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realclearworld

Duh!

ObamaCastroChavez

Just in case anyone missed one of the most obvious consequences of Tuesday's colossal disaster, The Associated Press, spells it out:

Obama’s win a relief for the Castro brothers, Hugo Chavez, and their supporters in Latin America

CARACAS, Venezuela — From Caracas to Havana to La Paz, President Barack Obama’s re-election victory was welcomed with a sigh of relief by many on Latin America’s left, though others cautioned that the U.S. leader had not made the region a priority during his crisis-buffeted first term and was unlikely to do so in a second.

In Cuba, state-run news website CubaSi called the outcome a victory for the lesser of two evils, saying: “U.S. elections: the worst one did not win.”

“The news of Barack Obama’s triumph in yesterday’s general elections in the United States was received with some relief and without great optimism,” CubaSi wrote.

On the streets of Caracas, some said they worried that a win by Republican Mitt Romney would have brought a much harder line against leftist leaders such as their own President Hugo Chavez, and that they hoped another four-year term for Obama would bring relatively peaceful U.S.-Latin American ties.

“The other guy would have cut off relations with Venezuela,” said Cesar Echezuria, a street vendor selling newspapers emblazoned with front-page photos of Obama celebrating. “It would have been a disaster for Venezuela if Obama had lost.”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has not commented since Tuesday’s vote, but during the campaign he said that if he were an American, he’d cast his ballot for Obama. Despite years of strained relations between Chavez and Washington, the United States remains the top buyer of Venezuelan oil.

President Raul Castro’s government is also often critical of the American president, but under a Romney administration it might have faced unwelcome rollbacks of Obama policies that relaxed restrictions on Cuban-American travel and remittances and increased cultural exchanges.

Oscar Espinosa Chepe, a Cuban government economist turned dissident who favors engagement between Washington and Havana, expressed hope that Obama may do more to improve relations between the two countries — even though U.S. law stipulates that Congress has the final say on the 50-year economic embargo against Havana, Cuba’s chief complaint against America.

“We think Obama in this second term could take some more steps, for example letting more Americans travel to Cuba,” Espinosa Chepe said. “Although we know these policies cannot be changed overnight, we also think commercial relations could be liberalized.”

On the streets of Havana, some Cubans said they had been pulling for Obama but also expressed doubts that his re-election would have any real impact on relations.

Javier Menes, a bartender, called it the second potential “tsunami” Cuba has dodged in a span of weeks, the first being Chavez’s re-election in Venezuela last month, given that his government provides key economic support and fuel shipments to the island.

If Romney had won, it “would no doubt have produced a more bellicose rhetoric, and perhaps more aggressive actions towards Cuba, Venezuela and other left governments,” said Miguel Tinker Salas, a Latin American studies professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California.

Oye, mami, ahora si que vamos requetebien! Mil gracias a esos cubiches patriotas en Miami... como dicen los Yanquis: "you saved our ass!"

Oye, mami, ahora si que vamos requetebien! Mil gracias a esos cubiches patriotas en Miami que votaron por el negrito... como dicen los Yanquis: "you saved our ass!"

2 comments to Duh!

  • Rayarena

    Prof. Eire, you probably remember the title better than I do. Back in the 1920's {I believe}, a young Cuban scholar wrote an amazing book on the Cuban character. I think that it was Manach, but I could be wrong. In it he rightly said that one of the character flaws Cubans possessed was that we were frivolous and nonchalant. He attributed it to many things including our Spanish ancestry, and the fact that we born on an island, etc...

    I think that this election and the fact that in 50 years, we have not been able to get our act together proves this to be true. Miami has become a disgusting place where Cubans are traveling to Cuba all of the time, where people work to send money back to Cuba, or pay for their relatives left behind to come to the US to vacation. Some do worst, they send their welfare checks to Cuba. I used to know someone who used to live off of welfare and he threatened in an argument to kill me, because I was against sending money to Cuba and he had his daughters back there. Needless to say, his daughters who were heads of the local comite were living off of my tax dollars while denouncing dissidents and sending people to jail.

    Alas, look at the local elections. Not only was Obama elected, but Rivera lost to the detestable Joe Garcia, yes, the same Joe Garcia who helped destroy the Cuban American National Foundation.

  • asombra

    Ray, the man you mention, Jorge Mañach, was one of Cuba's most distinguished and respected intellectuals, but he still drank the Castro Kool-Aid. To his credit, he realized his error soon after Castro took over, but by then it was a bit late, as he'd lent his considerable prestige to the "revolution" when opposing it might have made some difference. He died in exile, I believe in 1961.