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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Che ... on 02/11/2013 21:03:35 MST Print View

But what about Fulgencio Batista?
Squeaky clean, he was a man America could work with.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: The Misery That Che Helped to Bring on 02/11/2013 21:58:08 MST Print View

"Do you think the US embargo might have anything to do with the misery? Just wondering...."

Our embargo added to the misery of ordinary Cubans. Interestingly though, I didn't meet any Cubans telling me their system could have worked beautifully if the US hadn't thrown up an embargo -- which I believe was the official government line. What some of them did say, was that our idiotic embargo fostered a "siege mentality" which only served to prolong the Castro regime!

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: The Misery That Che Helped to Bring on 02/12/2013 00:37:35 MST Print View

Okay, I admit ignorance on Che Guevara. Just read up quite a lot about him, and forced myself to look at as many accounts as possible so I could get a balanced view (not necessarily influenced by American propaganda). I was wrong about him.

I won't change my view of Woody Allen, though. Say what you will. All the hang up about father marrying "daughter", etc... As long as she was legal and they love each other and are not abusing anyone, what's the harm? They're still together, so it must be real. Certainly more real than what Allen and Farrow had. My own family is pretty chaotic in that way, but I've come to accept that people tend to be chaotic that way. I know a LOT of families around the world that are. It's the clinging to rigid rules about who should be with whom in what capacity that causes all the trouble, the same way that people get all worked up about GAY (BPL, you really have to do something about this... it's discriminatory toward GAY people not to be able to write the word without the filter coming in) people or transvestites or transgenders. The feeling of it being creepy is your own inability to come to term with what makes others happy. Here, I'm NOT saying that I agree with things like pedophiles or rapists. It has to be mutual and both parties have to understand what they are doing. If someone can be tried for murder at 21 or legally go kill people in other countries, then they are old enough to decide whom they want to marry. To me the most important thing is that two people are happy. That is the most and rarest thing we can expect out of life.

I'm pretty certain he would very much be against the present BSA policy.

Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld, Palin, Romney, Limbaugh, Caitlin Dickson, and Matthew Perry (bet a lot of you don't know who he is, and if you do, I'm talking from the other country's point of view)... now there are some creepy, scary, uncomfortable, and morally reprehensible characters.

As to the misery of Cuba... almost all of it is because of the American embargo, not just because it stops anything from getting in, or out, but because it very effectively stops any change from taking place within the country. America never had the right to place an embargo on Cuba. What form of government they choose to follow is up to the Cubans, even if that is a dictatorship (just as no one would have the right to come into America to overthrow the government if America was led by a dictator), and if they decide to continue with a communist system that is their prerogative, whether or not Americans agree with communism or not (though I have to add that "communism" in it's original intended form has nothing to do with dictatorship. The very ideas are contradictory). The Cubans have a right to trade with whomever they choose, whether or not Americans agree with their choice of partners or not. America has no right to continue the embargo. Cuba is no threat (these days) to anyone.

Did you know that, despite its limitations and lack of resources, Cuba has one of the most effective and progressive medical systems in the world? Two doctor friends of mine from the States visited Cuba in 1989 to evaluate the system there and came back quite astounded by what they found. They suggested to Harvard to study the system more and adopt some of the practices.

Also, if you want to buy new parts for your 1950's model American cars, go to Cuba where cars have been stuck in time and locals have learned to re-manufacture worn down parts. One of my doctor friends is a 1950's car aficionado and bought quite a few parts that he could no longer find in the States, new.

Enough pontificating.

My main point is that I was wrong about Che Guevara.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: The Misery That Che Helped to Bring on 02/12/2013 00:51:22 MST Print View

Howdy, Miguel:

Cuba's famed medical system has deteriorated badly since the heady days of the late 1980's -- due mostly to the wholesale withdrawal of Soviet aid. The know how is still there (so I was told) -- but much of the equipment is now outdated or out of order -- and various supplies of medication low or nonexistent. :(

But not everything is bleak. Small-scale private businesses are opening up (restaurants, hostels, etc.). Indeed, certain segments of Cuba reminds me of China 30 years ago -- when that country was just opening up. Everything is open to haggling now -- even restaurant menu prices!

Speaking of old cars, they are EVERYWHERE in Cuba -- lots and lots of old cars -- from the 50s especially -- but many even older. I took this snapshot when I was in the city of Santiago, Cuba -- an old man and his old car -- not sure which was older...

a

Edited by ben2world on 02/12/2013 01:21:09 MST.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 07:16:58 MST Print View

If the Cubans have a right to trade with whomever they choose, well, so do Americans. That includes NOT trading with whomever they choose, doesn't it? Many of us here refuse to buy products from manufacturers whom we loathe for various reasons. Same thing- free market.

That said, I very much agree that the embargo is now pointless. But it is also high farce to blame the state of the Cuban economy on the embargo- they trade with the rest of the world. Their system is simply f-ed up.

Also, re: the Cuban medical system. Yes, a communist dictatorship can do any ONE thing well if it decides to, because if nothing else dictatorships can be politically efficient, sort of like a monarchy- there is only one font of power. But communist systems (and China no longer counts) simply don't have the economic clout to do everything well. For the Soviets this one thing was building a war machine. For the Cubans it was a medical system- because it had been one of Castro's big talking points during the revolution. But if absolutely everything else goes to hell it's sort of a Pyrrhic victory, isn't it? Pro-Cuban folks ALWAYS talk up the medical system, but that's sort of like saying of the Titanic "but the music was very nice."

But... a dictator is a dictator. Castro, Batista, Assad, Shah Pahlavi, Tito, Somoza... whatever. It's embarrassing to support any of them, no matter what the realpolitik involved, but difficult to harm them without harming their subjects (victims) as well. One problem with some parts of the world- most of the Middle East comes to mind but also for instance Russia- is that as a cultural issue they WANT dictators. They have a long and cherished history of strong leaders and patronage systems- it's simply what they are used to.

Edited by acrosome on 02/12/2013 07:21:49 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 08:18:17 MST Print View

"But... a dictator is a dictator. Castro, Batista, Assad, Shah Pahlavi, Tito, Somoza... whatever."

--------------------

And over 1 million Cubans have left since 1959. Most coming to the US.

Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 08:55:26 MST Print View

meh, and how many have also left Mexico, Guatemala, etc in the same time?

I spent some time in Cuba on a couple occasions while working for a Latin American studies program (as well as working with Cubans and people who had lived in Cuba long term), and Cuba is really, really complex. I've don't thing I've ever experienced anything that challenged how I think more than spending time in Cuba. They've done some horrible things, as has every other country in the region (us included). They're a long-time enemy and Castro's an almost cartoonish villian to most of us, but just want to throw it out there that black and white judgements (good or bad) probably miss the mark...

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 11:12:43 MST Print View

We must ask, why has Cuba continued to be a miserable place for most of its citizens when most of the communist countries around the world failed; many of them collapsed two decades ago?

Part of it is the martyrdom of Guevara and the "cultist" reverence for Castro. Both Castro and Batista gained illegitimate power.

To say the US is the main problem due to the embargo doesn't hold water. Cuba can trade with other countries around the world, and has received significant aid from the Soviet Union and Venezuela over the years. The bottom line is that communism doesn't work, and Cuba is another in a long line of communist failures.

For the most part embargoes should not be put in place unless a country is a military threat to the US. Missiles in Cuba were a threat. That threat no longer exists. We should lift the embargo, and if businesses want to risk investing in and trading with Cuba, then let them. Our government should stay out of it.

One may wonder if the Cuban government really wants to trade with the US. Do they want the populace to deal with capitalism? Would this cause unrest? Look at China, freedoms have grown for the populace. Do the Cuban leaders want this?

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 11:40:45 MST Print View

My wife and I went to Cuba for our honeymoon. We loved it. Great people. Some of my favorite memories were watching all of the old 1940 to 1960 cars driving around in perfect shape (parts are scarce so the locals fabricate engine and chassis parts from scratch).

We went to a pizzaria a few times owned by Canadians and employing Cubans. There has never been Communism in Cuba and always bouts of Capitalist drive. The issue is that the US Embargo helped make Cuba poor with no access to the basic needs. The misalignement with the USSR (and then Russia) didn't help the situation. Canada has provided imports to Cuba for many years without ill effect, not to mention several joint ventures that have proven fruitful for the Cuban people.

When did I go to Cuba? 1994.

Does Cuba want trade with the US? Only because that is where the glut of product is.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Comparing Chinese and Cuban Diaspora on 02/12/2013 11:55:19 MST Print View

"Look at China, freedoms have grown for the populace. Do the Cuban leaders want this?"

Very interesting to compare these two countries... I mentioned earlier that Cuba is slowly opening up, and some aspects of Cuba reminded me of China 30+ years ago, when it was opening up as well.

But one BIG difference: The Diaspora.

After China opened up, all through the 1980's, 1990, 2000s all the way up to the present -- the Chinese Disapora in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and other parts of southeast Asia were the largest investors in the Chinese economy -- beating out US and Japanese investors. Overseas Chinese were eager agents of change to their 'motherland'.

Contrast that with the Cuban Diaspora. While most all of them eagerly sent remittances home to family and relatives and sometimes friends -- most were also adamant against any kind of investment or trade relations! A big part of the continued US embargo came about because of solid Cuban-American support!

Today, China is freer in many ways than Cuban -- and quantum leaps ahead in economic well being overall. I have never understood why Cuban Americans are so willing to sacrifice the 11 million little people in Cuba -- in their woefully ineffective attempt to hurt the Cuban leadership... Even in religion, which can be a big catalyst of change (as in Poland) -- back when the late pope John Paul II visited Cuba -- the archbishop of Miami wanted to go, but couldn't (and didn't) -- not because of any US government interference -- but because Miami Cuban-Americans were practically up in arms against their archbishop visiting! So no go. Was Castro hurt in any way? Nope.

Edited by ben2world on 02/12/2013 12:00:04 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 11:58:30 MST Print View

"The issue is that the US Embargo helped make Cuba poor with no access to the basic needs."

Castro and communism made Cuba poor.

The Cuban economy is planned and controlled by the government. It has one of the worst human rights record of any country in the world. Cuba has been involved in many wars in Latin America and Africa.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 12:01:18 MST Print View

Castro and communism make Cuba poor. The US Embargo prolongs it. And stupidly (IMO), Cuban Americans support that Embargo.

Edited by ben2world on 02/12/2013 12:02:53 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 12:08:26 MST Print View

"Castro and communism make Cuba poor."

Wait, I thought Boy Scouts discriminating against Gays made Cuba poor. I am really confused.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 12:11:09 MST Print View

And the Pope quit.

I wonder how that will affect the poverty of Gay Cuban Boy Scouts.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 12:15:50 MST Print View

"Castro and communism made Cuba poor."

Because of the inability to get the basic goods. From the US. Without trade, economies suffer.

"The Cuban economy is planned and controlled by the government."

Every economy in every capitalist nation is planned and controlled by the government to some degree. Given the inability to get goods through trade, quite frankly there isn't much to control. Notably, the country has some of the best health care available.

"It has one of the worst human rights record of any country in the world."

Current? How far back do you want to go? Shall we discuss China? Or what about slavery in the US?

"Cuba has been involved in many wars in Latin America and Africa."

And so has the US, significantly.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 12:18:18 MST Print View

"Castro and communism make Cuba poor. The US Embargo prolongs it. And stupidly (IMO), Cuban Americans support that Embargo."

Ben,

I agree we should lift the embargo -- let those businesses who choose to do business in Cuba do so. Let them assume the risks if they want.

Why make the US the scapegoat? Cuba apparently got what they wanted with Che and Castro. Remember they were ANTI-America. Seems they got what they wanted. It was their revolution. Why is the US responsible to make the rest of the world economically feasible?

Interestingly, I have met a lot of Cuban Americans in Florida -- most who are working people. They love Cuba and hate the government. They blame most of Cuba's problems on Castro. They would go back if private property and capitalism were allowed. They are for human rights first.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 12:24:58 MST Print View

You misunderstood me, Nick. If you read my posts again, starting with my criticism of Che -- I place the blame squarely on the "revolutionaries" -- who are now the political leadership -- for wrecking Cuba. Our embargo, however, does play a role by stupidly providing Castro the rallying point he needed to get Cubans behind their government, in its struggle against the big, bad US bear.

Most overseas Chinese I know dislike the Beijing government -- but they realize that "money talks" -- and the best way to bring about change is to be the agents of change themselves. Quite a contrast to most Cuban Americans who would rather keep their homeland down on its knees, just to spite Castro some more.

Edited by ben2world on 02/12/2013 12:27:37 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 12:28:10 MST Print View

"They would go back if private property and capitalism were allowed. They are for human rights first."

You are mistaking human rights with capitalism and the ability to get goods.

I agree with Ben. Fine that some Cuban Americans are living the 'American Dream,' but why penalize those that are still in Cuba by supporting the embargo.

You should know that not only Canada does successful business with Cuba but so do the Italians, Germans, and British, to mention a few.

I have a sense you think Cuba is an economic wasteland, but this is not the case (and to trust the word of Cuban Americans who have been in the US for 30 years is probably not sufficient).

It isn't perfect but it is coming along. Once the centrally planned government begins giving more autonomy to the economy, conditions will improve. Ending the US embargo can only help.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 13:17:11 MST Print View

"You should know that not only Canada does successful business with Cuba but so do the Italians, Germans, and British, to mention a few."

Then the US embargo should be of little consequence, right?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/12/2013 13:25:57 MST Print View

"Then the US embargo should be of little consequence, right?"

If this, then that. So simple? Sure, Cuba could trade with any number of countries beside the US. And the fact it does poorly in trade reflects its own uncompetitiveness.

But NOTHING rallies a small island nation than convincing people that the HUGE neighbor next door is out to get them. Do you not see this as a consequence of our embargo?

Edited by ben2world on 02/12/2013 13:59:43 MST.