Friday, November 4, 2016

America's Cuban Rut

Personified by...
      ....Mr. Andres Oppenheimer. He was born 65-years-ago in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A nationally syndicated columnist, he is the top Foreign Affairs {meaning anti-Castro} writer for the Miami Herald. And as the above photo hints, he is a prolific author. His prime article this week is his usual anti-Castro harangue entitled "Trump Could Win Florida, Thanks to Cuban Americans." Although extremely biased, it's a key article because Florida has an outsized 29 electoral votes and often decides presidential elections, as it did in 2000 in a laughable, Banana Republic-type farce when it gave the pro-Batistiano Bush dynasty two more White House terms even though the Bush opponent, Al Gore, got more national popular votes. So take special note of Mr. Oppenheimer's first two sentences in this week's propaganda piece:
                     "If Republican candidate Donald Trump wins Florida, as some polls predict, and goes on to win the November 8 election -- a big if, but not an impossible outcome -- he might have President Obama to thank for lending him a hand in the final stretch of the race. Obama's October decision to further relax the U. S. embargo on Cuba by allowing American tourists to bring back home both unlimited quantities of Cuban rum and cigars, as well as his October 26 decision to abstain for the first time in a United Nations vote against the embargo on Cuba, have probably pushed many undecided Cuban Americans in Florida to vote for Trump." 
             From his sanctimonious Miami perch, Oppenheimer can preach to the choir endlessly. Of course, he doesn't have to worry about home-base contradictions, such as the fact that most Cuban-Americans even in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood favor Obama's Cuban policy, not that of the interminable anti-Castro zealots who ignore other facts such as the embargo, for the past five+ decades, has severely hurt everyday Cubans while boosting the image and the legacy of the now 90-year-old Fidel Castro, who by his own choosing is living out his life in his modest Havana home far removed from the endless proliferation of mansions in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. And, of course, Oppenheimer's attack on President Obama for America's very sane and decent abstention last week in the UN is nothing more than the usual one-sided, biased and bullying tirade from self-serving Miami hardliners. While mentioning that abstention, Oppenheimer surely stayed many miles away from the astounding UN vote against the embargo, which he so shamefully cherishes. But just for the record, Mr. Oppenheimer, that UN vote against the embargo was 191-to-zero, meaning no nation in the entire world supports it and that now includes the United States of America itself. Thus, when it comes to America's Cuban policy, the bullies stand at zero while the entire world sits at 191. In a democracy, Mr. Oppenheimer, that should represent something, don't you think?
     From his sanctimonious Miami base, Andres Oppenheimer also has a television program entitled "OPPENHEIMER Presenta." A typical recent program was entitled: "Macri Victory Changes the Political Map in Latin America." It too was interesting even if it was also completely biased. It referenced his anti-Cuban friend Mauricio Macri's election as the President of Argentina, replacing the two-term democratically elected Cristina Fernandez who idolizes Fidel Castro and his Cuban Revolution that changed the political map in Latin America by inspiring democratically elected pro-Castro, anti-imperialists Presidents throughout Latin America in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, etc. Oppenheimer's aforementioned television program didn't hide the belief, or hope, that Macri's election replacing Fernandez in Argentina will be replicated throughout Latin America with other anti-Cuban Presidents soon replacing Castro disciples such as...Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Michelle Bachelet in Chile, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, etc. Oppenheimer's unabashed fondness for President Macri in Argentina is nothing new; Miami's political interest in replacing pro-Castro Latin American presidents with anti-Cuban leaders has been historic for decades, greatly enhanced by Miami's long-standing alignments with the Bush dynasty and more recently with the right-wing Tea Party.
        This historic, and shameful, Latin American photo dates back to April 12, 2002. It shows one of Miami's favorite foreign businessmen, Pedro Carmona, swearing himself in as the new President of Venezuela. It followed a coup that overthrew democratically elected President Hugo Chavez, a foreign-backed coup that still sends shivers up-and-down the spines of Latin Americans who remember their imperialist pasts. It took place when the George W. Bush administration typically had put two of the all-time anti-Castro zealots -- Otto Reich and Roger Noriega -- in charge of America's Latin American affairs. Thus, the U. S. media widely reported that, as Pedro Carmona was declaring himself the new President of Venezuela, there were wild celebrations taking place in Miami's Little Havana section as well as the White House in Washington.
        Latin American history also registers the fact that the coup-powered Venezuelan presidency of Pedro Carmona lasted only a few blistering hours. Venezuelans quickly took to the streets of Caracas en masse and demanded that Chavez be freed and returned to power, with a feisty and legendary lady named Lena Ron using a bullhorn from the back of a slowly-moving pick-up truck to shout, "Return my President to power within 24 hours or we will begin a scorched earth policy from Caracas to Miami and Washington!" Her threat worked; Chavez was returned to power within hours and remained Venezuela's President and Cuba's best friend till the day he died of cancer on March 5, 2013...and since then his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, has tried, also under extreme and ongoing duress, to be Cuba's best friend.
       This year Fidel Castro disciple Dilma Rousseff was impeached as the President of Brazil, by far Latin America's biggest, strongest and richest nation. She twice had been democratically elected President because of massive support from Brazil's much-maligned poor majority. Indeed, she was not charged with crimes but for "maneuvering" too much of Brazil's wealth to help the poor, much to the chagrin of Brazil's rich minority. And, indeed, many of her primary political opponents have been charged or tied to crimes. Ms. Rousseff calls her impeachment "a coup" and she is not hesitant to align anti-Cuban elements in Miami and Washington with her enemies, and that includes what she calls "the coup leader," Eduardo Cunho.
      Inspired by the Cuban Revolution, in her youth Dilma Rousseff became a guerrilla fighter against a U.S.-backed military dictatorship back in the early 1970s. After her capture, she is shown above stoically being forced to endure her military show trial. She was unmercifully tortured in prison for the next two years and as the democratically elected President of Brazil she was asked to testify about that at the United Nations as past Latin American dictatorships were scrutinized. She did so in tears but in sordid, intimate detail.
Dilma, in the center, had a rich family upbringing.
Dilma growing up in undemocratic Brazil.
As a teenager, Dilma pined for Brazil's poorest people.
Dilma, in the center, a debutante in Brazil in 1962. 
After this, she became a guerrilla fighter. 
The dictators had listed Dilma prisoner #3023.
Dilma, twice elected the President of Brazil.
President Rousseff with Fidel Castro in Havana.
Dilma Rousseff after her impeachment in 2016.
     The best Caribbean newspaper is the Jamaica Observer. After the 191-to-0 vote in the UN denouncing the U. S. embargo of Cuba, the Observer had a scathing article that called the embargo a "criminal act." 
   There are 7,000 Caribbean islands and 25 Caribbean nations. 
   Cuba has no Caribbean enemies. 
In fact, now that President Barack Obama has refused to support the embargo against Cuba, there are no nations in the world that support it, not even the U. S. Yet, the U. S. Congress plans to keep the embargo...and other Cuban place for at least another five decades or so. And that's why, I believe, the title for this essay -- "America's Cuban Rut" -- is appropriate. 
       With the U. S. presidential election only a few days away, this Getty Archive photo is very interesting. The lady in the right-center is Hillary Clinton. She is shown as part of the high-powered legal team in 1974 that called for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. Ironically, next week on November 8th either Mrs. Clinton, the huge favorite, or Donald Trump, the long-shot non-politician, will be elected the new President of the United States, the world's economic and military superpower. The direly troubled, money-crazed, two-party U. S. democracy has produced two extremely unpopular and massively flawed presidential contenders...monitored closely by the whole world. Whether Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump enters the White House on Jan. 20-2017, governing -- and holding off incessant impeachment attempts by their legions of enemies in a deeply polarized nation -- will likely command most of their attention and most of the ensuing headlines. But just think: America's two-party democratic system worked pretty good for...oh...about 230 years. And then along came this seemingly endless...better to raise and spend a billion dollars or so campaigning for each candidate...presidential race in which it seems most eligible voters are saying, or thinking, "If I vote, I'll only be voting for the lesser of two evils." Uhhhh, not exactly what the Founding Fathers envisioned. Does this photo suggest "What goes around comes around?
  What about a viable 3rd or 4th choice? 
{Graphic courtesy of New Zealand's The Daily Blog}

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