Trump, Cuba and Miami: the Charade and the Stone

June 19, 2017 |

The worst thing about this is that we are experiencing one of those moments in US-Cuba relations, when opportunists, revenge seekers and reactionaries on both sides of the Florida Strait compete to see who can fall the lowest.

By Alejandro Armengol  (Cubaencuentro)

Cuban exiles in Miami celebrating the announcement by President Trump on the new US policy towards Cuba.

HAVANA TIMES — The story is old, very old; the illusion is infinite. What continues to surprise us is the Cuban exile community in Miami’s capacity to run into the same stone again and again, and when they don’t find it, they seek it out and put it in the way.

Donald Trump and this exile community have been swapping the roles of seducer-seduced ever since the current leader realized that it wasn’t bad math to have the Cuban-American vote, and that it wasn’t too hard to win over either.

From this moment onwards, statistics haven’t really mattered much and old myths are being repeated with new names; spreading lies which reaffirm that without the “little help” from Cubans in Miami, Trump would never have left his penthouse in Manhattan, and also that without the participation of the current tenant of the White House, the end of Castrismo would be impossible.

The worst thing about this is that we are experiencing one of those moments, in US-Cuba relations, when opportunists, revenge seekers and reactionaries on both sides of the Florida Strait compete to see who can stoop the lowest.

Neither the regime in Havana deserves any kind of defense, nor does the parade of those who call themselves opponents inspire trust, and much less Little Havana’s late blossom. At the end of the day, everything comes down to a great loss of time for democracy to make progress in both nations, and we are just hearing a chorus of opportunistic idiots or idiot opportunists.

“I’m trying to reverse the dynamic: I’m trying to create a Cuban business sector that now goes to the Cuban government and pressures them to create changes. I’m also trying to create a burgeoning business class independent of the government,” Senator Marco Rubio stated, who has suddenly been given – did Trump really give it to him? – the role of Cuba “Czar” within Trump’s administration and Congress.

However, creating a “Cuban business sector” was exactly what Obama was trying to do, with poor results. Because if the regime in Havana accepts the self-employed and small private businesses with limited employees, it has made it perfectly clear that they won’t allow what they believe to be the “concentration of assets and wealth.” That’s to say, the creation of real business people. So, what is being proved yet again is the fact that neither Democrats nor Republicans have the faintest idea about how to deal with Cuba, and I’m not only referring to the government but to the Cuban people in general.

Trying to create a “burgeoning class” of “good business people” abroad against “bad” ones (the military) is absolute madness, when the country has been under a military dictatorship’s control for several decades. As if the GAESA holding company were necessary in order for a fraction of every dollar sent to Cuba -whether that’s to a dissident waiting for the providential ticket abroad or financial remittances to a relative – not to end up in the Government or the Castro family’s pocket, which ultimately is the same thing.

Therefore the resolution to limit economic resources to the military does nothing more than fuel local adjustments, the sweet hope of them running out of steam and compensation which has gone unmet over time.

Ignoring the existence of an authoritarian system in Cuba – which has become more fine-tuned in recent years by a certain withdrawal to simple authoritarianism in some patterns of cultural tolerance and limited social and critical speech is nothing more than practicing Obama’s policy without Obama as a democratic freedom strategy for Cuba. It permeates the entire country and the economy only allows secondary results to independent workers – who aren’t independent in the current political climate.

Putting Cuba’s Business Administration Group (GAESA) at the heart of these new measures proves that it not only lacks any kind of political vision in dealing with the Cuban government (because in a nutshell, Trump’s administration isn’t giving up on negotiations), but it is also a mistaken tactic (which won’t bear fruits) and is a strategy which is destined to fail.

Excluding the military, as potential agents of change in Cuba, could sound “glorious” in Little Havana, but has against it centuries of history, and highly notorious political results. Transition doesn’t normally happen how the incompetent want it to happen. And the capable aren’t always the flawless.

The absence of real opportunities for social and political transformation coming from the people in Cuba today, forces us to try transition “from above”. Now, with the path of economic disaster exhausted – because in spite of the eternal economic crisis, the ruling system on the island is showing no signs of imploding in the future – the uncertain destination of change post-Raul only leaves one door open, that the ruling elite evolve amongst themselves, where the military are not only a key player but an essential factor.

With his signature this Friday in Miami, Trump has just guaranteed Raul Castro staying in power without external temptations to the power circle, at least for another four years or more, if desire and biology accompany him.  In Revolution Square, they should be celebrating; the statements don’t matter, which have been suspiciously lukewarm.

Ultimately, what Trump has signed and what the real idiots in Miami have repeated, will only result in extra profit for the travel agencies which are vilified so much – not without grounds a lot of the time – by this same hardcore exile community. It will sustain never-ending disagreements and complaints on both shores, this daily practice in both Havana and Miami. It will also contribute to never-ending lines to potential dialogues and Gila-style monologues, the great Spanish actor and comedian and his telephone: “Hello, it’s the enemy. Put him on.”

For now, in Miami, where comedians are dressing up as historians, the comedians on the radio have already started up, with calls to the military to stop being soldiers and to become businessmen – as if they weren’t already both things – and take the opportune route to Damascus.

Trump’s long-awaited Cuba policy has been reduced to an act of juggling. It’s more or less like launching rockets at a Syrian military airport and warning them beforehand. A lot to shout about and not a lot to defend. A new chapter of the farce.

Share this:

What's your opinion?

  • Michael Ritchie

    Huh?

    • Terry Downey

      Mike, the last sentence said it all.

    • Moses Patterson

      I agree. Not well written.

      • Rich Haney

        Of course, Moses, this article is “not well written” as far as you are concerned because it spells out, in plain English, a lot of facts you prefer to be hidden. Rubio being essentially named as the new Cuba “czar” insults America and democracy a lot more than it does Cuba. It helps assure that the Castro legacy will last longer than expected.

        • Moses Patterson

          You couldn’t be more wrong. Well, maybe you could be. But my point is simply what I wrote in the comment. “Not well written”. The bits and pieces that I understand were neither right or wrong. Simply opinions. The assertion that Sen. Rubio is the Cuba “czar” is no big deal. Although I don’t think he is the new one. Was there an old one?

  • Sharon Patty Cannon

    The US needs to open up relations with Cuba! We do it with China! I have been to Cuba, it is a great country, the people are lovely! It’s time!

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Sharon, Barack Obama made the overtures – the Castro regime flatly rejected them. That was their choice, not that of the US at the time.

    • Rich Haney

      Sharon, I too have been to Cuba. I agree with your statement and sentiment. Now I think we both know why the counter-revolutionaries in the U. S. don’t want Americans to have the freedom to visit Cuba, lest they judge it for themselves.

  • Moses Patterson

    I am not sure that I understand this post. As written, I don’t think the writer understood what he wrote either.

    • Rich Haney

      Moses, you are beating a dead horse that died decades ago. Stumbling over this article’s truth is not becoming.

      • Moses Patterson

        So, Mr. Wizard, in one or two sentences, what might that truth be that you say that I am stumbling over?

    • Nick

      Mr P. Only very occasionally do I agree with you.
      This is one of those occasions.

  • Rich Haney

    Circles, this article will be ripped by the counter-revolutionary propaganda-prone zealots who are always compelled to react quickly and strongly to either truthful or positive statements regarding Revolutionary Cuba. But two young, brilliant, and very influential broadcast journalists in Cuba — Cristina Escobar and Rosy Amaro Perez — have had possibly the most significant reactions to Trump’s June 16th Miami speech. Rosy on Facebook commented, “The Cuba that Trump described in his Miami speech is not the Cuba I know, and I’ve lived here all my life.” Cristina quickly responded. Those two seem to speak the languages, both Spanish and English, for the crucial young adult population on the island. Both are quite skilled and effective on the air in Cuba and on social media, and their expertise seems uncanny and unbiased although extremely in favor of sustaining the Cuban Revolution. Cristina, on both Cuban and American soil, has famously stated, “Cuba’s fate is up to Cubans on the island, not Cubans in Miami and Washington.” And as long as there are Cubans on the island like Cristina Escobar and Rosy Amaro Perez, that statement should resonate far and wide across the Florida Straits, especially in Miami and Washington.

    • Nick

      Rich, The article should have been re-edited.
      However you are right to point out that it does refer to some truths.
      trump’s nauseating appeasement of the right wing Miami faction is a forlorn attempt to turn the clock back and really just the latest scam from this rogue president.
      The whole world sees it as such outside of Miami and outside of those contributors here who like to think they’re fighting some old cold war or standing up for liberty or some other such absurd invention of their own fantasies.
      One thing is for certain. Cuba will outlast trump. And going by the lessons of history, it would seem very unlikely that Cuba will ever go back to being told what to do by any US President.
      Now matter how popular, fine and charming or unpopular, ugly and entirely lacking in charm that President may be.

  • N.J. Marti

    A rambling mess of an article. The Trump changes are more theater than substance. It is a check the box, keep a campaign promise while keeping the door open. Raul Castro has nothing to fear from Trump changes. It is the Venezuela economic meltdown that will impact Cuba this year.