Cuba, Obama, and the law of unintended consequences

Carlos Alberto Montaner in El Nuevo Herald (translation by Capitol Hill Cubans):

Cuba, Obama and the Law of Unintended Consequences

carlos alberto montanerThere are no exceptions. The president of the United States is also subject to the “Law of unintended consequences.” This became patent, for example, in Libya. NATO carried out 7,000 bombing raids and caused the destruction of the army of Qaddafi, who ended up executed by his enemies. In total chaos, the country was finally taken over by some fanatical gangs that murdered the U.S. ambassador.
Objectively speaking, that criminal madman, Qaddafi, was less bad than those who came later. Something similar happened with Saddam Hussein Mubarak, the Shah of Persia, and Batista, episodes in which, directly or indirectly the United States has great responsibility for its behavior, by abstaining to act or for acting belatedly.

It just happened to Barack Obama in Cuba. The president arrived in Havana jovial, hopeful and loaded with good intentions, accompanied by successful (former) Cuban exiles, also desirous to help their native land, convinced one and all of the simplistic theory of the “bombardment of hams.”

Grosso modo, those who support that strategy suspect that — out of the capitalist penetration, the empowering of the civilian society and the creation of a layer of private owners and self-employed entrepreneurs — the gradual end of the communist model will eventually emerge.

They therefore renounce any economic reprisals or military threats, confident that the island’s gradual economic transformation will produce the results that weren’t obtained after more than half a century of economic embargo and hostility.

Wishful thinking. They assume that wishes are reality. Raúl and Fidel are two serious communists, resolutely Stalinist, ready to maintain by blood and fire the State’s economic preponderance, the exclusivity of the Communist Party in charge of the nation, and the firm belief that Washington is the enemy against whom Cubans must fight to the death.

That is why they support Nicolás Maduro with cloak and dagger, why they send weapons to North Korea, embrace Iran and the Middle East terrorists, and give their total solidarity to the narco-guerrillas of the  FARC. To the Cuban government, it is obvious who are its friends and who are its enemies. It doesn’t hesitate or err or is halted by petty bourgeois prejudices about violating human rights.

As Mauricio Claver-Carone pointed out in CapitolHillCubans, the first thing they did was to add the alleged crime of “accumulation of riches” to the prohibitions imposed on Cuban self-employed entrepreneurs, an anathema that joins the existing impossibility to “accumulate properties.” They know perfectly well the strategy of the “bombardment of hams” and will not be surprised by the “grossly materialistic” tactics of their adversaries.

For the Castros and for the military men who command in their dynasty, the weak private economic fabric, watched very closely by the counterintelligence, composed of minor service activities (small hostels, household restaurants, sweaty bicitaxis and a ridiculous etcetera.), has the function of paying taxes, absorbing the manual labor that doesn’t fit in the large public companies, alleviating the deficiencies of an astoundingly clumsy system, and giving the regime the stability furnished by a layer of micro-entrepreneurs anxious not to do anything that might endanger their meager privileges.

Continue reading translated version HERE.

4 thoughts on “Cuba, Obama, and the law of unintended consequences”

  1. Obama did not go to Havana “loaded with good intentions.” I doubt Montaner is that gullible or clueless, but he may well be unwilling to risk being taken for one of “those people” by sounding too “intransigent.” Obama went to Havana for Obama; he cares too little about Americans to even remotely care about Cubans.

  2. You’re absolutely right Asombra. Montaner is very careful. He does not want to be taken for one of those people. I still remember when Mandala died how he praised the old S.O.B and refused to in anyway criticize the sacred cow even when the reporter asked him about his cozy relationship with castro.

    Anyway, that said, another thing about the article is that Montaner says:

    “Raúl and Fidel are two serious communists, resolutely Stalinist, ready to maintain by blood and fire the State’s economic preponderance, the exclusivity of the Communist Party in charge of the nation, and the firm belief that Washington is the enemy against whom Cubans must fight to the death.”

    Nope, raul and fidel are not two serious communists. They have no ideology or principles. They are simply two caudillos. Their “revolution” is unipersonal. It’s all about them, governing for life and passing their kingdom on to their progeny. PERIOD, END-OF-STORY.

  3. Well, Montaner’s syndicated column could definitely be adversely affected if he got sufficiently intransigent. As for Mandela, it’s really pathetic, not to mention disgusting, that not only blatant but perverse hypocrisy is both condoned and protected depending on who’s the hypocrite, and Mandela is a classic case.

  4. Yesterday, without looking for it, I fortuitously came across an old magazine with a 2013 piece by Montaner on Mandela, presumably related to his demise that year. It is neither neutral nor even what I would call “balanced,” and considering it was written by an anti-Castro Cuban, I’d say it goes above and beyond political correctness.

    For starters, it is titled “The Greatness of Mandela,” and calls him “one of the noblest and most admirable figures of the XX century.” His friendship with Cuba’s Nosferatu is more or less brushed aside, not to say blown off, as perfectly understandable in light of the monster’s “solidarity,” though Montaner admits Fidel was an opportunist primarily out to do what the Soviets wanted while indulging his delusions of grandeur. The word hypocrisy is never used, and the screaming contradiction between Mandela as iconic civil rights champion and his unconditional support for an unabashed totalitarian tyranny is neither mentioned nor addressed. There is also no acknowledgment of how the Mandela connection was a PR boon that clearly helped Castro’s image internationally, not least with prominent black Americans, and thus provided both cover and support for his dictatorship. The focus is squarely on Mandela’s role with respect to South Africa, as opposed to his effect, however indirect, on Cuba and its Maximum Oppressor (which should obviously be of major concern to someone like Montaner). In short, a glowing paean to “one of the great politicians of the XX century.”

    I could say more, but it’s too much like shooting fish in a barrel. However, I can’t resist seeing this ode to St. Nelson as an, uh, intellectual version of Emilio Estefan declaring himself a Mexican. You get the idea.

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