“I know these issues are sensitive, especially coming from an American President. Before 1959, some Americans saw Cuba as something to exploit, ignored poverty, enabled corruption.(U.S. President Barack Obama, March 22, Havana Cuba.)
“I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime.(U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Oct 24, 1963.)
It’s understandable that two U.S. Presidents should hail the resourcefulness and guile of American businessmen. But liberal Democrats aren’t renown for that sort of thing. And read right, the above statements imply such praise—if somewhat backhandedly. The (seemingly) apologetic statements also imply condescension for those poor, stupid, corrupt Cuban natives who were such easy marks for sharp Yankee robber barons.
You’d never guess this from the media, Hollywood or your professors (or speechwriters for Democratic presidents) but in 1953 more Cubans vacationed in the U.S. (and voluntarily returned to Cuba) than did Americans in Cuba. Yes, pre-Castro Cubans found the U.S. “a nice place to visit but they certainly wouldn’t want to live there.” All this despite the friendliness and quaint habits of the natives–and despite the ability to emigrate from Cuba virtually at will and obtain U.S. visas virtually for the asking.
During the 1950’s and based in Florida Sherriff Joe Arpaio would have been lonelier and more bored than the Maytag repairman.
Obama and Kennedy were describing a nation (pre-Castro Cuba) with a higher per capita income than half of Europe, the lowest inflation rate in the Western Hemisphere, the 13th lowest infant-mortality on earth and a huge influx of immigrants. Furthermore, in 1959 U.S. investments in Cuba accounted for only 14 per cent the island’s GNP, and. U.S. owned companies employed only 7 per cent of Cuba’s workforce.
(Scenes from Cuba in the 1950s)
In 1958 the Cuban Embassy in Rome had a backlog of 12,000 applications for immigrant visas from Italians clamoring to immigrate to Cuba. “A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in–and how many want out,” famously quipped Tony Blair. Well, Millions of people “voted with their feet” in favor of pre-Castro Cuba.
Indeed, pre-Castro Cuba took in more immigrants per-capita (primarily from Europe) than the U.S., including the Ellis Island years. This flood of (fellow First World) “wetbacks” was so alarming that in 1933, as a stopgap against all these foreign rascals horning in on the “Cuban dream”, the Cuban government passed laws more draconian than anything in Arizona or Georgia today– laws to make the hearts of Donald Trump supporters sing with joy! A majority of employees at all Cuban businesses, this law mandated, had to be “natural-born” Cubans!
Oh, I know, I know…none of this was featured in Godfather II. And as we hear from some of contemporary America’s top educators:
“I mean everybody who saw Godfather II knows what it was like when Castro took over!” (Chris Matthews, Hardball, Oct. 20, 2011)
“All I know about pre-Castro Cuba I learned from the Godfather II!” (Jon Stewart, July 23, 2008.)
Our friends at Frontpage Magazine help disseminate a few items not well-understood outside of the tiny Cuban-American informational ghetto.
Every single item above thoroughly-documented here.