Monday, December 22, 2014

A Few Comments on Cuba Silliness

I'm way too lazy to do an organized post on some of the silliness being written about Cuba since the Obama Administration decided to recognize the Cuban government.  First up is the argument by the right wing that we didn't get the Cuban government to give up their Revolution in exchange for recognition.  Yeah, we demanded that for 50 some odd years, and that was never going to happen.  The Cubans are perfectly happy to establish diplomatic relations with us, but they aren't going to dismantle the Revolution for it. Sensibly the Obama Administration and the Cuban government did a prisoner exchange instead.

Next up, the Cuban economy is not going to change in any major ways because we've established diplomatic relations.  If the embargo is lifted, Cuba will gain about $2-5 billion a year (the estimate of the cost to the Cuban economy of the embargo).  That's nice money, but it's not like winning the lottery.

Moving right along, Cubans were happy to see diplomatic relations re-established.  First the remaining Cuban Five were released from prison, a big issue for Cuba.  Second they won.  Yeah, they'd won a long time ago, but the US finally admitted that they'd won.  One lesson though: Cubans do not take kindly to the American government mucking about in their politics.  Those who have taken money from the US have been entirely discredited, not just in the eyes of the government but more importantly, in the eyes of the Cuban people.  The people who take money from the US government for nefarious purposes end up emigrating because they have no credibility in Cuba.

Fourth, this won't enable the US to take over Cuba, no matter what some people hope and others fear.  Cuba is a politically developed country, and they suffered the worst economic collapse of any country in the world since the Great Depression in the 1990s. The government didn't fall then, and it ain't gonna happen now.  Get a grip.

And yeah, the Cubans don't have a great human rights record.  But we installed and supported governments that make the Castro brothers look like human rights activists. And remember that the US has more political prisoners in Cuba than the Cuban government does.

Finally, Americans who lost property in Cuba are unlikely to see any compensation.  In particular, the corporations that "bought" property after the Spanish-American War shouldn't even ask for compensation.  What happened was that, during the US occupation, American banks (especially National City Bank) refused to lend money to Cuban landowners, forcing the sale of many properties at fire-sale prices to American investors. The Cubans view that as a national theft, and the US would be well-advised not to remind the them of it.

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