FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fidel Advises Obama?

by SAUL LANDAU

Almost two months after the spill President Obama addressed the nation (June 15). He said he would “fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long as it takes.” Not in my lifetime, I thought. Maybe not even in his.

“We will make BP pay for the damages their company has caused,” he swore. $20 billion? How much will BP pay for dead pelicans, turtles and sea otters? Compensate their relatives?  Can BP and co-conspirators – like Halliburton — compensate for the lives of 11 dead drill crew members?

Horrific man-made disasters call for strong leadership, not a consensus forger who wants approval. 57 days after the nation’s worst oil spill, he met with BP execs.

My friend Nelson Valdes told me: “This country needs someone with the skills of a Fidel,” meaning a take-charge person who views a crisis while simultaneously calculating how to organize and coordinate physical and human resources to deal with it.”

Yes, I thought. Fidel didn’t try to appease and compromise when right and wrong – imperial aggression and rich-poor gap — stared him in the face. Indeed, Fidel’s leadership centered on defining needs and then prescribing strategy to achieve them. In two decades he transformed health and literacy on the island.

Americans perceived Fidel delivering long speeches; Cubans heard explanations of political reality and mobilized to become actors in the drama of their lives– teachers at home, military liberators in southern Africa or medical missionaries in scores of countries. Fidel’s speeches often offered Cubans opportunities to rise above the banal. Compare Fidel’s 1960 entreaty to join the militia after an arms ship exploded (CIA suspected) in Havana Harbor, killing hundreds, to Bush’s post 9/11 counsel to Americans: go shopping and take the family to Disney world.

FDR showed how public participation becomes crucial in accomplishing policy goals, which Kennedy and Johnson applied (Peace Corps and Vista). Get citizens involved beyond casting an occasional vote for a lackluster candidate.

Imagine Fidel’s advice to Obama.

“First, order Attorney General Eric Holder to arrest and handcuff BP executives on TV, and personally walk them to the waiting paddy wagon. Charge them with manslaughter, crimes against Nature and conspiracy to cover up crimes — including their information and ads (which appeared daily in the NY Times) explaining their bogus clean-up plans.

“Stop being President Nice Guy. Don’t delegate authority to a new Mineral Management chief or vow to assemble experts and oil companies to study the problem. “Respond confidently to your people. They want you to control, not delegate authority or seek conciliation between powerless publics and mighty oil giants And drop ‘God’s help’ from the speeches unless you think geese will learn to play baseball!

“I would never have allowed profit-only fools to drill in dangerous waters. Remind people how in 2008 George W. Bush rescinded his father’s 1990 ban on deep water drilling, and assured everyone the oil companies possessed technology to assure absolute safety. Your PR people should replay endlessly clips of Palin, McCain, Romney and Giuliani chanting ‘Drill Baby Drill.’ Demand daily that your political enemies present their plans with specifics: when and how they’d solve the spill problem. Keep them on the spot.

“Deliver big speeches outdoors. Mobilize 5 million to fill Washington’s mall. At least 150 million TV watchers should tune in. Then say: ‘I have stopped dangerous drilling. I demand Congress pass a public transportation bill to render most car use obsolete within 20 years. I call on world leaders to wage planet-saving campaigns, to transition from unsustainable fossil fuel-based life based to one that harmonizes, not collides with Nature.

“Wait for applause. Then continue: ‘I am enlisting citizens to become members of a new militia, to ensure the greedy and irresponsible among us do not further damage our fragile habitat. The new 21st century begins today. Who will join me?’

“Keep calm as you did during the crisis, and think strategically. In fairness, you did not undergo decades of testing by a powerful enemy: The Bay of Pigs, the Missile Crisis, countless assassination attempts and the Soviet demise.

“Develop powerful leadership ingredients. Unfortunately, even in Cuba medical science has not yet perfected the will and character transplants.

“I enclose a few of my words for your use:

‘…We are witnessing the depletion in barely two centuries of the hydrocarbons that it took nature 400 million years to create. Likewise, crucial non-renewable mineral resources required by the world economy are being depleted. At the same time, science has created the capacity to destroy the planet several times over in a matter of hours. The major contradiction of our times is precisely the capacity of the human species for self-destruction and its inability to govern itself. …The human being managed to raise its life possibilities to such limits as exceed its own capacity to survive, and in this battle they are consuming at an accelerated pace the raw materials available to them’.

“Patria o m….. oops, good luck!”

SAUL LANDAU is an Institute for Policy Studies Fellow. His FIDEL film is available on dvd (roundworldproductions.com)

 

 

WORDS THAT STICK

 

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 08, 2016
John W. Whitehead
Power to the People: John Lennon’s Legacy Lives On
Mike Whitney
Rolling Back the Empire: Washington’s Proxy-Army Faces Decisive Defeat in Aleppo
Ellen Brown
“We’ll Look at Everything:” More Thoughts on Trump’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
John Stauber
The Rise and Fall of Obamacare: Will the Inside Story Ever be Told?
Ted Rall
Ameri-Splaining
Michael J. Sainato
Mainstream Media Continues Absolving Itself From Clinton, Trump Election Failures
Ralph Nader – Mark Green
Divest or Face Impeachment: an Open Letter to Donald Trump
Gareth Porter
US Airstrikes on Syrian Troops: Report Data Undermine Claim of “Mistake”
Martha Burke
What Trumponomics Means for Women
Ramzy Baroud
Fatah, Hold Your Applause: Palestinian Body Politic Rotten to the Core
Steve Horn
Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Attorney General Pick, Introduced First Bill Exempting Fracking from Drinking Water Rules
Joe Ware
The Big Shift: Why Banks Need to Stop Investing Our Money Into Fossil Fuels
Juliana Barnet
On the Ground at Standing Rock
Franklin Lamb
Aleppo Update: An Inspiring Return to the Bombed Out National Museum
Steve Kelly
Hidden Harmony: on the Perfection of Forests
December 07, 2016
Michael Schwalbe
What We Talk About When We Talk About Class
Karl Grossman
The Next Frontier: Trump and Space Weapons
Kenneth Surin
On Being Caught Speeding in Rural America
Chris Floyd
In Like Flynn: Blowback for Filth-Peddling Fascists
Serge Halimi
Trump, the Know-Nothing Victor
Paul DeRienzo
Flynn Flam: Neocon Ex-General to Be Trump’s National Security Advisor
Binoy Kampmark
Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan and Beijing
Tom Clifford
Trump and China: a Note From Beijing
Arnold August
Fidel’s Legacy to the World on Theory and Practice
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix a ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
John Kirk
Cuba After Fidel
Jess Guh
Repeal of Affordable Care Act is Politics Playing with the Wellbeing of Americans
Eric Sommer
Team Trump: a Government of Generals and Billionaires
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Reactions to the Death of Fidel Castro
John Garvey - Noel Ignatiev
Abolitionism: a Study Guide
Clancy Sigal
Caution: Conspiracy Theory Ahead!
December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewal of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail