Ain’t nothing going on but the rent.

Jeff of Backcountry Conservative sent me a link to a piece about the South Carolina trade agreement with the Castro regime last week. Jeff also states that he expected me to have some comment on this.I do, and here it is:

@#%^%$@@%^#$@#$!!!!!!

I recognize the plight of the farmer as much as the next guy but, does making a deal with the devil justify it?

And how can anyone respect an Agriculture Commisioner that states:

“I’m 65 years old and have done a lot of things — met President Reagan and both Bushes. This (meeting with Castro) is probably the highlight of my life here.”

The highlight of his life???? WTF?

This little tidbit from Castro also burns me up:

“What I always tell American farmers is ‘why should you worry. The thing that is in the shortest supply in the world is food.’ “

How can anyone in their right mind actually take this statement at face value? The people are Cuba are just this short of fucking starving.

I could go on and on about this, but let’s hear the truth from the horses mouth:

ALTO SONGO, Santiago de Cuba December, 2003 – The president of the National Alliance of Independent Cuban Farmers, Antonio Alonso, wrote this letter to U. S. farmers, explaining the situation faced by Cuban farmers, whom the government prevents from freely planting and selling their produce.

Jutinic?, December 10, 2003

To American Farmers:

Lately we have seen that many of you have an interest in selling your produce in the Cuban market, and to that end you and your representatives have lobbied the U. S. government to remove the restrictions to commerce with Cuba.

In furtherance of the same goal, the Cuban government decries what it calls the U. S. government’s violation of the rights of its citizens to sell their products wherever they see fit, including Cuba.

In fact, we of the National Alliance of Independent Farmers uphold the right of all farmers to sell our produce to whomever we see fit; the problem we have is that the same Cuban government that defends the rights of foreign producers to sell openly, denies that right to Cuban farmers.

For example, Cuban coffee planters are visited regulary by government officials who determine what the volume of the crop will be and set the amounts of coffee to be delivered to the government. Any shortages incur fines of up to ten times the value of the undelivered crop.

After the harvest, police and government officials visit producers again and confiscate any part of the crop the farmer may have retained, alleging that it is destined for the black market.

Similarly, sugar cane producers are not allowed to switch to another crop, and seldom have sugar for their own consumption in their homes.

Farmers raising a few head of cattle may not butcher an animal, or sell it, without previous government authorization. If they should be so unlucky as to suffer the theft of a steer, government officials may levy a steep fine of even force them to sell their herd, if they determine the theft occurred because the farmer did not exercise due care.

Many of these ranchers have seen fit to live in facilities that allow them to sleep among at least some of their animals. This state of affairs makes raising cattle unattractive and explains how the Cuban herd has diminished to less than half what it was in 1959.

It seems hard to understand how, with fertile soil, a climate that allows in most cases two crops per year, and plenty of qualified technical workers, we have lost the capacity to produce enough to feed ourselves.

In 1997, when a group of us petitioned the government for freedom to plant what we wished and to sell it as we wished, we were arrested, prosecuted, and treated as common criminals.

We would not hesitate to support your right to sell your produce in Cuba, but we would ask that you support our right to likewise plant and sell our produce in whatever way we choose.

We ask that, in your rightful pursuit of economic advantage, you not ignore the repeated violations of our human rights and of our rights to economic development inflicted by the Cuban government.

I hereby invite you visit us whenever you come to Cuba, so that you may gain an appreciation of our situation and so that we can explore commercial opportunities among ourselves, without interference by any government.

Fraternally yours,
Pedro Antonio Alonso, President
National Alliance of Independent Cuban Farmers

(emphasis mine; via Cubanet)

To those folks in South Carolina that dealt with the devil: You live in fucking la-la land. Assholes.

14 thoughts on “Ain’t nothing going on but the rent.”

  1. Cuba and South Carolina

    A trade delegation from South Carolina signed a trade agreement with the Cuban goverment last week that will send $10 billion of agricultural exports to Cuba. The delegation included Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Sharpe, an…

  2. Monday Musings

    A quick roundup of interesting posts from the blogs I read regularly today. This is also the beginning of a pledge week of sorts. If you enjoy reading Backcountry Conservative, click on the above button, any other Paypal button…

  3. Two questions:

    1) Have you personally visited Cuba? If so, have you visited recently?

    2) How does your position differ from the United States doing business currently with other regimes like the People’s Republic of China and Vietnam or other regimes historically in the past like Somoza, Trujillo, Batista?

  4. Tony,

    I was born in Cuba and I have not “visited” lately. But, I do have family there and also know quite a few people that visit family on the island regularly.

    My position on the US trading with other countries with regimes like Castro’s is the same. I do not favor trading with ANY oppressive regime. Unfortunately, I can only fight one battle at a time and thus, Cuba is my windmill.

  5. If I understand your remarks completely and you “did” have the power to spin other windmills, would you impose the same embargo, restrictions, forbid US citizens from travel, withdraw embassies from these other countries and throw foreign delgations out of the US. (i.e., numerous African countries, Korea, Vietnam, China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc. ad nauseum)

    BTW – What was the relationship with your family in Cuba and the Batista regime that they were doing so much better than today?

  6. If I understand your remarks completely and you “did” have the power to spin other windmills, would you impose the same embargo, restrictions, forbid US citizens from travel, withdraw embassies from these other countries and throw foreign delgations out of the US. (i.e., numerous African countries, Korea, Vietnam, China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc. ad nauseum

    Absofuckinglutely. Perhaps you can travel to countries where people are murdered, imprisoned, etc. ad nauseum with a clear conscience, but I cant. I don’t live my life like an omnipotent tourist.

    BTW – What was the relationship with your family in Cuba and the Batista regime that they were doing so much better than today?

    I hope you are not implying that my family had anything to do with Batista regime. Because if you are, not only have you come to my blog to insult me, but my family as well. Please dont take stabs in the dark when you a) know absolutely NOTHING of what you are talking about and b) know absolutely nothing of whom you are talking to.

    Bringing up Batista is not only a common interjection when the pro-Castro or anti-embargo argument is failing, but it’s old hat too. Batista’s been gone for over 40 years. Cuba is worse now than ever before, so get over it.

  7. I was not the one to bring anyone’s family or friends into the thread. I simply inquired as to your reliance on such 3rd party as a basis for your postion. My questions to your reference seems taboo or sensitive to you, so unless you refer to them, I will not.

    The opening of this thread was not about where you or I may, would or could travel…but rather what constitutionally elected representatives of this state (and BTW 30-40 other states) have done.

    I am trying to sort out exactly why the 180 degree treatment of a single entity (Cuba), who never bombed Pearl Harbor (ie, Japan), never gassed millions (ie, Germany).

    Notwithstanding your travel habits, look around yourself. I would suggest if you were truly committed to your stated ideals “countries where people are murdered, imprisoned, etc” you would never buy the products produced there and shipped here at deep discounts to eliminate the US made products.

  8. Val – may I make one suggestion respectfully, if you have not visited the island of your birth recently and have not seen your family there in a long time, please go and visit both. I am certain both will be very pleased to reconnect with their native son. I am also certain your family would rather see you sooner than later. You are fortunate being Cuban American you can travel to Cuba under a General License with no permission required, an advantage over all other Americans. You ought to experience firsthand everything that is going on right now, the charter flights, the encounter with US Customs and Immigrations and OFAC, and then when you get to Cuba, ask your brothers and sisters there if they think there should be a continued wall of separation between them and the United States? The ongoing suffering and separation of families and loss of economic opportunities do not justify the current policy.

    On the second point, please look up the definition of congruency. Our foreign policy is incongruent and thus exists not to serve in the common interest of all, but the political interests of the few.

  9. Tony,

    Out of respect for the hardships my father and the rest of my family in exile have gone through, I will not visit Cuba while Castro is still in power. I cannot, in good conscience, spend one cent in Castro’s Cuba. I do not need to visit Cuba to be close with my relatives still living on the island. I have enough first hand experience from other family members to know that it would not behoove me to do so. As for asking my family in Cuba about the embargo…What do you think they would say? Do you not know that they have been indoctrinated about the evils of the US and its embargo of Cuba for 40 years?

    They may very well know, in the back of their minds, that Cuba trades with every other country in the world and they are still poor and sometimes starving. So, how will lifting the embargo benefit them then? Why is it that only the US’s lifting of the embargo is what can save Cuba? It is quite myopic to think that. Im all for lifting the US embargo the very second Castro lifts his over his people. Every anti-embargo person Ive spoken with thinks that there will be some magical change, an epiphany of sorts, once Cuba is free to trade with the US. But, if castro trades with the rest of the world, and everyone from all over can travel to Cuba, why is the country still the same? Why doesnt it progress? Why do tourists have access to everything and anything and Cubans still stand in line for a handful of beans? Is that the embargo’s fault?

    And your second point about congruency, well, you may be right, but this isnt a perfect world. Politics will always be politics.

  10. AJ Lanigan,
    I was not the one to bring anyone’s family or friends into the thread. I simply inquired as to your reliance on such 3rd party as a basis for your postion. My questions to your reference seems taboo or sensitive to you, so unless you refer to them, I will not.

    Sir, are you Cuban? Do you have any Cuban relatives? Do you have friends in Cuba? If not, the only third party here is you.

    The opening of this thread was not about where you or I may, would or could travel…but rather what constitutionally elected representatives of this state (and BTW 30-40 other states) have done.

    Its actually 45 States and it still doesnt make it right. Making a profit while the people you are selling to are basically starving is not only wrong, but immoral. Castro buys cheap from the US and then resells to the Canadians, Spanish, Japanese, etc.. conglomerates that “own” business in Cuba at much much higher prices. Meanwhile, his own people, his own farmers are forced to eat orts.

    I am trying to sort out exactly why the 180 degree treatment of a single entity (Cuba), who never bombed Pearl Harbor (ie, Japan), never gassed millions (ie, Germany).

    I guess having Soviet nuclear missiles pointed at you from 90 miles away is acceptable.

    Notwithstanding your travel habits, look around yourself. I would suggest if you were truly committed to your stated ideals “countries where people are murdered, imprisoned, etc” you would never buy the products produced there and shipped here at deep discounts to eliminate the US made products.

    I do my best to buy American, do you?

  11. Val – if I may suggest, it is not Castro’s Cuba. He may still be its leader. However, it is the Cuba where 11 million people live who want an end to exactly what you described, an evil embargo, an incongruent foreign policy that has no logical or rational basis. The cold war is over.

    And a personal note, before you grow any older and let any more time pass, please go visit your family and your homeland and the heck with everything else. I sense that both they and you in your heart, ache for one another, for the loss of community and family that goes on and on. You have given away your personal power to both the United States and to Fidel Castro. Take it back. I promise you that you, your family, the two countries, Cuba and the United States will be all the more better because you did. Because it begins with the difference one individual makes for himself and his family and his community.

  12. Tony,

    I appreciate your kind comments. I do hold Cuba in my heart. But, i don’t need to take it back, it’s never been taken from me. It’s those still living in Cuba that need her true self returned. Unfortunately, it is Castro’s Cuba.

    As for the embargo, you may be right, or you may be wrong. As may I. But, this is the policy that’s in place, and I truly believe, in my bones, that lifting the embargo now will only benefit Fidel Castro. The dollar it would bring would never make it to the hands of the average Cuban.

    Are you familar with Oscar Biscet? Ive written a few pieces on him that you should read if you arent.

    In any case, I’m glad we have been able to disagree agreeably. It is a pleasure having una persona educada como usted aqui en Babalu. Es un placer.

    Si me permites, de donde eres?

  13. More on Cuba and South Carolina

    The state trade delegation which signed a deal with Cuba and met with Castro has stirred up a political controversy. In addition to Val Prieto’s response, Greg Alan spoke out against the deal on WSCC AM in Charleston. Confessions of…

  14. Val – Hold her in your heart and go SEE HER NOW. She is aching to see you. She misses you. Castro may be the President of Cuba, but it is a Cuba of 11 million people who are your ancestors and family. I promise you, you will not regret it nor would you be wrong or against your beliefs for going back now and visiting. To me it is more important and powerful that you reconnect with your family and homeland than any political battle or difference. The experience of being with your family and touching the land of your birth is worth far more than any dollars you believe will benefit Fidel Castro. When you go to your grave, it will not be the United States or Cuba that will define the experience of your life, but your connections and experiences with your family and community.

    In order to assess objectively a policy like the embargo, one has to be willing to face the reality and the results. It is a failure and the results are not consistent with the objective. Most concerning is the violence and civil turbulence that the policy creates. In addition, in the name of the embargo, constitutional violations of every American’s right to travel are ongoing and even the recent usurping the power of the legislative branch of government by the executive branch for political pandering purposes [the Bush administration intervention in the Republican Congressional leadership to pull out of passed legislation- the lifting of the travel restrictions out of the overwhelmingly passed House and Senate bills in the Conference Report, a patently offensive intrusion of the Executive Branch into the Legislative Branch’s power and integrity, and solely for the purpose to collect political support. President Bush should have vetoed the bill if he felt so strongly about the issue]

    There is also the senseless loss of economic opportunities and most importantly, human suffering created by the separation of so many families and two nations who should be the closest of friends and partners in the community of nations and will be again. It is an error to make this issue about Fidel Castro. There are 11 million other Cubans who have, I believe fallen behind the stridency of those who have simplified the problem of United States and Cuba relations to Fidel Castro. It is not so simple.

    I will check out your material on Biscet.

    I believe we can disagree amicably as we have as I believe that I cannot impose my perspectives upon you, that it is most important for you to judge, assess, and digest information and distinct points of view. This will make your own experience and knowledge more robust, and you draw your own conclusions and hopefully share them with other. I believe you are wise and open enough to consider other perspectives. Every man is on his own journey in the experience of life. Please know I do not judge you for your views.

    Where am I from? Born and raised in New York City, the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic with a yet to be fully discovered Cuban root. My paternal grandfather’s half brother left the DR for Cuba in the late 40’s or 1950 I am told to Pinar del Rio where he settled and established roots and family there. So I have distant Cuban cousins out there.

    Gracias y paz

Comments are closed.