Whenever I hear someone making the argument that the U.S. embargo on the Castro dictatorship gives the regime an excuse for the misery suffered by the Cuban people, I am offended by the inference. First of all, you will find no evidence of the “embargo” in any of the Castro regime’s all-inclusive resorts, where the liquor flows endlessly only to be interrupted by steak and lobster meals. And secondly, and most offensive, it presumes that the Cuban people are too stupid to realize they are oppressed by a brutal dictatorship, and are easily fooled into believing their misery and repression is a product of the policy adopted by a foreign nation that has no practical power to either enslave or free them.
While it is true the Castro dictatorship regularly blames the “embargo” for the despair suffered by the Cuban people, the regime has no choice since it will never blame itself. That there are people here in the U.S. willing to assist the regime in perpetrating this lie shows not only severe ignorance, but also an underlying bigotry that does not allow them to believe that Cubans are smart enough to realize the true source of their torment.
The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Johns Hopkins University Professor Fouad Ajami writes (in the context of Libya):
Some NATO planners are worried that we might yet make a martyr of the tyrant if the military campaign against him were to succeed. This is but a variant of the soft bigotry of low expectations. If and when the end comes for Gadhafi, he shall fall alone. In Beirut and Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, and in the streets of Iran and Shiite Iraq—where Musa al-Sadr still enjoys a saintly aura—there shall be joy. The undoing of Gadhafi would be seen as the grant of belated justice.
This argument is reminiscent of opponents of U.S. sanctions (and pro-democracy programs) towards Cuba, who believe that they give the Castro regime an “excuse” for its repression and control — as if the Cuban people were stupid or ignorant to the reality of their oppressors.
That, too, is a variant of the soft bigotry of low expectations