6 thoughts on “Birthday Wishes”

  1. Dude, I already sent you my birthday wishes for Castro…although from what I understand it is anatomically impossible…or at least very, very painful.

    Didn’t think I should post my greetings for him here…you know how my Cuban is…

  2. Val, the stuff below is a comment I made on Dean’s World earlier this week, in response to something he something he picked up from your blogsite.

    Sure, Castro is no damned good. Sure, he’s lived far too long for any dictator. But the question I posed below is this: When it gets right down to fundamentals, just what is going to change in Cuba, Castro or no Castro?

    I happen to think that any nation — the Cuban nation included — is locked into its destiny by the combination of its culture and its location on this planet. Like Porfirio Diaz, the dictator of Mexico (ousted in 1911 by Madero) said once about his country:

    “Poor Mexico, so far from God, so near the United States”.

    Maybe you want to think about that a little. Anyway, read on. And good luck with whatever befalls the Cuban people after Castro croaks.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

    I agree with you, SMA, that the sooner Cuba is free, the better. But I would remind you that “Cuba Libre” has been little more than a slogan (and a cocktail) ever since the Spaniards took over that unfortunate island in the early 16th century.

    Spanish rule, ending in 1898, was replaced more or less by the open rule of the United States, almost always with the ready assistance of governments bought and paid for by our interests, including the cane sugar industry.

    When our government more or less lost interest in its Cuban interests, Charles (Lucky) Luciano, Meyer Lansky and other worthies of La Cosa Nostra stepped in.

    With the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship on the last day of 1958, Fidel Castro’s communist dictatorship succeeded to power, quickly turning the island into the Soviet Union’s Caribbean colony, and almost causing a thermonuclear war in October 1962.

    When the decayed soviet empire imploded some 15 years ago, Cuba simply degenerated into a private socialist hellhole reserve of Fidel Castro and his family.

    I have never complained about the way the US exercised its imperialism abroad. Mainly because that kind of indirect rule of other peoples’ countries has served my interests as an American consumer, and partially because I really don’t give a damn.

    But political and social hypocrisy has never been my style. And all I imagined the last time I stood beside the big yellow-colored concrete marker at the southernmost point in the United States at Key West, and gazed more or less due southward in the direction of Havana, 90 miles away, was a big flashy whorehouse employing a lot of good looking young girls from poor Cuban families.

    Of course, there probably is a lot more to Cuba than just that. But wake me up from the dead, some 30 years after the Castro dictatorship has dissolved into history, and show me that something actually changed.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  3. Nations are “locked into their destinies” by corrupt and socialist governments. Time and again, from Spain to Japan to Chile (almost there) to Hong Kong, it’s a fact that nations have been able to rise out of poverty and into the first world with a combination of rule of law and sound economic policies, i.e. capitalism. The notion that culture, location, natural resources or anything of that ilk is an overriding factor in development is false.

  4. Yoan,

    I am convinced that nations are locked into their destinies by their cultures, which in turn, make possible the corrupt and socialist governments they all too frequently live under.

    Japanese and Chinese cultures stress individual industriousness and the high degree of social cohesion and control necessary for national achievement and advancement. The latter characteristics are exactly what one sees from countries such as Japan and Singapore, both of which are largely bereft of material resources, and from China, which is resource-rich but with a huge population to be fed, clothed and housed.

    Hispanic cultures, including that of Cuba, lack industriousness and the innate social control and cohesion which make industry and human advancement possible. Race means nothing. Culture means everything. And I think this is one of the reasons the peoples of the Phillipine islands, with their hispanic heritage and culture, are poor, backward, subject to corrupt government and truly suitable for little except to be colonies for the Japanese and Chinese. Racially there is little difference among the lot of them. Culturally, the Chinese and Japanese dominate east Asia; the Filipinos, in contrast, are fit for nothing but to be their servants.

    It was culture that determined that the English-speaking north Americans would invent or exploit the steamboat, the railroad, the telegraph, the telephone, the automobile, the airplane, the space ship, nuclear and thermonuclear power and weaponry, modern computers and the software to drive them.

    And it was culture that determined that Cuba — either under Fulgencio Batista or Fidel Castro — would live under despotism and grow and harvest sugar cane for the distant masters who controlled — and still control — the destinies of the sugar refining industry. While the whoring sisters of the sugar cane-cutters would seek employment in Havana as prostitutes earning a precarious living from the gratuities of north American and European tourists.

    These are harsh things to say about anybody’s island and anybody’s culture. But if you stop to think about it, they are largely true.

    So the question about Castro is not really “when is he going to die”, so much as it is “what are we going to do to completely change the culture of the Cuban nation after Castro is gone”.

    Can you honestly say, and do you seriously imagine, that anything revolutionary is going to occur on that island within 50 years of the dictator’s death? Even the communists were unable to change human culture, either in Russia, China, Cuba, Viet Nam, or in the Croatia (part of former Jugoslavia) where my wife was born and raised. Do you think anybody will have better luck changing Cuba’s culture after the communists disappear? For that matter, would any of you Cubans really want to change your own culture?

    I seriously think the Cuban nation will fall back on the habits ingrained in the centuries of their combination of Spanish and African culture, depending on which segment of the Cuban population were are discussing. Just as in Russia, a corrupt Roman Catholic church organization will take over power from an equally corrupt communist party organization. As happened in Russia was the Soviet Union imploded, the communists with the power and the connections will take over the country’s economic enterprises and suddenly blossom as Cuba’s capitalists. Local mafias will develop, with occasional gang warfare ensuing. The overseas Cubans will make momentous plans for the reconstruction of newly-freed Cuba. But little will come of that, because few of them will give up their American jobs, American homes, American salaries, American social security benefits, and move to a poor, disorganized Cuba that only a minority of them have ever lived in. I know all about this from my family connections to the Croatian diaspora.

    But anyway, good luck to the lot of you.

    “Cuba Libre!”

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

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