Fidel Castro Resigns Cuban Presidency

Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
#11
I posted a blog entry up on DailyKos about the manner yesterday.

Daily Kos: Post-Castro: New Boss is Same as the Old Boss

While initially I was jubilant at the news that Fidel Castro had resigned his presidency, a few minutes later I realized how very little it meant.
Sure, symbolically it means something very great; Fidel brings back memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis and Soviet-era Cold War standoffs. Practically? The Communist regime is still there, it will still jail dissenters at will, it will still zealously monitor internet usage, and overall will remain the backward, oppressive state we've come to know and hate.
More below the fold...



When one categorizes tyranny, it is important to determine whether it is entrenched or held together by a particular individual. Tito, the leader of Yugoslavia until the 1980s, was really the only thing holding the state together. With him fell the nation as we know it, and to this day it is still dividing and sub-dividing.
Cuba, on the other hand, has a firm and rigid government that is powerful and pervasive; it is proven that it can resist both outside interference and internal protest. Fidel has hand-picked his successor in his brother Raúl, part of the stagnant inner circle of the Cuban political elite, so there is no possibility of instability or power jockeying on a meaningful scale. The message from this all is: it's business as usual in Cuba. Indeed, the population of Cuba seems to solemly march on rather than resort to jubilation or revolution.
The statements from the candidates followed a similar form.
Hillary Clinton's campaign remarked that:
"I would say to the new leadership, the people of the United States are ready to meet you if you move forward towards the path of democracy, with real, substantial reforms.
While the Obama campaign said something similar:
If the Cuban leadership begins opening Cuba to meaningful democratic change, the United States must be prepared to begin taking steps to normalize relations and to ease the embargo of the last five decades.
Besides Barack Obama mentioning the key issue of the embargo, they basically said the same thing; when you change we'll help, until then we don't give a damn.
But this is clearly the wrong order of action. An impoverished population can never push the leadership for change, and the leadership in Cuba has no reason to change, as things have worked in their favor in the past five decades. Look at North Korea: it's heavily sanctioned and poor, yet in no other country is its tyranny so absolute. This shows the underlying fallacy in the current policy towards Cuba that will stagnate any progress that could be made with Fidel's resignation. The only way that democratic reforms will come from within Cuba is when there is wealth and power in places besides the government. Under its current state, it only "provokes today an unjustified suffering of the Cuban people.'
This kind of logic and wisdom is not lost on the world as a whole, as the UN's call to end the embargo shows. Some prominent Democrats have previously stated that the embargo is ineffective:
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), the incoming chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has said the embargo is a "total failure." In the House, Charlie Rangel (D-NY), who is set to become chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, has in the past sponsored legislation to end the embargo.
Thus perhaps an incoming president, probably a Democrat hoping to make friends in the world, will see that coming out against the embargo is not a political death sentence. However currently US-Cuban foreign policy is and has for decades been stagnant, a Mexican standoff of sorts.
It seems ironic that the candidates paint Cuba as stubborn, when America is also to blame; it fully knows how dependent the Carribean is on American trade, and yet continues to mandate infeasible requirements to lift the embargo, and with it normalize foreign relations with one another.
Tyranny is a world problem, and it will require the work of more than just the Cuban government and its citizens. The United States is the power broker in this whole situation, and if they extend a hand to Cuba, then just maybe Fidel's resignation is the first step to a brighter tomorrow.
 
#12
Well, what I meant was that it would probably be no one's military, but a bunch of liberators on a killing- spree (with or without implicit support from the US, nudge, nudge, wink). So: no liberation, but a civil war.
 

CMK_Eagle

Registered Member
#13
The only way that democratic reforms will come from within Cuba is when there is wealth and power in places besides the government.
The problem with this is that the Cuban government won't allow for those outside of power to become wealthy. True, it has occasionally allowed some limited private enterprise, such as family-owned stores. However, such loosening of enforcement has always been short-lived, and these businesses are shut down as soon as the regime feels the need for a scapegoat.

One other thing - either the embargo has been ineffective, or it's impoverishing the island. Both cannot be true, and IMO it's the former. Because the US is the only nation to ban trade with Cuba, there's plenty of opportunity for investment from, and trade with, other wealthy nations. What has impoverished Cuba is the inevitable failure of a communist economy.
 

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
#14
One thing the embargo does is allow the government of Cuba to blame the US for their problems. When the masses want a revolt, tell them things would be better if not for the US embargo. Make the US an enemy against the people and that makes the people feel completely powerless. The embargo's a failure, time to try something new.
 

dDave

Guardian of the Light
V.I.P.
#15
Well i guess that this was kind of predictable, he passed on all of his power to his brother, looks like he wanted to keep the dictator business running in the family.
 
#16
One thing the embargo does is allow the government of Cuba to blame the US for their problems. When the masses want a revolt, tell them things would be better if not for the US embargo.
It's also true (apart from the revolt thing).

But, you know, the "revolution", whatever that means now, is such a big part of Cuban society. It's as painful for a Cuban to throw Castro away, as it is for an american to say "yeah, socialism.. maybe it does work after all".

It's just not done, and if it is, it moves with different words and mechanisms than we're used to, or compared to theory. So in the meantime, with the hardline policy on everything - the state becomes the biggest power, and the elites are becoming more and more dependent on a political context where the system must always be included - unchanged. And by being so hung up on the nomenclature here, and using that to stop any form of normalisation with the regime, we're just assisting in perpetuating the problem. Or, we're assisting those who have absolutely no vision.

It's been much the same in the rest of the world for the past ten years, you know - it's politically difficult to support those who actually have the opportunity to change things - by allowing exchange programs and communication between institutions like schools or medical, labour, legal. While those who learn to speak the right words - they get weapons, money and enough political support to go very far - in their bid to perpetuate the political context.

Of course - where could we actually have any influence in a state like Cuba? Could the US magically restore Cuba by removing the embargo? No. But the truth is that there's no way we can strenghten the regime except by dealing with it directly, without ever demanding anything in return, or having any clear direction on how we wish to approach it. Which, of course, is a difficult question - while it's much easier to just condemn it all and have something to hate. Or - as the case may be - pour money into it through tourism, or ways that are not politically contageous - and keep a stalwart facade.

So there are opportunities. It's just that we might be powerless to shape exactly how it turns out in the end, if we allow the regime to stumble along on it's own. (And start to disbelieve the idea that some day - if we just stand firm - the regime will fall, and freedom will bloom, and crap like that..)
------
Jon Swift: Castro Resigns! Sanctions Work!

Jon Swift tells it like it is.. ;)
 
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Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
#17
either the embargo has been ineffective, or it's impoverishing the island. Both cannot be true,
The embargo has been ineffective in its goals, namely to defeat the Communist rule of the island. However it has accomplished something: making the island very, very poor given the level of infrastructure of development it has.
 

CMK_Eagle

Registered Member
#18
However it has accomplished something: making the island very, very poor given the level of infrastructure of development it has.
Again, Cuba has plenty of investment from other nations, such as Venezuela, and has plenty of opportunity to sell its products in every nation except for the US. The reason Cuba is so poor is the simple fact that communism is incapable of bringing prosperity.
 
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