Saturday, October 03, 2009

Cuba and the embargo

Jorge Castañeda has an unusual article in Newsweek. The core of his argument is that Cuba is so incredibly powerful that we need to end the embargo. He concludes:

Havana and Chávez are closely aligned; Zelaya would never have made it to the Brazilian Embassy in the Honduran capital without Cuban logistical aid, and Chávez himself would probably not survive politically or otherwise without the island's security apparatus that permanently surrounds him. But an end to the embargo could begin to split apart Havana and Caracas, and it is probably the only intelligent policy Washington has available to it.

I have to say that I've not heard this argued before. Hugo Chávez would not survive politically without Cuba? Fidel and Raúl orchestrated Mel Zelaya's return? Neither Roberto Micheletti nor Jim DeMint has even gone that far!

On other hand, I support ending the embargo for a number of reasons, so I will try to overlook the odd rationale people might have for agreeing with me.


Justin Delacour 2:54 AM  

Jorge Castañeda gets weirder and weirder every year. Nowadays he seems like a straight-up conspiracy theorist. We hear of one wild conspiracy after another from this guy, and each conspiracy involves either Venezuela or Cuba. My sense is that Castañeda is becoming virtually indistinguishable from right-wing nut jobs like Carlos Alberto Montaner.

Anonymous,  10:51 AM  

I think this idea has some merit for Obama. Mostly because a unilateral US break from the embargo would shake things up enough to gain some new opportunities for US policies. I think the Cuban government would be in a worse position because the excuses it uses would be exposed for what they are--the desperate cover for a bankrupt regime. The Cuban people know the truth. The US is currently the island's fifth largest trading partner with the embargo. The US didn't drive the Cuban economy into the ground over the last 50 years. It was communist stupidity.

Castaneda's quotes aside, and I disagree with some of the bizarre specifics, a US break with the embargo might very well lead to better opportunities to promote our agenda in Latin America. Unfortunately, I can see no way for Obama to do it given domestic political realities. Chavez and ALBA are not such a threat to justify a Nixon to China routine.

Anonymous,  10:58 AM  

Suggesting that Chavez would not survive politically without the Cuban security apparatus doesn't make any sense, but the "otherwise" part of the quote is probably correct...the Cuban security team has kept Castro alive this long, I expect they will continue to do an excellent job of protecting Chavez from being killed, despite the many who want to see that happen.

Vicente Duque 2:06 PM  

Mr Weeks :

The Problem of American Foreign Policy is not Cuba but Chavez-Venezuela

The same for the Foreign Ministries of many Latin Countries

What destabilizes Latin America is not Cuba. It is Venezuela with Chavez.

Venezuela has hundreds of resources that Cuba lacks. According to a friend that studies oil, Venezuela has recently surpassed Saudi Arabia in Known Reservers.

Now Cubans know that Communism is not Paradise or Happiness. They may like or dislike their regime, but they are not bigots or fanatics ready to die or to cause trouble to the rest of the World. That time has passed.

Cuba is now a Gerontocracy, and everybody waits for Fidel and Raul to die, soon or in a few years.

Raul is also very old and Gerontocratic.

But think of the Future : Chavez building nuclear weapons, Chavez ( the Supreme Irresponsability ) building Chernobyl Nuclear plants.

I wish a beautiful Future for Cuba and Cubans ( without communism ) but I saw the most horrible movie about the disaster of Today's Russia :

Big Horror Movie about Russia.

Part 1 (of 6) Death of a Nation - Russia

I hope that Cuba after communism is not going to be a disaster like Russia today.

It would be wonderful if the USA cooperates to avoid the same disaster in Cuba that befell on Russia.

Who can win by a Human Catastrophe in Cuba ???

More about Baby Crunches, Demography and the Decay of Nations, Immigration, Minorities, etc :

Vicente Duque

leftside 7:16 PM  

He also argues in that piece that "no one has been jailed" in Honduras. I guess indefinite deterntion does not count (link is to just one of many cases of political arrest)?

Forget the hairbrained arguments, Castaneda's entire thesis is garbage. Does he really think the US can seperate Chavez from the Cuban Revolution by dropping the embargo on Cuba and heightening pressure on Chave?. This guy was Foreign Minister?

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