The Significance of the Raul Castro-Obama Handshake

Esteban Morales

Barack Obama and Raul Castro two weeks ago at the funeral of Nelson Mandela on Tuesday. Photo: SABC

HAVANA TIMES — Though Raul Castro and Barack Obama’s recent greeting at Nelson Mandela’s funeral was merely a handshake – there was really no time for anything more elaborate – the gesture was no accident. That is, they meant it.

These things either happen or not, but they do not happen by chance. Either there is an express will to do it or it simply doesn’t happen. Coincidences cannot be prepared in advance or staged. Even if someone’s planned for such occurrences, no one dares go through with such gestures if the other party hasn’t expressed their agreement, much less if they don’t know whether they will reciprocate. No one likes to make a fool of themselves.

It wasn’t mere politeness either. The two countries have been in conflict for many years and, if one of the two leaders had decided not to greet the other, the handshake would quite simply not have taken place.

I don’t think there is any contradiction in the fact the two leaders greeted each other and that, now, Obama should have decided (if it was actually the President’s call) to impose a 100-million-dollar and 72-million-Euro fine on the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Quite simply, if the United States – or Obama in particular – saw the opportunity to do so, he really had no reason to play dumb or let it go. Obama has said he will keep the blockade in place and that’s how things are going to work, until the president decides on a different course of action.

There is also no contradiction in the fact the Semester at Sea cruise should have returned to Cuba after an 8-year travel prohibition, or that different tourism cruises should have begun to arrive at the island once again. All of this falls well within the Cuba policy which Obama has decided to follow since 2009.

The two countries are also holding talks about mail and migratory services. Students are also being granted permission to come to Cuba and there are periodic talks about the Guantanamo Naval Base aimed at preventing unpleasant incidents. As we say in Cuba, “you can be polite and brave at the same time.”

Are we really to believe that Obama’s gesture towards Raul Castro reveals that the United States’ aggressive policy towards Cuba will become more lenient?

There is no need for such speculation. Obama’s gesture, returned by Raul, is in keeping with the policy the US president has decided to follow vis-à-vis Cuba. It would be a mistake to jump to any conclusions and assume Obama’s handshake is a step beyond this policy.

What we should hope for is for Obama to clarify what he meant when he said in Miami that Cuba policy had to be “updated.” That statement, and what comes next, is worth our attention.

In the meantime, Cuba continues to strengthen its position and wait to see whether Obama’s greeting was a polite, friendly or hypocritical gesture.


50 thoughts on “The Significance of the Raul Castro-Obama Handshake

  • January 3, 2014 at 8:15 am
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    Posing a threat to America is not the the point, and you are in the wrong that the perceived threat is “based solely on communism as a political system.” If that was the case, the the U.S. would not have diplomatic relations with China, Vietnam, etc etc. Anywhere in the world where you have a one party system and all others can be incarcerated if they disagree with the “party line,” the citizens will not be able to exercise free will. The Cuban government does not have to adopt American style democracy, then can choose British or French style democracy :).

  • January 3, 2014 at 6:41 am
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    I agree with you to a point…but Cuba is not Hitler’s germany. Cuba is not Iraq or Iran or North Korea. Cuba is just this little island in the Caribbean that poses no threat to America at all. The perceived threat, however, is based solely on communism as a political system…AND the Cuban government’s stubborn refusal to adopt American style democracy.

  • January 3, 2014 at 2:33 am
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    I just saw the video when this happen, and all I see is that Obama was going to greet Dilma, and as a diplomatic gesture he just also greet Raul but was not really expecting any conversational situation with Castro…

  • January 2, 2014 at 7:54 pm
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    No, it was not racist of African-Americans for voting for Obama. People support a given candidate for a number of reasons. African-Americans were already voting heavily for the Democratic Party. People also vote for candidates they can identify with, and it is perfectly reasonable for blacks to identify with a young black Senator from Chicago. Racism is about doing harm to somebody on the basis of their race. I doubt very few people voted against McCain, certainly not for his race. They were voting FOR Obama.

  • January 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm
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    The economic system you quality with #1 and #2 in your comment has not and will not exist. Human beings will not avoid forming social groups which will morph into coalitions which will morph into political parties and then what do you have…TOTALITARIANISM. Castro pretended to be interested in everything you worship. Once in power, he quickly revealed his true face which is exactly what despots do. Your wacko notion that a society can exist ungoverned and that people will just blithely get along and support the one man/one vote democratic principal is worse than ignorant. Who really believes this sort of thing!

  • January 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm
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    Noam Chomsky is effectively banned from the corporate media.
    I heard a brief interview with him on NPR about four years ago .
    Chomsky is regarded as the world’s leading intellectual by his peers..
    In the quote by Chomsky you cited , he nowhere praises the dictatorial nature of the Cuban government and were you to have read deeper into his other political writings (over 50 books published on politics alone) .
    He praises the social accomplishments of the revolution/government in light of the U.S. economic war but as a deeply principled anarcho-syndicalist it would go totally against those principles to praise any Leninist system .
    The man is a supreme intellectual, reads more than anyone I have ever heard doing .
    On top of this he is recognized as one of the top people in the field of linguistics and his language is precise.
    He does not make any statement of fact without a profound knowledge of the subject matter and I defy you to find any serious errors of fact in anything he’s written.
    That no one on the right will debate him, that he is banned from the corporate media ( and so far from Al-Jazeera America -he was a frequent contributor to AJE ) is testament to his acumen and for you to try to twist his words and thinking to suit your purposes is the height of arrogance.
    Go back to reading the “Black Book Of Communism
    in which Mao is credited with killing every man, woman and child who died of ANYTHING during the years he was in power and he was not even a communist .

  • January 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm
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    As a native-born Texan, I can tell you that armadillos are renowned for their bravery, including the temerity to try to cross the road in the first place. Governing a rich, powerful democracy like the US is likened to herding a bunch of tomcats. No US President will please everyone. If Obama can accomplish anything positive in his term of office he should be commended given his detractors on both sides of the aisle. Maintaining the pressure on Cuba may very well be that accomplishment.

  • January 2, 2014 at 2:07 pm
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    On your last point, would you not say that any one who voted for Obama strictly or mainly because he has dark skin is also some form of racist ?
    If not a racist then stupid for assuming that anyone put up as a candidate by either of the twin parties of capitalism would serve the needs of the poor ?
    His record clearly shows that regardless of his skin color and perhaps because he did not wish to be seen as favoring people of color in the racist country he leads , he served the wishes and desires of the very wealthy.
    He had no choice in this because it was the money from wealthy contributors and corporations which made his ( and all presidents’) election possible .
    Since the very wealthy aside from an occasional Oprah or Cosby are almost all white, he was forced to serve them and not the poor or middle class: what’s left of them.

  • January 2, 2014 at 1:58 pm
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    Obama serves the desires of the same rich white men as all his predecessors.
    You make the incredibly and magnificently ignorant mistake of thinking Obama’s skin color somehow is reflected in his policies toward the poor and the disproportionately affected i poor Afro-American community .
    He’s of mixed race , from Hawaii and has totally no experience as an inner city Afro-American .
    Were he to have worn a mask throughout his entire presidency , you’d have to think Bush was still in office. .
    Capitalism rises and falls regardless of the economic policies of the U.S. or who is in the White House.
    His “landmark health care ” makes the same companies that make healthcare in the USA twice the cost of the far superior French system and benefitted the very wealthy while forcing the poor to buy premiums they cannot afford or be fined.
    Since Iran was never building nuclear weapons, that victory rings rather hollow .
    He may be ending the war in Afghanistan but he has extended U.S. involvement into a number of sub-Saharan African countries and is droning Pakistan, Yemen and a number of other countries with which we are not at war.
    He is far outdoing Bush II as far as making war goes.
    His immigration reforms can do little to nothing to alleviate the flood of immigrants who are fleeing the effects of the U.S War On Drugs, and the long history of poverty imposed upon them through the many interventions against democratic economies by the U.S. Over the past century and as recent as the U.S. supported coup in Honduras, now the murder capitol of the hemisphere.

  • January 2, 2014 at 1:42 pm
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    Thanks for those details Griffin.
    Although we agree that Obama sucks , we agree for far different reasons .
    You think he’s too far left and I think he’s too far right.
    Poor Moses. He’s in the middle and as Texan John Hightower once said: “The only thing in the middle of the road (as Moses is) is a dead armadillo “

  • January 2, 2014 at 1:37 pm
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    In what way have I defended the government of Cuba ?
    You are claiming things that are simply not true .
    I have always said that the Cuban government is Leninist and therefore not democratic and THEREFORE I am opposed to its form and its heavy-handed top-down manner .
    While you are entitled to your opinions, I take offense at you , an admitted totalitarian, calling me one.
    Present any quote/post in which I have defended the Cuban government or do the right thing and retract your libel.

  • January 2, 2014 at 1:30 pm
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    Anyone who says “Down with Fidel” will have a defective brain an any beating will not affect him. He would probably be better off in prison than walking around in that badly addled state .
    Fidel is in failing health, does not involve himself in any part of the government and retired some 6-7 years ago.
    HELLO???
    If the Pope showed up in Washington today and someone yelled out “Bush Sucks” it would be analogous and just as idiotic. .
    As for the Cuban people, I believe that they have the right to the society, government, economy , life THEY choose and not systems forced upon them by the United States.
    Unlike you, I think that the embargo which affects every man, woman and child in Cuba is a bad thing.
    The USA has a very long history of imposing dictatorships and totalitarian capitalism on countries around the world and especially in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Do you somehow think that the USA has excepted Cuba from this set-in-stone, 100 year-old foreign policy ?

  • January 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm
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    Moses,
    I had set out to do the usual refutation of your post but have decided to get to the nub of the matter .
    I am asking you to answer the two questions below .
    If communism and socialism are what you say they are which is what existed in the S.U. and China and now in Cuba , what then do you call:
    1) an economic form in which the means of production are controlled and operated by the workers from the bottom up in a majority rule fashion( democracy )
    2) a society in which there is no government but only a society that is run from the bottom up, by majority rule both locally and nationally in a direct democracy ?
    I ask this in an attempt to clarify what you mean by socialism and communism (and democracy for that matter)
    Will you please just give me as complete answers to these questions as you can ?

  • January 1, 2014 at 9:47 am
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    Stopping the financial collapse was accomplished by Bush. TARP was passed before Obama assumed office. History will eventually examin his role in the sub-prime mortgage industry which contributed to the collapse. The US withdrawl from Iraq was signed into a treaty negotiated by Bush. All Obama diss was go along for the ride. He made no contribution to that process. Afghanistan he screwed up thoroughly. by pre-announcing a withdrawal date he essentially handed the country back to the Taliban. The rest of his foreign policy has been a shambles. Iran will go nuclear in a few months time and his deal with the mullahs will place Obama along side Chamberlain as a foolish appeaser. ObamaCare is a disaster, and not just the crappy website rollout.

    In the end, his administration will be seen, in the kindest interpretation, as a colloidal failure of misplaced hope. But yes, it was nice for Americans to elect a half-black half-white man president. I do not think it was good for America for his supporters to label anybody who criticizes Obama as a racist.

  • January 1, 2014 at 4:07 am
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    Really? You don’t think that there is ever a reason to intervene in the affairs of a foreign nation. So by your phylosopy Hitler should have been left alone to conquer the world, or the Islamic movement should go unchecked to spread Islam worldwide. Now I agree that the U.S. Embargo is fruitless and it hurts only the average everyday Cubans (as does any other embargo since the people in power can still acquire the goods because they have the money to do so), however you are completely in the wrong to think that it’s the our arrogance that drives us to “police” the world, and if it wasn’t us, it would be some other country. It’s a inherent obligation to stand up to tyranny, and U.S. may have made mistakes in our methods of intervening, but that doesn’t mean that they were completely in the wrong. I am no fan of politicians, and the media always twists the truth, so if you think you got this all figured out, then you need to spend some time in both the U.S. and in Cuba, and find out that the average everyday citizen in both of these beautiful countries have a lot more in common, than what the media and the politicians would want you to believe.

  • December 31, 2013 at 11:21 am
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    Griffin, I believe that history will view the Obama administration reverently because of accomplishments which will have more value when viewed through the lens of time. His role is averting the collapse of the world’s economy, his landmark health care legislation, his ultimate nuclear disarming agreement in Iran, ending military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan and the likely immigration reforms to come in 2014 to name a few that come to mind. On top of that, as you intimated, my support for Obama is embedded in his history-making election. Membership to the exclusive club of rich white men has been forever expanded and that alone is an accomplishment of immeasurable value to future aspirants to the most powerful job in the world.

  • December 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm
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    A prudent move considering the weak hand you were dealt by your hero.

    It’s a pathetic story, really. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a committee of the Norwegian parliament. In 2008, that committee consisted of 2 socialists, 2 centrists and 1 conservative. The socialists nominated Obama and refused to even consider any other candidate. The chief reason for Obama was that he was not George W Bush. Nothing else was deemed important enough to even discuss. The committee argued for weeks. Finally in disgust the 3 non-socialists gave up trying to talk sense into their socialist colleagues’ skulls (surely you must know what that is like), and let them give the prize to Obama.

    To be fair, it was not Obama’s fault he was given a prize for which he had no reason to receive, but I f he had an ounce of humility he would have found a way to gracefully decline the dubious honour.

    Seriously, Moses. I get why you support Obama. But if you look at him objectively, he has no accomplishments worthy of the faith you have reposed in him.

  • December 30, 2013 at 6:21 pm
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    Cubans love to play dominoes. In the spirit of that game when you don’t have a piece to play and there is no “boneyard” of extra pieces, you have to take a pass. I declare a “pass” on your question. 🙂

  • December 30, 2013 at 5:22 pm
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    Can you at least try not to sound like a condescending ass? I read “Manufacturing Consent” 20 years ago. I was as unimpressed with it then as I am today. The powerful will use the media to influence people and maintain power. That fact has been rather obvious for centuries. Nevertheless, Noam Chomsky and countless other critics of the US political system have the freedom to publish their work, be interviewed on TV and give speeches without fear of arrest or harassment from US authorities. Perhaps the reason their ideas lack appeal outside certain leftist academic circles is because the ideas aren’t very meaningful.

    Meanwhile, there has been no free press and no freedom of speech in Cuba for 54 years. If you really were the least bit interested in freedom of speech, you might express some concern for the situation in Cuba. Or perhaps, like your intellectual guru, you will praise the Castro dictatorship:

    “Yes, Cuba is the symbol of successful defiance that accounts for the venomous hostility. The very existence of the regime, independent of what it does, by not subordinating itself to power is just an unacceptable defiance for the rest of the world. It’s a symbol of what can be done without using harsh conditions. It’s once again a case of those under the most severe conditions are doing things that others can’t do.” -Noam Chomsky, 2003

  • December 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm
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    Back when Fidel met with Nixon, the Cuban leader was still pretending to be a democrat and denying he was a Communist. Nixon, by the way, was not fooled for a second.

  • December 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm
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    Are you saying that Lenin and the Bolsheviks were busily setting up a bottom-up democratic socialist republic and that they only went totalitarian in response to the Western (US & British) intervention in the Revolution?

    That interpretation is demonstrably false given that Lenin’s writings on the topic of the dictatorship of the proletariate predate the October Revolution, and that soon after the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks outlawed all other opposition parties and arrested their members, including the Revolutionary Socialists. Several leaders of these opposition parties were shot. This process, the establishment of a totalitarian Marxist-Leninist dictatorship, began immediately after the October Revolution and was well under way by December of that year when Lenin created the Cheka.

    The Western Intervention did not begin until July of 1918. Therefore, it is impossible for the Intervention to have caused the Russian Revolution to turn toward Totalitarianism. It was born that way.

    The arrests and executions of political opponents among Lenin’s former allies began in November 1917, culminating in the Red Terror of September 1918. Meanwhile, the Red Terror was not directed against the Allied Intervention, but against unruly peasants, independence minded regions and ethnic groups who feared the growing totalitarian power of the Bolsheviks.

    You practice the rhetorical fallacy known as the “No True Scotsman” argument. You reject anybody else who called themselves “socialist” from using that label, saying they were not “true socialists”. Whether you do this cynically or in ignorance, I cannot say, (can you?), but you are among the faction of fellow travellers who would be, if not the first against the wall, then definitely second or third, when the Revolution comes.

    This tragic betrayal has happened time and again in history, whether in the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution or in the Cuban Revolution against Batista. In each of these cases, the people rose up in broad based movements to overthrow the existing order. At the moment of greatest chaos and crisis, in inner group of the most militant and ruthless revolutionaries seized power for themselves, turning on their erstwhile allies. Alas, it is too late for the people who wake up to discover their revolution has been stolen by a new form of dictatorship, far more totalitarian than the one which had existed before. When a nation veers toward violent revolution, the faction most willing to kill their enemies and their allies will almost always come out on top.

    That is why I oppose any and all who advocate political violence. I will neither acknowledge nor deny your declared positions. What I will do is point out that for somebody who claims to be a democrat and “unalterably opposed to totalitarian forms” for some reason you provide vocal support for the undemocratic and totalitarian Castro dictatorship. This is the very same intellectual style of the Western Leftists who supported and defended Stalin during the 1930’s even when the evidence of his brutal totalitarian dictatorship was undeniable.

    It is because of the well established history of Leftist intellectuals to blind themselves to reality and to lie, dissemble, and deceive others about the true nature of their revolutionary heroes of the day, that I do not trust or believe the words of those today who proclaim commitment to democracy and human rights while defending dictators like Castro.

  • December 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm
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    Hitler & Mussolini were Fascists, a political doctrine which was as opposed to capitalism as it was to Marxism.

    Capitalism is an economic system, not a political system. I endorse a liberal-democratic system with the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms, including economic freedom. Countries with such systems tend to be predominately free-market capitalist societies, with some degree of state funded social services. For example, my country, Canada. I do not endorse dictatorships of either the Left or the Right. I do support liberal democracies, whether the people elect conservative, liberal or socialist parties to office.

    The list of villains that the US has supported, or at least tolerated, over the years, is not something most Americans are proud of, nor should they be.

    Now if you want to make a count of all the lost or ruined lives as some sort of moral balance, then please do remember to add up the tens of millions murdered by Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin in the USSR, the millions murdered when Stalins army crushed freedom and independence in Eastern Europe, the tens of millions killed by Mao, Ho Chi Mihn, the Kims, Pol Pot, Mengistu, and Castro. The Communists take second place to nobody in the global democide score.

  • December 30, 2013 at 11:02 am
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    Okay, then own Capitalism. Mobuto, Suharto, Hitler, Duvalier, Mussolini, Diem,Trujillo, Pinochet, Rios Montt,Pattakos,Vidella,Stroesner. All capitalists, free marketeers and friends of Washington (ex. Musolini & Hitler). How many millions of lost or ruined lives are we up to so far with just this short list?

  • December 30, 2013 at 10:56 am
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    John, rather than regurgitate Castro doublespeak I suggest you ask a real-life Cuban how they feel about their voting experience. Ask them why they voted and what they believed would happen to them if they didn’t vote. Also, doesn’t it strike you odd that you can assemble 600+ Cubans in a room (Poder Popular) and they always agree? Finally, the Soviets called themselves “socialists”. Indeed, they included the word in the English translation of their name. Are we to suppose that you know better than them in your insistence that they were not socialists?

  • December 30, 2013 at 10:46 am
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    You wrote,”You can say or write whatever you want and your father-in-law can not. I can also respect that too” If you really mean what you wrote and that is to say that you RESPECT the fact that Cubans are denied their basic human right of free expression, then what else is there to say?

  • December 30, 2013 at 8:06 am
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    Read the books and do the homework you should have done 20 years ago .
    Then you’ll understand the subtitle of “Necessary Illusions” which is “Thought Control In A Democratic Society”.
    You can also follow Edward Herman’s continuing critiques of the corporate U.S. media in his ” Fog Watch” columns and keep up with the “necessary illusions” “thought control” and “manufacturing consent” that are the titles of those works .
    Of course anyone can print what they want, broadcast what they want , televise what they want at their own newspaper, their own television network, their own radio network and contest the lies of the corporately owned media and government .
    .

  • December 30, 2013 at 7:58 am
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    Griffin,
    As Noam Chomsky pointed out some 20 years ago, it served the purposes of all these totalitarians AND the United States to portray themselves as communists or socialists .
    Since you are blissfully unaware of both the history and the nature of either socialism or communism , I will take the time to explain what Chomsky said.
    Since 1918 and long before any of these dictatorial regimes existed, the U.S and several European countries invaded the new Soviet Union in order to prevent socialism or communism which was and is a direct threat to capitalism.
    The reason ?
    Both socialism and communism have, at their base , a democratic operation of the economy by those at the bottom; the workers .
    Were this democratic form of economy to spread, the very wealthy capitalists would be doomed. since they run their businesses from the top , in a totalitarian manner.
    You should also learn that the first thing that Lenin and Trotsky did once they assumed power and amidst the U.S. /European invasion was to dissolve the soviets which were the communist/socialist bases ; the workers democratically run councils .
    The joint U.S. /European invasion may well have precipitated the totalitarian ( Leninist) form which followed that dissolution of the soviets. but no matter, what arose in the Soviet Union was a top-down , totalitarian form of what some have termed State Socialism although, without the bottom-up democracy as would have been run by the soviets, you cannot call that “state socialism either socialism or communism .
    Any classes that teach these matters at university level ( as opposed to common belief and what the U.S. government says is so ) will verify what I am saying here .
    It was in their interests for that list of people above to CLAIM that they were socialists, were communists and therefore were, at heart, working in or toward a socialist or communist society .
    This to gain popular support for their totalitarian governments.
    It was in the interests of the U.S. government in its worldwide fight against socialism and communism to also claim that these horrendous, murderous regimes were socialist or communist in order to defame the true democratic forms that socialism and communism are and over the years they have turned enormous resources towards disinforming the U.S. public as to the true nature of these two forms.
    This has been highly successful and you can judge the effectiveness of the U.S. propaganda apparatus in another area ; the Iraq invasion in which the entire population of the U.S . took to the lie of WMDs like flies to feces .
    The strange thing about this conversation is that I am perhaps more opposed to the people on that list of totalitarians claiming to be communist than you because those people enabled the U.S to falsely portray democracy as totalitarianism and vice versa when it comes to the oligarchy that is the United States.
    I fully recognize that the vast majority of the people in the U.S. actually think that these people were communists and/or socialists but this no more makes them communists or socialists than their belief that WMDs existed in Iraq made that lie true.
    While you have every right to believe that communism and socialism is what you’ve come to believe they are as represented by Lenin, Stalin Mao etc , you are not entitled to redefine socialism and communism to suit your purposes.
    Those forms had been defined well over one hundred years before you were born and neither the GOUSA nor any individual can alter those definitions .
    Again, I would suggest locating a university or professor near you that teaches these subjects and inquire as to what is what . I do not expect you to take my word for anything but do expect you to respect the word of those who teach these subjects; who know more about them than you or I.
    I do not know how to make it any clearer that I have little in common with Mao, Lenin , Stalin, Castro etc because I believe in bottom-up, direct democracy and oppose all totalitarian forms including organized religions, the nuclear family and the oligarchic U.S. government.
    I think you have made it clear that you support capitalism , imperialism and the U.S. government as it is now elected and therefore support totalitarian forms.
    This is where we differ .
    Will you please acknowledge that:
    1) I am a democrat .
    2) I am unalterably opposed to totalitarian forms .
    3) none of those Stalinists listed practiced socialism or communism
    And if not, why not.
    Thank you

  • December 29, 2013 at 10:18 pm
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    It’s really funny how you reference an argument for human rights with a link to the RT website, a news service owned and operated by the Russian government of Vladimir Putin. Seriously, couldn’t you find a less hypocritical reference?

    I have to ask John Goodrich, if he is reading this, whether the Russian government media operation is among the six mega-corporations controlling all media outlets that he like to whine about?

    The various and sundry crimes, stupidities and hypocrisies if the USA are irrelevant. The Cuban people have a right to all the same freedoms and human rights of any people anywhere in the world. The Castro dictatorship denies the Cuban people those rights and freedoms. The Castro dictatorship does this for no other reason than to hold onto power. They point to the US embargo as an excuse for denying humans rights and freedoms to the Cuban people. Far too many fools outside of Cuba fall for the ruse and willfully echo the lie, playing into the hands of the dictatorship which enslaves the Cuban people.

  • December 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm
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    Almost half the electorate said “F*ck Obama!” in the last election. The message was heard by everybody in America.

    One man said, “Down with Fidel” during the Pope’s visit to Cuba and he was immediately set upon by the regime thugs, beaten and jailed.

    Ironically, you exercise your right to freedom of speech to post comments justifying the denial of that same freedom for the Cuban people. Why do you hate the Cuban people so much? Don’t they deserve the same freedoms and rights you enjoy?

  • December 29, 2013 at 9:53 pm
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    Why then did Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ceausescu and the Kims, along with Fidel Castro, all proclaim to be Marxist Socialists?

    You can pretend to believe in something different, but these murdering Marxist monsters are your intellectual forebears.

    Own it.

  • December 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm
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    What exactly did he win the Nobel Peace Prize for anyway?

  • December 29, 2013 at 9:47 pm
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    How were Chomsky and Herman able to publish their “seminal work” (cliche) if there is no free press in the USA?

  • December 29, 2013 at 6:09 pm
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    Moses, your father-in-law has the right to decide his own future within the boundaries set forth by the Cuban government and their political system. I can respect that. You can say or write whatever you want and your father-in-law can not. I can also respect that too. But the fact that your father-in-law does not currently possess the same individual freedoms that you possess is not tantamount to the end of the world, and it certainly doesn’t justify your government’s continued interventionist policies aimed at Cuba either. Also, to correct you, I have been continually referring to Cuba as a sovereign nation, and the right of the Cuban government to decide Cuba’s future for their own people…without the American government meddling in that pursuit. Moses, no matter what you believe, Cuba’s biggest obstacle to acquiring a successful economy and the salvation for her people IS the American trade embargo…NOT the Castros. The embargo is the true “stranglehold” that is hurting the Cuban people.

    You made me laugh when you said…”people, like you, obviously don’t know any Cubans personally”…as if that’s the be-all-to-end-all to support credibility here. Never-the-less, you couldn’t be more wrong. Asere, my cubano family and friends are really not the issue here, so there’s no reason to elaborate on them further. But even if I didn’t know any cubanos personally, that still wouldn’t make my opinion and the opinion of 188 UN member nations any different regarding the American trade embargo on Cuba…which has been described as both a flagrant disregard of human rights, and genocidal by it’s definition.

    http://rt.com/news/un-vote-cuba-embargo-940/

    So you tell me…what’s worse? Not having the freedom to write F*UCK CASTRO, or your government’s persistent arrogance, total disrespect of world opinion, and unconscionable disrespect for human rights? Yes, you and your American government, who profess to hold freedom and democracy so dear, have the freedom to also disregard the democratic voice of the whole world. It really doesn’t get any more hypocritical than that.

  • December 29, 2013 at 10:10 am
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    Some remedial education for you:
    Lenin did not practice communism or socialism
    Stain did not practice communism or socialism
    Mao did not practice communism or socialism
    Pol Pot did not practice communism or socialism
    Ceaucescu did not practice communism or socialism
    None of the Kims in N.Korea have practiced communism or socialism.
    I am an anarchist which means, you dolt, that I believe in direct democracy . I am not a Leninist, not a Maoist, not a Marxist in all senses of the philosophy .,not a Marxist-Leninist,
    I am a democrat.
    Stop trying to link me with these totalitarians .
    It just makes you look mulishly stupid.

  • December 29, 2013 at 10:03 am
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    The freedom of speech : that hollowed out right , is meaningless in a country and economy in which six mega-corporations own 90% of all media outlets.
    You can scream “Fuck Obama” and who will hear you ?
    A great many people, CUBAN PEOPLE write on HT and say bad things about the lack of democracy and other things about the government and economy and in such an oppressive totalitarian state why, may I say , aren’t they in prison being tortured ? .
    The fact that some 90-95% of all eligible Cuban voters vote in every election means that they find that exercise valid and meaningful and that they want to keep the system they have .
    About 50% of voters in the U.S choose to waste their time voting and the reason is that it IS a waste of time.
    They have the choice of defacing their secret ballot or writing in Mitt Romney if they want but less than 5% do so in each election.
    You are scared shitless of socialism .
    Were the U.S to end the economic war on Cuba, the success of that ( admittedly undemocratic ) economic state “socialism” would create the threat of the good example for other poor capitalist countries , so feared by the wealthy who own the U.S. government .
    You and the others who claim that “socialism ” or communism doesn’t work are speaking out of both ignorance of what socialism or communism are and ignorance of historic fact .
    A near-totally destroyed state-“socialist” ( i.e. not-socialist) economy in the Soviet Union (after 1945) brought that country to the 2nd largest economy in the world in just 25 years .
    Again, you display the typical U.S arrogance that has you believing that you, and not the overwhelming majority of Cubans, know what’s best for them.
    How patronizing ! How imperialist ! How totally immoral !.
    How shameless.

  • December 28, 2013 at 7:23 am
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    You are unwilling to admit the obvious. The point I made was about freedom to choose. I CAN say or write what I want and my father-in-law can not. If he can’t choose to write what he wants, he obviously does NOT have the freedom to decide his own future. He and the rest of the Cuban people have not had that freedom for 55 years. People, like you, obviously don’t know any Cubans personally. They are not free to choose now and the “intervention” of America is not to blame. The Castros stranglehold on the Cuban people is the culprit. Describing my comments as “blowhard rants” does not make them any less true.

  • December 28, 2013 at 12:45 am
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    He doesn’t have to say F*UCK CASTRO. He doesn’t need to say that. He only needs to say F*UCK OBAMA…and every other American who thinks he knows what’s best for Cuba, and every American who thinks they possess the moral high-ground ‘responsibility’ (very cute ~ just a polite way of saying “the arrogant holy-er-than-thou authority”) to intervene in another nation’s efforts for self-determination. You can’t see the forest for the trees, Moses. You’re so over-the-top full of yourself that you can’t possibly consider that Cuba has the right (or to borrow your cute word…the responsibility) to decide their own future. A future free of America’s interventionist policies. A future where their economy can flourish unimpeded…giving rise to more liberal freedoms of expression within due to their success as a nation…a nation proud and free of America’s tyranny.

    If you sincerely want to help your father-in-law in Cuba…petition your government to lift the embargo. That would do more good for all Cubans than any of your blow-hard rants about your ‘responsibility’ to your nation’s continued repressive policies.

  • December 27, 2013 at 5:05 pm
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    As a citizen who pays a lot of taxes, I wish what you said was true. The reality is that because of the blessings bestowed on my country, Americans have a responsibility, not a right, to help others enjoy the freedoms you likely take for granted. During my visits to Guantanamo, my Cuban father-in-law loves to mix it up with me and talk politics. We disagree on many issues. However, he can’t risk getting into an exchange with me through email because of his government. He has government-approved internet (dial-up) in his home and is fully aware that all of his emails are monitored. I want him to have my freedom. I can say F*CK OBAMA, if I choose. If he writes F*UCK CASTRO, he risks losing his internet, his job, imprisonment or worse. I am sorry that you can sit by and accept this form of repression as normal. As an American, I have a responsibility to help my father-in-law and every other Cuban seek the democratic future of their choosing.

  • December 27, 2013 at 1:51 pm
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    Yes and people have said that you weren’t fit to eat with pigs and I defended you, saying that you were.
    I do not defend the actions taken against the LIW and neither do I defend their acts against the revolution.
    I believe in an independent press .
    We should have one in the U.S instead of the media we have which is 90% owned by six mega-corporations.
    If you think that is an independent media , you’re as disinformed about that as you are about what communism is.
    You should pick up a copy of Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s seminal work on the media:
    ” Manufacturing Consent” the title of which tells you what you need to know.
    Chomsky also authored ” Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In A Democratic Society which also goes to prove proves that there is no independent media in the U.S.
    Do please shoot your radio.
    The U.S. media amounts to the rich telling the middle class to blame the poor .
    Do you know why the corporate media including NPR and PBS cannot tell the truth when it comes to capitalism and U.S. foreign policy ?
    I didn’t think so.
    That’s why you need to read a book or two on these things

    Your lack of knowledge in U.S foreign policy and the corporate media is sad , if typical of the general U.S population .
    Most Americans’ eyes glaze over when the discussion gets into these topics and they wisely back away from that sort of discussion .
    In your case, however you insist in telling the world how uninformed, misinformed and disinformed you are .
    .
    It’s like G.W. Bush purposely and consistently mispronouncing nuclear as “nuculer” without a hint of shame.

  • December 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm
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    Agreed…

  • December 27, 2013 at 12:54 am
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    Moses…you’re wrong. Your government is wrong. They’ve been wrong for
    well over 50 years regarding Cuba. When are you and your government
    going to learn that it’s not your job to police the world. That it’s not
    your job to decide what form of government is acceptable. That it’s not
    your job to intervene in the affairs of other nations. The sense of
    entitlement and cynical arrogance that America continuously exudes
    concerning their interventionist plots and policies aimed at disrupting
    the self-determination of other nations around the world is absolutely
    contemptible. Like many Americans, you’ve drank far to much of the
    cool-aide that your government feeds you on a daily basis.

    There’s an old saying….keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Nixon knew that all too well regarding China. And golly-gee…China is communist too. But China had the bomb. Little Cuba no longer poses any threat to America at all. Oh wait! Yes they do. They’re one of the very few nations on earth who continue to stand up against the American government’s arrogance and remain resolute to their own self-determination. How dare they! The embarrassment to your government must be completely intolerable. And especially embarrassing for those Americans who have been totally brainwashed by the cool-aide too. After all, it’s your God given right as a nation to decide what’s best for the Cuban people…and everyone else around the world as well ~ right? Drop the arrogance. Drop the embargo and let’s see what happens. It hasn’t worked. It hasn’t done anything except hurt the Cuban people. And everyday it remains only embarrasses your government and your fellow Americans further in eyes of the world. If you really want to effect change in Cuba, get over yourselves and do what’s right for everyone.

  • December 26, 2013 at 9:02 pm
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    Every communist leader whose name is written in your prayer book, Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Ceausescu, Kim Jong-Il and so on have all killed or been responsible for the death of far more of their OWN people than even Mr. WMD George Bush II have every been connected to. As you dither about attempting to defend a system that has never existed, you should steer clear of phrases like “mass murderer”. Guys like you always get way too much ‘spray-back’ after going to public johns. You just can’t keep the piss off your own shoes.

  • December 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm
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    Again, nothing substantive to add so you compose tonteria? Since you are big on questions, I have one for you (actually a couple). Do you support the arrests, beatings and detentions of the Ladies in White? Do you believe in an independent press? BTW, thanks for the proofread (others have said that people like you are good for nothing, this if proof that is not true).

  • December 26, 2013 at 4:25 pm
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    “…Cuba is desperate to improve relations with Cuba”
    Edit Moses, edit
    Proofread Moses , proofread
    I’ll bet Fidel, who (FYI) retired some six years ago from participation in running the country, is looking forward to getting those billions in tourist dollars .
    Forbes magazine says since he has the keys to the national treasury, can just drive in with a front-loader and drive off with as much money as he can carry, is one of the richest people on the planet.
    He can always come to Miami with that money, front loader and all.
    Nice propaganda piece there .
    As said if you can’t win an argument with facts, bury the opposition in bullshit so they don’t have the time to respond to all the lies.

  • December 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm
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    Rush Limbaugh did not graduate from Harvard nor from high school for that matter.
    As for Obama , power does not equate to morality.
    Neither was his Nobel Peace Prize justified as history has clearly shown .
    Neither does graduating from Harvard make people any better morally . JFK graduated from Harvard,.Bush from Yale and all presidents for sometime are university graduates who killed millions around the world for daring to want a government and/or economy of THEIR choosing .
    See, Moses, I don’t NEED cheap shots to denigrate these mass murderers and you’d do well to come up with something better .

  • December 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm
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    It was more of a hypocritical gesture and it should be noted that Fidel had shook Clinton’s hand at the UN before and met with VP Richard Nixon one time in a private meeting with little change at all. It is much to do about nothing, nice to see but that is about it.

  • December 26, 2013 at 10:43 am
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    Lacking anything substantive to contribute, you take a cheap shot at an Harvard Law grad, Nobel peace price winner who happens to be the most powerful person in the world. Nice.

  • December 26, 2013 at 10:03 am
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    In the mean time Cuba should “strengthen it ethical and moral position” by respecting human rights.
    That is – as Kerry said – when a new dialogue can start.

  • December 26, 2013 at 8:48 am
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    Raul would have been wise to check both his back pocket for his wallet and his wrist for his watch after that handshake.
    Obama’s handshake was strictly PR .
    Were he to publicly shun Raul , it would have made HIM look bad .
    Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the the American people who are willfully ignorant and disinformed respectively as Cuba goes, got a few days of inchoate rage out of the handshake and now it’s old news.

  • December 26, 2013 at 7:46 am
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    Professor Morales concludes his post with “In the meantime, Cuba continues to strengthen its position…”. Really, how is that? Why not just wait another year then before engaging serious talks with the US when Cuba is really strong? His self-delusion is almost amusing. The truth is that Cuba is desperate to improve relations with Cuba. In the midst of the worst outmigration of Cuba’s best and brightest, including some 3,000 Cuban doctors in Venezuela and underwhelming economic growth, Cuba is betting on lifting the embargo to justify the Port of Mariel project. The $5 billion in goods and cash remittances from the US in 2013 as well the 500,000 tourists from the US who visited Cuba this year reflect just a tip of the iceberg the Castros would receive if the US recognized their dictatorship. President Obama understands that there is no rush to make nice with Cuba. On the contrary, every day we wait, the Castros weaken and the hope for democracy is strengthened. Morales, either from arrogance or ignorance, continues, like many other regime mouthpieces, to promote a notion that Obama can lift the embargo single-handedly. Not so. It will take an act of Congress to lift the embargo. Congress could barely pass a budget, a job requirement. The chances that Congress could come together to lift the embargo against communist Cuba with anything less that absolute adherence to the stipulations set forth in the Helms-Burton law are slim. The least the Castros should do is stop beating women who are peacefully protesting. They should release political prisoners and allow freedom of the press. And most important of all, send Mr. Alan Gross home. This would be a good start.

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