Tuesday, February 19, 2008

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Castro's final revenge

I have only two three reactions to Fidel Castro's decision to step down as Cuba's leader:

1) Good riddance -- the man succeeded at little beyond creating repressive state structures designed to stifle individual thought and perserve his power;

2) That said, the manner of his departure is a final twisting of the knife to the Cuban community in the United States. I'm pretty sure the expectation in this country was that Castro would hold onto power until his last breath, and that the country's government would collapse following his demise.

The way Castro has orchestrated his departure from office, however, belies that scenario. Maybe Havana will be in chaos tomorrow, but the orderly transfer of power suggests that those repressive state structures will be in place for a good while.

This Reuters report suggests that Little Havana is dimly aware of this fact:

The news that Castro would not seek a new term as president and military chief sparked no immediate celebrations in the streets of Little Havana, the community west of downtown Miami that is home to many of the city's 650,000-strong exile community.

"It's very good that Fidel resigns. But if Fidel dies, it's better," said Juan Acosta, a Cuban who left the Caribbean island in 1980, as he stopped for a newspaper on Calle Ocho, Little Havana's main street.

3) Steve Clemons thinks that, "this is a huge potential pivot point in US-Cuba relations" and urges Obama and Clinton to announce what steps they would take to improve the bilateral relationship. If I were them, unless I was reeeeeeaaaaaallly trying to woo Wisconsin farmers, I'd wait a week or two to see how things shake out. [UPDATE: Obama's reaction strikes me as the proper one at this point in time:
If the Cuban leadership begins opening Cuba to meaningful democratic change, the United States must be prepared to begin taking steps to normalize relations and to ease the embargo of the last five decades. The freedom of the Cuban people is a cause that should bring the Americans together.
That's a pretty good formulation, actually -- an olive branch with large amounts of wiggle room.]

That said, Clemons is doing his party no favors by blogging:

One interesting US presidential race tidbit involves Fidel Castro.... Castro said that the "unbeatable" US presidential ticket would have both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on it.
Wow, that is an awesome endorsement. I eagerly await Hugo Chavez's announcement.
UPDATE: You can hear my thoughts on the Cuba embargo over at Radio Free Megan.

posted by Dan on 02.19.08 at 09:23 AM


Here is a reaction from Washington that might make the US Cuban community happy.

posted by: Ballista on 02.19.08 at 09:23 AM [permalink]

From the "bad advice for the stupid" department, notice how the crafty Castro cheekily sticks Hillary and Obama together on that hypothetical ticket -- which in my view, after the campaign we've had, would be the kiss of death for Obama's future career and would do nothing to augment Hillary. Which, assuming Castro remains true to Marxism, would be exactly in line with his intent for the US -- dividing and conquering what he sees as the bourgeois politicians until they fall over each other in a big heap to make way for the proletarian revolution.

posted by: DB on 02.19.08 at 09:23 AM [permalink]

Let us duly note that Clemons is an Independent. From the post preceding the Castro one: "I'm an Independent -- and I believe that the Republicans and Democrats are both complicit in our current mess."

posted by: Doug on 02.19.08 at 09:23 AM [permalink]

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