"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, July 31, 2006

Castro On the Ropes

During its dictator days, everybody around the Caribbean Rim called a rum & coke a Cuba Libre, a "free Cuba." A toast, a bit of a hope and a prayer.

After the Castro revolution toppled the dictator du jour, in Miami Cuban refugees from Castro sardonically ordered a mentira. "Lie." It has been 47 years since the first mentira was ordered.

Free men everywhere, and those who wish the blessings of liberty and thereby prosperity for others, wish Fidel Castro a speedy reunion with his Creator. We would not want to see him suffer, or not nearly as much as he has made others suffer. Free men are a bit hardheaded when it comes to freedom, but not spiteful.

Fidel, at age 80, has been rushed into surgery and has given the reins and whips of state to his designated successor, brother Raul. Temporarily, but we hope not.

The obscenity and nightmare that is communism is almost over. It was conceived by Marx and Engels way back in 1848, believe it or not, and then took over 50 years to enter reality as the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. About seventy years later, the Soviet Union at last requested the needle, to put itself out of its self-inflicted misery.

I went to school and lived for awhile in Miami, to where the best and brightest (and admittedly privileged) of Cuba fled after his revolution. They started again with nothing or next to it, and turned a backwater vacation spot into one of America's major cities.

But the most extraordinary people I met there were those who escaped by hook, crook or by raft in the decades after the din of rebellion faded. Osvaldo learned to cook pizza, saved enough to open his own shop, and fed me most every day right after I got out of college. It was damn good pizza.

If you met him on the street, or at a cocktail party, where he'd probably be serving the fare instead of sharing it with you, you'd think him quite an ordinary man. Osvaldo was anything but, and achieved far more than I, and likely you, ever will.

I think perhaps he and many others will leave Miami for their homeland when the time is right, and help build the New Cuba.

And I think it'll turn out to be a good place. A very good place.

Perhaps soon we'll be ordering Cubas Libres again. In fact, I think I'll mix me one up now, in anticipation of the occasion. Godspeed, Fidel. Emphasis on the speed part.

9 comments:

Hairy Carrot said...

It's too easy to start making references to Castro burning in hell with other dictators. The "Despotic Dictator Hell" will be a Broadway musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber within 8 years.

Francis W. Porretto said...

This is a momentous time. Dictatorships such as Fidel's are personal empires; when the Big Guy dies, the scramble for power gives rise to many opportunities for anyone flexed and ready to act. The major question of the moment is: Who, inside Cuba or outside it, is flexed and ready to act?

Watch Venezuela.

Tlaloc said...

"The obscenity and nightmare that is communism is almost over."

The irony of course being that communism might have worked very well there so of course the US had to pour enormous resources into making it fail.

Seems that if communism was the failure the uber-capitalists like to claim it would collapse without the meddling of outsiders, doesn't it?

On the other hand Cuba gives just another example of how our meddling tends to backfire spectacularly. We try for nearly 50 years to remove the head of a tiny little impotent island. Had we not bothered making him a celebrity who stood up to the US how long do you think he would have lasted? How long would Hussein have lasted?

Cuba is indeed an excellent lesson for the US, but once again people will miss the point.

tbmbuzz said...

The irony of course being that communism might have worked very well there

The only irony here is that some people still believe this nonsense, in the face of historical fact as well as simple common sense.


Seems that if communism was the failure the uber-capitalists like to claim it would collapse without the meddling of outsiders, doesn't it?

Eventually communism does collapse. Power structures with a stranglehold on all aspects of a society, which is what communism simply is, do not disappear overnight (see USSR).

James Elliott said...

To ensure accuracy, please distinguish between "communism" and "Communism." You're talking about the one with the big "C" - which is more of a capitalist ideal than a socialist/communist one.

Tlaloc said...

"The only irony here is that some people still believe this nonsense, in the face of historical fact as well as simple common sense."

Which historical "facts" are those? Has there been a communist country that has not been severely impeded and sabotaged by the US? If so I can't think of it. By all means enlighten me.



"Eventually communism does collapse. Power structures with a stranglehold on all aspects of a society, which is what communism simply is, do not disappear overnight (see USSR)."

Buzz, EVENTUALLY all systems collapse. That's a colossal "duh!" But COmmunism in Cuba has persisted five decades dspite the US attacking it at every turn (politically, economically, and in terms of espionage). So by what measure do we say a system is inherently unstable?

tbmbuzz said...

Which historical "facts" are those? Has there been a communist country that has not been severely impeded and sabotaged by the US? If so I can't think of it. By all means enlighten me.


Surely you don't think that the giant USSR and its Iron Curtain satellites were "severely impeded and sabotaged" by the U.S. (Well, I guess you do). The fact is, the adversarial relationship went both ways. The stronger, i.e. the inherently BETTER system (in any way you wish to measure it) won. The common citizens in East Europe and the USSR - that is, the majority without the special privileges of the ruling class - hated the Communist system, not because of what the U.S. was or did but because of the unattractiveness, inferiority and totalitarian nature of the system itself. It is an insult to the people who have successfully overthrown Communist systems to claim that they had nothing to do with the collapse of their system of government. Why don't you try running your sociological theories by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, for instance? The simple concept that average people may actually prefer a measure of freedom over a tyrannical government isn't rocket science!

EVENTUALLY all systems collapse.

Actually, some systems collapse, others evolve. All that your specious statement tells us is the obvious fact that mankind has evolved from his Stone Age days.


But COmmunism in Cuba has persisted five decades dspite the US attacking it at every turn (politically, economically, and in terms of espionage). So by what measure do we say a system is inherently unstable?



errrrrr..... take away Castro's army and secret police and watch how long that system will last! Tito managed to keep the distorted, unstable entity known as Yugoslavia together for 40 years simply by force of arms. A system held together by force of arms without the consent of the governed can persist for decades, as many historical examples show us, but the TEMPORARY stability comes from the strength of the ruling class, not from some mythical superiority of the underlying system itself.

tbmbuzz said...

To ensure accuracy, please distinguish between "communism" and "Communism." You're talking about the one with the big "C" - which is more of a capitalist ideal than a socialist/communist one.

I think that most of us here are intelligent enough to distinguish between the nonsensical fairy tale theoretical construct of Karl Marx (communism) and its real world manifestation (Communism) run by real human beings.

Tlaloc said...

"Surely you don't think that the giant USSR and its Iron Curtain satellites were "severely impeded and sabotaged" by the U.S. (Well, I guess you do)."

Psst buzz, your side is the one that always claims it was Reagan's genius that took down the USSR. Remember?

But yes I'd call the cold war substantially impeding and sabotaging them. It did the same to us of course but que sera sera.



" It is an insult to the people who have successfully overthrown Communist systems to claim that they had nothing to do with the collapse of their system of government."

Wow, good thing I never said anything of the kind then, huh?



"Why don't you try running your sociological theories by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, for instance? The simple concept that average people may actually prefer a measure of freedom over a tyrannical government isn't rocket science!"

Why don't you address what I've said rather than constructing strawmen? But speaking of rocket science lets look at the various communists countries: USSR (popular revolution), Cuba (popular revolution), China (popular revolution). Hrrm. Seems like the people may actually sort of like communism. Weird that. I guess that some people don;t like being slaves to megacorporations is also not rocket science, huh?



"Actually, some systems collapse, others evolve. All that your specious statement tells us is the obvious fact that mankind has evolved from his Stone Age days."

No they all collapse sooner or later, Buzz. Really. It's a cold fact.



"errrrrr..... take away Castro's army and secret police and watch how long that system will last!"

Funny, if you took away all the police and FBI how long do you think this country would last? Somewhere between 6 and 12 hours is a good bet. I guess you might need to retool your thesis a bit.