Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Castros’ Cuba

The Castros' Cuba
Contributing Columnist

Fidel Castro and his entourage, while in New York for the 1960 opening
session of the United Nations, stayed at the Hotel Theresa after
storming out of the midtown Hotel Shelburne because of that hotel
manager's "unacceptable cash" demands. Castro's entourage rented 80
rooms at the Theresa for $800 per day.

Some of you might remember those heady days in America. Fidel had come
down from the Sierra Maestra Mountains. He was the darling of New York
for a time. That was before the Cuban Missile Crisis which pitted
Kennedy against Khrushchev over Soviet missiles transported to Cuba by
sea. It seems little has changed, but the players, as we learn of Cuban
weapons found aboard ship in Panama on their way to North Korea. This
is 50+ years later.
"The news that Cuba was caught smuggling fuel and weaponry on a North
Korean freighter through the Panama Canal surprised many who had bought
the line that the Castro regime is reforming and eager to lose its
reputation for criminality." ("The Castro Brothers Get Caught in the
Act" by Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2013)
Ms. O'Grady recounts the story of the frog and the scorpion. You might
recall; the scorpion explains that he stung the frog because "I t's my
nature." "The same goes for the Castro Brothers. They are simply
incapable of containing their beastliness."
"To pretend otherwise is to deny that the Castros, who lobbied the
Soviets for nuclear war against the U.S. in 1962, are still dangerous.
Yet denial is the fashion in some newsrooms and in the cloakrooms on
Capitol Hill, which is why the weapons-smuggling story was so evanescent
(vanishing, disappearing)."
Ms. O'Grady continues, " The scorpion nature of the Castros is hardly
news to Cubans. They are not permitted to use the internet, to watch
independent news broadcasts, to earn dollars, to speak their minds, to
send their children to private school or to worship freely. Something
as basic as milk for children is hard to find. Some Cubans who rebel
languish for years in dungeons."
At Tampa's International Airport you can see crowds queuing up for the
regular flights to Cuba. O'Grady again, "Increased repression has
accompanied recent efforts to bring in more foreign exchange by
attracting American visitors through 'educational' and 'cultural'
excursions that are permitted by the U.S. under its long-standing
embargo. The movements of these visitors and their interaction with
Cubans must be tightly controlled by the dictatorship to ensure that
they don't see too much of the real Cuba. They are supposed to go away
singing the praises of the happy communist paradise, and many do."
O'Grady, a perceptive observer, opines, "A dictatorship is apparently an
exotic curiosity for well-to-do Americans. They are being herded
through selected parts of the country in large numbers to view
first-hand what deprivation can inspire."
It has been reported that Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter, N.H.) would
join with Miss Porter's School (Farmington, Connecticut) on a week's
exploration of the fascinating art and culture of Cuba. Some of you
might think this is just what our young preppies need. I doubt if they
will see much of the real Cuban society. Money talks, eh?
Back to O'Grady's account, "Now comes the news of the arms shipment
aboard the Chong Chon Gang headed for North Korea, a land of barbed-wire
fences and starvation, a regime so dangerous to world peace that even
the dithering United Nations Security Council, China included, agreed
unanimously in March to heightened sanctions against it."
"The Cuban foreign ministry immediately clamed that the weaponry hidden
under 10 tons of sugar and undeclared was obsolete and going abroad for
repair. But Jose' Otero writes in the Panamanian daily La Prensa that
Panamanian officials found two MIG fighters and full tanks of jet fuel,
along with a 'mid-air refueling plane, two vehicles for towing radars, a
rocket launching platform and more."
This story doesn't add up. Repairs might be made by bringing
technicians and parts to the weapons. These materials were made in the
Soviet Union; why take them to North Korea for repair? One might ask
what came to Cuba from North Korea on the ships outbound trip?
O'Grady finishes, "All of this smells bad. Cuba wants to shake off its
international pariah status so that it can get World Bank and
InterAmerican Development Bank handouts, thereby avoiding economic and
political reform. Indoctrinating the girls at Miss Porter's School is
part of that effort. The arms-trafficking is, or should be, a wake-up
Cuba is close, very close to us in Florida. Those Kennedy Brothers stare
down of the older Castro so long ago maybe saved our world. Graham
Allison, later dean of the Kennedy School at Harvard, wrote a seminal
work "Essence of Decision" which describes these events in detail. We
used it at the School, again so long ago.
Cuba is still there, its dictatorial regime is still there. Vigilance
is, as always, necessary.

Source: "The Castros' Cuba | Longboat Key News" -

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