“After Fidel” in National Review (Updated)

Deroy Murdock has written a great article titled “After Fidel” in today’s National Review Online. A must read.

Update: (Val) Fontova emails with a stark reminder and the following:

Wishful thinking and feel-good, free-market theories are fine. But the trademark of a genuine conservative is eschewing theories for facts. And the verdict is IN! To wit.

37 thoughts on ““After Fidel” in National Review (Updated)”

  1. Good article, except the part about the embargo. We shouldn’t summarily end the embargo just because Castro dies. We can’t be trading with a regime that will funnel all of the money “free trade” would generate into its coffers. Why would we want to prop up the raul regime by allowing “free” trade that benefits the government alone? Until Cubans are not taxed to the hilt, forced to pay up front charges to the government to allow them to continue their businesses, and extended private property rights, the embargo should remain in place.

  2. I agree with the article completely. It’s what we, the youngest generation of cuban arrivals, have been saying all along. I’m tired of people who have never lived in Cuba legislating and earning political clout on this topic (i.e., Diaz-Balart, Ros, Martinez, etc)

  3. Camaguey,

    I believe that enslaving millions and killing 200,000 people should be considered more than a “mistake” don’t you?

    And wasn’t the Diaz-Balart’s, Ros and Martinez born in Cuba?

  4. The article contradicts itself in saying that Cuba can import whatever it wants from all the other countries, yet claims the embargo should be lifted. Why would you want to subsidize the repression apparatus with revenue from trade that the communist government would heavily siphon?
    Secondly, what embargo? Cuba buys millions in food supplies from America that likely goes to feed the tourists that visit the hotels.
    The same old, tired arguments about lifting the embargo are rebuffed over and over again – yet it continues.
    Come on folks, if you do that (lift the embargo while the communist government exists) you might as well simplify things by sending the government cash directly.

  5. Camaguey,

    Can you gimme a break down on how lifting the embargo is going to changes things in Cuba? Murdock doesnt do it here, and please, dont build any strawmen.

  6. In regards to the embargo, I am starting to believe that the Cuban people would actually do something for themselves if there was a free economy in Cuba and the Castros became even more rich because of it.

    It seems evident after 47 years that Cubans do not care about their personal freedoms as long as there is someone around to wipe their ass for them.

  7. Todopoderoso,

    It seems evident after 47 years that Cubans do not care about their personal freedoms as long as there is someone around to wipe their ass for them.

    That’s a pretty strong statement to make. How did you come to that conclusion?

  8. First of all, the embargo punishes the Cuban people, not the government. Fidel doesn’t lose sleep over it. There’s resentment in Cuba, not only at their government, but at America. I left Cuba in 94, and my entire life up to that point, I believed the US was partly to blame for everything, from lack of medicine to lack of food. I know it seems far-fetched, but that’s the reality when you don’t have access to the outside world. A lot of people say that Cuba has the rest of the world to trade with, which is true–but it’s much more expensive to import from Spain that from Florida. There’s been tourism in Cuba, but it’s not enough–they retreat to resorts far from where the average citizens live. Imagine American spring breakers in Havana–Cubans would be dumbfounded. It’s pompous how many, not all, Miami Cubans think they have the solution to all of Cuba’s problems, yet we’ve been trying it their way for 47 years, and the results have been fruitless. Cuba doesn’t open up, and neither does the US–so everything remains stagnant. I am very thankful to this country, my daughter just finished her first year at the dental school here…we have a life here, and would never return to live in Cuba. I hope Cuba will be free someday, but in the mean time, we should extend a hand and cultivate a white rose, in Marti’s own words.

  9. Is it possible that the “Younger Generation” of Cuban immigrants still don’t know Economics 101? And of course, I don’t mean to imply that it’s only younger cuban immigrants who are in need of a good dose of Adam Smith- economic illiteracy is rampant in this country as well, unfortunately.

    It’s great that Camaguey has reputiated Communism/Socialism, but it’s also helpful to understand that Capitalism isn’t really “Capitalism” if you allow the state to centrally control all aspects of the economy even while that same country is simultaneously engaged in the practice of “Free Trade” with other nations.

  10. Camaguey,

    Thanks for your input. I think tomorrow maybe we’ll start that all out, once and for all granddaddy of all embargo debates.

    My belief is that there are merits to both sides, and we have to weigh the pros and cons and decide. So maybe tomorrow we’ll start hearing all arguments.

  11. Val;

    I must start by saying that I have a different opinion and view than Camaguey when it comes to Policy here in US, I’m a republican, how ever when it comes to the embargo I find my self in confused, even if I lived in Cuba till I was 22, and have being living here in US, for quite some time now, (13 years)

    Why we should not Lift the embargo: Because of the credits, and only because of that, cause castro will get his hands on easy money, and won’t pay back, and some people don’t know this but any Money castro gets from credits in the Name of Cuba, even if our country liberates, CUBA as a country will still be obligated to pay, so for the future of Cuba we should not do that. And keeping the embargo should be an easy thing to defend, if Cuba can buy from every other country with no issues, then what is the problem?, Food in general can be purchased at a fraction in Latinamerica, and Medicines, are way cheaper in Canada and Europe. (Plus, Naranja, and Aguacates don’t need to be purchased any where else, they are dam good in Cuba.) In case some of you didn’t know, la Calabaza se da Silvestre.

    Now on the other Hand:

    Why Lifting the Embargo may help? I used to live in Cuba and while I was there, (Of course didn’t understand the Credits issues etc etc..) I had the Idea that it would be beneficial, cause it would be very hard for Castro to stop the small but very important light of Information and Power that it may bring, remember Information is Power, the small opening of the 90’s created a Big problem for the government, cause people had some other perspective because of the influence of Tourism, from Spain, Canada Exc. Imagine now, good conservative tourism in Havana, talking to people about the truth about the world out there. The minute a Cuban has an extra dollar to spend, and does not depend from the government to eat, that same minute that Cuban is a little bit more free, cause he does not depend from the government, and that I’m sure does not help Castro.

    I think there is validity from those two point of views, however I can’t make up my own mind, So……..

  12. English is a must when you have had a teenager to raise….but I did learn some English in Cuba. To be honest, my first job was as a teacher’s aide in the Passaic school district, and since then I have gotten my degree in elementary education and teach first grade in my town–with an Cuban accent, of course.

  13. Val,
    If your gonna open up that can o’worms tomorrow how about adding -should Gunatanamo be returned to the people of Cuba once castro is gone? – I mean if we’re gonna be controversial lets go for it. I obviously believe that it should be returned unless the people of Cuba want it and for a “fair” price.

  14. Val-

    Interesting angle on “national indentured servitude”. I never really considered that label before, but I im afraid that the label is a little too benign when describing the Cuban economy as a whole. Cuba is a system of indentured servants in a sense- but in societies that pracitced Indentured Servitude, it was a company or corporation, not the “State” that someone was indebted to. And as we all know, it is beyond reprehensible that these modern day indentured servants can’t work for passage to another country, which is what the ultimate goal of many indentured servants was in past. To my mind, this is what I detest most about castro’s regime- not letting Cubans the right to leave the island without any conditions. If you have a bunch of diehard communist sympathizers who want to live in their own Workers’ Paradise- aka squalor and decrepitude- that’s their choice.
    But this is an island Gulag archipelago; full of slaves as its inhabitants, many of whom would leave pronto if they had the chance to do so safely. I’d rather not do Cuba’s sympathisers any favors by putting its economic system on a par with indentured servitude. At least those indentured servants had choices after their servitude had ended, they had property rights, and those servants usually lived within the context of societies that had much freer economies as compared to today’s Cuba.

    Im anxious to start two separate threads on the History of GITMO and the whole “Embargo” issue. I think open debates on these issues can do well to inform and educate the readers of this blog. Hopefully we’ll be able to form some sort of consensus?? Maybe? 🙂

  15. Val,

    My point was that if Cuba were richer people would have more of an incentive to overthrow los castristas for their own benefit.

    I made a generalization, out of frustration, about the Cuban people that obviously has many exceptions. Yet it is still true in a socialist society, like the one that has existed for most Cubans’ entire life, the people wonder more about how they will be taken care of than how they will fight for what is theirs.

    Being privy to the incentives of a free market would counteract the idea that they as individuals are insignificant. When a person can percieve an individual’s worth they begin to think about their own, no matter what measure is used.

    Since the Cuban society is indoctrined to believe they are nothing without the system there is little doubt more Cubans will ponder “When will my ass be wiped?” than will ask themselves “How do I get this shit off?”

  16. Camaguey-

    I’d rather be “detained” in GITMO than living anywhere on the island outside GITMO, my friend.

    This whole CNN report stinks to the core. Look at the loaded verbiage from start to finish which blames the U.S. and the administration first, yet again.

    And it sounds like Space Cadet Nelson is wrong again. I think its much more humane for these people to remain “trapped” in GITMO and await a transfer to another country than to simply re-patriate them back to Cuba.

  17. Taking such active steps toward a Cuban renaissance could serve the United States well throughout Latin America. Seeing the gringos nurture Cuba back to prosperity would provide a strong counter-example to the anti-American populism of Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez and his cadre of leftist pals in Argentina, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

    I think Mr. Murdock underestimates the level of anti-Americanism in Latin America.

    My principled libertarian side wants to say: American citizens and corporations should be free to trade with whomever, even bloody tyrants. But my utilitarian side says: no way in hell can we lift the Embargo NOW, it’s the only leverage we’ve got with Raul and the Nomenklatura.

    And the Cuban people will live in poverty with or without the Embargo, because the Regime’s present economic policies simply don’t work.

  18. I have always thought that people should call Castro on his blame the US embargo on everything excuse. If socialism in Cuba is so great, why in the world would they need to trade with one of the most capitalist countries in the world. Can’t socialism survive without capitalism? According to Castro, no.

  19. Wasn’t it Castro that expropriated (STOLE) US properties? Isn’t it hypocrisy that he claims he needs to trade with an evil imperialist country to survive? Why is it necessary to the United States to take all the steps and get nothing in return? To the point where WE as taxpayers need to subsidize (guarantee) Castro’s credit. Keep in mind he has defaulted on many of his debts. Talk about continuously barking up the proverbial wrong tree.

  20. There’s been a lot of talk, not just here but in the “media” including blogs about Americans going to the island and doing this and doing that and somehow this is going to rub off on the locals. Tourism is Cuba’s largest industry, visitors from all over the world, including the US travel to the island and have been for years. So where are all the positive changes? I don’t see them.

  21. In respect to the CNN link posted above, I think what Bill Nelson is trying to do is have the migrant that’s been held for two years to come to the U.S.

  22. Just to stir the pot!
    I am not nailed down on the embargo either way.
    I believe that:
    1. Its a matter of saving face to keep it. Call it a moral victory if you will.
    2. It serves no purpose! It accomplishes nothing. The US STILL trades with Cuba. We are the #1 supplier of food that goes directly to the tourist industry and Cuba’s #4 trading partner.
    3. The tourists who go to Cuba are not freedom loving people. Most are scum of the earth sex tourists or flaming liberals and communists who like Cuba as it is and do not dare rock the boat while there.
    4. The only ones who have suffered from the embargo/travel restrictions are the Cuban people. fidel still has his Adidas sweats and his BMW’s embargo or not.
    5. The embargo has accomplished nothing for us and only has been used by castro for propaganda.
    6. By dropping the embargo he may claim winning a battle, yet that may cause him to lose the war as he could not tolerate freedom loving Americans spreading talk of freedom in Cuba. Thus he would have to disrupt it and lose his so-called moral position.

    Just a spoon to stir the pot.

  23. This is my first comment here. I found the site a few days ago. Great work!

    My opinion is that the US should lift the embargo. Let’s face it: it has been 47 years and the embargo has done nothing to the tyrant or his regime. However, I don’t believe that Americans going to the island are going to have such a great influence in the changes we all want, as some anti-embargo people suggest.

    I believe that the embargo has only been useful to give Castro a justification for all his failure economic policies and his suppressions of all freedoms. They even blame the censorship on the Internet on the embargo. We, obviously, don’t believe this, but unfortunately a lot a people inside do. At least that was the situation 6 years ago when I left, but I am certain this is still the case today.
    Even some people, unfortunately, think they only have a choice between Fidel or the Americans coming to attack and take over the country, and they choose Fidel.

    The reality is that Fidel needs the embargo. Let’s not forget he shot down the brother to the rescue planes when Clinton was hesitant to sign the Helms-Burtons law. He wanted Clinton to sign, he didn’t want USA to easy the restrictions at all.

    I don’t think leaving the embargo or no is going to be a decisive factor in the Cuba’s future anyway, but I think that by lifting the embargo two things may happen:

    1… Fidel can’t continue blaming USA. He will sure look for someone else to blame, but more and more people inside and outside Cuba will be realizing whose fault really is. Also remember that a lot of people love Castro, simply because they hate USA.

    2… Some economic improvement happens, unlikely because we all know the embargo is not causing Cuba’s misery, but if this is the case, the people will benefit. After all Castro and his thug don’t suffer the consequences of his system, but is the people of Cuba who are starving and living in extreme conditions.

    And finally, remember that USA will keep the embargo until Cuba doesn’t become of economic interest to them, forget politics, money talks. Just look at who is this country’s first commercial partner: the largest journalist jail in the world: China. USA will not mind adding the country in the second place (Cuba) if it will report any economic benefit to them, even if they lose some votes in south Florida.

  24. THANK God someone has finally said it and settled it ~ Cuba’s not China. All these pointy heads base their anti-embargo theories on an alternative reality that doesn’t square with what happens in the island.

  25. Pototo, I’ll agree with you on every point, as always, except the comment about tourists. It’s an unfair generalization… it’s just a cheap vacation spot that attracts a bad element as is Puerto Plata. Cuba is beautiful, and I only discovered it’s beauty after I left–Valle de Yumuri, Varadero, Santiago, etc. Have you visited recently?

  26. Hey Gigi, could you explain why you said Cuba’s not China? How are their repressive systems different?

    Also, why this alternative reality doesn’t square with what happens in the island?

  27. Camaguey,
    Yes I have been to Cuba since I left in the early 60’s. But I have made a point never to visit anything directly related to the tourist industry.
    But I can say that I have seen many of the tourist busses pass through Trinidad and once they get past the hotel such as Las Cuevas they close their curtains to avoid seeing the riff raff. I have seen them on the malecon with the VERY young Cuban girls. I have seen them picking up the hitch-hikers (always the young girls, never the viejitas). I have read their blogs where they boast of getting a 12 year old for a pair of shoes. I know that my brush may have been a bit broad, but not too much.

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