Thursday, April 9, 2009

Generational change

The Cuban American National Foundation, led by the late and formidable Jorge Mas Canosa, was a driving force behind the tightening of Cuba sanctions after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Jorge Mas is known to be responsible for maneuvering then-candidate Bill Clinton to a hard-line position in 1992.

Today the Foundation, now chaired by Mas Canosa’s son, Jorge Mas Santos, is releasing a paper calling for the Obama Administration to repeal President Bush’s regulations that tightened regulation of travel and remittances to Cuba, undertake some modest steps to increase diplomatic contact, and more.

The import, as Professor Robert Pastor comments in the New York Times, is that the Foundation is saying that the embargo, souped up through the years, hasn’t worked. Indeed, Foundation President Francisco Hernandez told the Times that the embargo is now a “symbol,” and “not something that is important.” Which begs the question, why not just get rid of it?

The report isn’t devoid of old-think, however – it calls for a “technological overhaul” of TV Marti, so its signal can reach Cuba. I think the only overhaul that would work is one that eliminates the distance between Cuba and the transmitters; there’s a reason, after all, that you don’t watch television broadcasts from cities 90 miles or more from your home. The Foundation also calls for “enhancing the mission of Radio and TV Marti programming to reach audiences throughout the Western hemisphere.”

[Photo from TV Marti program, “La Oficina del Jefe”]


Anonymous said...

" don’t watch television broadcasts from cities 90 miles or more from your home..."

The question is not where the programming is broadcasted from but whether the broadcasting is relevant to the intended audience. By the rule in quotes people in Santiago de Cuba would not watch Cuban TV programming originated from Havana.

That aside, it is obvious that there is rapprochment in the air and the question remains whether the Cuban government can survive without the traditional rationales for the privations of daily life. I suspect that all we need pretty soon is an ammendment to the US constituion allowing Castro to run and be elected president of the USA. He has the commander in chief experience and title already so let's hear for Fidel in 2012!. Run Fidel, Run!

I would like to request that the usual repliers to my posting use a handle so I can keep track of my responses to their responses. Also it would be nice that those supporting the continuation of the current Cuban government that they identify who we can count on as stand-up sort of guys and gals. So far Ramiro Valdez, and Ricardo Alarcón have been insulted, and dismissed. I would like to know who we can talk to in a respectful manner, and expect some results.

With tongue firmly in cheek unrabidly yours!

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

The point is, that kind of transmission is illegal from the point of view of the international rules.

Besides the signals has been succesfully jammed over the time, plus the little segment of the cuban population that receive and saw the transmition from time to time (dissidents included) thinks that the contents has poor quality and for the most part does not reflect the cuban problems.

As for the current forces withing the government... right now I think that Raul is the best option. No one else has the guts to do what it needs to be done to bring the country out of the hole, and besides him the other two strong candidates were Lage and Alarcon.

Lage is out of the game, and Alarcon is responsable for lots of the trouble Cuba has today, so so far I don't see anyone else for the job.

Things may change later this year with the party congress. I expect a purge of sorts withing the current people in positions of power and perhaps new players will emerge. Time will say.

(btw, in the past Raul had a vision of the party with less capacity of intrusion in the chain of decissions. Now that he is in power let's see what happens)


Phil Peters said...

My point is that if the transmitter is 50 or 70 or 90 miles away from the audience, jamming is a piece of cake.

leftside said...

CANF's number one recommendation is to increase (the already sizable) US Government aid to dissidents in Cuba. Specifically, they want direct cash aid to be legally permitted - both from the Government and private groups. Today, there is indirect cash payments and direct material assistance. But CANF wants to straight up allow US taxpayer money to to go to pay good salaraies to people in Cuba who publically oppose the Government. They want to creat a whole class of paid foreign agents. Brilliant plan. I am sure the Cuban people would welcome their neighbors quitting their jobs to make big money working for Uncle Sam's goals. This tells me that what CANF really wants is to create more reaction from the Cuban Government. Do they think Cuba will stand back and allow their citizens to become agents of their longtime enemy?

Anonymous said...

Yoani on travel restrictions... I guess Babalu would call her castro apologist too according to her views on relaxing travel restrictions.

Anonymous said...

The CANF is a shell of its former self. It really has no influence anymore. The NYT only recognizes it because they are cutting across the exile grain now, which gives the likes of the NYT wood.

Anonymous said...

CANF, the public face of the american government since Reagan created it. responsible for all sorts of activities, including suspected support for terrorist acts. now they are soft core, reflecting today's realities, and reflecting maybe what the government is now thinking. lets wait and see

leftside said...

CANF not only supported terrorism, they actively planned and plotted attacks.

Anonymous said...

Babalu's Ziva has claimed she is suspicious of Yoani's status. 'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

I support the FNCA position. I think it makes a lot of sense.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your response! Do you mean Raul alone or his entire support group at the MINFAR? Also what about Gen. Colomé Ibarra?

Phil Peters,

Thanks for your clarification! I did not pick up that drift in your posting.

By the way check out Jeffery Sachs in Universidad de La Habana!

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

I don't know that much about the minister of interior, that guy certainly have a low profile and besides his official duties I don't hear anything about him, so honestly I don't have the slightest idea of his stance.

As for the top MINFAR officers... they are unconditionally faithful to Raul and Fidel, and they never involved themselves in politics.

The current minister is known as being a good manager, and in the past he had the power to veto Raul decisions... granted by Raul itself, that speaks of absolute trust in the guy.

So, in practice the top military officers (including MININT) aren't politicians, they are too used to the chain of command and the military way, so I don't think they can blend with the chaos of the civilian life.

Even Raul has some of those characteristics, and I don't think he is particularly happy being the head of the state. That guy really HATES speeches and rallies and he is more of an action guy. He is also short tempered and is really easy to take off balance, not to count that he isn't half charismatic as his brother.

But the thing is, he in the past never hesitated to do what he believed to be necessary or correct. And, as opposed to his brother, he doesn't know that much besides the army, and even there he didn't tried to do micromanagement from above.

The proof of his pragmatic approach is the dismantle of that aberration known as "battle of ideas" that stopped economic inversions for years and dilapidated thousands of millions in the most inefficient way possible. Not that the ideas per se were that bad, but were poorly implemented, most often than not in literal ways and at any cost.

So, in short, Raul isn't the perfect candidate, but the rest are trash than climbed to the power by any means possible and once there instead of working for the people work to keep their jobs at any cost. Several of the worst cases were already removed from their posts -including the ministry of education that destroyed 30 years of progress in the sector-, but still there are quite a few here and there.