FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Cuba

by SAUL LANDAU And NELSON P. VALD?S

“No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver”

? Spanish saying

(There is no worse blind person than the one who does not wish to see.)

On May 13, Miami newspaper headlines and TV leads should have said: “Obama makes fool of himself.” The “leads” would have referred to his statement: “I would welcome real change from the Cuban government.”

Obama’s conditions? “For us to have the kind of normal relations we have with other countries, we’ve got to see significant changes from the Cuban government and we just have not seen that yet.”

A clever tabloid might have headlined, “Obama Goes Blind ? Can’t See Changes Right in Front of His Eyes!”

If Granma had a sense of humor its editorial would have begun with: “President Obama stands for `Change we can believe in,’ but does not stand for change Cuba’s leaders believe in.”

Indeed, changes in Cuba have come fast and furious over recent months, but apparently Obama has his own definition of the word “insignificant.” Or, maybe his advisers did not inform him that Cuba has freed all the “political” prisoners it arrested in 2003 and some others as well.

“The bottom line is political prisoners are still there who should have been released a long time ago, who never should have been arrested in the first place,” Obama said. (Univision May 13, 2011)

Did he ignore the words of his Secretary of State? “Let those political prisoners out. Be willing to, you know, open up the economy and lift some of the oppressive strictures on the people of Cuba. And I think they would see that there would be an opportunity that could be perhaps exploited. But that’s in the future, whether or not they decide to make those changes.” (January 13, 2009, Senate Confirmation hearings)

Did no one inform the President that the United States now has more political prisoners in Cuba than the Cuban government? Did he not hear from the government of Spain that they refused to accept nine of the remaining 46 Cuban prisoners because they had committed terrorist acts?

The President also remained blissfully unaware that he had vowed shortly after his inauguration to close the U.S. prison in Guantanamo where the political prisoners ? more numerous than those held by Cuba ? have not enjoyed even the basic rights of the Magna Carta. Cuban prisoners have all heard accusations against them, had lawyers and trials. No one at Guantanamo can claim any of those formal processes.

Obama also ignored the vast economic changes. “The economic system there is still far too constrained,” he told Univision.

Again, his advisors went to sleep at the switch and neglected to inform him that in agriculture alone, the Cuban government vastly reduced the number of state farms and simultaneously increased the number of private holdings as well as the amount of acres individuals farmers can control. Thus far, the state has turned over 63% of uncultivated lands to the private sector. By mid May, individual farmers and cooperatives had received 1,191,000 hectares. (1 hectare + 2.47 acres) And private farmers now can employ as many workers as they can afford ? not allowed since 1963.

The state also increased the price tenfold for farmers selling beef and three times for milk. In addition, farmers can now sell more easily to consumers.

The state retained price controls on 21 agricultural commodities; all the rest follow supply and demand. For farmers, access to bank credit has become much easier; the rates lower.

Oh, people may soon be able to buy and sell homes and cars, and go into business for themselves in many areas.

Obama, however, is fixated on Fidel. “If you think about it, (Fidel) Castro came into power before I was born ? he’s still there and he basically has the same system when the rest of the world has recognized that the system doesn’t work,” Obama said.

Fidel left power in 2006 as we know and ironically Cuba possesses the only system that still can claim some semblance of old-fashioned socialism ? despite a 50-plus year economic war against it by Washington.

Interestingly, in declaring Cuba’s systemic failure, Obama did not mention the U.S. recession, the double digit unemployment in several states, the millions of people homeless and hungry, with many more facing foreclosures and job loss. Indeed, for two centuries the U.S. economic system has broken down cyclically, and in this best of all possible systems millions of homeless people stare at vacant homes and apartments and hungry people cohabit with billionaires. And this well-working system does not suffer from having on its economic throat the boot of the largest economic power ? as Cuba endures.

Is Obama’s word frivolity simply a product of the perfect system’s rhetorical demand at pre-election time? After all, only a year and half remains before the next presidential contest and the “Miami-Cuban vote” counts.

MORE ON CHANGES NEXT WEEK

Saul Landau’s new film is WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP (CINEMA LIBRE STUDIO ? distributor).

Nelson Vald?s is Professor Emeritus, Univ. of New Mexico.

 

Nelson P. Valdes is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail