Raúl Castro attacked the “blockade,” demanding Guantanamo Base and asking for an end to the broadcasts of Martí Radio. He defended Nicolás Maduro and Rafael Correa. He has stood with Assad’s Syria, with Iran, Russia, and the independence of Puerto Rico. He criticized the market economy and ended with a bang, quoting his brother, Fidel, a mandatory gesture within the oily Cuban revolutionary liturgy.
Shortly after, he met with the U.S. president. According to The Washington Post, Obama mentioned to him somewhat disappointedly the overlooked matter of human rights and democracy. There was not the slightest hint of political openness.
Obama does not understand that with the Castros, quid pro quo or “give and take” does not exist. To the Castros, the socialist model (as they constantly reiterate) is perfect, its “democracy” is the best on the planet, and the dissidents and the “Ladies in White” that call for civil liberties are merely employees of the American embassy, promoted by media that deserve to be beaten.
And so, the Cuban government has nothing to rectify. Let the United States, an imperial power that tramples nations, rectify. Let capitalism, which sows misery in the world with its free market, its disgusting competition, its hurtful inequalities, and its lack of sympathy, rectify. To the Castros and to their troop of feisty Marxist-Leninists indifferent to reality, the solution to these problems lies in collectivism controlled by military personnel — with their family at the top directing the mess.
Raúl and Fidel, and those who surround them, are proud of having created the greatest subversive demonstration in history when they founded Tricontinental magazine in the ’60s, and fueled every terrorist group on the planet that knocked on their door or that created their own intelligence services.
They honor the figure of Che, dead as a result of those bloody scuffles, and they emotionally remember the 100 guerrillas that they trained or launched against half the planet, including the democracies of Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay. They get excited when they recall their African exploits, carried out with the objective of creating satellites for the glory of the USSR and the sacred cause of communism; like in Angola, when they managed to dominate the other anti-colonial guerrillas; and later, with blood and fire in the Ogaden desert, where they defeated the Somalis — their friends on the eve of the war, but now opposing Ethiopia, the new ally of Havana.
They do not feel the slightest remorse for having shot adversaries and supporters, persecuted homosexuals or believers, confiscated honestly acquired assets, separated families, or precipitated the exodus of thousands of people who ended up at the bottom of the ocean. What do these small individual sufferings matter in light of the glorious feat that is “taking heaven by storm” and changing the history of mankind?
What times those were — the not-so-cold war when Cuba was the spearhead of a planetary revolution against the U.S. and its puppets in the West! A glorious epoch betrayed by Gorbachev, in which it seemed that the Red Army would soon set up camp triumphantly in the streets of Washington.
Obama’s mistake is having thought that the 10 presidents who preceded him in the White House were wrong when they decided to confront the Castros and their revolution, pointing them out as enemies of the U.S. and the ideas that sustain institutions of democracy and liberty.
Obama does not understand the Castros nor is he able to calibrate what they mean; because unlike Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush, he is not someone experienced in the defense of the country against a very real Soviet threat.
Even Clinton, already in the post-Soviet era, who preferred deferring to fighting in Vietnam, understood the nature of the Cuban government and approved the Helms-Burton Law to fight it. George W. Bush inherited the conviction from his father that what lay nestled 90 miles away was an enemy, and he addressed it thus during his two terms.
Obama was different. When he became president, it was 18 years since the Berlin Wall had been taken down, and to him, the Cold War was a remote and foreign phenomenon. He did not notice that there were places like Cuba or North Korea, where the old paradigms survived.
He was a community organizer in the black neighborhoods of Chicago, concerned with the difficulties and the lack of opportunities for its people. His battle was of a domestic nature and was inspired by the story of the struggle for civil rights. His leitmotif was to change America, not to defend it from foreign enemies. Like many liberal and radical Americans, especially from his generation, he thought that little Cuba had been a victim of America’s imperial arrogance and that it could be reformed and normalized as soon as his country lent it a hand. Today he is unable to understand why Raúl bites that hand instead of shaking it. He does not know that the old Stalinists kill and die with their fangs always sharpened and ready. It is part of revolutionary nature.
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