King Raul let it rip at the CELAC Summit in Costa Rica yesterday.
Emboldened by his recent total victory over the United States — and apparently inspired by a rare combination of George Orwell’s “1984” and the final scene in the film “White Heat”– the Cuban monarch gave a long rambling speech full of Orwellian doublethink and newspeak that can be succinctly summarized with the seven last words shouted by the character Cody Jarrett: “Made it, Ma! Top o’ the world!”
Yes, it was a brilliant performance. The Orwellian twist was most clearly evident in his opening remarks:
Our America has entered a new stage and advanced toward independence; sovereignty over our natural resources; integration and construction of a new world order; and, social justice and democracy of the people, by the people and for the people. There is a stronger commitment to justice and the rights of the peoples today than in any other historical period….
Touch of genius, one might say. Touch of genius.
As Orwell himself put it, “the purpose of newspeak is not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of totalitarianism, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.”
The purpose of doublethink is the same as that of newspeak–to mold thought– but requires “the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct.” Doublethink is especially useful in the creation of thought-shaping slogans such as “War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery.”
Enough of this hoity-toity stuff, which never provides fireworks.
The fireworks in King Raul’s speech came from his expert imitation of Cody Jarrett, the sociopathic criminal played by Jimmy Cagney in the film “White Heat.”
Like Jarrett, King Raul boasted that he was on “top o’ the world”. Unlike Jarrett, however, he chose not to blow himself up on the spot.
But he did blow up something, quite spectacularly: his “negotiations” with the United States.
So, though he didn’t immolate himself at the podium in Costa Rica, his boasting and his cheeky list of demands did incinerate whatever chance the current occupant of the White House may have thought he had to make a “historic” change in U.S. foreign policy.
What a colossal explosion. Ka-Boooom!
Whether the current occupant of the White House or his representatives reply to the blast remains to be seen. While it is eminently clear that they would love to accede to all of King Raul’s demands, it’s not so clear that such capitulation will be allowed by the legislative branch of the U.S. government.
Here is King Raul’s incendiary list of demands, at the end of which he urges the current occupant of the White House to act as a dictator:
….The re-establishment of diplomatic relations is the beginning of a process toward the normalization of bilateral relations, but this will not be possible while the blockade remains in effect; the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base is not returned; the radio and television broadcasts breaching international rules and regulations do not cease; and,adequate compensation is not paid to our people for the human and economic damages sustained.
It would not be ethical, fair or acceptable to ask Cuba anything in exchange. If these issues are not resolved, a diplomatic rapprochement between Cuba and the United States would not make sense.
It can neither be expected of Cuba to negotiate the abovementioned absolutely sovereign issues related to its internal affairs.
It was possible to advance in the recent negotiations because we treated each other with respect, and as equals. Future progress demands that this remains so.
We have followed with interest the announcement made by the President of the United States of some executive decisions aimed at modifying certain aspects concerning the implementation of the blockade.
The measures made public so far are very limited. The prohibition stands with regards to credits and the use of the dollar in our international financial transactions; the individual travels of Americans with license for so-called people-to-peopleexchanges are prevented and conditioned to subversive purposes; and maritime travels are also forbidden. Another standing prohibition, among many others, restricts the acquisition in third markets of equipment or technology with more than 10 percent of American input as well as the U.S. importation of goods containing Cuban raw materials.
President Barack Obama could use with determination his extensive executive powers to substantially modify the implementation of the blockade. This is something he can do even without Congressional approval.