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Friday, March 07, 2008


American politics and Cuba

Greg Grandin provides a fascinating review of the course of American politics in the last 50 years as it relates to Cuba. Just as a reminder of how far we haven't come, and the absurd heights (or depths) to which American presidential rhetoric rises (or sinks) some quotes from 1960:

John F. Kennedy: For the "first time in our history, an enemy stands at the throat of the United States." The Cubans, he declared, are our "enemies and will do everything in their power to bring about our downfall."

Richard M. Nixon: "The United States has the power, and Mr. Castro knows it, to throw him out of office any day that we would choose to."

And just one more, from 1980, from Ronald Reagan's Secretary of State Alexander Haig, speaking to Reagan: "You just give me the word and I’ll turn that fucking island into a parking lot."

But today in Washington, George Bush had this to say: "To improve relations, what needs to change is not the United States; what needs to change is Cuba." No George. For 49 years, it has been, to use JFK's language, the U.S. which has been "at the throat" of Cuba, and for 49 years, to improve relations, it is the U.S. which needs to change, not Cuba, whose efforts at causing the "downfall" of the United States have been limited to setting an example for the people of the world, including the people of the United States, to emulate (not to copy, but to emulate). Which, for the capitalist class, is an example to fear, because it shows that a better world is possible, even under the incredibly adverse condition of having the world's greatest military and economic power trying to strangle you militarily, economically, and politically.

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