Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cuba: Awaiting A Siege

Starting Jan. 20-2017??
      Apathetic Americans who have sat back and meekly allowed only a handful of extremely biased Cuban-Americans to dictate a disastrously self-serving and undemocratic Cuban policy for six decades need to know this young man. His name is Lazaro Manuel Alonzo. He is a talented broadcast journalist in Cuba -- well-educated, opinionated, and an integral part of the young adult-twentysomething generation on the island that apparently appear ready to pay any price to maintain Cuba's independence as a sovereign nation, a status it has had -- for better or worse -- only since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution over the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship on the first day of 1959. Since then, Batistiano-Mafiosi factions aligned with the most right-wing elements of the Bush dynasty have controlled the U. S. Congress to create extreme pro-Cuban exile/anti-Cuba laws that still exist and were designed to regain control of Cuba decades ago. Such a cruel, undemocratic and discriminatory policy currently has a unanimous 191-to-0 condemnation in the United Nations, a denunciation of America's democracy that Americans are not supposed to be smart enough, brave enough or patriotic enough to even react to. In Cuba, that surprises Lazaro Manuel Alonso...and now even alarms him. "Cuba's fate in the near term," he says, "will depend on my generation of Cubans." He grinned softly, sardonically, before punctuating his words. "With Trump in a few weeks becoming Commander-in-Chief in America, my generation on the island might be faced with capitulating or losing to a much more powerful force or doing the patriotic thing...even if we lose." 
       This White House photo concerns young-adult Cubans on the island like Lazaro Manuel Alonso. It also thrills Cuban-Americans in the U. S. Congress and elderly Cuban exiles in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood who never managed to eliminate Fidel Castro but still long to regain control of the island in their decades-long and fervent desire to reverse the Cuban Revolution. The photo above shows President Barack Obama in the White House talking on the phone after having discussed a few key issues...one being Cuba...with key staff members. Lazaro and other young Cubans lament that President Obama's two-term presidency is about to end and a Republican president, Donald Trump, will soon return to a siege mentality towards Cuba. In the above photo, that's Ben Rhodes and Susan Rice sitting closest to President Obama's desk. Mr. Rhodes and Ms. Rice have greatly influenced President Obama's monumental efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, a sane and brave effort to help besieged Cubans on the island and to help America's worldwide image, which currently is taking a 191-to-0 pounding in the UN because of its cruel and abhorrent Cuban policy. Instead of democracy-loving, decent advisors like Mr. Rhodes and Ms. Rice, President-elect Trump has already revived a huge stable of Bush-era anti-Cuban benefactors and zealots such as Mauricio Claver-Carone, Otto Reich, Roger Noriega, John Bolton, etc. as his advisors on Cuba. Hopeful...now fearful...everyday Cubans, as well as America's democracy lovers, have noticed.
      Among everyday Cubans who fear a Trump replacing an Obama as U. S. President are Julia de la Rosa and her husband. In the past 18 months, thanks to President Obama slicing deeply into America's Draconian and Batistiano-directed policies, Julia and her husband have built a Bed and Breakfast business in Havana that now has 17 well-paid employees. The San Francisco-based Airbnb has driven customers to hundreds of Cuban start-ups like Julia's. She and her husband had plans to continue growing their business, till tweets and remarks by President-elect Trump made them fearful. Julia and 100 similar entrepreneurs signed a letter delivered in Washington earlier this month, on Dec. 7-2016, thanking President Obama and begging...yes, begging...President-elect Trump "not to turn your back on us." And then Julia told Nikki Abrego of Fox News Latino these sweet but haunting words: "I hope that President-elect Trump recognizes how much these Obama changes helped Cubans like us. We want to improve our relations with the U. S. and think about a decent future and about what our two countries can accomplish together." American citizens should study those words, a decent Cuban couple thanking outgoing President Obama for helping them start a very successful business but having to beg the incoming Trump presidency for their sovereign right to maintain and grow their business that already employs 17 everyday Cubans.
      Americans also, I believe, have a right to know who Marta Elisa Deus Rodriguez is. She is a smart, well-educated Cuban who loves Cuba dearly. But she went to Spain to start her successful accounting business. Spain, you see, has not been embargoed or besieged or targeted by the superpower United States since 1962. But, with new horizons opening up on the island by a brave and decent President Obama, Marta moved back to her beloved Cuba and quickly established a thriving accounting firm. She was among the 100 new Cuban entrepreneurs who, on Dec. 7-2016, thanked President Obama and begged...yes, begged...President-elect Trump "not to turn your back on us." On Dec. 7th Marta told Reuters, "I now run three businesses in Havana and I want to grow all of them. That's why I hope the new American administration does not change Mr. Obama's policy." Four Cubans now work full-time in one of Marta's Havana offices.
       With a drastic increase in tourism thanks to President Obama, well over 10,000 Cuban homes and private restaurants have already been renovated or built by newly successful Cuban entrepreneurs. The four young women above are now happily and gainfully employed by an expanded paladar, which are popular restaurants in private homes that many tourists flock to. President Obama has drastically increased the amount of money that Cuban-Americans can send to relatives or friends in Cuba...now well over $3 billion a year...and this has helped finance entrepreneurial businesses. President Obama has also greatly increased the excuses for Americans to travel to Cuba although the Batistiano-directed U. S. Congress still unforgivingly and undemocratically maintains a decades-old law that means everyday Americans are the only people in the world without the freedom to visit Cuba, apparently a law designed to prevent Americans from making their own judgments about the island as opposed to Batistianos themselves totally controlling the U. S. narrative in the U. S., a narrative that says that the four young Cubans shown above shouldn't have the right to work for a successful entrepreneur in Havana, Cuba.
  The letter, the plea, from 100 new Cuban entrepreneurs. 
"Please, President-elect Trump, let us work in our own country." 
       This photo -- courtesy of Doug Mills/The New York Times -- shows U. S. President-elect Donald Trump at a Carrier air conditioning factory where he touted his job-saving as a billionaire businessman. Juxtapose this photo with the one right above it regarding the letter 100 new Cuban entrepreneurs begged Trump to allow them to continue their successful start-up businesses in Cuba. Americans are programmed to ignore that letter but the rest of the world does not. Decent, totally honest young entrepreneurs in a sovereign nation asking the next U. S. president to let them continue to grow and hire more everyday Cubans to work for them? What if, for example, entrepreneurs in Spain asked Russia for permission to continue their businesses? Would the American people and the U. S. government find that objectionable? What if, for example, President Trump told Russia to get out of Crimea and the Ukraine, or told China to stop putting military bases on disputed islands in the South China Sea? President Trump won't do that for two reasons: {1} Russia and China are far too big and strong; and {2} Russia and China would quickly remind President Trump about the equally disputed U. S. occupation of Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, which is complete with an unwanted U. S. military base. Americans who don't comprehend those two answers also don't comprehend the world's unanimous 191-to-0 repudiation of its Batistiano-directed and decades-old Cuban policy.  
        This billboard in Cuba registers the fact that today in the United Nations not a single nation in the entire world agrees with America's Cuban policy, and that includes every single one of America's best friends and, of course, also includes all of America's worst enemies who continually exploit the UN result in their anti-American endeavors. Yet, in a shameful commentary on America's democracy, a handful of extremist Cuban-Americans and a mere handful of sycophants in the U. S. Congress can maintain decade-after-decade the embargo-blockade that, in essence, is more anti-American than anti-Cuban. But, obviously, not enough Americans give a damn and...obviously...the revenge, economic and political benefactors of America's zero-to-191 Cuban policy couldn't care less about how it harms America...or decent young Cubans like Lazaro, Julia, Marta, and others in their own sovereign nation.
     This image of Cubans and Americans as "Good Friends" pleases President Obama and democracy-lovers all around the world, but it appears to drastically dis-please a handful of hardline Cuban-Americans who, incredibly, can use the U. S. Congress to dictate, with a not-so-secretive bit of heinous chicanery, their self-serving biases to the rest of America's 320 million people and the world's 7.5 billion people.  
         On the other hand, this quintessential Carlos Latuff image appears to be the one that an omnipotently powerful handful of Cuban-Americans love in defiance of unanimity worldwide. A democracy that can't address this issue is not the democracy that emerged from World War II as history's all-time most respected government and/or democracy. It can be argued that the precipitous dip to a 191-to-0 international condemnation of America's Cuban policy is the only thing that can get a unanimous vote in the fractious United Nations and, more significantly, lingers poignantly as proof that World War II's GREATEST GENERATION of Americans has evolved into what now can be labeled -- by a measure of 191-to-zero -- as the WORST GENERATION of cowardly and unpatriotic Americans. If that is not true, then stand up and defend the Carlos Latuff image depicted above. I'll wait while you gather all of your rebuttals.
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