Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Castro Resigns! Sanctions Work!

In a letter published in Cuba's state-run newspaper Granma Fidel Castro announced that he is resigning as President of Cuba, finally succumbing to the sanctions that have crippled Cuba's economy and steadily weakened his rule for the last 50 years. Although Castro tried to save face by claiming that he was quitting because of his "critical health condition," it is clear that half a century of U.S. pressure has just worn him down. Like Roberto Duran after being pummeled in his second fight with Sugar Ray Leonard, Castro has finally cried out, "No más!"

Let this be a lesson to other dictators around the world, from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran to Kim Jong-il in North Korea, that the United States is a very patient country and if it takes us 50 years to get them out of power, we will not waver. In fact, as John McCain as made it clear to the insurgents in Iraq, we don't mind sticking around there for a 100 years if it takes that long.

All of those liberals who complained that sanctions were not working and said Castro was thumbing his nose at the United States should apologize to the ten Presidents who have methodically plotted Castro's downfall since 1959 now that Castro has finally said, "Tio." While it may have appeared to some that Castro emerged unscathed from the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 638 attempts by the CIA to assassinate him using poison cigars and exploding, mollusks, the embargo, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Mariel Boat Lift, which deprived the country of some of its finest criminals and mental patients, we can now see that each of these incidents chipped away at Castro's power little by little until he had no choice but to surrender.

And let us not forget the hard work of the Cuban exiles in Florida, who resolutely resisted any "reasonable" approach to loosening Castro's grip on power, for all of the hard work they have done in finally forcing him to resign. The pressure they exerted on every Presidential candidate who hoped to win Florida's electoral votes to keep sanctions in place made it unlikely that any President would change the policy without suffering the consequences as Al Gore learned to his dismay. And they stuck to their principles despite the great pain it must have caused them to amass great wealth for themselves while their countrymen in Cuba wallowed in wretched poverty. Finally, their sacrifice has been vindicated.

Unfortunately, the Cuban people won't be able to trade in their classic American cars for shiny new gas-guzzling SUVs just yet. Certainly, no Presidential candidate will dare angering the Cuba lobby and risk those precious Florida votes just yet, at least not while Castro is still breathing. No one wants to do anything that will raise the standard of living for average Cubans and allow Castro to claim credit. Although Barack Obama has hinted that he might consider lifting the travel ban to Cuba and Hillary Clinton has promised a "full policy review" if the situation changed there, I'm sure they will be convinced by their Florida campaign advisors that now is not the time to back away when Castro is on the ropes. His brother Raul is only 76 and who knows what other tricks Castro has up his sleeve? What if he lives another 80 years? And even if Castro dies, we still may need to maintain the embargo. What if Castro has his body cryogenically frozen in hopes of making a comeback and returning to lead Cuba again? We may need to maintain sanctions another 50 years or even 100 years just to make sure he is really dead. So the Cuban people will just have to be patient and endure their poverty a little longer. It may take ten more Presidents before we can say "Hasta la vista, Castro!" with certainty but ultimately the U.S. will be victorious.

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Rob Wolfe said...

The thing that fills me with dread about this excellent post is the waiting until someone comes in and says "I agree with you 100%" .

Nicely done!

Anonymous said...

I must say I agree with you 100%.

bah damn it. anyhow reading this http://4n1m4t3d.blogspot.com/ it would seem he has other ideas.

Anonymous said...

Sanctions schmanctions. I have it on good authority that Fidel was bored with his current gig. When that Modelling Lookalike Agency called and offered him the job of Willie Nelson double he jumed at it.

Anonymous said...

I say Swift old bean,

let this serve as an example to the misguided younger generation who think the worlds problems can be resolved through wars that last mere weeks or months, or worse still, through diplomacy. Quite frankly I don't think the younger generation has the stomach for the kinds of conflicts our forefathers engaged in (the dramatic re-telling of the events leading up to this wonderful juncture surely wouldn't fit on an iPod, or a gramaphone, or whatever it is the younger generation obsess about these days).

I think now we can say with certainty those words we have all longed to say for so many years; the cold war, that mad game that we all enjoyed playing so much, has finally been won! Freedom is on the march. Democracy rules! etc.

I wish my grandfather was still with us to enjoy this great and meaningful victory he craved so much.

Yours, etc.


Anonymous said...

Dubya is like Ronnie Rage. Dubya will get credit for ending Fidel's reign in Cuba. John Bolton argued that Cuba should be included among the "axis of evil" countries because of its development of biowarfare capacity. Cuba is world renowned for its biomedical industry, but according to Bolton the industry was concealing a WMD project.

Unknown said...

Ten more presidents? You mean of the U.S.A.?

Anonymous said...

Haha, good post.

Anonymous said...

Embargos and Sanctions; does it matter ? We have China (Rolling eyes).

I would hope this will be a road to friendlier relations with Cuba; open for trade, travel, tourism, diplomacy. Why we alienate our closest neighbors is a mystery (Mexico, Cuba ...)

Anonymous said...

All of those liberals who complained that sanctions were not working and said Castro was thumbing his nose at the United States should apologize to the ten Presidents who have methodically plotted Castro's downfall since 1959 now that Castro has finally said, "Tio."

I have been told by someone who knows that what he actually said was "Tio Pepe".

Anonymous said...

Sanctions Work! That's brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead - this was a shot at a comeback...

Anonymous said...

I just have a problem with your notion of the sanction "working." if anything takes 50 years without a planned end, it didn't work. I think the embargo has been stupid for everyone involved. I am convinced that the man died two years ago and the Cuban Government cannot keep up a charade any longer. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he's out of power, but our government will sit with its head up their own asses for years before we can start importing Cuban Cigars again, or make Cuba a vacation destination. It's all stupid. Our pride has gotten in the way, just because we won this 50-year staring contest (if just outliving the man was enough to "win") then we surely have more issues than just Cuba.

Ontario Emperor said...

Yes, Jon, sanctions definitely work, as this incident proves so well. And now it's only a matter of time before the Cubans throw off their shackles and beg the Miami exiles to come back and rule over Cuba. I hope that my daughter lives to see the inauguration of Gloria Estefan as President of a free Cuba, with Elian Gonzalez as her Vice President.

Bill Handel of KFI was discussing this issue this morning, as well as the double standard held between Cuba and other regimes. As an example, he asked how the world would react if North Korea renounced and destroyed its nuclear program, but kept the current government intact. North Korea would receive full recognition in seconds.

Anonymous said...

Call me crazy, but I get the distinct impression some aren't getting the joke. I know it's hard to separate the put-on from the "serious" wingnut blogs, but really now.

Anonymous said...

Jon, I think I agree with you 100%. Although I cannot be sure because I laughed so hard at the title alone that my eyes crossed and stayed that way.

Anyway, I say we do whatever is necessary to keep another entire population from trying to sneak over here and mow my lawn.

thisniss said...

I think we ought to just blow the whole damned country all to hell! Who needs Cuba, anyway? It's like, an island, right? Aren't there lots of those? I mean, we've got Guam already - and apparently, they even get to VOTE. Is that what we can expect from Cuba, now that Castro has retired? Are Cubans going to be allowed to vote in American elections, just like Guamanians? What is this country coming to???

No more islands! No surrender.

I agree with you 100%!

Anonymous said...

new day said...

"...Anyway, I say we do whatever is necessary to keep another entire population from trying to sneak over here and mow my lawn."

Like you're going to get off your duff and do it ? Why is everyone against immigrants ? Oh that's right, they're not of the WHITE, er, right kind.

OutOfContext said...

Sanctions work. And you don't have to look to foreign countries to see that. Sanctions against the poor are working great in our own country. Soon we'll win that battle, too.

Carl said...


Finally...the light at the end of the tunnel! No more smuggling in my Monte Cristos from filthy stinky ports like Bermnuda, Grand Cayman or Eleuthera!

Now we can ignore those useful idiots in Miami...

T. F. Stern said...

Looks like Willie Nelson to e, you sure he's not going "on the road again"?

Anonymous said...

Go to digg and vote this up people. Brilliant analysis such as this must be shared with more people.

Anonymous said...

Actually, j.r., I am more than happy to mow my own lawn, provided I have been stoked by a hearty meal of sauteed illegal alien baby.

By the way, if you happen to run across a nice, fat doobie, I recommend you smoke it.

Anonymous said...

An excellent, thoughtful piece, but why do you have a picture of Willie Nelson in this post?

Anonymous said...

The rise of Castro to power in Cuba, the state seizure of millions of dollars of private property, and the exile of hundreds of thousands of Cubans to the United States was a great human tragedy and should not be made light of.

My own uncle, formally a prominent Havana businessman and entrepreneur, often talks sadly about losing his business (Club Hepplewhite, a famous ultra sophisticated combination casino and gentlemen's hotel with a staff of 60 gorgeous hostesses) on New Year's Eve, 1959. The impending Communist dictatorship forced him to have to flee to Miami, leaving everything behind. But despite having had to subsequently lead a hand to mouth existence running a GOP PAC for almost 50 years, my uncle with great difficulty kept in contact with all 60 hostesses in Cuba. They loyal women have managed to scrape together rare American dollars to remit to him every month since he left. He in turn has scrupulously maintained their original work and medical records as well as many sentimental photographs from those days. My uncle has often told me that should Castro fall from power, he would return to Havana and reopen Club Hepplewhite. And as soon as he found a reliable source of clean towels and a trusted on site physician, he is sure that all 60 of his hostesses would report to work the next day for the benefit of rich tourists itching to experience an unforgettable sample of 1959 night life.

Such is the power of optimism and dreams.

Anonymous said...

you crazy like a fox...

Anyhow, 8 presidents and one man-boy later, Fidel finally "retires" from the mol/benevolent dictator business.
Once again attrition saves face for fifty years worth of regressive US foreign policy. And please, lets not quibble on the benevolent part, as once screamed out on a Hollywood set: "You can't handle the truth"


Anonymous said...

er, that would technically be nine presidents and 1 man-boy later... (forgive me, I forgot Ike, the first Great Father to take on that ramble ingrate)

John J. said...

It's really sad when one can't tell satire from an honest opinion...

My question is, does this mean Obama can talk to Castro without criticism because he is no longer a dictator?

Anonymous said...

Interesting angle. Cool. Castro is human garbage who has killed thousands of Cubans in his failed pursuit of a communist paradise.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
Castro was BRILLIANT

like Marx, Lenin and Mao
he helped redefine EVIL

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
celebrities are GUILTY

of having talent and luck
so they must praise dictators

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
never admit you were wrong

Communism’s FANTASTIC
BEST false ideology

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
keep your people poor

deny them decent health care
convince them they have it GREAT

Fidel Castro
murderous tyrant
- fools' hero

communist freedom killer
imprisons many poets...




OutOfContext said...

Fidel Castro
murderous tyrant
- fools' hero

communist freedom killer
imprisons many poets...

Sorry, you lose. You didn't say "God of the Universe says..."

Anonymous said...

Oops. Too late, j.r. It looks like uspace has smoked the entire Stash of the Universe.

Anonymous said...

No humanitarian he, nevertheless Castro does not even scratch the surface in comparison to the decades of brutality and death dealt out to hundreds of thousands around the globe through the corrupt dictatorial regimes, created, implemented and supported by western economic interests. That would include Fulgencio Batista, you know the guy who twice staged coup's, destroying Cuban democracy, who's opponents were routinely gunned down in the streets, or disappeared in to thin air. All the while, the main "American" diplomatic effort was pretty much the Mafia. Fidel was an angel compared to these thugs, you right wingers are a few steps beyond delusional. Truth...end of story.


liquiddaddy said...

Mr. Swift,

It's true that persistence pays, especially with dictators like Generalissimo Fransisco Franco, Marshall Tito, (and someday the entire Chinese Communist Party, dammit) on the other hand, the South shall rise again!


Anonymous said...

...What if Castro has his body cryogenically frozen...

Two serious problems with that.

One, Castro does not have the technology to cryogenically freeze even his brain at this point. The embargo of U.S. technology has limited the Cuban cryogenic industry to French and Soviet-era freezing labs and container support units. They might be able to freeze his beard for a short period, or store some simply body movements, both useful for short video statements. Freezing on the order of 41 or Babs (127 and 164, respectively) years) is not possible.

Two, logically it could be far worse than a simple cryogenic threat. Cuban biotech, mixed with WMD bunkers, cheap Angolan mercs, and a poorly frozen Castro is a Zombie threat. If the post-Castro era is marked by sneakered feet washing up in BC or simply more toxic oil drums in the delta, you can bet the Castro zombie(s) are looking for fresh bourgeoisie ear lobes and livestock.

Carl said...

Jesus De La Cruz said...

Sir, your story touched me deeply.

When I was in Cuba on my junke...I mean, on a fact-finding mission, I ran into one of your father's hostesses, and she was quite willing to accept my generous contributions to the Cuban people...my deposit, if you will.

I do trust that the appropriate portion made it back to your family. She charged twenty pesos for my "debriefing," a further thirty pesos for "dialogue" and one hundred and fifty pesos for deep negotiations.

Ynez was a lovely...adversary.

Anonymous said...

"Ynez was a lovely...adversary."

I called my uncle and he remembers Ynez with great fondness. When she recently celebrated her 73rd birthday he sent her a large bouquet of tropical blossoms.

You chose well, sir.

Carl said...

She was 73?

She barely looked 80! Wow. Castro's health care plan really DOES work!

slag said...

I believe he said "Tio Sam"...and then grinned while gently stroking his white long-haired cat.

Anonymous said...

>In a letter published in Cuba's state-run newspaper Granma Fidel Castro announced that he is resigning as President of Cuba

Bartkid sez,
The timing is suspiciously close to the start of the grapefruit league.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Mark Twain, eat your heart out. An excellent post!

Anonymous said...

Better yet, you don't even need sanctions. I've personally looked nastin in the general direction of the USA, and now their president is not seeking reelection either!

Anonymous said...

"Sorry, you lose. You didn't say "God of the Universe says..."

Oops, I guess it was 'out of context'.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
Castro should have killed more

but he was just too stupid
to catch all his enemies

absurd thought -
God of the Universe
loves nepotism

so Raul may run Cuba
until his brother dies

Anonymous said...

Ah. Tio. You brought back such lovely memories by reminding me. Yes indeed! But we have to remember that Christmas is coming. George Orwell would be proud.
We caga tio lovers have finally won!

Anonymous said...

Nice post Jon. US is never worried about win or lose, they don't care about thousands of invaluable soldiers lifes, trillions of tax money. Their focus always held on the target, whether it is Cuba or Iraq or somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Prove it... Seriosuly prove that the sanctions "worked". The fact is that Castro has handed power onto the hardcore Communist nomenclature (Raul Castro etc.). Although such hardliners have clearly not a huge amount of time left on the planet (I suppose that's attributable to US sanctions aswell...) they are probably going to push for more Latin American influence, especially from the increasingly influential Chavez government in Venezuela. After they pass away power will probably be handed on to the younger generation who will already be implicated in these alliances. The result will probably be increased economic liberalisation under a strong state seeking to maintain the excellent health and educational facilities which so many Cubans paid with their lives to establish.

The development will probably not be likeable from the perspective of GDP obsessed neo-liberals; however considering Cuba's proclivity for producing relative luxury goods such as tobacco and sugar products this will probably ensure that another Argentinian style quasi-famine doesn't occur.

As for the US embargo? Well as we are increasingly seeing all over the world today, from the middle-east to the establishment of the Mercosur trade block among other things, the US and its foreign policy no longer has omnipotent control over the poorer countries... In fact its even arguable if US foreign policy, apart from the vulgar participation in secret wars, actually had as much influence as most US citizens would like to believe...

Jaesoreal said...

I am glad that we have had leaders who have been willing and able to exercise such patience in the face of a situation that looked like was getting them no where. I am sure McCain will stay the course with Raul as well, my friend.

Anonymous said...

All of you a idiots castro is very smart and doing a better job then any prsident in history. the only why you get your information about him is by the american news in which they dont like him you fucking ignorant mother fuckers.

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