Obama doesn't understand why Raúl bites his hand
Carlos Alberto Montaner, in Capitol Hill Cubans
In his United Nations speech, Raúl Castro attacked “the blockade,” demanded the return of the base at Guantánamo, and asked for an end to the Radio Martí broadcasts. He defended Nicolás Maduro and Rafael Correa. He sided with el-Assad's Syria, Iran, Russia, and Puerto Rican independence. He criticized the market economy and, in a heavy-handed flourish, closed with a quote from his brother Fidel, an obligatory gesture in Cuba's unctuous revolutionary liturgy.
Shortly thereafter, he met with the U.S. president. According to The Washington Post, a somewhat disappointed Obama mentioned to him the overlooked matter of human rights and democracy. There wasn't even a glimpse of a political opening.
Obama doesn't understand that, with the Castro brothers, there is no quid pro quo or give-and-take. To the Castros, the socialist model (they constantly repeat this) is perfect, their “democracy” is the best in the planet and the dissidents and the Ladies in White who ask for civil liberties are merely salaried servants of the yanqui embassy, invented by the media, people who deserve to be thrashed.
The Cuban government has nothing to rectify. Let the United States, that imperial power that abuses other nations, rectify. Let capitalism, that system that spreads misery worldwide with its free market, repulsive competition, hurtful inequalities and lack of commiseration, rectify.
To the Castros and their troops of battle-hardened Marxist-Leninists, indifferent to reality, the solution to all evils is in the collectivism managed by army officers, with the Castro family directing the puppet show.
Raúl, Fidel, and all those around them are proud of having created the greatest subversive core in the 1960s, when they founded the Tricontinental and nurtured all the terrorist groups on earth who knocked at their doors or forged their own intelligence services.
They worship the figure of Che, dead as a result of those bloody goings-on and recall with emotion the hundreds of guerrillas they trained or launched against half the planet, including the democracies in Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay.
They become teary-eyed when they remember their feats in Africa, carried out for the purpose of creating satellites for the glory of the USSR and the sacred cause of communism, as they did in Angola, where they managed to dominate the other anti-colonial guerrillas. Later, in bloody combat on the Ogaden desert, they defeated the Somalis, their friends before the war, who are now confronting Ethiopia, Havana's new ally.
They feel not the slightest remorse for having executed adversaries and sympathizers, for having persecuted homosexuals or religious believers, for having confiscated estates that had been honorably acquired, for having separated families and pushed into exile thousands of people who ended up at the bottom of the sea. What does this minor individual suffering matter when compared with the glorious feat of “seizing the skies by storm” and changing the history of humanity?
O for the grand days of the not-so-cold war, when Cuba was the spearhead of the worldwide revolution against the United States and its minions in the West! A glorious era, betrayed by Gorbachev, when it seemed that soon the Red Army would triumphantly camp on Washington's boulevards.
Obama's mistake is thinking that his 10 predecessors at the White House erred when they decidedto challenge the Castros and their revolution, identifying them as enemies of the United States and of the ideas upheld by democracy and freedom.
Obama doesn't understand the Castros nor is capable of gauging their significance, because he was not -- as Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush Sr. were -- steeled in the defense of this country against a very real Soviet threat.
Even Clinton, who dodged the draft rather than fight in Vietnam, in the post-Soviet era understood the nature of the Cuban government and signed the Helms-Burton Act to combat it. Bush Jr. inherited from his father the conviction that an enemy crouched 90 miles away and treated Havana in that spirit during his two terms of office.
Obama was different. When he came to the presidency, 18 years had passed since the Berlin Wall had been toppled. To him, the Cold War was a remote and foreign phenomenon. He didn't realize that there were places, like Cuba and North Korea, where the old paradigms survived.
He had been a community organizer in the black neighborhoods of Chicago, concerned by the troubles and lack of opportunities that afflicted his people. His battle was of a domestic nature and was inspired by the struggle for civil rights. His leitmotif was to change America, not to defend it from external foes.
Like many U.S. liberals and radicals, especially those in his generation, he thought that little Cuba had been the victim of the imperial arrogance of the United States and could reform and normalize as soon as his nation gave it a hand.
Today, he is incapable of understanding why Raúl bites that hand instead of gripping it. He doesn't know that old Stalinists kill and die with their fangs always sharp and ready. It's all part of the revolutionary nature.
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