Anyway, today, President Obama, the supposed defeated, lame duck President showed again why he continues to play “eleventy-level chess” against the GOP when he wants to, which hasn’t been often enough in my opinion.
He did away with the 53 year old, utterly pointless, Cuban political and economic embargo today. A small island only 90 miles away from Florida, which was once seriously considered for inclusion as a US state has been a “major enemy” for nearly 55 years. For most of that time, it has actually been a major enemy of just a small community of south Florida Cuban emigres, which have manipulated the easily manipulated GOP into being perceived as a giant enemy of the state. The vast majority of Americans could care less.
The original reason for Castro’s Cuba was overthrowing a brutal dictator supported by the US Mafia and the US government (see “Godfather II”). So Castro was basically the Thomas Jefferson of Cuba with a good curve ball since Jose Marti (pictured above) was meant to be the George Washington more than 60 years earlier. Castro the lawyer (and pretty good baseball pitcher) wanted to bring a real social-democratic government to Cuba. Of course, the Republican Eisenhower administration immediately rebuffed the new government, especially after they nationalized the neo-colonial American businesses on the island and he drifted to the Soviet Union. As a result, he did create a economically dysfunctional dictatorship eventually. And the new government also quickly learned the common tools of political oppression, which both right-wing and left-wing governments used during the 1960s through the 1980s.
Of course, Castro’s government also was the first to eliminate illiteracy in Latin America, created the best health care system in Latin America and eliminated income inequality and has a well-developed foreign aid program. But this also came at a big political and economic cost for the country since the embargo limited development of the economy in addition to the government’s own weaknesses. So, if we say the Cuban economy failed, in large measure we made sure that it failed.
I’m not trying to justify the Cuban dictatorship. But it represented an easy opportunity to win since Cubans were already Americanized during the same time we were busy overthrowing other democratically elected governments that we didn’t happen to agree with (Iran, Guatemala, Chile, the DR, etc.). But, no, we decided to create another enemy. (The Dulles brothers were really, truly awful.)
So the end of this ridiculous politico-economic embargo against a small island republic posing no threat whatsoever to the US when we have deep political-economic relationships with communist dictatorships like China (second largest global economy thanks to us) and Vietnam (a former “enemy” and economic powerhouse) not to mention major human rights violators like Saudi Arabia is long past ridiculous.
US farmers already benefit from exports to Cuba. All we are doing is formalizing what was always a natural socio-economic relationship before 1959. Only the rabid right-wingers don’t get this because they are always just about the hate.