2.3.09

S. 428: The Cuba Travel Act - Part II - Response to a new objection

RESPONSE TO ANOTHER OBJECTION TO THE EMBARGO (begun below in my post "S. 428: The Cuba Travel Act" on February 27)

Fifth objection and response (objection submitted as a comment on March 1 by Al Godar of 'Blogs Sobre Cuba' ) is that the embargo must be lifted because in his experience
"...a great portion of the Cuban people believes that the United States hates us and want to harm us..."

To respond to this objection some facts first need to be clarified.

Given the history of US-Cuba relations since 1898 Castro and others have constantly hammered on valid arguments against the United States. The U.S. intervened in Cuba 1898, without invitation, in its war for Independence, occupied the nation with 50 thousand troops and 'settled' with the Spaniards while forcing Cuba's legitimate leaders to the margins. Under threat of continued occupation the US then imposed the Platt Amendment on Cuba's first constitution thereby awarding itself, uninvited, the right to intervene in Cuba's internal affairs. Furthermore, Cuban history is packed with derogatory statements by US Congressmen and Presidents about the Cuban people (see "Cuba between Empires" by Louis Perez). As if that were insufficient, the US flag was propped up on the island after the war of Independence and Cubans were forced to lease Guantanamo to the US undert threat of continued occupation.

There is no doubt that all of this and much more is part of every Cuban's education under Castro, and, regrettably, rightfully so. Yet that is only the first part of the story.

In 1936 the Platt Ammendment was revoked and by 1940 Cubans approved a new Constitution, without the Platt Ammendment and as a sovereign and fully democratic republic. The US did not intervene.

There were elections in 1940, 1944 and 1948. Three months before the 1952 elections former president Batista was significantly behind in the polls and executed a military overthrow of Cuba's democratic government. The U.S. under president Truman recognized Batista's coup government as legitimate in just 15 days. So again the US gave Cubans reason to believe the U.S. was a hostile nation. This is the second part of the story and Castro tells it well.

The third part begins with Cuba's civil society (urban organizations and student leaders) and Castro's 26th of July movement uniting forces to evict Batista and restore the constitution. On January 1, 1959 they succeeded and Cubans were euphoric but also expected elections and Castro promised as much. Yet on January 3 he started appointing presidents, first Manuel Urrutia and subsequently Osvaldo Dorticós. No elections. On February 1959 he even recognized the 1940 constitution but then proceeded to step all over it, ruling by decree, authorized, according to him, by 'the revolution'. Thusly he began the process of installing a totalitarian state with informers on every block, opponents (including various revolutionaries) imprisoned or executed after summary trials; and first tens, than hundreds of thousands of Cubans fleeing the country with the revolution betrayed by one of its leaders.

With close to 20% of the population in exile, 16 years later Castro pushed through a 'new constitution' (1976) that was according to him, almost unanimously approved. He midified it in 1992 and again in 2002. To make a long story short, Castro's regime, now supposedly run by his brother, remains in power 50 years later. He allows Cubans no means of directly electing a president or reestablishing a multi-party democracy such as the one Batista overthrew. This is the third part of the story and it will cost you dearly if you try to publish it in Cuba, as dissidents will attest.

Therefore, to answer the objection, the correct response cannot possibly be to finance Castro by lifting the embargo. Such a strategic move would most definitely work against the best interests of the Cuban people and of the relationship which the US should strive to establish with them. Lifting the embargo would be an alliance with the tyranny just as it occurred in 1952 with Batista, not an alliance with the Cuban people, as it should be.

The first part of the correct answer is to educate Cubans inside and out about the full history of Cuba, not just the parts that Castro uses to justify perpetuating his regime's tyranny.

The second part of the correct answer is for the United States to recognize its past violations and to inform Cubans (1) that they will never happen again and that (2) the embargo is there to help evict the tyranny and nothing else.

RESUMEN EN ESPAÑOL
El blogero Al Godar de 'Blogs Sobre Cuba' ha sometido la objeción, mediante un comentario el 1 de marzo, de que el embargo hay que levantarlo porque
"Una gran parte de la población cubana piensa que los americanos nos odian y quieren jodernos."
Nos explica que la tiranía ha convencido a muchos de que es así, intentando con eso auto justificarse.

Luego de hacer un breve resumen de las graves faltas cometidas por los EE.UU. con Cuba entre 1898-1939 y nuevamente en 1952, respondo (en Inglés) que levantar el embargo gravemente heriría los intereses del Pueblo Cubano y también el tipo de relación que el gobierno de los Estados Unidos debería de intentar establecer con este, pues sería una alianza con la tiranía como ocurrió en 1952 con Batista, en vez de una alianza con el pueblo, como debería de ser.

La repuesta correcta al odio a los EE.UU. que Castro ha cultivado para auto justificarse, debe de ser en primera instancia la educación. Es decir, hay que educar al pueblo cubano sobre como la educación que Castro les provee distorciona la parte de la historia que comenzó el 3 de enero de 1959, fecha en la cual comenzó a designar presidentes en vez de reestablecer la constitución, y convocar elecciones, la verdarera razón por la cual se derramó sangre cubana en la revolución.

La segunda parte de la repuesta correcta es que los Estados Unidos debería de publicamente reconocer sus errores entre 1898-1940 y en 1952, explicándole al Pueblo Cubano que (1) jamás volverán a ocurrir y (2) que el embargo es una alianza con ellos y no con la tiranía, y cuyo único propósito es el de ayudarlos a erradicarla.

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