Dr. Fraser- Point of View
November 2, 2007
Bush’s other nightmare- Cuba

As if the Iraq mess is not enough, our dear friend Georgie Bush is at it again with Cuba. Really, I have misspoken because he is always on Cuba as though it is a nightmare from which he will never wake up. After a speech at the Naval War College some time ago, it was reported that in answer to a question, Georgie stated that “One day the good Lord will Take Fidel Away.”{{more}} Really, one should have told him or reminded him that one day the good Lord will take Bush Away.” But clearly the answer reflects Bush’s frustration with Castro and Cuba. Truly, they are the other nightmares that afflict our lame duck President who doesn’t ever seem to get anything right. Remember recently when he was in Australia he called them Austrians and at the end of his speech attempted to exit in an area where there wasn’t even an exit.

A few days before the expected United Nations vote on the American economic embargo against Cuba, dear Georgie was embarrassing himself further. He proceeded to restate an archaic, failed policy on Cuba. He called on governments the world over to help get rid of Castro and support what he calls the ‘democratic movement growing on the island.’ The World responded to his stupidity on October 30. 184 nations at the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to call an end to the US economic embargo. There were four votes against, the United States, of course, and, predictably, Israel which always catches a cold once the US sneezes. So they have to find themselves always in Bush’s corner, not really a nice place to be. Then two countries in the Pacific Ocean, the Marshall Islands and Palau, countries that few persons have heard about, have joined company with them. Micronesia comprised of a number of small islands in the same Pacific region decided to abstain.

Bush has made a mess in Iraq. He is largely responsible for the world wide increase in terrorism. He is creating more conflict in the Middle East and is persisting with his senseless Cuban policy that has little support outside the American- Cuban Community in Florida and his arch-conservative friends. But even that is not quite true because the Cuban American community in Florida is distancing itself from a policy that has clearly failed. A poll done earlier this year by the Florida International University showed that 65 percent of Cuban-Americans favoured dialogue with Cuba. It is the 16th year that the United Nations has been voting overwhelmingly in a non-binding resolution against the American insane policy on Cuba. This obviously does not send a message to a President who cannot hear and who is as stubborn as they come.

In his speech on October 24, Bush called the Castro Government ‘a disgraced and dying order.’ But the more Bush opposes anything, the more he pumps life into it, for there is no more disgraced and dying order than the Bush Republican Administration. Republicans seeking re-election to federal and state offices are finding ways to distance themselves from the disaster that is their President. In that same speech, which really amounted to a call to depose the Cuban President, not only did he call for assistance from a world that does not respect him, but he appealed to the Cuban military and security forces, urging them not to defend the disgraceful and dying order. The call for an end to the 46 year old embargo that has been heard for the past 16 years should have alerted Bush to the fact that the US policy toward Cuba is a failed one that gets little support. But Bush lives in a Fool’s Paradise, and keeps persisting in his misguided ways.

What stands out clearly, and is testimony to Bush’s stupidity, is that not only is he not prepared to end the embargo, he is actually bringing in new restrictions aimed at tightening the embargo. His efforts continue to centre around preventing Americans travelling to Cuba, imposing more restrictions on remittances, restrictions on family visits and on funds that could be spent on these visits. Larger sums of money are being put out for spending on work with Cuban dissidents, but we would remember that about a year ago the Government Accountability Office declared that millions of dollars spent in supporting dissidents were poorly managed and spent for things totally unrelated to what they were meant to. Millions of dollars are spent on funding Radio Marti and TV Marti which are blocked by the Cubans.

I have to keep making the point that Cubans want change but they do not necessarily want American style democracy. In fact, they do not want to give up their free health and education services. Furthermore, once the US embargo remains, it will be difficult to test the sincerity of the Cuban regime. Any regime faced with a situation where a foreign government is funding dissidents, especially when it is well known that hundreds of attempts at assassinating Fidel were made with US funding and connivance would naturally be hard on dissidents. They get dissidents to do their dirty jobs, but when the regime clamps down on them, they turn around and accuse them of being oppressive, and so try to justify their actions.

It is out of arrogance and ignorance that Americans of the Bush ilk believe that the rest of the world wants to be governed under American style democracy. Bush still cannot understand why the Iraqis did not bow down and worship him after he believed he had liberated them. One does not have to be a friend of the Castro regime to realise or to be convinced that American policy toward Cuba is stupid. It has been in existence for a long time and has not achieved what it has set out to do, that is to bring down the regime. Any sane and sensible person, ‘not stuffed with arrogance’, will realise that it is time to look again at those policies, not do more of the same. The 184 countries that voted against the US policy toward Cuba are not all friends of Cuba. In fact, many of them are friends of America, despite Bush, but realise that the policy is counter productive. Bush, however, does not hear, and is as stubborn as one can get. Iraq has shown this as has Cuba. One hopes that before long sanity will prevail, but sanity is an odd word to associate with the Bush Republicans.