Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cubans Look To The Future, Grisham Looks To The Past

Cubans are looking forward to normalized relations with the United States -- which has spent the past 60 years trying to destroy their country -- but not without some anxiety. That's what I gather so far, but I'd been especially waiting for a monthly radio program about Cuba that airs on the New York City Pacifica station, WBAI, which I listened to last night.

Pacifica, of course, is a Leftist voice and Leftists in the US are generally somewhat anxious about what the US-Cuba rapprochement will mean, Cuba being an important symbol for Leftists and occupying a central role in the Socialist's imagination. Cuba is seen as a successful experiment in Socialism and is further admired for how it has resisted and survived efforts over the past 60 years by it's huge imperial neighbor to the north to eliminate it as an example that Socialism can succeed, and provide a better life to a country's citizens. We've been watching how Fidel Castro's brother Raul, who took over as head of government from Fidel in 2008 and has been making some changes -- particularly opening the country up to more private enterprise.

Hosts Sally O'Brien and Margret Gilpin interviewed two Cuban professors, someone in the government, and a few random people on the street in Havana. The question's reflected the hosts' anxieties about Cuba's future. The main concern, of course, is whether the lure of US culture and Capitalist materialism will dilute the solidarity of the Cuban people, who seem to remain committed to the ideals of the Cuban Revolution.

The interviewees had thought about it, too. In their various ways they all said that they think Cuban culture and Cuban Socialism will remain intact because of the strength of Cuban culture. One of the professors added that he thinks American culture will remain intact despite closer contact with Cuba.

The hour long Cuba In Focus program can be accessed at WBAI's archives page. Scroll down to January 29 programs.

 New pictures of Fidel released today

New Mexico's First Congressional District Rep Michelle Grisham's statement on normalizing relations with Cuba is carefully worded in an attempt to not alienate anyone to the Left of Hitler who might possibly ever think about voting for her, i.e., her natural constituency:

Lujan Grisham Releases Statement on Restoration of US-Cuban Relations

Dec 17, 2014
Press Release 
Washington, DC – Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) released the following statement in response to President Obama’s announcement about the relationship between the United States and Cuba.

“I am optimistic about the shift toward restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba and moving away from a policy that has failed on so many levels. During my visit to Cuba, I was struck by how the embargo, coupled with a dysfunctional economy, has hurt so many average Cubans. A more robust relationship will ultimately help people in both countries, and open the door to democracy in Cuba.

“However, I am concerned about the release of Cubans, who were convicted in American courts, as a condition or precursor to improving relations between with the U.S. and Cuba. I worry about the message that may send to other state actors around the world that are looking for leverage against the U.S.”


Grisman, in that statement, while it tries to placate both her liberal and conservative backers, reveals her deeply conservative beliefs, which are so typical of so many so-called Democrats today.

And that little bit at the end about "Cubans who were convicted in American courts" is a mealy mouthed way to refer to a group of Cubans referred to by the Left as the Cuban Five, who were arrested while they were in the US to spy on the rabidly anti-Castro Cubans of Miami who have played such a large role in formulating and implementing US policy toward Cuba. People on the Left have been agitating for their release for years and had gotten two of them released. The three who were still in US prisons were released as part of the US-Cuba rapprochement arrangements in a prisoner swap with US spy Allan Gross that was arranged by Pope Francis. The fact that Grisham doesn't mention that aspect of it, and the oblique way she slips the issue into her statement, puts her statement squarely in the context of a nod to the rabid anti-Socialism that has hallmarked the American policy toward Cuba and is still adhered to by the most conservative elements of US society. Neither does Grisham mention Louis Posada Cariles, a US agent wanted in Cuba for a string of terrorist bombings in Cuba and who has been convicted in absentia for placing a bomb on a Cuban Airlines jet that killed all 73 Venezuelans on board. Cariles today walks free in Miami. No mention of him by Grisham.

Many Republicans now agree that Cubans have the right to run their country as they see fit, and favor normalizing relations with Cuba. As I laid out a couple of posts ago, many Democrats now take positions to the right of Republicans. Yes, many Democrats are more conservative than Republicans now. Especially New Mexico Democrats. Especially Michelle Grisham, who still wants to impose Capitalism on Cuba whether the Cubans want it or not.

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