Cuba, Lets Be Honest

If you follow the news you know that just an hour or so ago President Obama announced his intentions to normalize relations with Cuba.  before we go any further on that topic there are some things You probably don’t know about Our neighbor to the south.  I highly recommend that if you are interested you watch the Documentary about Castro by PBS

One thing you will learn is what you didn’t learn in school.  At the time of the Cuban Revolution a middle class was almost non existent, quality healthcare and education were accessible only by the wealthy. Sound familiar?  it should.  You may have known that though but did you know that 75% of Cuban land was owned by American Companies?  These companies were exploiting The Cuban population and as any good Republican will tell you….You can only exploit people who allow you to exploit them.

Well Fidel Castro mobilized the large Cuban underclass and said you wont exploit us any longer and the people revolted and won.

What many Americans do not know is that at the time Americans by and large saw Fidel Castro as a hero. the American press in particular.  In 1959 after winning the revolution he visited New York City where he was generally treated like a rock star.

Fidel Castro visits New York, Some of the crowd, estimated at 35,000, wait behind police barricades at Central Park for glimpse of their hero. Some 1,000 cops were on hand to keep order. (Photo By: Phil Greitzer/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

But while the press may have loved him the government didn’t.  After the revolution the first visit he made was to the United States, in an effort to thwart rumors that he was “communist” and to normalize relations with his closest neighbor.

The government saw him as a threat, particularly his intentions to nationalize property owned by American Corporations and President Eisenhower snubbed him when he visited.  Subsequent attempts to mend relations crumbled particularly under President Kennedy, who on at least one occasion attempted to have Castro assassinated and also launched the ill fated Bay of Pigs invasion in an attempt to overthrow Castros’ rule.  Castro, left with no other options opened relations with the USSR.  The Us retaliated with trade embargoes, Cuba retaliated by expelling American Companies and here we are 50 years later with an ineffective trade embargo that does little more than harm both countries in my opinion.

Dont get me wrong here, there is reasonable evidence that Castro has some pretty serious human rights violations under his belt, but then you could say the same about George H W  Bush as well.

In the end President Obama made the right move, a move that should have been made long ago.  The trade sanctions clearly did not work, it is time to move on.  If you want freedom to take root you cant force it on people. you must root it in the examples you set forth in policy.  One could argue that most Cubans under Castro had more freedom than they had under Battista, but the point is moot.  The best way to better relation is a better understanding of each other and that comes from contact with other peoples.

What will be next for Cuba?  Will it become an island vacation paradise or another Haiti?  Time will tell.







23 Replies to “Cuba, Lets Be Honest”

  1. LurkingReader

    First thing to mind is Muriel because some boaters came to our town and kept 60’s race riots going into the 70’s. Next is the joy of seeing the friends who bought our Cruise tickets to see the Pope in the mid 90’s when they came back hugging pictures of family they hadn’t seen in nearly 40 years.

  2. billyboy

    @ David Sutton
    Spot on correct. I have many Friends in Fla who knows this yet still is anti Cuba’s Government. Speaking of how educated most of these people are. Look up who are the worlds leading cancer treatment that is available to the poor and wealthy alike. I believe many Doctors were Russian educated in the past.
    Castro was sick and tired of the 50’s mafia’s heavy handed total control of a sovereign country’s land and the people revolted and rightfully so.
    I am not certain of this however I once came across an article a very long time ago where it was mentioned that Castro was Educated in the United States as a lawyer and attended a law school in New York City.
    Cudos to Obama on this and he is very often mislead and wrong.
    All those South Florida lawyers will not be happy now that the “wet foot Dry foot law” that is ONLY available to Cubans, will surely be scrapped shortly. They seem to have to be at war with something to have a cause for action no mater how dumb.

  3. LurkingReader

    He was seriously sick with a systemic infection for a long time…guys definitely got a steel constitution to live.

  4. LurkingReader

    It’s a shame Ukraine didn’t follow his example with all the housing they nationalized sold and now are re-patriating as they dump tenants on the street.

  5. artwilliams

    I think this is a good idea. Why wouldn’t a country have at least diplomatic ties to another. Talking is better than not talking but let’s take off the “rose colored glasses” here. The real test will be when American corporations ask for compensation for their property. After all, the American government — at it is now constituted — exists to aid businesses. This is not for the people.

  6. common sense

    This was a good deal for Obama. He traded 3 Cuban spies for one American do-gooder and some great tips on how to run a dictatorship! It’s a Christmas gift from one commie to another! lol

  7. bfi

    I wondered a bit how Cuba was related to the adult biz, but both are about Freedom to say and do. Of course politics is almost as much fun as sex. Mike South got it generally right, but as for some of the comments, I do not know where to start. I’ve been to Haiti and I’ve been to Cuba, and I can say Cuba is not another Haiti. I’ve never read the Desi Arnaz autobiography, but I can assure all that when the Arnaz family fled Cuba, Fidel Castro was in elementary school; I know its easy to get the dictators mixed up.
    Cuba is known throughout the world for the quality of its medical personnel, and Castro offered to send some of them to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, but W said no way. They sure would’ve done better than some American medical personnel there who abandoned some patients.
    Fidel was a lawyer but he studied at the University of Havana, not at a NY law school. He was hailed as a hero in NYC after he toppled Batista.
    Finally, we did not trade 3 Cuban spies for “one American do-gooder.” We returned 3 Cuban spies in return for Cuba returning one un-named US spy and releasing 53 political prisoners. The return of the “do-gooder” was separate but simultaneous; he was in Cuba working as a subcontractor for the US Government, doing things which are against Cuban laws.
    Since the US gave Cuba independence after winning it from Spain in 1898, Cuba has generally been ruled by a series of dictators replacing dictators. We’ve invaded Cuba more than once, but unlike Germany and Japan who we recognized not long after they killed Americans in combat and in prison camps, and China, which the US recognized less than 25 years after China helped North Korea fight and kill Americans in combat and which still holds prisoners from the Korean War, and Vietnam which was recognized about 20 years after the war in which 58,000 US troops were killed, Cuba has never fought and killed Americans except in limited defensive actions, such as the Bay of Pigs. Sanctions against Cuba have not worked, and President Obama is taking the correct approach. Many Americans have already visited Cuba, which is certainly safer than visiting North Korea, but as Mike said, beware the ciguatera, which I picked up in the Caribbean many years ago.

  8. LurkingReader


    For the past five years there has been a visa process in place for approx 50,000 annual Americans to visit Cuba. What I hear from most in South Florida is that the visas go to “tourists” and those with family are still being denied visas. The speculation about why is rampant but most feel their American dollars are welcome via the high cost official process while their politics aren’t. They hope this latest deal will make it cheaper to support the families they have no hope of seeing again.

    As technology improved commerce and travel over the past 60 years the embargo became less and less effective. There was a definite effect while Cuba had to establish other means of trade but that time has long passed along with the initial effects of the embargo. Venezuela is just one country that benefitted early on taking over immediate supply & demand to Cuba despite Russia still grabbing all the headlines.

    It amazes me how ignorant as Americans we are to not only our own but our nearest neighbors political history. My kids tried to tell me we never had interment camps in the USA…given the fact that both are college educated and took AP History this saddens me. Schools spend so much time on STEM and accommodating the social cause du jour that they never go near accurately portraying the worldwide ripples felt in conflicts.

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