opposition in Cuba is a logical and justifiable result of the US embargo and the Cold War legacy ? (I’m trying to remember why I would care what Oliver Stone thinks about much of anything other than where to place the camera or getting a line of dialog right and can’t.)

  33. Dan O Says:

    Who gives a shit what your panoply of luminaries think?

    I have yet to figure out why the left continues to have a soft spot for the Castro regime, and the only thing I can come up with is that it’s Communism (sort of) without Stalinism, and so represents the last possible gasp of that moribund system.

    In the end it seems that people who defend Castro see a zero sum game between freedom and material security, which I think is false, and has the additional demerit of making them enemies of civil freedom.

  34. Mavis Beacon Says:

    DJ Slim, I am in no way saying that the hell-hole that is North Korea is comparable to Cuba. I’ve never been to Cuba (or North Korea for that matter) though my friends who have visited say plenty of nice things about the country and its people. I’m not here to dispute those things. What I’m saying, and if you think about it you’ll see that I’m right, is that you can’t use threats from abroad to justify all manner of oppression. Obviously there’s a spectrum from overzealous airplane security to murdering dissidents. If you like, we can have real arguments about if there is a legitimate threat and what level of government oppression is justified relative to the threat. I tend to think Barack Obama isn’t going to invade or send commandos just as George Bush didn’t and Bill Clinton didn’t and other George Bush didn’t. I just don’t see how maintaining a dissent-free dictatorship for 50 years is even a close call. Think it over.

  35. Mavis Beacon Says:

    ps. I’m not an expert but where did Ry Cooder say that he supports Castro? Or thinks that Castro’s dictatorship is justified by the looming American threat? The guy gives money to the Clintons and Dianne Feinstein. He’s got some lefty positions and criticisms of American policy toward Cuba but I don’t think he’s a Castro apologist.

  36. Anna Churchill Says:


    I was trying to find the article where Che Guevara’s daughter, a doctor, talks about the ongoing covert assaults up until not that long ago. If I remember correctly there has been agricultural sabotage among other things.

    To underestimate the covert assaults that intermittently went on for years forbids understanding the problem.

    Doesn’t excuse Castro’s crazyness, but from the beginning the pathological attitude towards Cuba’s right to ditch Batista set up an impossible situation.

    Frankly, America IS very much to blame for how things have shaken out.

    Ask Guatemala and Chile. American has had a policy of refusing Latin countries the right to create their own political destinies.

    And as to murdering dissidents…have you been to a protest lately in a Western “democracy”?

    Its all relative. You think John Lennon was gunned down by a Salinger obsessed whack job? Hmmm. How about King, Kennedy, Kennedy, all the unions sabotaged, 68 Democratic convention. Whats all that fuss about US torturing “terror” suspects?

    I always laugh when Westerners point fingers. Just try and go against the grain here. Or like Ian Tomlinson, in London, just try to get home.

  37. Anna Churchill Says:

    And this is not an apology for Castro. I just don’t think the pot should be calling the kettle black.

  38. Anna Churchill Says:

    ooh, ooh. School of the Americas anyone.

    The death squads, the disappeared, the Shah’s police. My guess is the US has been directly responsible for the deaths of dissidents than any single government…cause frequently the US is behind those governments.

    Anyone aware that Israel was selling its “skills” to the S. Africans?

  39. Woody Says:

    An important message re. tax protests: Be sure to watch Sean Hannity tomorrow night after the Atlanta Tea Party. He’s going to have Newt Gingrich, Gov. Huckabee, Neal Boortz, Rick & Bubba, and Joe the Plumber!

    Here are possible placards for the protest.

    Give Me Liberty Not Debt
    Don’t Tax Me, Bro
    Next Time Read the Bill
    Cut Taxes Not Deals
    Don’t Spread My Wealth. . . Spread My Work Ethic
    Less Pork in Bills, More Pork on Grills
    I would rather live under a bridge than live under socialism
    Pay for Your OWN Mortgage
    Free Markets, Not Free Loaders
    Reward Responsibility, Not Irresponsibility
    Why Should I Pay for YOUR Bad Decisions
    Atlas will shrug
    Honk if I’m paying your mortgage
    You can’t borrow prosperity
    I blew my middle class tax cut on this sign.

    Conservatives have fun when they protest, which does not include liberal activities like spitting on cops or throwing bottles at them. However, be careful in case any of them are bitter and carrying guns, according to a Homeland Security warning. (What a laugh.)

    Okay, back to Castro, Che, MLK, and the CIA.

  40. Randy Paul Says:

    Be sure to watch Sean Hannity tomorrow night after the Atlanta Tea Party. He’s going to have Newt Gingrich, Gov. Huckabee, Neal Boortz, Rick & Bubba, and Joe the Plumber!

    Will you be teabagging them as well?

  41. Marc Cooper Says:

    Some comments:

    Woody: here’s another slogan: I’m Here To Defend Tax Cuts for the Super-Rich!

    Down With a Tax Rate 10% Lower than During the Reagan Admin!

    Or better yet:

    Help! I’m possessed!

    As to the DJ Slim/Justin idiocy on Cuba: I want to tell you guys that your pathetic and immoral unconditional defense of dictatorship does NOTHING but further encourage me. So bring it on, comrades!

    I freely admit to the delight I experience when writing about Cuba because it inevitably smokes out doublespeak mumblers like you guys — living testaments to the historic failure of Stalinism. You are absolutely morally bankrupt. Great defenders of freedom, human rights and equality EXCEPT in a country that has been ruled by an unelected family dynasty for FIFTY YEARS. I would love to see you guys operate inside Cuba. You’d be in jail within a half hour, crying for your mommies.

    Also gotta laugh.. I’ve been called many many things in my life, but this is the first time I’ve been called Kerensky. Cool! So glad u didnt call me Kautsky (another great reformist).

    I was never a great admirer of Mr. Kerenesky’s short-lived regime but, in retrospect, I think it might be in order to ask if the Mensheviks didnt have it right after all? Y’ think the world is a better place after the failure of 70 years of Soviet Communism, the gulag and 20 million dead???? Could the survival of the Kerensky government possibly been worse than that which quickly followed it?

    Y’think that experience just might have SOMETHING to do with the unfair stigma attached to the notion of socialism? Y’think workers in more advanced, democratic countries might be just a little reticent to ally themselves with a “movement” that manifests itself in the form of a totalitarian regime which bans all basic civil liberties and forces its citizens to trade on the back market because the ration book covers only 50% of caloric needs? In the end, its folks like you who pose a MUCH greater threat to the realization of a democratic socialist movement than right-wingers like Woody. His arguments drive people to the left. Yours drive people to the extreme right!

    Anyway, I cop a guilty plea. I confess. I do NOT support armed struggle by the American proletariat aimed at establishing a democratic dictatorship of workers and peasants. I’m hopeless. I’m a reformist! I’m a counter-revolutionary! Actually, I AM Kerensky! :)

  42. Marc Cooper Says:

    Oh, I forgot Anna. There’s a great story that Gore Vidal used to tell back in the 80′s when he went around the country giving an “alternative state of the union” speech critical of US policies. He said that afterwards people would come up to him and say, well, ok, but things are worse in Russia. And he would say, “Yes. And so what?”

    So, yes, Anna, there’s plenty of injustice and repression in western democracies. And, so what? You’ve defeated your own argument by stating that central truth: it’s all a matter of degree. And the degree of repression and oppression in a place like Cuba is infinitely more intense than in the U.S.

    I was a student radical in the 60′s, arrested several times. When I and friends were on trial for anti-war activities our 7 week trial was the longest in the history of L.A. County Municipal Courts. And, a jury of American citizens acquitted all us of us, agreeing with our defense theory that non-violent but disruptive protest was protected by the First Amendment.

    I also had some direct tanglings with the FBI that were quite unpleasant but when I told them I would not speak to them without a lawyer present they had no choice but to stand down. I also had some nice run-ins with the now disbanded LAPD Public Disorder and Intelligence Division (the Red Squad). Disbanded, because of a class action law suit brought by the ACLU in which I was a plaintiff (Just as I am a plaintiff in one of the ACLU cases against warrantless wiretapping). I don’t suggest any similar legal action in Cuba, even if you could.

    Against that backdrop, I think I can humbly say that I FULLY appreciate what you write off as merely ” a matter of degree.”
    If I had dissented in Cuba in any manner resembling the way I have dissented in the U.S. (including 35 years of public critical writing about the US government) I would have been long ago jailed or disappeared. That’s some matter of degree. Self-flagellation over the injustices committed by the U.S. government is no justification for the dictatorship that muzzles and strangles the Cuban people.

    And the status quo in both countries is NOT symmetrical. You dont know what you’ve got till it’s gone. So excuse me, but with all of its flaws, I will happily take the Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus and (flawed and unequal rule of law) anyday over a “people’s dictatorship” that explicitly suppresses ALL civil liberties.

  43. av2ts Says:

    I know Marc knows Cuba pretty well, so I get particularly frustrated when he willfully distorts so much.

    He embraces the idea that the embargo is the glue that keeps the Cuban Revolution in power. Something has to explain its remarkable long-standing support, I suppose. But why choose the thing that denies the people $2 billion dollars each year – worth the entire tourism industry.

    He thinks this repealing of a few minor Bush-era regulations is something historic. He thinks the creation of two classes of Americans (Cuban and not) and Cubans (Communist and not) is somehow progressive. He thinks the continued denial of my right to travel and help my friends (who happen to by UJC members) in Cuba can somehow be justified because it’s now “Cuba’s move.” He thinks we must keep our immoral Cuban Adjustment Act (that induces illegal migration), keep our embargo, until Cuba acts.

    He implies that the US Government and Miami are not threats to Cuba anymore. I’ll note that Cuba did not think JFK was a big threat either. The US policy towards Cuba is still regime change, still founded on creating misery for the Cuban people, still a form of economic warfare, still funding subversion, still blasting propaganda illegally onto the island, still possible of aggression, and still isolated in the region (not Cuba).

    He demands that Cuba “democratize” – meaning they have to change their massively approved Constitution to mirror ours. He demands that Cuba must allow “Cubans to travel.” Did he already forget that his readers are still denied their rights? Is he really asking that we wait for our rights until Cuba changes its Constitution? Second, the argument about Cuba denying travel to people is mostly hollow. There are only one or two cases of Cuban domestic visa denials a year – we know because they always news in the US (and involve someone expecting to get a visa in 3 weeks time to collect some Western award). There have not been any denials this year. But the US denies hundreds of Cuban musicians, artists, doctors, intellectuals, wives of prisoners, etc. the right to travel here each year – because they dare to remain socialists and not renounce the Revolution. Cuba will change its exit visa policy soon though – that was leaked last year.

    Despite his proclamations, Cooper should know that Cuba does have elections (with double the participation of the US), does have Unions (more powerful than ours), and has only arrested those few dozen who have taken US Government support (his friend Yoani and many other dissidents, remain free to criticize Cuba in the capitalist press, to make ourselves feel good, all day long). Finally, I’ll forgive his ignorance in not knowing that the Cuban people are in fact the #1 investor in the Cuban tourism industry, and that they manufacture most of the things used in the industry (unlike anywhere else in the region).

  44. Bob G Says:

    I think that the example of Andrew Sullivan kind of sums it up. Here is a guy who has long defined himself as a conservative and even supported Bush II early on. He has written several books on his version of conservatism and is a religious Catholic. He also became the foremost spokesman for the anti-torture position within the United States.

    Over the past half decade or so, he has written more words and probably been read by more readers than any other person, in his attempt to get the United States government to give up on the use of torture. In short, we have an extreme critic of the past administration, one who has gone so far as to explain that our techniques are based on the ones used by the Nazis and the KGB, yet one who is also a profound patriot. Oh yeah, and his is a practicing gay man who recently got married to another gay man, and openly declares his support for gay marriage. I think that this defines Marc’s point, that it is possible to be deeply critical of American policies and practices, yet also to enjoy the freedom to work to replace those policies. It is of course unlikely that someone with these different attributes would have thrived in the Cuban political atmosphere.

    By the way, all these strangely worded remarks by commenters comparing each other to figures before and after Bolshevism are kind of lost on us great washed out here. I’m not particularly interested in communism because it developed in the pre-Keynesian era and seems to have avoided confronting lots of economic issues that we spend a lot of time trying to confront. (I’m also not particularly interested in Republican supply side ideology because it developed as a doctrine which is based on pathological avoidance of the lessons of experience, critical thought, and history.)

    I’m interested in Marc explaining what his political/economic position actually is, because his remarks do not come across as socialist in the old sense, but might be construed as supporting something like the European model. One thing that is curious is that the old left and the new right have one thing in common, namely the inability to deal with the environmental effects of unrestrained industrial expansion. To mix metaphors, that piper is coming home to roost.

  45. Marc Cooper Says:

    Bob G

    It’s easy for me to define my polltical views: I’m for more democracy, always. More transparency, always. More equality and tolerance, always. More justice, always. Period.

    AVT2S: I willfully distort nothing. North Korea has also been held together for 10 years longer than Cuba. The Somoza Dynasty was in power for decades. Does this mean they had significant popular support or that perhaps they had quashed all dissent? Get real, man.

    Stalin also had a 1937 constitution hailed by Stalinists world ’round as the most democratic in the world. It was as hollow as the Cuban version. I make no demand that Cuba adpopt an American Constitution. I merely demand that Cubans be granted the basic human rights that our constitution more or less guarantees (a lot more than in Cuba). All humans should have human rights, civil liberties and the basic dignity conferred by semblance of rule of law. Habeas Corpus is a nice start. The right to an independent judiciary and a defense lawyer is also a nice little bauble of decadent corrupt bourgeois democracy,

    Your argument that Cuba allows free travel is out and out bullshit, sir. I have been in Cuba many many times and I have helped many many Cubans wiggle around the draconian restrictions on their travel. We;ve puled every string possible, outfoxed and lied to the Cuban government, and pleaded and cajoled the authorities to get someone a week’s visa to Mexico or Spain. So can the crapola. It’s simply not true that Cubans have the unrestricted right to travel. They dont even have the right to freely secure a passport that they could keep in a drawer to help them dream of travel.

    And if u are willing to publicly argue that the sham, totally rigged, closed and controlled balloting that takes place in Cuba are what you call “elections” then pobre de ti. They are a gross intellectual insult as even an imbecile knows there can be no real elections without freedom of the press, the right to organize opposition parties and the removal of total state control of all media. My God, man, how can u keep a straight face and argue this horseshit?

    My ignorance on the Cuban economy includes having written several long features on same for magazines ranging from the Village Voice to World Business to Harpers. So, modestly, I know in granular detail how the Cuban economy is organized. Indeed, the myriad private capitalist monopolies that have invested in Cuba take a 49% position in the their respective industries, including tourism. The Cuban state, often the Armed Forces themselves, retain a 51% controlling share in these “joint mixed ventures.” Translation: Foreign capitalists come in with technical knowledge and operating capital. The Cuban state becomes a “partner” by offering up for exploitation not only the island’s natural resources but also its HUMAN resources. Do some homework, comrade, and you will find that in these hundreds of joint ventures, Cuban workers are literally rented out to the capititalist partners. Example: A Spanish hotel chain operating in Cuba owns 49% of the venture. But it is the manager of the project. Workers are hired at about $250-350 a month, about half the wage paid in similar countries. But here’s the kicker: those hard currency salaries are not paid to the workers but rather to the Cuban state employment agency! That agency then hires the cuban workers in cuban pesos, effectively paying them about 10% of the real wage. A great deal…. for the capitalists and for a bloodsucker Cuban state. The workers are OK with the system because many of these jobs are service jobs and they can pocket the hard currency tips which are much greater than salaries. That;s why so many Cuban doctors have quit to become hotel valets and tourist taxi drivers. Somewhat reminiscent of the pre Castro days when Cubans made their best living by being servile to rich foreigners. In non service sectors the Cuban worke force is still paid in this scandalous way but are treated to humiliating and regular handouts of simple consumer good by the benefactor imperialist investors.

    Of course, the Cuban state also guarantees absolute labor peace, No strikes, no real unions and work production quotas set by the Communist Youth (The Havana equivalent to Young Republicans).

    I found it one of the more disgusting and repulsive labor systems in the world. Anywhere else it would be called human trafficking. Prove me substantially wrong on any of this and I will Paypal you $500 –on the condition you buy a one way ticket to Pinar del Rio.

    Your exchanges on this, and your bloodless apologies for Cuban “constitutions” and “elections” make me physically ill. In a different time and place I can see u cooly checking off names on a clipboard in front of a train headed to Dachau.

  46. Woody Says:

    Randy: Will you be teabagging them as well?

    Today’s the 15th. You’ll find me at the post office instead. Anyway, I have better things to do, but I enjoy the show.

  47. DJ Slim Says:

    My ignorance on the Cuban economy includes having written several long features on same for magazines ranging from the Village Voice to World Business to Harpers.

    Well, the Harpers article dates back to 1995. The plain truth is that you are no longer published on the topic of Cuba in such reputable publications. In fact, you are not even a competent propagandist since a competent propagandist would at least make the effort to demonstrate some balance. You are condemned to write your nonsense about Cuba on a blog, where it belongs with all the other amateur journalism. Speaking of which, do you actually make a living from your writing? You have lost jobs just about everywhere. I hope that the UCLA gig pays for your health insurance. You surely need it.

  48. Randy Paul Says:


    I’m surprised. I figured you were more the rusty trombone type.

  49. DanO Says:

    pays for your health insurance. You surely need it.

    But I guess DJ can’t spot an asshole, even when staring at him from the mirror.

  50. Anna Churchill Says:

    Marc, thanks for taking the time to respond. I think we all understand that we are under the illusion here that we are better off than say…living in Zimbabwe or….Cuba.

    My point was that the US has been directly responsible for inflicting the terror and repression in OTHER countries. So that doesn’t make our little life in the Matrix with our sweet Bill of Rights something to use as a measuring stick. THAT is what annoys me.

    Until Americans become conscious of what this government has inflicted on others through its shameless, heinous pursuit of “free” market capitalism…I don’t want to hear about how mean Castro is. He is mean. He’s an asshole and he had other choices he could have made to create a bulwark against the US aggression. But he was as much a victim of lack of imagination as were most all politicos of the era– left or right.

    So I disagree with your idea that we should be smug here because we have a Bill of Rights that trumps the calumny if you are lucky enough to be an educated, WHITE middle class political activist with a network of support. Try telling that to the Panthers or the civil rights activists who were murdered with impunity and whose killers were only recently convicted. Compare that to Bernadette Dohrn/Bill Ayers whose upper middle class corporate CEO daddy bought them both their current respectability.

    If you waged your upset at Cuba without trying to compare Cuba to the US and the privileges we enjoy here– your point of view would not come under so much attack.

    Cuba is a hothouse. An exotic, rare sociological phenomenon. They have been successful in telling the US to fuck off. No one else EVER has. There is something to crow about there. The worst part of what the Cubans suffer–from what those that I know who have been there–is poor nutrition and the inability to have the basics like even soap, shampoo or toothpaste at times. pharmaceutical items etc. And a lot of THAT is due to the embargo.

    The poor nutrition is something that I think could have been avoided if there had been the vision to take advantage to making the island a self sustaining agricultural oasis. I may be wrong, but I think the island is meant to be pretty fertile and one way of holding off your enemies is to be able to feed yourself.

    But whats done is done.

    I think arguing over Cuba is stupid. At least in the way its being done. I think its accepted amongst relatively civilized people that everyone deserves to live unmolested.

    I would worry more about people in Zimbabwe than Cuba.

  51. Anna Churchill Says:

    There is something else I would like to add about the Cuba conundrum.

    Both America and Cuba suffer from mythologizing. They have each come to represent a mythic ideal. They both carry a spark.

    A few years ago I saw a shattering documentary aired on British television. Azza El-Hassan’s This Is Palestine. Amidst the rubble of Ramallah a little boy talks about wanting to go to America because it is the place of “magic”. The tarnished myth of America STILL somehow manages to insinuate itself and become reborn into an ideal.

    And from Cuba the apocryphal story about a CIA agent reporting back to his handlers that ‘They have no gas—but the cars run. There is no food on the grocery shelves–they eat. No money; nothing! Yet every night they have a wonderful meal, drink rum and go dancing!…I just don’t get it.’

    …and its where the bywords are ‘No tengas meiedo’

    Back in 04 or 03 a caravan to outflank the US embargo to Cuba was organized to bring supplies through Canada to get them to Cuba. A London cabbie had his car shipped over and he was literally making a pilgrimage. He wanted to see Cuba, be in Cuba before Castro was gone. The reality of Cuba had been replaced by a myth.

    The joke is both America and Cuba–to different people–represent the myth of a better more just place.

  52. Anna Churchill Says:

    Oops. I realized I may get pilloried for saying that worst thing is Cuba is poor nutrition and lack of soap. Obviously I am not discounting being jailed for being a dissident and all the other dampers on movement or enterprise or communication.

  53. Anna Churchill Says:

    A modest proposal:

    Marc…anyone. Please imagine what might happen if the US lifted its stranglehold and didn’t run interference and the Cuban government was free to start scrambling to undo the damage of lack of goods and acquire bits to rebuild a manufacturing base and start to make the inevitable deals with more foreign investors to and people were free to come and go.


  54. av2ts Says:

    Anna, poor nutrition of the Cubans is a thing of the 1990s – when they experienced roughly double the economic collapse of the Great Depression. Things were, no doubt, dire for a few years. But not one social service provision was cut, not one person starved or ended up out on the street homeless.

    Marc, if you are denying that the Revolution retains “significant popular support,” you are even more willfully blind than I thought. I can’t speak about N Korea or Somoza but I can tell you that you are dead wrong about Cuba. While there are obviously problems, the vast majority of Cuban people trust the Revolution’s ability to solve them (as they have with energy and transportation in the last couple years). If there was widespread counter-Revolutionary sentiments there would be more than a few people marching against the Government every weekend, there’d be more than a dozen dissidents, more than a few dozen in jail (if we believe what you say about dissent being punished), more than 1-2% “spoiled” or blank ballots.

    Cubans have all the same rights we do in our Constitution and Bill of Rights – speech, assembly, independent judiciary, etc. People like you create a totalitarian government in your mind where none exists. Again, the few dozen in jail are they because of their relations with foreign Governments and organizations sponsored by them – not because of what they said or did. That is clear in the record. Those accused were able to have their own private defense lawyer if they preferred, as many did. They were able to see the (overwhelming) evidence and argue against it. The judge was independent. Cuba’s laws were fairly applied. If you can give me the name of ONE writer who is in jail today for their critical writings alone (without illegal foreign contacts) then I will paypal you $100 sir.

    On travel, even the US State Department admitted to Congress that “the vast majority” of Cubans are allowed to travel (can’t find the link at the moment). Obama’s statement said nothing about Cuba’s lack of ability to travel. Yes, there are bureaucratic hurdles, but in what country are there not? Again, these will be made easier soon. But as long as the US Government maintains a murderous “wet foot, dry foot” policy that entices defections by awarding automatic US residency and many US taxpayer benefits, I don’t blame Cuba for using the one tool at their disposal to discourage doctors and athletes from draining their country. When the US begins treating Cubans like any other migrant, then I will call on Cuba to reform their policies. The US is deliberately trying to steal doctors volunteering abroad now. It is sickening. First things first.

    On elections, they use a Parliamentary system that focuses on mass, low-level participation. Instead of candidates being foisted on the people by party bosses, the people themselves nominate local candidates in town hall meetings. The media says nothing about individual candidates – preferred or not. Factual biographies are printed and posted for all to see. The mass organizations do develop a “preferred list” of candidates but no one is forced to vote for them. But, the fact is, that the vast majority do. Why is that if they dislike their form of Government so much?

    I am well aware of the labor arrangements you decry. It sounds like you think Cuban workers at foreign-invested hotels and nickel plants ought to make hundreds of dollars a week, when everyone else on the island is paid in pesos. As you know, socialism says the substantial profits being made in tourism and natural resources ought to go back to the Cuban people as a whole (what you call the “bloodsucker Government”) – to health and education – rather than in the pockets of the fortunate few who work there. The Cuban people agree. BTW, the Government reformed this area slightly last year, allowing joint ventures to pay whatever they want. There is no maximum wage in Cuba any longer. But the subsidy principle still stands for many important reasons.

    I don’t “apologize” for anything. I support Cuba because the my Government has been grossly unfair to it (something Marc ackowledges) and because I believe capitalism is fundamentally unjust and unsustainable – environmentally, socially, politically. I am giving you and your readers actual facts to make up their own minds. If someone disagrees with a policy, fine – tell me why, but don’t base it on half-truths and outright distortions.

  55. Randy Paul Says:

    when they experienced roughly double the economic collapse of the Great Depression.

    When there was no more USSR for them to be a client state of.

  56. Marc Cooper Says:


    Not going to dignify your crass propagandizing for a distatorship. It is offensive to actua human beings who suffer its consequences. But by all means plse continue with ur rants. U do nothing but reveal urself as completely vapid and intellectually dishonest

  57. DJ Slim Says:

    People can go here and see where Cuba ranks in terms of economic well-being:

    It is close to the middle of High Human Development, despite being the target of US economic and military campaigns. In fact, it ranks 48th while Brazil, the country worshiped by Randy Paul and Marc Cooper, ranks 70th. One can only imagine how Brazil would be faring if it had to deal with a country 100 times its size doing everything it could to ruin it. I suppose that this matters little to Paul and Cooper since the citizens of Brazil have the right to buy whatever consumer goods they want even if the lack of health care condemns their children to have a life expectancy rate 7 years lower than Cuba’s. One supposes that it is worth 7 years to be able to buy the chewing gum of one’s preference.

  58. av2ts Says:

    ,i>When there was no more USSR for them to be a client state of.

    Randy, Revolutionary Cuba was never a “client state” of anyone – though they certainly were before the Revolution (to the US). You ought to read the history of Cuba in Africa or Latin America to shed the notion that Cuba listened to anyone except their highest ideals, when dealing in the international sphere. Cuba believed in revolution, they believed in ending apartheid in Africa. They did not care what Moscow’s objectives were and made that quite clear over and over again.

    Now, economically, there’s no doubt that Cuba ended up being far more dependent on the Socialist states to buy and sell them goods (principly because they were embargoed) than they would have liked. When the rug was pulled out from under them (an event no one predicted), they realized just how dependent they were. But this has nothing to do with being a client state, which traditionally has to do with subservience in international affairs.

  59. Anna Churchill Says:

    Avets do you go to Cuba often? I know two people went there briefly around 2002 ish. Their experiences, just as tourists, confirmed the reports of desperation for the most basic supplies.

    I think you also make valid point about doctors being lured away as one of the ways the US keeps trying undermine the few things that despite all the craziness the Cubans made flourish.

    From where I sit this argument is being fueled simply because one of you is trying to play Cuba off the US and the other one does the same thing from the opposite side.

    1. Cuba has succeeded in creating an educated population and a hot house culture of excellence in certain disciplines.

    2. America has managed to create a culture of stupidity that is constantly being fertilized by the fundamentally fundamentalist zealotry that informs the American sensibility.

    The result is the stand off.

    Castro is a nut bag, Avets. His daughter hates his guts. He doesn’t suffer the same hardships he has forced everyone else to endure in order to successfully give the US the finger. And in the end, Marc is right, the whole joint will be sold back to foreign investors in order to survive. That started happening already. That is the tragedy.

    If the revolution had actually been revolutionary the first order of business would have been to have everyone planting kitchen gardens and food crops and crops that might provide resources rather than cane to sell abroad in trade.

    Che, Castro…they all did it by the seat of their pants. Che didnt know what the hell he was doing except as a soldier he was brilliant. I love the guy. He was a purist. Thats why he bolted. But he also was the one who first started in with the executions.

    But they were pushed towards dependence on goodies from Russia cause the US was STUPID and Kennedy relied on that troll Richard Goodwin for advice. All of you. Go back and find all the references you can to Goodwin’s meetings and his subsequent advice to Kennedy. The one that is a jaw dropper was a few cited passages in Jon Lee Anderson’s book on Che.

    Che sought Goodwin out in Uruguay and had an unprecedented meeting with him. Its staggering. And then Goodwin being a man of limited feeling and imagination wasnt able to parlay correctly the signals and meaning of the overture. Its insane. Kennedy was liked by Che and Castro and Kennedy definitely had the hots for Che.

    Doesnt matter the crazies were out to get Kennedy and Goodwin’s screwing up his advice for the last minutes of Kennedy’s presidency are moot.

    End of Story.

  60. Randy Paul Says:

    But this has nothing to do with being a client state, which traditionally has to do with subservience in international affairs.

    Poppycock. it has everything to do with economic dependency as well.

    Now, economically, there’s no doubt that Cuba ended up being far more dependent on the Socialist states to buy and sell them goods (principly because they were embargoed) than they would have liked.

    Not then or now by the EU and Canada.

    One can only imagine how Brazil would be faring if it had to deal with a country 100 times its size doing everything it could to ruin it.

    A piss poor excuse to suppress the non-violent expression of political beliefs.

  61. DJ Slim Says:

    One can only imagine how Brazil would be faring if it had to deal with a country 100 times its size doing everything it could to ruin it.

    A piss poor excuse to suppress the non-violent expression of political beliefs.

    It depends on how you define non-violent. People got arrested in Cuba because they collaborated with and received funding from an extremely violent state. Just around the time these pigs lined up at the trough at the US interests section in Havana, an American judge was releasing the killer who bombed a civilian airliner. I don’t blame Cuba for jailing fifth columnists. What is supposed to do? Take it in the neck like Allende? I suppose that would make a liberal like yourself happy.

  62. Anna Churchill Says:

    DJ wake up and smell the reality:

    Knock off the dewey eyed, but cold blooded will rationalize anything crap. Its been done and history is littered with the corpses including those of the poor mountain farmers of the Sierra Maestre caught between Batista’s men and the revolutionaries. Depending on who came across them first they were forced to take sides. Some were executed by Che because they were threatened to being rats for Batista’s forces.

    You need to find the human factor in your big broad pathological brush strokes, buster.

    And that is not to let America off the hook for ANYTHING.

    Read Arenas’ Before Night Falls. Its meant to be a wake up call for dewey eyed apologists like yourself.

    Its people like Arenas who are the true revolutionaries.

  63. Anna Churchill Says:

    By the way, DJ, Che’s excuse to start the executions once they had secured the victory was cause he didn’t want to ‘take it in the neck’ like Guatemala did. Its a slippery slope, pal. Even Castro was like: whoa, Dude, you really think thats the way to go?

  64. DJ Slim Says:

    Its been done and history is littered with the corpses including those of the poor mountain farmers of the Sierra Maestre caught between Batista’s men and the revolutionaries.

    You are a total ignoramus, aren’t you. Fidel Castro ran in elections for years before he became a guerrilla. If anything was clear about Batista, it was that he only could be removed by force. Btw, say hello to your racist grandpa Winston for me.

  65. DJ Slim Says:

    whoa, Dude, you really think thats the way to go?

    Like wow, you really are a brainless valley girl like for real.

  66. Anna Churchill Says:

    DJ try actually sticking to what is being written and its meaning rather than larding it with your knee jerk, adolescent, cold blooded too predictable and pathological take on what it means to be a revolutionary. Marc is right, you are the type who would be ticking off the names as they shoot people in the back of head and then kick them into the pit. (or was that someone else, if so, fits you, too)

    Your childish assault on my last name is another red flag on your being one of those steely eyed little types often caricatured in film.

    Hopefully you are not hanging out in your basement trying to make bombs.

  67. av2ts Says:

    Anna, I appreciate your response. And yes, I’ve been to Cuba – and am going again later this year. I’ve also traveled around Latin America and the Carribean. I am under no illusions about life in Cuba, but the difference in the the type of poverty is striking. Sure, Cubans want everyday US consumer items. They want brand names. They want the things their pesos can’t buy them (foreign goods). Because they are simple products we take for granted, many Westerners assume Cubans must be desperate and even malnurished. It is simply untrue – Cuba is the only country in Latin America to reach the UN’s child malnutrition goals (and most of the UN’s Millenium Poverty Goals). They have soap, shavers and shampoo, they just want different brands. It is a flaw but not very high on my societal priority list at least.

    I have to stick up for Fidel. He may be a lot of things, but not a “nut-bag.” His biographers, even those in the CIA like Brian Lattell, show a lot of respect for the mind of this 20th Century giant. To anyone on the left in the region, he will always be a superstar. He turned his country into a powerhouse on the world stage. Of course he has made mistakes, as he admits, but no one can say his first priority has not been to build a just, sustainable world order.

  68. Randy Paul Says:

    It depends on how you define non-violent. People got arrested in Cuba because they collaborated with and received funding from an extremely violent state.

    I’ll go by the Amnesty International standard for a prisoner of conscience.

  69. Randy Paul Says:

    His biographers, even those in the CIA like Brian Lattell, show a lot of respect for the mind of this 20th Century giant.

    Que puñeta! El jefe es sonriente!

  70. Anna Churchill Says:

    Av2t…I understand that Cubans are not living in the kind of abject poverty we associate with countries where infrastructure is decimated and those in charge are totally corrupt.

    And I appreciate you have been there and I havent and like most of us posting (Marc excepted, for one) form opinions based on what we read and read between the lines.

    I also know that Fidel is a very clever man and talks a good line and knows how to make the US twist in the wind. But he is a shit. His daughter hates him and for all the reasons one could rightfully dislike him. Unlike Che, Fidel thinks he should have special privileges. He lives high off the hog. If he were a sincere leader making a stand against the big evil imperialist giant he would not be stuffing his gob with all the treats no one else in Cuba gets.

    One telling sign is just what one sees in the faces of documentaries. The strain. I agree, the Cubans have succeeded in sticking it to America and that has been a kind of glue.

    It was Che, not Castro who came up with a lot of the social programs most particularly the healthcare and training doctors.

    I don’t think you would feel quite so dewey eyed if were a Cuban.

    What is very dangerous is to get lost in abstractions and not understand the human realities. You are in love with the myth.

    All that being said Americans should be more concerned with the human rights issue of taking out a political spat on a whole population. The other side is the ignorance of AMericans who also don’t understand the human cost of the embargo.

    Cuba is being whacked with hurricanes. And I bet each season for sometime is going to be brutal.

  71. Randy Paul Says:

    One thing that Obama should do is, assuming Luis Posada Carriles is convicted of immigration fraud, is to have him deported promptly to Venezuela. The man is an unrepentant terrorist and doesn’t deserve to be walking free.

  72. av2ts Says:

    Anna, Fidel does not live high on any hog – nor does his family. I hate to be harsh, but that is probably why his (illegitimate) fashion model daughter Alina disliked him. Fidel has more than a dozen children and none of them receive special privileges. They wait in line at the clubs like everyone else, they don’t name drop, they all live very modestly. Fidel lives in a 1500 sf one story house. Fidel has challenged anyone to prove he has any money stashed somewhere. Fidel’s “critical biographer” Tad Szulc says that her “lives on a modest scale compared with rulers elsewhere.”

    It is true that Che had many great ideas, but Fidel put them into place and sustained them through thick and thin. But actually the training of doctors from poor countries (and from minority US communities) on a massive scale is Fidel’s idea. He came up with it after Hurricane George and Mitch. A modest program to train 500 doctors from Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti and DR turned into the largest single source of doctors in the developing world.

    Randy, Amnesty’s original definition of prisoner of conscience specifically excludes “those people who have conspired with a foreign government to overthrow their own.” I don’t know if they’ve thrown that language out the window altogether, or just for Cuba’s sake. They’ve never bothered responding to the letters I’ve sent asking for clarification. Perhaps the distinction is that the 58 Cubans still on their list received most of their funding or material support from “NGOs” set up and funded by the US Government, rather than the USG directly. But anyone with half a brain realizes there is no meaningful distinction – plus most were working directly with the US Interests Section in Havana.

  73. Marc Cooper Says:

    You are really a piece of work! Avery slimy one. You not even know the square footage of Fidel’s house (though no one in Cuba I know even knows where he lives), you also KNOW that his children all stand patiently in line and seek no privilege. More astounding, you have conducted a psychonalysis on his “illegtimate” daughter Alina (why not just call her a bastard) and you suggest that she left Cuba probably because she is a spoiled model who coudnt stand the austerity of being a simple Castro!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bad news, dude. I know Alina as I met her at a New Years Eve Party in Havana in 1984 and then several times after until she puled up stakes and headed for Miami. That is, I knew her when she was still officially Fidel’s daughter in Cuba. And I know her mother Naty (who still lives in Cuba, if she’s till alive). She was Fidel’s main squeeze at the time of Moncada and like Betsy Ross she helped stitch together the first flag of M-26 movement. Alina’s personal life is her own business, though she has written a book about it. I can assure you, son, that her reasons for leaving Cuba were far more complex than breaking free of the humility of being a daughter of Fidel Castro!!!! What an obnoxious and presumptuous little twit you are to imply she left Cuba because she was a degenerate “model.” Have you NO shame?

    Your methodology is really slimy to the point of being disgusting. In true Stalinist fashion you impinge upon the character and slander (with no factual basis) anybody or anything that contradicts your fantasy. Castro is a simple man who eats irce and beans and a bachelor apartment, you see. ALL of his children are the same and enjoy no privilege (Does that include his son who runs Cuba’s nuclear power plant project as well??). The one exception, of course, is the bourgeois model Alina, who PROBABLY fled Cuba because Daddy Fidel was too pure to buy her a Dior handbag. The same daughter who chose to be born “illegitmate.”

    I see.

    One wrinkle in this tall tale. Where did Daddy Fidel go wrong in raising this bastard child and creating a counter revolutionary under his own roof? Especially when Mom was the Betsy Ross of the Revolution.

    You are just a pathetic brainwashed zombie, compa.

    Cuba is a nest of nepotism and privilege with the Castros at the center of it all. Fidel holds power for 48 years and then transfers it … to his brother! His brother, up to that moment, just happened to be the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Raul’s wife just happened to be the long time head of the Cuban National Womens Federartion. And their daughter just happens to currently head up the government agency on sex education. What an amazing set of coincidences. Perhaps they can all stand patiently together in line for an hour or two at the Coppelia waiting to get a scoop of vanilla ice cream (one scoop only please, I’m Raul’s daughter and Fidel’s niece and it would be unseemly for me to ask for two).


    I find his ice-cool, “reasoned” and measured apologia for every aspect of the dictatorship to be particularly nauseating and creepy. As I said before, we’re looking into the soul of a notetaker on the train to Dachau. In case you haven’t noticed, he’s a robot.

    By the way, Anna.. I spent some time on the “model farm” which just happens to be run by Fidel’s other lesser-known brother, Ramon (known as “Mongo:”) When I was there for a few days in the 90′s, it seemed to be a place to which the state farmed out aging revolutionaries who had really nothing to do. Some of the guys I met there worked directly with Che Guevara in carrying out the summary executions that bloodied the early days of post revolutionary rule. That was also the work of Che. And it wasn’t a pretty picture. They told some pretty ugly tales but seemed to have no self-awareness of how gruesome it is to have been a mass executioner. No doubt, of course, that everyone shot to death was a counter-revolutionary even they didnt require, like, a real trial with defense lawyers and an appeals court to review their cases. Not to mention why you would shoot so many people AFTER you have already won a monopoly of power! Anyway, all the rule of law stuff is strictly bourgeois.

    Another note on Che: A closer historic reading shows that his disenchantment with Fidel didn’t stem from a more humanistic view. Rather, Che got caught up in the now ridiculous Sino-Soviet debate and was upset that Fidel was too closely following the “reformist” Soviet model and was introducing too many market mechanisms into the state run economy. Che preferred the more centralized Chinese model including a militarized work force (ycchhh).

    While we are it… the excellent bio of Che by Jorge Castaneda rather conclusively suggests that Che was completely deluded by the time he went to Bolivia… that he had absolutely no idea nor any real preparation to encounter the political conditions he did. He had made a similar massive blunder in his misadventure in the Congo from where he had to flee for his life and then sulk in depression for some time afterward. That he wound up surrounded and then murdered in the company of just a handful of followers in the Bolivian hinterland certainly suggests a major strategic blunder. He had virtually no relations with massive radical tin miners unions and he got no support from the Bolivian peasantry either (that’s who turned him into the CIA led troops hunting him down). Che was NOT that brilliant of a military strategist as it turned out.

    Castaneda also makes a very convincing case that while Havana had, indeed, established a rescue mechanism in case that Che needed to be yanked from Bolivia, in the end Fidel let him twist and get captured. He was just too big a pain in the ass and a liability for Castro. Anyway, if Che had come back, he might have had to room with Fidel and would have been a tight squeeze in that austere 1500 sq ft abode in which El Jefe Maximo eeks out his existence.

    I’ve also spent some time in 90′s with Che’s grandson Kanek (who looks just like him). When I met him he was best friends with the son of one my Cuban friends. They were about 18 or 19 and had a rock band. The night I met Kanek, on the balcony of a former colonel in Cuban counter-intelligence) he and his buddy had just been tear gassed by Cuban cops who broke up their concert in a local Casa De Cultura. Kanek was brilliant and was already convinced that the revolution had betrayed the grander ideals of his Grandpa Che. A few years later he exiled himself in Mexico (perhaps to become a fashion model). And the intelligence colonel who — when I met him was the editor of the magazine of the MInistry of Interior and was the most hard-line of all my friends– eventually left Cuba as well. While he was living in Mexico, I helped him get across the border here, only to visit Disneyland. He later went back to Mexico and then eventually emigrated to Miami. He died a few years ago of throat cancer without ever having realized his life dream of becoming a fashion model. If I remember correctly, his Coral Gable home was about 1700 sq feet — marking him as a hopeless hog of privilege.

  74. av2ts Says:

    Randy, I hope you agree that the Justice Department should have honored Venezuela’s extradition request for Posada when it was originally filed like 2 years ago. There is no reason to wait for anything – let alone an orchestrated event like what’s happening in El Paso. First they try the Hemisphere’s #1 terrorist for lying on his immigration application (and blow it), and now they are trying a different lie from that application (albeit a lie having to do with terrorism, not that it matters for the Judge). Imagine what people in Cuba thought when they heard about the final decision from the first trial. The only time the 70 pages report mentions terrorism is in connection with Government “trickery” or “fishing”. The report actually begins like this: “Defendant is a 79 year old Cuban national who has spent his life opposing Fidel Castro.” Point is, Cuba does not need to be lectured about its Judiciary.

    I hope you also agree that the ruling saying Venezuela’s extradition request could not be honored because of a fear of “torture” there is complete bullshucky. If I remember right, this was just after Abu Graib dropped. The people of Venezuela must have thought the US were the biggest hypocrites around. I don’t even think that Amnesty has said anything about alleged torture in Venezuela since 1999…

  75. Marc Cooper Says:

    Torture in Venezuela? Impossible!

    Um, ironically, this report is from roughly the same period as the Abu Ghraib story.

  76. av2ts Says:

    Fair enough Marc, I dropped some details that I’ve picked up along the way without spending the time to cite them. A google earth estimate of Fidel’s home’s size (they do have a tennis court though), an EU diplomat’s anecdote to describe Fidel’s son at a jazz club, and an off-handed remark about Alina in some book I read. The latter was a low blow, but I made clear it was my opinion – and I did not that snarkiness is a blogging crime. The austerity Fidel, Raul and their family members are expected to live under, however, can not be disputed (I note that you did not try). Charges of nepotism are simply misplaced. Only one of Fidel’s 5 kids (with Dalia) has any sort of public life. Fidel’s niece, Mariela, his niece, is able to take on the homosexual/transgender issues more effectively as a Castro.

    The sidebar expressing doubt about Che’s abilities as a military strategist is just absurd. Guerilla warfare was what Che did, who he was. The fact that he survived until he did says that alone – as does anyone that ever fought with him. F*ck Castenada and his idiotic conspiracy theory about Fidel tricking Che to go to Bolivia and then abandoning him. That is absolute BS, and you should know better Marc. Che wanted to link up with the striking miners and even wrote them a message. Che was a marked man in Bolivia, because the CIA invested mightily there. The Empire disrupted the best laid plans. If Che’s rebels would have grown a bit and been around during the uprisings and dual-government of 1970 Bolivia, the whole thing could have ended differently. We might be speaking Cuban Spanish in California now.

  77. av2ts Says:

    Come on Marc. I never said torture does not happen in Venezuela. That is impossible to say anywhere, as people in extreme conditions often act in violent ways. This 2004 story was about National Guardsman who had tear gas thrown at them during very violent protests connected with the G-15 Summit. But none of that has anything to do with the situation that would face Luis Posada Carriles. It is the US that has tortured terrorists. It is the US that is protecting a terrorist, because the terrorist was OUR terrorist, and has many tales that must never be told.

    I’m aghast, so I have to make sure I have it right. Do you really think the US is acting justly in denying Venezuela’s extradition request on the grounds of torture?

  78. Marc Cooper Says:

    Communication is severed, companero. Y’know, another Yankee embargo.

  79. DJ Slim Says:

    As I said before, we’re looking into the soul of a notetaker on the train to Dachau.

    Stark, raving, batty, maniacal stuff. Castro seems to bring out the same reaction in Cooper that fluoride produced for General Jack D. Ripper in “Doctor Strangelove”.

  80. Anna Churchill Says:

    Marc I didnt read the Castaneda book, but know of the references from it and am aware of the various theories about Che and his final relations with Castro. I can’t remember but I think Anderson may have given a perspective on Castaneda’s that was…

    Che’s failures in BOlivia are well known and in his own hand he wrote rather presciently of the problems in trying organize in Africa and why things went tits up there. Its in his diaries from Africa, Marc, that you see that, in fact, he was brilliant in his ability to observe and assess. Remember he was never trained to do any of this. He did everything by the seat of his pants other than he was trained as a doctor–and did that rather badly!

    To understand Che one needs to understand the psychology of the Puer. He was the poster boy. These archetypes are the fertilizer. They allow the rest of us to flourish. They never make old bones.

    My feeling has always been that Castro was a shit for letting Che hang out to dry and that alone says a lot about him– especially as he exploited the myth which really has become the myth of Cuba and the revolution. That more than anything reveals Castro to be both the slime ball that he is–and shrewd political operative…that he is.

    Marc, by being dismissive of Che because of “closer historical inspection” and calling him a pain in the ass puts you in the same league as DJ Slim.

    Che may have become too closely identified with the rhetoric towards the end as he was preparing to disappear into history, but I have never read any account between the lines or not that would suggest he was anything less than utterly irrisistable as a human being. And I think his grandson would be right to say Che did have the grander ideals and had he lived–which would have been impossible–he would have been constantly reworking those ideals. Guys like Che are never static like those that survive to become tyrants.

  81. Anna Churchill Says:

    I wonder, Marc, have you met Che’s doctor daughter? She sounds a rather extraordinary person.

  82. Anna Churchill Says:

    The thing about Che…he really was the guy in the myth. Flaws and all.

    On a less romantic note: Ralph Nader has become old bones and has not betrayed his ideals; implemented many of them but also lived long enough to have people become disenchanted with him and then say foolish things out of frustration.

  83. DJ Slim Says:

    Cooper cited a 2004 NY Times article that cited Human Rights Watch on torture in Venezuela. It figures. This is the same outfit that 118 Latin America scholars have attacked as biased:

    Cooper citing HRW is like Rush Limbaugh citing Glenn Beck.

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  85. Anna Churchill Says:

    Human Rights Watch made recent headlines by criticizing the Jordanian government for arresting elected officials who praised Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, at ceremonies held in response to his death.

    They seem to be all over the map in their briefs…eh?

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  91. Randy Paul Says:

    Randy, Amnesty’s original definition of prisoner of conscience specifically excludes “those people who have conspired with a foreign government to overthrow their own.”

    I promised Marc, I wouldn’t respond, but I am compelled to clear up an utter fabrication.

    The definition of prisoner of conscience has always been – per the link you provided and the description I gave in ten years of doing new member orientations for AIUSA – someone who has been imprisoned solely on the basis of their race, religion, ethnic origin, gender [sexual orientation, beliefs or lifestyle was added later], provided they have not used or advocated violence.

    As none of those imprisoned in Cuba who AI has adopted as prisoners of conscience has used or advocated violence, your comment has no merit.

    In other words, when you don’t have facts on your side, you just make shit up.

    That’s the very essence of being a propagandist.

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