FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Daydreaming of Cuba for Dollars

Almost fifty years after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the university professor tuned in to his i-Pod radio. A news bulletin interrupted “It’s Make Believe Ballroom Time” to announce an El Paso jury had acquitted Luis Posada Carriles, well-known terrorist, on 9 counts of lying on his immigration application.

The University of Miami scholar shrugged at the news. Although Posada in some circles was known as the Hemisphere’s Osama bin Laden, the professor and colleagues focused on their research agenda. None even asked if some of the Posada trial “observers” (who looked like extras on the Sopranos) might have intimidated the Texas jury; or even wondered why the government presented evidence that Posada bombed an airliner with 73 people on board (all died) and then charged him only with lying.

The academics daunting challenge was figuring out new ways to get taxpayers’ money as Republicans slash precious services.

The professors understood that few academicians have received millions in grants for their scholarly invention: the concept of “strengthening the civil society in Cuba.” Until now they had finessed the very meaning of Cuban civil society by using that phrase as a euphemism for those who took orders and money from US Interests Section officials in Havana. That’s the State Department’s working definition of civil society. Who in Washington cares Cuba’s civil society has developed over centuries. That’s the past and not helpful for US policy.

Indeed, Washington would like to erase that past in which it unsuccessfully (key word) tried everything short of a direct armed invasion of the island to dislodge the disobedient Castro brothers: after the Bay of Pigs, it tightened the ad hoc embargo and eventually made into law. It waged psychological war, and backed wholesale terrorist attacks and assassination attempts.

As scholars plotted to get government grants, in Little Havana, some semi-retired assassins returned from their visits to proctologists to hail the acquitted hero and also fabled FBI and CIA informer (on his fellow plotters). None seemed to care about declassified CIA and FBI cables showing Posada ratted out his fellow bombers. No one’s perfect. They also praised his lawyer who prolonged the trial into an 11-week affair and thus earned his fee on which he can now retire.

In recent decades, however, State Department strategy has manufactured – with the scholars’ help – a civil society despite the fact that one already existed, except in the minds of State Department bureaucrats. Magical unrealism? The few academics who coined the notion have since grown accustomed to better life styles coincident with receiving large government grants and donations from a noted booze company.

The history and development of Cuban society certainly merits study, but the scholars and their grant-givers have little or no interest in the real Cuba. The money-making research agenda in the handful of universities and research centers, gets determined by goals of US policy, which have for fifty two years centered around the destruction of the Cuban revolution.

The academics’ objective — note the word – was to tap into the government’s desires (and its Treasury) to have invented leaders for the newly-invented “civil society.” The US government never had an interest in the real Cuba and since there’s little grant money or donations from rum producers available for studying the real Cuba, the finest (meaning largest grant recipients) Cuba scholars produce the equivalent of sci fi works and label them “scholarship.”

The scholars’ inventiveness doesn’t preclude other areas of endeavor. In decades past entrepreneurs have concocted independent associations for doctors, libraries that depend on US money and supply and contain few books and even free trade unions. AFL-CIO leaders fully supported them even though they had no dues-paying members. A group of “independent journalists” organized by US diplomats in Havana wrote stories the US government helped them publish. Coincidentally, all their filings contained negative judgments of Cuba’s system and government. In 2003, when some of these “journalists” got busted for receiving money, goods and services from a foreign government (US), Nestor Baguer, one of the more coherent writers in the group, revealed himself as a Cuban state security agent. At the trial of some of his erstwhile colleagues, the Cuban prosecutor used documents provided by Baguer and other moles to prove the accused had received services from US diplomats in Havana.

These entrepreneurial members of the academic community devised their version of what the US government would like Cuba to look like – now and in the future. This Cuba bears no relation to reality, but it does provide a way to spend taxpayers’ money as miraculously, Congress enacts legislation to authorize these expenditures while cutting teachers and closing clinics. The scholars also attract anti-Castro companies to donate money to these daydreaming projects.

One Cuban scholar produced the ultimate reverie: Fernando Henrique Cardoso refers to that “poof moment – Jorge I. Dominguez’ vivid phrase – when the current regime will no longer exist.” Several self-proclaimed “leading” Cuba scholars in the US even contributed to a book that begins with that premise. (http://marifeliperez-stable.com/books/) That a-historical moment has no preconditions, institutions, history, context or real live humans. As grade school kids say: “shit happens.”

No scholar living in Cuba gets invited to these “forecasting” sessions. These exclusive professors have converted poof dreams into profits; moreover; they remain oblivious to the Miami mobs cheering the triumphant return of Luis Posada Carriles — whom FBI agents affectionately call that “rat-fink, old fart, bomber.”

Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP opens at San Francisco’s Brava Theater on April 16.

Nelson Valdes is Professor Emeritus, University of New Mexico

 

 

More articles by:

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

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail