America's Right-Wing Problem

And How It Victimizes Cuba
But first:
        Ramon Castro, the oldest of Cuba's three Castro brothers, has died in Havana. He was 91-years-old. Ramon was not a revolutionary but he supported his brothers.
       This AP photo shows Ramon Castro with one of his very best friends, famous Florida businessman John Park Wright. Ramon, like his father Angel, was a farmer all his adult life and shunned the spotlight.
         This photo of the three Castro brothers was taken in 1941. That's Fidel on the left, Raul in the middle and Ramon on the right. Ramon's death at age 91 reflects the longevity of the Castro family. Fidel is now 89 and Raul is now 84. Ramon's body was cremated. His ashes will be spread over his farm near Biran, Cuba.
     America's massive right-wing problem had its origin in 1898, the year that, I think, revealed conclusively and irredeemably that the island of Cuba says far more about the United States than it says about Cuba. In 1898 America's two most powerful newspaper publishers -- William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer -- wanted their man, Theodore Roosevelt, elected President of the United States. The way they made Teddy the 26th President from 1901 till 1909 can readily be Googled by anyone inclined to dispute this essay. Teddy's path to the White House started in 1898 when a U. S. warship, the USS Maine, blew up in Havana Harbor killing 266 innocent and young U. S. sailors. That very bloody historic event was the pretext for the Spanish-American War that had two prime goals: {1} To take control of Cuba from Spain; and {2} to get Teddy Roosevelt elected President. The two imperialist newspaper publishers, Hearst and Pulitzer, fashioned the Spanish-American War in Cuba, knowing it would be like taking candy from a baby because Spain was by then far too weak and over-extended to fight in America's backyard. So, Teddy and his Rough Riders were sent to Cuba to defeat Spain. The newspaper moguls sent their top writers, even the famed author Stephen Crane, and their top artists, even the great Frederic Remington, to Cuba to cover Teddy's easy-as-pie victory, which was presented to the American people as a great victory fueled by the ubiquitous mantra "REMEMBER THE MAINE!" The bloody pretext related to the USS Maine worked perfectly as did the easy triumph by Teddy's Rough Riders on Cuban soil. The over-matched U. S. citizens had no choice but to elect the Rough Rider hero, the inimitable Teddy Roosevelt, President of the United States of America for two 4-year terms.
       Theodore Roosevelt as President from 1901 till 1909 did some positive things, especially concerning the environment and national parks. But the fact remains...he was put in office to do the bidding of two right-wing, imperial-minded newspaper moguls -- William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer.
       In 1903 -- during the Teddy Roosevelt administration -- the U. S. crowned its new dominance of Cuba by stealing Guantanamo Bay from the island, like a bully taking candy from a baby. Afterward, the U. S. built a huge and lucrative Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. It remains the oldest U. S. base on foreign soil.
        To this day, Americans have been easily proselytized to believe that the United States of America, the world's nuclear superpower, absolutely deserves and absolutely needs that Naval Base on Cuban soil. The rest of the world believes it is a vivid reminder of America's dark, sordid, right-wing imperialist past.
 Guantanamo Bay belongs to Cuba, not America.
Just like the little boy's candy belonged to him, not the bully.
       All maps reveal that Guantanamo Bay is a part of Cuba, not the United States. In 1903, the year the U. S. stole Guantanamo Bay, imperialism was in vogue. But especially since the 1970s, nations of the world view the theft of land by powerful nations with opprobrium and other detestable descriptions. To this day right-wingers in the U. S. Congress hail the theft of Guantanamo Bay even as it severely harms the image of the U. S. worldwide. For example, the U. S. complains bitterly and loudly cries foul when, for example, Russia takes over Crimea. But what about the hypocrisy related to America's take-over of Guantanamo Bay?
      While right-wingers in the Teddy Roosevelt administration executed the theft of Guantanamo Bay, it was right-wingers in the George W. Bush presidency {2001-2009} that installed the infamous prison at Guantanamo Bay that the world un-affectionately calls Gitmo and Amnesty International calls "the gulag of our time." Beyond doubt, the long-ago imperialist theft of Guantanamo Bay has greatly harmed the image of America and democracy every year since 1903. And then the Bush dynasty exacerbated that historic fact with the Gitmo prison that harms America's image and provides sustenance to America's enemies.
       Vowing to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and to deal sensibly with Cuba, the longest of long-shots, Barack Obama, was elected President of the United States, not just once but twice. He inherited a myriad of right-wing problems, including Gitmo, from the Bush presidency. Also, he has had to deal with a right-wing, dysfunctional U. S. Congress in which a handful of extreme Cuban hard-liners easily dictate America's Cuban policy. Now in the 8th and final year of his two-term presidency, Mr. Obama has made some remarkable advances in Cuban relations, such as reopening embassies in Havana and Washington for the first time since 1961. But each step on the path to Cuban sanity and decency, Mr. Obama is still being vigorously opposed by a handful of right-wing Cuban-American zealots who should be allowed to vote in but not dictate to the U. S. democracy. This week the prison known as Gitmo is a prime example.
      The world has this image of America. Each October the 191-to-2 vote in the UN sharply rebukes the creators of this image -- right-wing thugs within the bowels of the world's greatest democracy. They are not in the least concerned with this image, but a very important and very decent man, Barack Obama, is.
         Last week President Obama announced his intention to visit Cuba next month, on March 21st and 22nd. This week he announced his plans to close the democracy-sapping prison at Guantanamo Bay. Right-wing thugs in the U. S. Congress plus all the Republican presidential candidates and all the right-wing radio and television commentators -- as well as millions of propagandized Americans who permit others to do their thinking for them -- vigorously oppose every one of President Obama's sane and decent initiatives regarding Cuba. In that milieu, since the 1950s, two generations of Cubans on the island have been severely punished by attempts to starve, deprive, and terrorize them -- all in the name of the United States of America that has a great democracy but, as its Cuban policy consistently points out, not one that is strong enough to deal adequately with a right-wing cancer that consumes so much of the political and media structures that should be pillars of the world's greatest democracy that right-wingers insult.
         The above image this week, or at least the fall-out, has dominated much of the news converge on American and international television screens. It shows the leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, flanked by his two sons, making his latest victory speech, this time after scoring a smashing victory Wednesday in the Nevada caucuses. In this speech, referencing President Obama's plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, Trump said: "We're gonna keep Gitmo open and fill it with bad dudes." Such comments are a sad testimony to the fragile status of the U. S. democracy in a two-party system in which most Americans believe both parties are bought-and-paid-for. As a lifelong conservative Republican, I was left, like many others, out in the cold when my party was usurped by right-wingers, a fact cemented by the longevity of the Bush dynasty. To their credit, Americans at last, during this presidential campaign in 2016, have concluded, with the demise of Jeb Bush, the need to end the Bush dynasty. And it is refreshing to see that a younger generation of Americans, as evidenced by the Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders phenomenons, are tired of bought-and-paid-for politicians. But it still leaves thuggish right-wingers totally in charge of the Republican party, as indicated by Trump's salacious pandering to the pro-Gitmo crowd.
        This very popular 10-cent poster in 1898 explains why I maintain that powerful right-wing thugs have hurt Cuba so much and American democracy so much. It also helps explain why Cuba says more about the United States than it says about Cuba. And it also explains how unchecked propaganda can infiltrate a democracy even more powerfully and destructively than it infiltrates dictatorships and Banana Republics. Study the above poster in 1898 -- long before radio, television, and computers became the ultimate propaganda tools. This palpable poster effectively reflected these 1898 facts: {1} The USS Maine was blown up in Havana Harbor, killing 266 young sailors, and then used as the pretext for the Spanish-American War; {2} a couple of powerful right-wing newspaper publishers --- Hearst and Pulitzer -- used the Spanish-American War to capture Cuba and to make their man, Teddy Roosevelt, President; and {3} from 1898 till today right-wingers -- both inside and outside the U. S. democracy -- have used propaganda to greatly harm both Cuba and the U. S. democracy. Therefore, Americans who do not understand the USS Maine and the Rough Riders are not expected to understand the theft of Guantanamo Bay, the U. S. support of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba, nor the installation of an infamous American prison on nearby foreign soil. And unlike Hearst and Pulitzer in 1898, in 2016 right-wing propagandists have veritable bonanzas with radio {Russ Limbaugh, etc.}, television {Fox News, etc.} and computers {The Drudge Report, etc.}
But it started with the Rough Riders in 1898.
Teddy Roosevelt's historic charge up Cuba's San Juan Hill!!
A blatant right-wing American lie.

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