Cuba

Does anyone want to gaze into their crystal ball and guess what will happen in Cuba when Fidel Castro finally dies ?

Will one of his sons simply take over ? Will the people stage an uprising ? Will the USA step in and take control ?

To outsiders it would appear that everyone loves Castro. Apart from shooting opposition members and staging the Cuban missile crisis has Castro really done anything else wrong ?

Barbara Walters certainly seems to love him.

The refugees who wash up in Florida every day don’t seem to like him at all.

“To outsiders it would appear that everyone loves Castro.”

Appears is the key word there. He may have started out a communist but he’s just a standard smalltime dictator now over a very poor country. Even China and the Soviet Union chang(ed) leaders every now then. Maybe things will change when he finnally kicks it.

There’s too much money waiting to be invested in Cuba for it to not become a democracy and normalize relations with the US.

As long as they keep making cigars I don’t really care.

Or at least to become a right-ward leaning dictatorship, rather than a left-ward leaning dictatorship.

Not that there’s much functional difference between the two, but, well, it seems to work for our Central American allies (I don’t know how well it works for the people in those countries, but that’s another story…) They get plenty of investment; now we protect those investments by supporting even more right-wing governments…

Democracy in Cuba would be great, though. My cousin (who’s Dutch) says Cuba has wonderful beaches and great people (she spent about 3 months there a few years ago).

“Normalize relations with the US”, yes. However, that has never, ever had anything to do with becoming a democracy, as such.

In my opinion, we should have flooded Cuba with tourists from day 1. The embargo against Cuba didn’t do anything but turn it into an impoverished nation and punish the general population. Castro is in no danger of being overthrown and our continuing efforts are laughable and costly.

How many millions are we costing the United States every year due to this embargo?

Probably not that many, economically. However, I do agree that the US should skip the embargo because the situation Cuba is in suggests to me that they would go through a lot more comfortable transition to market economy than most if it wasn’t for that embargo.

Probably not that many, economically. However, I do agree that the US should skip the embargo because the situation Cuba is in suggests to me that they would go through a lot more comfortable transition to market economy than most if it wasn’t for that embargo.[/quote]

Coming from the giant farm we call Nebraska, I tend to hear about Cuba being a ripe ground for American grain. Cuba has to import pretty well everything it consumes, especially food. With the short transportation distance and the immediate need, farmers could reap a rather nice windfall by being allowed to sell their grain to Cuba.

The same goes for pretty well everything else that is produced in the U.S. There is finally a country that we could have a huge trade surplus with, and we choose to cut ourselves off from them for no other reason than injured pride.

Even the airline industry would benefit immensely from the easing of the trade embargo. Just think of how many Cuban immigrants would be flying back and forth to visit family members. Not to mention the general flights for tourism and business.

Ah well, the Federal government has had a hardon for Castro since the day he nationalized all those U.S. corporate owned businesses. Then again, India and China did the same thing and we still have normal trade relations with them.

In my opinion, we should have flooded Cuba with tourists from day 1.

I am guessing high on the tourist list would have been touring the missile silos for missiles pointed at the US? Look mom! This one is pointed right at our city!!!

I don’t think that was the choice back in day 1. But now, why not. God knows MLB could use more pitching.

Chet

Even poor countries sometimes love their smalltime dictators.

Well, that’s nice for the midwestern grain farmers, but it would be disastrous for Louisiana’s sugar farmers.

Not likely, since the Cuban government recently raised the possibility of importing sugar from the US. Granted, hermanos.org is not exactly an unbiased source, but since they’re referencing a government statement, it should be pretty easy to confirm. One thing I know for sure is that sugar, like everything else, is rationed. The wonders of a planned economy.

I’ve got plenty of anecdotes about family members and friends being tortured and executed by Castro. My grandfather was an attorney specializing in civil rights and actually defended Castro once before the revolution. As things progressed, his ideals became inconvenient to the revolutionary government and he became a fugitive. One day, convinced that he was hiding in a nearby house and trying to draw him out, soldiers took his brother out into the middle of the street and shot him.

Democracy in Cuba would be great, though. My cousin (who’s Dutch) says Cuba has wonderful beaches and great people (she spent about 3 months there a few years ago).

Very true. I was there in the 90s and it is a beautiful place. I wonder if your cousin was told, however, that Cuban citizens are not allowed to step foot on a lot of those beaches. We tried to take my second cousin, who lives in Havana, to a resort in Veradero but she was too afraid she’d get caught. My sister was stopped by armed guards as she was walking back to the hotel because they thought she was Cuban.

The economy there is a mess. Another relative of mine who has a degree in electrical engineering is driving a cab in Havana because it pays better than an engineering job. The US embargo is not solely to blame for this. In private, Cubans themselves will tell you that. They had 30 years of Soviet support and the rest of the world to sell to.

That said, I think the embargo is ludicrous. I’m not sure there ever was much justification for it, and at this point whatever justification there may have been is certainly gone. The best way to help ensure a smooth, peaceful transition post-Castro would be to lift the embargo now. Unfortunately, the reactionary element of the Cuban-American population wields a disproportionate amount of political power in a big state with a lot of electoral votes.

As far as post-Castro, I hope it will be peaceful, but I’m afraid it could become a bloodbath. The people in power are there because they are ruthless enough to get rid of the opposition and incompetent enough to not be a threat to Castro. Throw in a power vacuum, a sudden infusion of lots of American money, and the possibilty of thousands of exiles wanting to reclaim their property and you have a recipe for disaster. My father has been back to Cuba enough times that he now has a free pass from the US State department and has had lots of high level interaction with the Cuban government. At one point he hoped that he could be of some help in managing a post-Castro transition, but he’s after realizing the kind of people he was dealing with he’s given up on that and is now pretty pessimistic.

The embargo of Cuba is a great symbol of what I hate about politicians. Why do we trade with China, with Vietnam, with all manner of despotic regimes, yet have an embargo on Cuba? Very simple: votes. Any politician who lifted the embargo on Cuba would likely lose a lot of votes from Hispanics who hate Castro. The embargo has not helped the people of Cuba nor weakened Castro’s hold on Cuba one iota, nor does anyone think it will. You want to make them a democracy, or a free trade economy? Flood them with capitalism. We should be trading with Cuba, freely, and making it a U.S. friendly neighbor.

This is a bit of a common misconception. The Cuban government didn’t exactly have thos missile silos show up overnight, and Castro never wanted them in the first place.

After the Cuban revolution, Castro nationalized all factories, hotels, etc… Most of these facilities were owned by U.S. companies, who lost millions of dollars worth of property and income. The U.S. demanded that Cuba either return the factories to their previous owners or compensate the companies for lost property and revenue. Castro decided on option 3: he shot the U.S. the bird. In reponse, the U.S. enacted the trade embargo.

With Cuba’s #1 trade partner and income source cut off, Castro needed to turn to someone. Being as the U.S.'s allies also refused to help Cuba, they turned to their communist brethren in Russia. The Soviet Union agreed to buy products form Cuba as well as supply them with much needed cash grants, under one condition: they must allow missile silos to be built on their soil. Castro at first refused, but after it became obvious how financially strapped Cuba was, he agreed to the terms. (the Bay of Pigs kinda helped push him down this path too, no doubt).

Now I’m not saying Castro is a good guy, far from it. He’s got the same serious flaws that most dictators require. He’s paranoid, violent, and power hungry. His people have suffered from his form of government and he’s burned every bridge that could be burned. But the Cuban missile crisis, well, that stemmed directly from the trade embargo. Castro isn’t insane. I’m sure he knew that allowing the Russians to establish a nuclear missile force on his island was inviting direct U.S. intervention that would probably cost him his rule as well as start WW III. His choices at the time were either certain financial ruin followed by a coup, or to give in to the Russian “request” for a missile base.

Amen.
The Cuban refugee vote (it’s not really a “hispanic” issue) is key and they’d slam any party foolish enough to deal with Castro. The Cubans are a major force in Florida and we all know how important Florida is during elections. It’s sad, because Cuba is beautiful and I don’t really see a downside at all to dealing with Castro at this point.

I thought most of those facilities were owned by the mob. Wasn’t organized crime rampant and part of the reason for revolution (that and the former regime’s complicity?) or did (SPOILER FOR TOM CHICK)
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Godfather Part II lie to me?

;-)

Hehe, the mob did have a rather huge stake in Havana. It was the Vegas of Cuba and law enforcement was so lax at the time that they could do about anything they wanted to.

The Cuban refugee vote (it’s not really a “hispanic” issue) is key and they’d slam any party foolish enough to deal with Castro. The Cubans are a major force in Florida and we all know how important Florida is during elections. It’s sad, because Cuba is beautiful and I don’t really see a downside at all to dealing with Castro at this point.

Can someone explain this to me because it honestly always confuses me.

The refugees, who escaped Castro’s rule, don’t want the US helping Castro. Sounds simple enough.

But if everyone thinks helping Castro would help the Cuban people, aren’t the refugees then screwing over their relatives still left in Cuba?

Every other nationality with a strong presence in the US always wants the US to help their country of origin. Except Cuba. I don’t get it.

Chet