Monday, March 30, 2009

The Cuba summit?

President Obama will make his first big foray into relations with Latin America and the Caribbean at the April 17-19 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad. It’s fair to ask whether the predominant issue – in press coverage, not necessarily in the proceedings – will be Cuba.

To be sure, it seems far-fetched to think that the summit’s news coverage would be dominated by the one country in the region that is absent from the event.

But two factors – a no-news summit agenda, and a vocal regional consensus calling on President Obama to change his Cuba policy – could combine to produce just that result.

Ask yourself which is more interesting – an all-against-one political dispute involving a new American President, or the contents of this page?

As for the regional consensus, consider this sampling of recent statements and actions:

  • Trinidadian Prime Minister Patrick Manning, the summit host, says “we don’t want to corner anyone,” but “Cuba is on everyone’s lips,” and he is sure that some leaders will bring it up at the summit. He has “no doubt” that Cuba will be joining future summits. (AP English here, AFP Spanish here.) (Manning, by the way, was scheduled to travel to Cuba last weekend for a check-up following surgery he had performed there last December.)

  • Last December at a summit in Brazil, 33 governments of Latin America and the Caribbean called for an end to the U.S. embargo. At the same event, Cuba was admitted to the Rio Group, a forum of Latin American governments that does not include the United States.

  • Also last December, a Caricom summit called on President Obama to end the embargo. “The Caribbean community hopes that the transformational change which is underway in the United States will finally relegate that measure to history,” Antiguan Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said.

  • In his recent visit to the White House, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called for a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba. He told AFP, “What I said to President Obama, and I hope he will make it happen, is that there would be closer ties with Venezuela, closer ties with Cuba, closer ties with Bolivia.” Later, in New York, he said this when asked about the embargo: “There is nothing any more from the political perspective, from sociological perspective, from the humanitarian perspective that impedes the reestablishment of relations between the United States and Cuba.” A few days later, one of President Lula’s advisors said that a normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations would have “an extraordinary effect for the image of the Unied States.” He urged the United States to make the first gesture, unilaterally. And he said the Cuba issue will be raised at the Trinidad summit “because there is a very widespread sentiment in Latin America that the embargo no longer makes sense.”

  • President Zelaya of Honduras appealed for (among other things) an end to the embargo in a December letter to President Obama that was just released and reported by EFE.

  • President Ortega of Nicaragua says the Trinidad summit will be a chance to discuss the “urgency of lifting the blockade, the embargo, once and for all.” He says the Central American governments are in agreement on that, and in Trinidad they will also call for Cuba’s inclusion in future summits.

  • At Brazil’s instigation, the Cuba issue was brought up, of all places, at a meeting of 12 South American defense ministers on March 10. “Today, we see favorable conditions with the new President in the United States to put an end to this discriminatory and unjust situation,” Argentina’s representative said.

  • Finally, there was the resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba by Costa Rica and El Salvador, which ended the chapter of the Cold War where all the region’s countries except Mexico broke relations with Cuba nearly 50 years ago. Costa Rican President Arias’ statement sounded as much like an appeal to President Obama as an explanation of his own decision. The United States is now left as the only government without normal relations with Cuba.

Get the idea?

It may be an exaggeration to say it will be a “no-news” summit, although this snoozer of an op-ed by Vice President Biden in Argentina’s La Nacion does nothing to dispel it. If you dig around looking for more (here, here, or here), it doesn’t get any better.

So it’s little wonder Vice President Biden is talking about the need for a “transition” in U.S. policy toward Cuba. He may be getting an earful about Cuba in his Latin American travels, indicating that unless the Administration makes some Cuba moves, “Obama gets an earful about Cuba” may be the headline next month from Trinidad.


Anonymous said...

Great documentation of the different perspecdtivces floating around latin american presidents.

Our insanity toward our neighbor must stop. We are alone in our insistance to dictate to cuba they must behave a certain way.

we need to be Anti-castro and Anti-Miami at once.

leftside said...

Yeah I don't think the casual observer, who may not have been hearing the increasing drumbeat of pressure from all these Latin American/Caribbean governments, really understands how important the Cuba embargo issue is in the region. Before US-Latin relations can really turn a new page, this Imperialist stain needs to be removed.

Anonymous said...

when you think of all the challenges confronting the region today -- poverty, criminality, drug trafficking, people trafficking, corruption, etc etc -- the idea that these governments want to make Cuba the issue is patently absurd and irresponsible. How does this in any way help the working people of the Americas????

Fantomas said...

It is so easy to see progress


After that move, things will improve dramatically in both shores

Porque los Presidentes de AL no presionan a RC a que liberen a los presos?

Anonymous said...

While these leaders certainly have the right to call for a lifting of the embargo, I cannot help but wonder why not a single one of them calls for democratic change in Cuba. Not a single one. What's wrong with this picture. It seems incredibly shameful.

To me, it seems as if the embargo serves the anti-American agenda of these people. And in order to serve that agenda, we (Cubans) are used as pawns.

The embargo is not what I'm getting at here. What I am so curious about is why the anti-American agenda takes precedence over our human rights? All of these leaders need to answer that question.

The embargo has had a negative effect on us, to be sure, however, it pales in comparison to what the regime has done and continues to do to us.

Again - it seems that the anti-Americanism takes precedence over humanity. As those in la yuma would say: I don't give a shit about the North Americans . . . I want to be able to live in a nation of laws, where basic freedoms are respected. Why will none of our Latin American brothers in leadership positions help us? Why are we forsaken?

Anonymous said...

anon 944; just a tad over-dramatic, don't you think.
the issue is simply Latin America and the region expressing their desire for American imperialism against Cuba to end. The human rights smokescreen is seen as hypocritical as American has full relations with far worse regimes, (not to mention their past relations in Latin America). Deal with Cuba as a sovereign country, quit punishing them for their desire for self-determination, then address all other concerns. You know why they don't call for democratic change in Cuba; because you have to end the siege before change or reform is possible. The US has to end it's threats and demands, because all it does is re-inforce the perception of 'democratic' demands under American terms. Unfortunately, you Cuban-Americans are perceived as pawns as you say, but pawns in support of continued American aggression. Support the ending of all American aggression then maybe you might have some cred. And quit playing the poor me card. Human rights by the way means food, housing, health, education and Security. What you and others talk of are political rights. That will come once the Cuban govt no longer feels threatened, once the Americans start negotiating instead of dictating. And it will be pressure from the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean that will help push the energies towards negotiation along. Good to see them working together.

Anonymous said...

Hello anon 10:14

Thanks you for your response. I feel you are missing my point however. You speak of “self determination” and that is really my ENTIRE POINT. We want the ability to forge our own destiny. Right now, we live only to serve the regime and are unable to go form our own destiny. We cannot travel outside of Cuba without the “permission” of the government, we cannot form political parties. We cannot form workers unions. We are denied higher education if we do not follow the party to the letter – as saying goes. We are essentially slaves. The siege you speak of is being and has been perpetrated against us by those who say the govern for us – meaning Fidel, Raul, and the others. We need that siege to end but that will never happen as long as support outside of Cuba is thrown at those who are working against us, the citizens of Cuba.

I am not Cuban American. I do speak perfect English however, better than many North Americans I know. I am a Cuban citizen living outside the island, but that is not relevant.

I have a right not to fear “disappearing” if I speak out against the government that harms my family. I have a right to higher education and quality health care – not the horrible health care that I have received in Cuba. Yes, we receive free health care, and the preventative care is of good quality. However, all that changes the moment you need to use a hospital. Unless you’re a foreigner or, a government type, or someone with money from relatives on the outside, you will be treated at a Cuban hospital – a filthy place with inadequate medical supplies, where WE PAY FOR EVERYTHING – unlike what most foreigners believe.

Our Latin American brothers need to be working with us, not against us and so I must ask again: Why have none of them issued a statement calling for democratic opening in Cuba? None of them. Again, they must answer this question.

By the way, I learned English on my own, partly by reading books which are banned in my country. I had no higher education in Cuba, again, because I chose not to become a party member and not to take part in the compulsive rallies which were organized at our workplaces. That black listed me. I am what I am due to my own work and my own efforts, and not at all due to anything I have ever received from the Cuban government. The only thing that government has ever done to me is “prohibit.” From our births, we are told what we can eat, when we can eat it, what we can read, when we can read it, how we will vote, how we may play, what we may speak about and what we may not speak about. We are sick of it.

I do not understand how so many people outside Cuba cannot understand that. It is very simple. Let us forge our own “destiny” as you say. It is our inherent right. Not the right of a small group of corrupt politicians in La Habana. Not the right of the North Americans. Not the right of the Venezuelans. It is OUR right as Cuban men and women.

Thank you.

No answer no problem said...

It is so easy to see progress


After that move, things will improve dramatically in both shores

Porque los Presidentes de AL no presionan a RC a que liberen a los presos?

Can anyone answer Fantomas question, please

Anonymous said...

yeah, here's the answer -- as long as you and your kind dictate prior to discussions then nothing will happen. I can scream just as loudly -- free the Cuban Five; free the political prisoners in the US; free those unjustly jailed in Guantanamo, in Afghanistan.
Those in Cuban jails for simply opposing the govt should be freed -- those who accepted aid from the United States in order to foment opposition are treated like ANY other government in the world. Aiding and abetting the enemy, you know.
It's not that difficult to understand.

Anonymous said...

self-determination is entirely the point; Castro's regime, for good or ill, gave Cuba something they Never had before -- a Cuban revolution by and for Cubans, a country free of Spanish or American hegemony. there are a million things wrong with the government, we all know that, but change and reform is impossible when a foreign power's policies are aimed at destruction of the govt. And when it's the most powerful nation on earth, the siege mentality of the Cuban govt is entirely understandable, (I don't agree with it, i understand it) End the aggression then move towards reform. As abraham maslow and his hierarchy of needs shows.
I agree the travel restrictions are odious, even more so than how Cuba treats its dissidents that they charge have accepted aid from US.
However, don't criticize the health system, of course its in bad shape with tremendous shortages. but try most other third world countries where there is no care unless you can afford it; and in the countryside not even that. compare Cuba with developing nations and they are far advanced in that regard. Im sorry you can't accept the cubans in cuba still support the regime, despite ALL it's faults. Everyone wants change and improvements, take the American gun away from the head of Cuba and then lets see what happens.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Yes, the full court press is on to shower the monarchy in Havana with treasure and praise when it's completely undeserved. Thanks to the fantastic work of all the "Cubanologists" and their think tank/lobbying firms.

Congrats Phil, you've done your job well and deserve whatever rewards come your way.

Anonymous said...

You are still missing my point.

Take the North Americans out of this entirely - we want OUR OWN SELF DETERMINATION.

What most Cubans DON'T WANT is to keep serving the Castro family. We keep earning them money, they keep growing their bank accounts, purchasing foreign property, etc, etc.

How do they do this? On whose backs do they do this?

Answer: El Pueblo Cubano

They have enriched themselves at our expense and we as a people, need help to end the regime. The moral support that we need is from outside the island. Without leaders pressing for change in Cuba, nothing will ever happen and we will continue to work as the "enrichhers" of the small, elite ruling class.

This must end.

I believe I have said all that I need to say clearly.

Take from it whatever you can. I only hope someone heared me.

Anonymous said...

again, self-determination is perspective; your point of view is that the cubans outside of cuba should be the determinig factor - that the cubans living in cuba really dont want the regime but cant change etc etc. my point is change cant come until the threats from US are removed, for historical and present day reasons. I'd like to see change from within, I assume you want it from without. your goals are achievable, and desirable, but are compromised because they have the taint of subservience to foreign interference (whether true or not the cuban govt uses that to their ends). work towards changing the failed american policy of the past 50 years, then lets see what happens in cuba. It is Impossible to take the American equation out of it because they are the threat used by Cuban govt to national security and patria. And you can't deny it; American designs are cuba are real and intense. End American desire for hegemony over Cuba and you can work towards reform. But you can not have your self-determination when Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba exists and not renounced. Self-determination by definition takes place within cuba.
Please present proof of purchase of foreign properties, not speculation.

Anonymous said...

gomez -- thanks for the insightful post. very helpful. gosh its so hard for the losers to accept reality.

Anonymous said...

"Please present proof of purchase of foreign properties, not speculation."

That story broke two years ago - the Castro's have been buying up property in the Chilean Pampas. It's rather well known in Latin America media. You might also want to read the transcripts of defectors over the past few years, of Castro's bodyguard detail. Most recent one was Lietuenant Colonel Reinaldo Sanchez but there were a couple of others over the past several years.

It's not exactly "new" news.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the info; who broke the story? defectors, sorry, not sure trust the veracity. not saying it isn't true, just wanted something concrete to go on.

Anonymous said...

rumors re castro buying land, but no definite proof. another propaganda ploy against cuban govt. wouldn't be the first. amazing how certain types turn rumor, misinformation and outright lies as gospel truth.

Anonymous said...

Could someone please explain what does Havana wants? It is not clear that the Cuban government wants to normalize relations.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

Watch the videos available on YouTube under heading - Escolta de Fidel Castro. They are broken up into some 24 parts. These are the latest interviews with Colonel Reinaldo Sanchez, one of Fidel's chief bodyguards for 17 years. It will open your eyes.

These reports have been coming out for years and it is interesting that if you're Cuban and complaining about this sort of thing, the reaction from non-Cubans is - it's all rumors.

Asere, I grew up in Jaimanitas, a few kilometers from Fidel's compound at Punto Cero - Fidel lives like un verdadero rey.

But I am Cuban, what would I know?

Seriously, do some research - it will open your mind a bit.

Thank you for engaging in conversation and not resorting to the sort of hate so often thrown around when speaking about Cuba. I hope this talk does some good, opens some minds.

That, my friend, is what we need.

Anonymous said...

the point is for the past 50 years every rumor about Cuban govt has been immediately turned into gospel truth. I've seen the vids, read the papers, and it's all speculation, not verified. Another myth. And another example of how Cuba held up to a different standard by those who see nothing but evil. But that's the way it is, black and white and no grey. HOpefully the end of the travel restrictions will help Americans see the good and bad in Cuba, and stop the manipulation of information from the extreme elements that have shaped and directed policy towards cuba since the revolution.
and to end the 'poor me, we're the only ones persecuted' mentality of those Cubans living outside the country now.

Anonymous said...

I posted a question that nobody has answered (what does Havana want?) but it is obvious that other posters feel that the US policy toward Cuba is held hostage to Cuban-American political influence. Nothing could be further from the truth:

1. The embargo was put into place first as an executive order and then codified in legislation in response to the needs to US commercial interests. It was not until Helms-Burton that Cuban-Americans that were not US nationals at the time of the expropiations became entitled to any legal remedy under US law, and even then that provision has been suspended by presidential order.

2. The Cuban-american community was empowered as a PAC due to the encouragement of the Republican Party under Ronald Reagan. They have been used as a fund raising source by both parties. Although the presence of Cuban-American legislators is real, and can be pivotal in certain issues their power comes out support from other US political centers that have their own agendas vis-a-vis Cuba.

3. The most self-interested players in the Cuba policy discussion are those that feel they can make money trading with the Cuban government. Although there are some who feel real ideological kinship with the Cuban government by enlarge funding for the anti-embargo policies comes from those that see commercial opportunities in Cuba.

4. Lastly Cubans have been vilified for spreading propaganda about Cuba but it would be intellectually honest to recall that Cuban agents were the first to identify the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962. Then as now they were discounted by those guided by instictive prejudices but the U-2 flights proved them right.

I would strongly suggest that before villifying an entire population to advance commercial and political interests some attention be paid to the facts both inside and outside of Cuba.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

nice try, but as usual your read on history is more fiction than fact

Cuban-Americans have driven the continuation of aggressive American policies, anyone who disputes that really should try living on another planet. It is their efforts that have hijacked foreign policy against the wishes of the majority of the american public.

CANF was organized and supported by the Reagan regime in the 80s. They wanted an arms-length organization to be the public face of the right American attitude towards Cuba. Millions of government funding went into CANF, which then turned back large sums to donate to the campaigns of targeted politicians in both parties to ensure bi-partisan support for US policies against Cuba. CANF was the face of American policy.

Of course there is economic interests involved here, that's the whole point of the embargo, America's punishment of Cuba based on economic-political rational.

It was the first waves of immigration after the revolution, with the support of the US govt, that helped formulate and maintain polices. They took over the energy to maintain the extend legislation against Cuba after the 1970s.

Currently Cuban-American politics actively work to thwart any change in policies -- see Menendez et al up in arms over the travel restriction bills.

The codification of the embargo, Helms Burton etc was largely based on the efforts of Cuban American politicians, after the continuous provocations of Brothers to Rescue finally elicited a response from Cuba.
Havana wants normalization with US, Fidel and now Raul have consistently stated that. Based on respect for sovereignty and no pre-conditions. there is a long history of talks between US and Cuba, and maybe this time theyll succeed under Obama.

There is not a wide political support for Cuban-American efforts, quite the opposite now as we see re the travel restriction bills. What happens is arm twisting, donations to campaigns, and the unfortunate influence of Cuban Americans in Florida during presidential elections that have made the difference, along with political manipulations(See Florida Dem Wasserman Schultz as an example of targeted support, on a narrow basis). Dan Burton was anti-embargo, got lots of campaign funding from Cuban Americans, more than from his own folks in Indiana then by a miracle changed his stance and co-sponsored Helms Buton. But no, the Cuban American community have no influence in policies against Cuba.

American politicians of course drafted initial legislation against Cuba after the revolution. But since then it has been the rabid anti-Castro Cuban American faction that has held those policies hostage against the vast majority of the rest of the people of the United States.

And why do they continue to hold the policy hostage? FOr economoic reasons; they want to be the powerbrokers post Castro and will do everything in their power to stop normalization. It's not ideological, its economic. If the Cuban American politicians demanded the end of travel restrictions, embargo, etc, what do you think would happen?

Nothing could be Closer to the truth that the influential, ultra right wing Cuban American politicians have been maintaining the embargo and all other policies, and have been holding the rest of the country hostage in regards to Cuban policies.

Anonymous said...

anon 12 31

Cuban americans don't hold hostage US policy towards Cuba

great post, very clever. what a wonderful april fools joke. well done

Anonymous said...

Please answer my original question: WHAT DOES HAVANA WANTS?

Also can a Cuban-American be anti-Castro without being rabid?

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

are you deaf or just illiterate. Havana wants America to treat them as a sovereign country, not a lost colony. Havana wants normal relations, normal two-way trade with the US. Havana wants the end to the threats and aggression. Havana wants the US to repudiate their official intentions to overthrow the regime.

Is that clear enough? it aint brain surgery.

Of course there are varied shades of anti-castro, cuban americans. its the rabid right wing gusanos that seem to get the most attention though. rational, balanced dialogue is not something they are most noted for when it comes to cuba. you guys looked so calm and collected during the Elian episode.

Anonymous said...

I guess my reading the last post by anonymous at 4:32 pm proves that I am not illiterate. As far as being deaf there is no reason to consider that a problem when it comes to calmly discuss any issue. Also anonymous think that I am a "rabid right wing gusano" by referring to "you guys". I don't think that I have identified myself as Cuban or a "rabid right wing gusano". So let us go back to the issue at hand:

What is Havana interested in the following matters:

1. Compensation for the expropriated US properties.

2. Recognition of the civil rights of Cuban born naturalized American citizens (treating them as US citizens rather than Cuban citizens).

3. Putting away the US$200+ billion claim against the US for damages due to the embargo and other actions.

As far as regarding respect for human rights for Cuban citizens, I consider that would go a long way in eliminating the rationale for the Cuban Adjustment Act (wet/dry feet policy and all other related issues).

Unrabidly yours,

Vecino de NF

PS For anonymous(es): Please get yourself a nice blogger handle. It makes for a far more personable discourse.

Anonymous said...

glad we've established your creds. 'you guys' was generic, don't take it personally. apology if you are not right wing rabid, or rabid-ish.

however, your point of view is revealing.

so all havana has to do is compensate on the one hand but expect nothing from the damage done by the embargo on the other. hardly reasonable.

however, negotiation re compensation is not impossible, see eastern europe as example. cuba has expressed desire to deal with that issue, but in context of embargo. not unreasonable.

all other issues are ones determined by the government in power, why do you even bring them up.

and you asked what does havana want, the response was given, but nothing in your answer addressed those issues.
oh well

ps -- i'm sure you know that compensation was offered for lands confiscated.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:13 pm,

I promise not to take it personally if you do not insult gratuitously ;-). As far as revealing myself I did not say that compensation for expropriated properties is a primary issue for me, and I did not say if I was a right-winger or not. (Does being a right-winger mean that I have no human dignity and therefore my opinion and existence have no worth? Who is being rabid now?)

Anyway I am concluding from your answer you are guessing the same as the rest of us. I suspect that Havana has no negotiating position other than empty rhetoric because the cost of getting ahead of el Comandante en Jefe (eCeJ) is extremely high (see Lage, Perez Roque, etc).

By the way an interesting question is what should be the US position vis a vis the 1/2 million Cubans (the number who registered for the visa lottery) who have expressed a preference for living in the US rather than Cuba. Should the US insist that Cuba respect their rights to differ, and even allow them a natural political space to operate? They are a significant minority who unless they are considered inhuman (see my previous parenthese about right wingers) should be respected even if their wishes can not be fulfilled.

Unrabidly yours,

Vecino de NF

PS Get a handle please! It is not nice to address you by a time stamp.

Anonymous said...

no, you have to be cuban to be able to dance like that. all we go on is the words posted, quit playing games.

no more until you respond to the response to your question what does Havana want. you throw things out, ignore the reaction, then throw more mierda, then go on to other things.
human dignity is not determined by left or right it is determined if you support foreign policies that make people suffer. it is one thing to go to bed hungry, it is another to know there are people outside your country wanting you to go to bed hungry.

so your assumption that those who want to leave cuban are all politically motivated, and not economic. where'd you get the number? the US wants to build a fence around Mexico, maybe they should do that to cuba. oh wait, they've tried for 50 years.

negotiating position, your comment made no sense, so once, please, just comment to the response given to your question what does havana want. come on, give it your best shot.

my handle? you can call me anonimo.

Anonymous said...


So I am throwing "m....." now? Who is being rabid now?

Your response to my original question was very vague. If treating Cuba as an equal is what Havana is after, then I have to wonder how would that be implemented? The US has already announced for quite a few years that they are not interested in invading Cuba, and they have gone out of the way to throw in prison anyone who has planned, tried to launch, or launched any military action against Cuba from US soil (please note the caveat about US soil). Cuban and US military meet at the GITMO border on a regular basis in reciprocal terms, and every US president since Johnson has started their first term in office exploring some kind of raprochment with the Cuban government (remember Gen.Walters under Reagan.) so I am at a loss to understand what else could be done without actual specific items to be negotiated. So I am not dancing, I am trying to come up with a list of items that could be negotiated.

It's OK to be quiet for awhile, to consult with other colleagues, and then to reengage the discussion. I may not be the best party for communicating the negotiating points, but I am definitely hoping for reasoned debate in the public square.

As far as Cuba's food policy, it should have been a point of pride for the Cuban revolution that it had achieved food and medicine independence. Alas, that has been a goal that can not be found in the list of achievements of the Revolution (health, education, sport, support of revolution around the globe).

By the way maybe this is not my best shot, but good enough for government work!

Unrabidly yours,

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

ok, one more try:

Cuba wants to normalize relations with US; Cuba wants two way trade with US; Cuba wants the end of Helms-Burton, Toricelli, Adjustment Act, all other policies of aggression. Repudiation of official policies aimed at destroying regime, end to designs on structuring a post castro cuba. (It's none of AMerica's business, they don't do that with other countries, except when they invade)

Your standard is that because US has agreed not to invade Cuba that's proof that US is treating Cuba as an equal?

But this is too much -- your statement re American efforts to throw terrorists in jail??? Posada and Bosch are walking around free as birds. Your caveat is that if the terrorist act wasn't planned in the US, but the terrorist now lives in US,that's ok. That's an insulting comment from someone who wants a serious discussion. There's no point continuing if that's your perspective. It's beyond belief, so Cubana airlines get blown from the sky, Bosch and Posada mastermind it, but they didn't plan it from the US (how do you know it wasn't). So now we won't do anything because of your reasoning. Unbelievable. Bosch's bazooka attack in Miami, I guess that doesn't count. Alpha 66, Omega 7, nothing against them, even though all their terrorist acts were planned in US. BUT WHO the hell cares where the terrorist acts were planned, a terrorist is a terrorist. what a joke.

More than 5,000 terrorist acts have been committed against Cuban civilian targets, most by Cuban-American organizations. But don't touch them if they live in US now because they may have planned them elsewhere. No, you can't be serious.

cuba feeds it people, cuba has health care, it aint perfect, but compare it to other third world countries.

thats enough

Anonymous said...

typical; no answer when confronted with reality. hello Vecino, your silence is deafening, we all anxiously await your rational why terrorists are living freely in Miami simply because they didn't plan their attacks from US soil. and you wonder why the Cuban government is so paranoid and restrictive when it comes to security and repression

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:07,

I see your logic completely but I think the component to these arguments which is missing, is the fact that the goal or hope for most is the downfall of the regime. Without understanding that component, the logical arguments run off course. That needs to be put into the equation.

Anonymous said...

anon 1150
understand it completely, the extreme right wants the destruction of the regime, not the reform. my point is that an outside foreign entity has no right to dictate that unless under the most extreme conditions. that terrorism is wrong under any condition, 'there is no such thing as a good terrorist' pres bush said. that the aggressive policies the US implements against Cuba are illegal, immoral and even genocidal. and then you have the historical component of the Americans and their supporters treatment of Cuba for the past 150 years, so their motives are suspect.
i want the people of cuba to bring change and reform to their govt; it will never be accomplished with the American hands around their throat. maybe you want the destruction of the regime, but all that's being accomplished is the destruction of the people.

Anonymous said...

“an outside foreign entity has no right to dictate”

We’re in absolute agreement on that. That’s why I for one, have never been one to extol the idea that the U.S. government (as an example) should simply ride in on a white horse and end the regime. I think Iraq is a brilliant example of what can happen in a situation such as that – most Iraqis hated the Hussein regime but that didn’t mean that toppling it was going to make everything “honky-dory” as the saying goes. It needed to be done on Iraqi terms. And with regards to Cuba, it needs to be done on our terms. The last thing I want is some foreign entity coming into my country and doing what we as a people need to do on our own.

Now, here’s the big problem with accomplishing the kind of radical change that Cuba needs, as I see it:

In order to bring an end to the regime and put the power back into the hands of the people, the military would have to become involved – there’s no way around it. We don’t have the ability to raise a rebel army like that of Fidel Castro in 1959. He was shrewd from the very beginning, and immediately disarmed the public, instituted a system of fear and suspicion among the masses and has somehow been able to keep many foreign leaders on his side – at our expense – that is to say “the people.”

Given that the military complex in Cuba is subsidized by the tourism industry and that that subsidy provides monetary and material incentives to the military in order to maintain loyalty, I feel as though our hands are tied and sometimes, feel as though all is actually lost.

People the likes of Posada were originally just, moral individuals who were bringing the fight against the dictatorship directly. All that changed however with the 1976 downing of the Cubana flight and all those innocents on board. Posada and the like were somehow twisted into thinking that attacking their fellow brethren was akin to attacking the regime – I’ll never be able to figure that one out. Personally, I think we need men and women the likes of what Posada and Co. originally were when they started out. I feel as though we have become apathetic as a people. It’s much easier for a Cuban to simply leave than stay behind and force change. I am just one example in a couple of million of that mentality.

Here’s the bottom line: Only we as Cubans can produce the change we so desire, yet I don’t see a way of doing it anymore. The times have changed so much since 1959, so much control has been instituted, that it seems like a quixotic dream, this “change” in Cuba.

Looking forward to your thoughts. Thank you for engaging.

Anonymous said...

anon 109 appreciate it

but i just have to get past a few things; and all this relates to the perspective on how you view the Cuban situation.
first off; Posada, Bosch et al. They are terrorists, should be prosecuted, no debate. From the start they aimed their activities at civilian targets, but justified such horrors as Cubana airlines by saying that any target was justified. there is no way for anyone to dialogue seriously unless this hypocrisy is addressed. I also include the Cuban FIve in this. The Cuban govt just has too much ammunition to use in this topic, they are justified in their eyes to have instituted CDR and other restrictions based on the truth that there have been more than 5,000 terrorist attacks against CIVILIAN targets, the Cuban people. Anyone who in any capacity tries to justify or diminish these terrorists have no credibility. Could you imagine if Bin Laden was walking freely around the streets of Pakistan? look at the Cuban govt's point of view and tell me how any small government protects itself and its citizens against unrelenting terrorism? Invade Florida? No, only the US retains the right to invade.

Posada and his like were never just or moral. they were terrorists because they killed innocent civilians. dont put it in any other context. to have these people free is obscene.

'People' is again all perspective. You say the people of Cuba want to rid themselves of the regime, that's a subjective view. there are millions in Cuba who still support and legitimize the regime and they are the ones living day to day with the government, surviving. They are not stupid, they know change is needed, but they also understand the American giant hovering over them threatening to dictate how those changes should take place. And the govt uses that to justify the fear and repression and the resistance to change.
The batista regime was so much more repressive but the Cuban people found a way to revolt. Fidel had a handful of men. To say that's impossible now it a cop out. I never understand the low opinion everyone has of the Cuban people living in Cuba now; theyre helpless, cowards, stupid or whatever reason for them not revolting. maybe there's a different reason; think about it.
during the worst years of the special period, when tourism had no economic impact on the military or anything, when there was real shortages, no lights, no food, no gas, everything was breaking down, when things were at their very worst, when the government had no chance to control the people if they rose up. why didn't they? Because there was still support, because the foreign entity tried to tighten the screws; because the govt convinced the people the threat to patria was real. and it was.
no one can convince me that the people don't support the govt; when the govt was at its absolute weakest, from 1989 to 1994, when the people had every chance to overthrow this supposedly horrible regime, they didn't, because they still saw it as legitimate. i know, i was there.
if you think no foreign entity has a right to dictate how a sovereign country should operate, then we are in agreement, what are you doing to end american aggression against cuba?

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your answer! My silence is due to other priorities I have to attend. It was not meant as either disrespect or concession of the discussion. I promise that I will give some thought to your answer and post my comment later. Please remember that I am not interested in polemics or rethoric but rather concrete steps to build a more livable future.

Once again thanks, and you will be hearing from me!

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

“Posada and his like were never just or moral. they were terrorists because they killed innocent civilians. dont put it in any other context. to have these people free is obscene.”

When their targets were military/governmental, their methods were just and necessary. When those targets switched to innocent civilians, they became terrorists. They weren’t attacking civilians in the beginning, when their methods were, as I say “just” and necessary.

The CDR’s were implemented from the beginning, as a way to keep the public in line through fear and suspicion of one’s neighbors – i.e.: “I’m going to keep my mouth shut, even if I’m talking in my own backyard, lest my neighbor hear me. He might by a CDR chivato.” That’s how it works. It’s a simple and effective method and it’s been used by any number of dictatorships over the course of the past century.

Not sure I understand your point about Batista. He was a son of a bitch but compared to Fidel, Batista was a baby in diapers.

Bottom line is, I don’t think you understood my question – we need a method to undermine the regime. What methods can a completely and utterly suppressed people use?

It may be that those of us on the outside have a moral obligation to somehow arm our brothers on the inside. We also need a way to share the risk - it has to be a sacrifice made on all sides for the greater good. In this day and age however, that is easier said than done.

In Cuba, I fear the only way to freedom will be through violence. I see no other way around it. We cannot rely on others to take care of our own problems. And our own problems - given that they have been going on for more than 50 years, are not going to be solved by talking. The Cuban government doesn't "talk" to us when they jail us, torture us, make us disappear, extrajudicially kill us. It may be about time to fight fire with fire. If those brave souls (as an example) who spoke up at the Wilfredo Lam Center, and are now being targeted by the authorities, are harmed in any way, perhaps it will be our duty, to carry out a similar action against so-called authority figures in the regime. I see no other way. Give us an alternative that is realistic? Those in the minority who hold positions of power need to be held accountable for their actions against the majority.

Anonymous said...


I broke down your list of what Havana wants from the US into four general items:

1.Havana wants normal trading conditions with the US (i.e. lifting the embargo)
2.An explicit security guarantee of non-interference in Cuban domestic affairs (i.e. no Radio/TV Marti, no government aid to Cuban, no military invasion, prosecution of individuals and groups who mount military actions against Cuba)
3.Normal diplomatic relations
4.Normal inmigration rules (i.e. no Cuban Adjustment Act)

I think that the US government would have no problem with agreeing to these four requests if they are accompanied by reciprocal actions from Havana. They would be:

1.Payment for US property that was nationalized in the early years of the Revolution
2.A reciprocal guarantee of non-interference in US and hemispheric domestic affairs (i.e. repudiation and expulsion of all insurgency representatives from Cuba, repatriation to their country of origin of any fugitives)
3.Elimination of Yankee baiting by officially sponsored demonstrations and pronouncements, and stopping the harassment of US diplomatic personnel in Cuba.
4.Opening of a political, economic, and social space in Cuba to allow those that feel stiffled by the current internal Cuban rules to develop in Cuba without feeling the need to emigrate.

So my next question to you, do you think that the Cuban government would agree to my list of US concerns?

Unrabidly yours,

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

re CDR, check your history. the CDR was based in part on the AMERICAN Defense Leagues, formed in World War I as a way to keep the neighborhoods safe. Exactly the same situation under times of war. CDR was a response to the thousands of terrorist acts occurring in the early years. Of course both the American and CDR evolved into gossip forums far removed from their intended purposes. After 9/11 neighborhood watch type organizations sprang up to report on suspected terrorist activities. So I guess the Americans are dictators too!

if you want to try your hand at coming to cuba and overthrowing the regime violently, come on down.
the alternative? end the aggression, the threats, remove the siege mentality, remove the excuses the Cuban govt has to restrict and repress, remove the punishments from your side.
if not, then come on down, but be prepared to get your butt kicked again

Anonymous said...

quickly cause i'm running late:

all quite reasonable points --

1 -- compensation was offered and refused. it can still be negotiated in context to the embargo i actually don't see that as a big point as many major American companies have already indicated flexibility. the individuals can be dealt with as well.

2 - what insurgencies Cuba still supporting? again, not a big deal as it's not an issue anymore. but thats a foreign policy issue and Cuba has the right of any soverign country to conduct foreign policy as it sees fit, and US deals with others far more egregious.

3 -- No problem, I guess you don't like public displays. Re diplomats, when a..holes like James Cason stop fermenting trouble I'll agree. but if relations normalized that shouldn't be a problem. things are much quieter now at the interest section anyways. the americans have smartened up finally.

4 - you cant demand that, it has to happen as a progress once the cuban govt feels the threat is over, once they emerge from their siege mentality. again, normalization should be a major step towards that.

there's, we've solved it all. so when should we be hired as the negotiating team?

Now that's that done what about the Mid EAst


Anonymous said...

11:18 AM

I believe I know a bit more about the CDRs than you.

Considering the fact that my own aunt was her neighborhood crew chief for several years before realizing what she was doing to the population.

But yet again, que se yo? soy cubano.

Anonymous said...

anon 1118
typical -- oh i'm cuba so no one else could possible know more about this than me.
maybe i'm cuban, maybe i'm not. immaterial
the only comment i was trying to make was about the effect of CDRs; that it does turn into a terrible gossip forum, or a place to accuse people with no basis in fact.
the main point was the reasoning behind the institution of the CDRs. the same reasons why the Americans developed similar neighborhood systems in WWI, called American Protective Leagues. Exactly the same, designed to help prevent terror or illegal activities during time of war or national security. Same rational, same result.
im so happy for your aunt and her experiences. i could care less. neither do i care for your opinion whether you know more about CDRs than i. how you arrive at that is simply typical, yo soy cubano Y QUE?


Anonymous said...

Anónimo de 4/4/09 11:26 AM,

It looks like the Comandante en Jefe agreed to negotiations. So maybe somebody is reading these postings.

I would point out that the US personnel in Cuba does nothing that they and other diplomats do all around the world: They meet all kinds of people both in government and outside of it, and in the process they try to advance the national interest of the country they represent. The Cuban diplomatic personnel in DC and at the UN in NYC does the same thing.

I also like to point out that one thing is supporting groups in other countries that are ideological or political allies, and another thing is to support groups or individuals that advocate the violent overthrow of a foreign government. In the case of Cuba, all the Latin American insurgent groups are welcome there and their members are allowed to rest, heal, and plan while in Cuba. Some of these individuals have criminal cases pending in their countries, and as far as I know none of those countries are extending similar treatment to anyone trying to overthrow the Cuban government. There are quite a few US fugitives in Cuba as well who went there for political reasons.

So the question is do you think that Havana is willing to stop being so insistent on eliminating dissent and non-official activities? As an example President Obama would have been thrown in prison in Cuba for being an independent community organizer. ACORN would have considered an organization at the service of foreign interests because some of its members participate in activities sponsored by non-US governments and parties (the Socialist international, etc). So I am an skeptic when it comes to the willingness of the Cuban government to relax its controlling pressure on the population which ultimately causes these flare-ups in politics and immigration.

As far as the Middle East is concerned, any solution is well above my pay grade.

Unrabidly yours!

Vecino de NF