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Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Idiotic Republicans, maddening Democrats

Yeah, what else is new? Last night C-SPAN broadcast a 3-hour special on the embargo (blockade) of Cuba, featuring film and interviews of their own from Cuba, discussion with an American reporter (Gary Marx) who spent five years in Cuba, a half-hour call-in with Cuban National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon, and finally a one-hour call-in discussion with two Congressmen - right-wing Florida Cuban Republican Lincoln Diaz-Balart, and liberal Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern. It's not online at the moment, but they seemed to imply it would be.

The first part of the show was interesting, if somewhat irritating not so much for what it said, but for what it didn't say. The inability of Americans to visit Cuba was discussed by Marx and the moderator, but unless you were already knowledgeable about the subject, you could have easily not realized that the prohibition was entirely the doing of the American government, not of the Cuban government. Conversely, the need for Cubans to obtain travel visas to leave Cuba was discussed, but the almost complete prohibition on Cubans of any stripe - scientists, musicians, and so on, not to mention the wives of political prisoners held in the United States - from obtaining visas from the United States to visit the U.S. was never mentioned.

But the show really got annoying when the Congressmen came on. Diaz-Balart must have explained at least five times in almost identical language his "reason" for supporting the blockade - because it deprives Cuba of billions of dollars, and when Cuba had those billions of dollars (from the Soviet Union), look what they did - they killed Americans in Grenada and invaded Africa! Yes, he really said those things. And McGovern, the liberal? Not one word of rebuttal! All he had to say was, the blockade (they called it an "embargo" of course) is a "failed policy" ("failed" because it hasn't overthrown the government), and if we really want to "change things" in Cuba, the best way to do that is to drop the blockade and let American college students on spring break "invade" Cuba.

For the record, since neither McGovern nor the show's moderator were any help: the United States invaded Grenada (and not to "liberate Grenada" as Diaz-Balart claims but, at least nominally, to "protect" American medical students), where Cubans (a few soldiers, but mostly construction workers) were helping to build an international airport to bolster Grenada's tourism industry, an airport which was actually "designed by the Canadians, underwritten by the British government, and partly built by a London firm." And yes, some Americans were killed in that invasion (19 to be precise).

As far as Africa, it's even more maddening that McGovern had nothing to say on that subject. Even the corporate media acknowledges that Cuba's troops in Africa "kept Angola free, won independence for Namibia and hastened the end of apartheid rule in South Africa," and of course the venerated Nelson Mandela has said as much.

Does McGovern not know these things? Of course he does. But liberals like McGovern are so frightened about being "tarred" by association with Cuba that the thought of saying one word in Cuba's defense is simply too much for them to deal with, even on a subject like the end of apartheid. Instead, he retreats to the "safer" area of "Americans' Constitutional right to travel" and the "best way to change things in Cuba."


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