The worst thing about this is that we are experiencing one of those moments in US-Cuba relations, when opportunists, revenge seekers and reactionaries on both sides of the Florida Strait compete to see who can fall the lowest.
By Alejandro Armengol (Cubaencuentro)
HAVANA TIMES — The story is old, very old; the illusion is infinite. What continues to surprise us is the Cuban exile community in Miami’s capacity to run into the same stone again and again, and when they don’t find it, they seek it out and put it in the way.
Donald Trump and this exile community have been swapping the roles of seducer-seduced ever since the current leader realized that it wasn’t bad math to have the Cuban-American vote, and that it wasn’t too hard to win over either.
From this moment onwards, statistics haven’t really mattered much and old myths are being repeated with new names; spreading lies which reaffirm that without the “little help” from Cubans in Miami, Trump would never have left his penthouse in Manhattan, and also that without the participation of the current tenant of the White House, the end of Castrismo would be impossible.
The worst thing about this is that we are experiencing one of those moments, in US-Cuba relations, when opportunists, revenge seekers and reactionaries on both sides of the Florida Strait compete to see who can stoop the lowest.
Neither the regime in Havana deserves any kind of defense, nor does the parade of those who call themselves opponents inspire trust, and much less Little Havana’s late blossom. At the end of the day, everything comes down to a great loss of time for democracy to make progress in both nations, and we are just hearing a chorus of opportunistic idiots or idiot opportunists.
“I’m trying to reverse the dynamic: I’m trying to create a Cuban business sector that now goes to the Cuban government and pressures them to create changes. I’m also trying to create a burgeoning business class independent of the government,” Senator Marco Rubio stated, who has suddenly been given – did Trump really give it to him? – the role of Cuba “Czar” within Trump’s administration and Congress.
However, creating a “Cuban business sector” was exactly what Obama was trying to do, with poor results. Because if the regime in Havana accepts the self-employed and small private businesses with limited employees, it has made it perfectly clear that they won’t allow what they believe to be the “concentration of assets and wealth.” That’s to say, the creation of real business people. So, what is being proved yet again is the fact that neither Democrats nor Republicans have the faintest idea about how to deal with Cuba, and I’m not only referring to the government but to the Cuban people in general.
Trying to create a “burgeoning class” of “good business people” abroad against “bad” ones (the military) is absolute madness, when the country has been under a military dictatorship’s control for several decades. As if the GAESA holding company were necessary in order for a fraction of every dollar sent to Cuba -whether that’s to a dissident waiting for the providential ticket abroad or financial remittances to a relative – not to end up in the Government or the Castro family’s pocket, which ultimately is the same thing.
Therefore the resolution to limit economic resources to the military does nothing more than fuel local adjustments, the sweet hope of them running out of steam and compensation which has gone unmet over time.
Ignoring the existence of an authoritarian system in Cuba – which has become more fine-tuned in recent years by a certain withdrawal to simple authoritarianism in some patterns of cultural tolerance and limited social and critical speech is nothing more than practicing Obama’s policy without Obama as a democratic freedom strategy for Cuba. It permeates the entire country and the economy only allows secondary results to independent workers – who aren’t independent in the current political climate.
Putting Cuba’s Business Administration Group (GAESA) at the heart of these new measures proves that it not only lacks any kind of political vision in dealing with the Cuban government (because in a nutshell, Trump’s administration isn’t giving up on negotiations), but it is also a mistaken tactic (which won’t bear fruits) and is a strategy which is destined to fail.
Excluding the military, as potential agents of change in Cuba, could sound “glorious” in Little Havana, but has against it centuries of history, and highly notorious political results. Transition doesn’t normally happen how the incompetent want it to happen. And the capable aren’t always the flawless.
The absence of real opportunities for social and political transformation coming from the people in Cuba today, forces us to try transition “from above”. Now, with the path of economic disaster exhausted – because in spite of the eternal economic crisis, the ruling system on the island is showing no signs of imploding in the future – the uncertain destination of change post-Raul only leaves one door open, that the ruling elite evolve amongst themselves, where the military are not only a key player but an essential factor.
With his signature this Friday in Miami, Trump has just guaranteed Raul Castro staying in power without external temptations to the power circle, at least for another four years or more, if desire and biology accompany him. In Revolution Square, they should be celebrating; the statements don’t matter, which have been suspiciously lukewarm.
Ultimately, what Trump has signed and what the real idiots in Miami have repeated, will only result in extra profit for the travel agencies which are vilified so much – not without grounds a lot of the time – by this same hardcore exile community. It will sustain never-ending disagreements and complaints on both shores, this daily practice in both Havana and Miami. It will also contribute to never-ending lines to potential dialogues and Gila-style monologues, the great Spanish actor and comedian and his telephone: “Hello, it’s the enemy. Put him on.”
For now, in Miami, where comedians are dressing up as historians, the comedians on the radio have already started up, with calls to the military to stop being soldiers and to become businessmen – as if they weren’t already both things – and take the opportune route to Damascus.
Trump’s long-awaited Cuba policy has been reduced to an act of juggling. It’s more or less like launching rockets at a Syrian military airport and warning them beforehand. A lot to shout about and not a lot to defend. A new chapter of the farce.