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realclearworld

Perhaps coming soon to Cuba: The Ugly Americans

Cuba is already inundated with Ugly Spaniards and Ugly Canadians. And if the Obama administration continues with its policy of appeasement vis a vis the Cuban dictatorship, soon the island will be invaded by the Ugly Americans.

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

The Ugly Spaniards and Canadians

Here's a tragic example -- from this week -- of how Spain and Canada's business interests with the Castro dictatorship dominate those nation's policies towards Cuba.

Of course, this is what many advocates of unconditionally lifting sanctions and normalizing relations with the Castro dictatorship would like for the U.S. to do as well.

Once freedom becomes secondary to profit, there's no turning back. 

Fundamental human rights and democracy become simple "inconveniences."

From Spain's El Confidencial Digital:

According to information obtained by El Confidencial Digital, [Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs] headed by Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo has, after months of talks between Madrid and Havana, made it a priority of maintaining the better harmony they have achieved with Cuba. For that reason, the order has been given to assume a more serene posture towards the island.

It has been confirmed that spokespersons for the Executive, directors of the ruling [Partido Popular], and the Spanish delegation in Brussels and Strasbourg have been told to halt their demands for an end to the Cuban dictatorship, as maintained in the past, since that would once again create tension with the Castro regime.

For that reason, petitions for democracy in Cuba, that were to be presented as resolutions in the European Parliament, have been canceled, along with events with representatives of the Cuban dissidence.

And an interview with Yves Engler, author of the new book "The Ugly Canadian" about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's foreign policy:

HOST: It's kind of ironic, actually, 'cause I've never heard reports—I may be wrong, but I've never heard of reports of Canada funding opposition groups in Cuba, where there's such significant commercial interest of Canada, they don't want to piss off the Cuban government. But in Venezuela, which they accuse Venezuela of being a sort of dictatorship the way Cuba is, they're unabashedly supporting the opposition.

ENGLER: There's a longstanding—you know, it's sort of the policy of the Canadian government towards Cuba. There is—there have been some reports, much less so than in the case of Venezuela, of some Canadian funding to, you know, pro-democracy movements in Cuba, but, no, much less than the case of Venezuela.

HOST: Now, has Harper changed anything about Canada's policy towards Cuba? You would think if there was—if he was going to be, quote, ideologically consistent in some way, that they would be all over supporting the Cuban opposition. As I said—you say there's been some; I take your point, but not much. In fact, Harper seems to not have changed the traditional, relatively friendly attitude towards Cuba.

ENGLER: Yes. That's one that's—you know, from an ideological perspective, you would definitely assume a more critical position of the Cuban government, and they haven't. They've actually been quite—he seems very careful to basically continue status quo policy, which is: say very little about what's going on in Cuba, while at the same time, obviously, Canadian companies are pretty significant players in Cuba.

And the Conservative government really hasn't gone out of its way to, you know, criticize human rights violations or a lack of democracy or anything like that in Cuba, which is surprising. I think it's partly reflective of the business interests in Cuba. It's also partly reflective of the fact that, you know, 1 million—I think it's almost 1 million Canadians that travel to Cuba every year.

10 comments to Perhaps coming soon to Cuba: The Ugly Americans

  • asombra

    So you expect the US to be above Canada and Spain? You expect the US to be exceptional? Gee, how elitist. Get over yourself and join the postmodern world.

  • As an Ugly Canadian who probably knows more about what Cuba is really like than you do. I'm offended by this article. Previous Canadian governments have had personal friendships with Castros, this one offers them no breaks and the commercial interests consists of a company Sherritt Resources that has been there for 25 years.
    There is lot of attention paid to pissant socialist anarchists like this Yves Engler guy.
    If you're looking for enemies to your cause - don't look up here - and google your sources before you present them as experts.

  • marc in calgary

    "we get letters..."

  • marc in calgary

    Engler seems to be playing both sides of the fence, utterly on the side of idiocy regarding "the coup" in Honduras, and his opinion that Canada's free trade agreements with Colombia and Peru were signed only for supporting right wing governments and mining interests. Perhaps he could address how to sell anything to people that don't have money to buy your products, or freedom. Yet he kindly points out how Canada does support democracy in Venezuela, though he cites primarily left leaning publications to support this.

    Stephen Harper's gov't has fallen far short of supporting freedom in Cuba. Good though that they support it elsewhere. *big sigh*

  • So Brian, as one of our newly minted "Cuba experts" tell us what Cuba is really like. You have the floor...

  • FreedomForCuba

    Brian,

    You claim to be "an Ugly Canadian" that knows more than us Cuban-Americans that lived the Castro tyranny experience there at some time in our lives. Plus the majority of us here in the US still have family there living under the tyrannical boots of the Castro brothers and they regularly inform us about their daily struggles.

    I think you must be also a "Stupid Ugly Canadian too", or someone with an ulterior motive or a hidden personal agenda by having the freaking nerve to show up here at Babalu making such a bonehead statement.

    • Brian French,

      Since you know more about what Cuba is really like than I do, why don't you give us some learned information regarding the repression suffered by Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet? Tell us about the Ladies in White and Sonia Garro, who yesterday marked the tenth month of her imprisonment in Cuba for demanding human rights. Tell us more about Antúnez, Jose Daniel Ferrer, Angel Moya, and the dozens of other opposition members who suffer daily harassment, beatings, and threats of imprisonment and death in Cuba. While you are at it, enlighten us about the case of independent journalist Calixto Martinez, who is rotting in a Castro political prison, and while we're on the topic of imprisoned dissidents, tell us what you know about Josiel Guía Piloto, Yeander Farres Delgado, Nayllibis Corrales Jiménez, and Madeleine Lazara Carabello, four other Cuban democracy activists who have been imprisoned by the Cuban regime.

      Can you tell us something about these Cubans or, as I suspect, is your knowledge about Cuba limited to topics relating more to the beaches of Varadero, the all inclusive resorts in Cayo Coco, the Buena Vista Social Club, or the Hemmingway Bar in Havana? You see, just because you have vacationed at the slave plantation and visited the gift shop does not make you an expert on slavery. Just because that cute mulata slave girl who served you that drink at that beach side Cuban bar flashed you a smile when you tipped her a CUC does not give you any profound insight into her life as an indentured servant of the Castro dictatorship with no hope of ever working her way to freedom.

      Yes, there are millions of other Canadians who know much better than I do what it is like to vacation in Cuba. Unlike many Canadians, I will never know what it is like to enjoy two carefree weeks of a luxurious hotel room and all-you-can-eat buffets in Cuba at the expense of the subjugated Cuban people who are forced to live in squalor and abject poverty. I will never have the ability many of our friends to north have to exhibit no qualms with the Cuban people living under the yoke of tyranny while they would never accept such an existence themselves.

      You are offended by this post? Well, let me tell you, Brian, I am offended by the callousness, bigotry, cruel insensitivity, and apathy of Canadians who vacation in Cuba and look the other way at the tyranny and suffering that takes place there.

      Believe me, I am not looking for enemies, but they keep showing up.

      And as far as reliable sources regarding Cuba go, I will put the source for this post up against any source you have. Go ahead, give it your best shot.

  • asombra

    Right. Another non-Cuban Cuba expert, and an offended one, at that. Sheesh. It's like a plague of locusts. Of course, WE, clueless idiots that we are, have no right to be offended that Canadians make up by far the biggest group of foreign tourists pumping money into the hands of Castro, Inc. Really, we ought to be ashamed. I mean, the nerve, not to mention the ingratitude.

    Seriously, one grows so very, VERY tired of this same shit--over, and over, and over. It’s amazing we still bother.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Congrats Alberto!

    You just nailed with your words and disarmed with the evidence bullshit characters like Brian who have the audacity to show up here at Babalu to spew their stupidity.

    And from me Brian,

    When your "Ugly/Stupid Canadians" change your attitude and grow a set of balls filled with values, stand up to the Castro tyranny and, decide to stop feeding that tyranny's coffers with your tourist Canadian dollars; I may show some respect for the likes of your fellow citizens.

    In the meantime I feel your countrymen and women that travel to the land I was born, Cuba are nothing but accomplices and enablers to the Castro brothers and their tyranny.

    So you (and the likes like you) can go fly a kite someplace else with your so called "knowledge" about Cuba...