Turning Pages on Cuba

Editor’s Note: Jimmy C is a blogger focusing on Cuba. He has given us permission to publish his latest thoughts about the United States and Cuba.

ObamaCuba

Part I: Some Background

I wasn’t alive when Cuba took its first steps towards trying to punish the people of the United States. That was over 50 years ago. And looking back at all of those years since, you have to wonder what the government of Cuba was thinking. I mean why would so many chances be squandered to start anew with neighbors? In an earlier time, during secret meetings between the two governments, Cuba showed it recklessness and got involved in a crazy military adventure in Angola, frustrating the South African interventions the U.S. supported.

At least that was happening in Africa. Previously, Cuba had repeatedly burned parts of Florida’s precious agriculture and blown up Miami shopping malls. It was all pretty ugly. Perhaps the most remarkable incident which will forever stain the consciences of good people was the bombing of a civilian airliner. Those revolutionaries seemed like nasty sons of bitches. Had they not done everything imaginable by exerting pressure on countries all over the globe, creating the most difficult economic circumstances for our nation, who knows what our potential could have achieved? Perhaps we wouldn’t see poverty in our land of boundless opportunities.

President Obama has obviously succumbed to the pressures. Just a few weeks ago, we saw people here arrested while protesting against police brutality and black and brown people have been joined by whites in demanding justice. Luckily our protesters don’t serve lengthy prison sentences but they do get taken in and processed by authorities for wanting fairness. From the outside of our borders it probably looks like an untenable situation.

Part II: All Jokes Aside

Better late than never. Wednesday morning was nothing less than shocking. The announcement of the remaining three Cubans who were convicted in Miami and imprisoned for 16 years were going home as was Alan Gross, the American imprisoned in Cuba. But what was announced by President Obama moments later was more incredible. He had spoken the night before with Cuba’s President Raúl Castro and the countries were going to begin normalizing relations! Pretty much most of what the U.S. president could do on his own in regards to reversing the insane and wicked policy that has been in place will be done.

Immediately the usual characters began screaming. They are searching for obstacles to place in the way of progress but having to explain why their position makes even a shred of sense will prove impossible. The worn thread that held their disproportionate power over the policy towards Cuba has finally been cut. By President Obama stating out loud, publicly and in an address to the nation that the 50-plus-year-old policy was a failure, means only fools would propose more of the same. And I can assure you that the fools will try.

I think that most people are sober enough to understand that the goals of the policy remain and haven’t been actually abandoned. At the same time since people are fully aware of this, it becomes much more unlikely to be accomplished. It is what it is.

But that doesn’t take anything away from the emotion that people felt and will feel for a while, the smiles and tears. I still find it difficult to wrap my head around it. Although everyone knew it was something that had to happen, happening Wednesday was a complete surprise. Nobody knows what the next chapters will bring but the page has been turned. Perhaps the next chapters will be written by people who have grown tired of the sad novel with too many pages. Too many years were lost, too much heartache thanks to that awful thing. Actually, maybe the page wasn’t turned. I think after Obama read the words “The End,” we’ve actually reached for an entirely different book. I think this one will be a much better read.

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You can follow Jimmy C on Twitter at @jimmyc2424.

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3 comments
jimmyc2424
jimmyc2424

Radames Suarez, don't assume that I refer to the entire Cuban American community as "the usual suspects". Despite others portraying it as monolithic, we both know it's not. May I add that it has never been either. There was a time when red paint was thrown on people's houses right here in Tampa for supporting the revolution. At 92, after being interviewed in the 1960's for his political beliefs by the FBI, he's pretty happy that he saw this happen. With that point, you should realize that I do have connections with your homeland. And being that I met my wife on the island on th first of around twenty trips there over the past 15 years I've had the privilege to spend a lot of time with people there who aren't "secret agents" or whatever, something that most Americans have been denied by our own laws kept in place by who I refer to as the "usual suspects". Examples of them would be the protector of Luis Posada Carriles the terrorist, Ileana Ros-Lehtenin, the son of Batista's minister, Diaz Balart, the now outgoing head of the foreign relations committee, Menendez, and my favorite if all the former "exile" Rubio. Trust me, there is nothing flippant about my attitude towards Cuba.

jimmyc2424
jimmyc2424

That's my grandfather that's 92.

RadamesSuarez
RadamesSuarez

@jimmyc2424  No, I don't assume that you refer to the entire Cuban American community as "the usual suspects," its evident that you are only referring to people who don't think like you. Case in point, you even single  Senator Bob Menendez out, a life-long democrat who's liberal  credentials are beyond reproach, and for the record, I don't equate "revolutionary zeal" as being liberal. On the contrary, I see the ossified, human rights violating regime in Havana as the complete opposite of progressive, liberal pro-humanism. A regime that has not changed the basic status quo since 1959 is  more fascist than anything else. Don't forget that during his youth, castro used to walk around with the Mussolini's tome's and Mein Kampf under his arm and his admiration of Francisco Franco is well-known. He is nothing more than your run-of-the-mill caudillo with Marxist trappings. 

Regarding red paint being thrown on people's houses, and your point is?  Go to Skokie, Illinois, or Crown Heights, Brooklyn, areas with large Jewish communities and espouse pro-Nazi sentiments, go to Watts, California or Harlem, NY, areas with large Afro-American communities, and espouse white supremacist sentiments and you will see more than red paint being thrown at your house. 


What you are doing is essentially villainizing the victims. I've had relatives executed by the regime that you are defending, I've had relatives thrown in jail. One of my cousins suffered  in an UMAP Concentration Camp. He was beaten within an inch of his life and almost died on three separate occasions.  His only crime was being gay. When he was finally able to get out of Cuba, for years he dealt with the demons of pro-traumatic syndrome. He would wake up at night crying and trembling and spent many years going to a therapist. I don't doubt that he would have thrown paint on a revolutionary's house. I'm sure that you would probably would have  callously dismissed him, as "one of the usual suspects" if  you had met him.