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Btoney
Aug 30, 2003, 12:42 PM
It's not as easy as you might think to keep abreast of the American psyche. When the "Axis of Evil" was invented (by a Canadian speechwriter, apparently), there was one curious omission. For years, Cuba was America's favourite enemy and yet it seems to have dropped off the radar screen. Castro must feel quite insulted. And the cigar stores in town will be complaining about a decline in American customers who like to purchase their Cuban cigars here.
What happened? Did we miss something?

zimv20
Aug 30, 2003, 01:10 PM
it's the rule of threes. it works in comedy and elsewhere. cuba just didn't make the top 3.

Desertrat
Aug 30, 2003, 02:00 PM
In your context, the psyche hasn't changed; only the target.

On a halfway serious note, Castro doesn't seem to be working hard to export his "Revolution" all over the bloomin' place, so there's little official interest in him right now.

I know a Cuban/American lady who's done some work on promoting eco-tourism in Cuba. Aside from rafting/canoing, the bass fishermen love the place!

'Rat

shadowfax
Aug 30, 2003, 03:04 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
In your context, the psyche hasn't changed; only the target.

On a halfway serious note, Castro doesn't seem to be working hard to export his "Revolution" all over the bloomin' place, so there's little official interest in him right now.

I know a Cuban/American lady who's done some work on promoting eco-tourism in Cuba. Aside from rafting/canoing, the bass fishermen love the place!

'Rat maybe he quit going after them because bush realized how good their cigars were.

Sayhey
Aug 30, 2003, 07:30 PM
Originally posted by Btoney
It's not as easy as you might think to keep abreast of the American psyche. When the "Axis of Evil" was invented (by a Canadian speechwriter, apparently), there was one curious omission. For years, Cuba was America's favourite enemy and yet it seems to have dropped off the radar screen. Castro must feel quite insulted. And the cigar stores in town will be complaining about a decline in American customers who like to purchase their Cuban cigars here.
What happened? Did we miss something?

I think it has more to do with the geopolitical ambitions of the Bush administration. Iraq, Iran, and North Korea undergoing regime change (how's that for a euphemism for invasion) would have a far greater impact in their respective regions than Cuba. But don't think for a minute that they have forgotten Cuba.

bobindashadows
Aug 30, 2003, 08:56 PM
Wow....

I don't personally know the workings of the speechwriter (who was dumb enough to let people know he wrote it) but I have a very, very strong feelings that Cuba didn't make the list because communism isn't the threat anymore. The problem now are the countries that support (financially, materially) terrorists and harbor them. But then does North Korea come in?

Oh, and I think some of you guys don't understand something, or maybe you do and don't think the administration would bother keeping the treaty but the U.S. has agreed not to invade Cuba. I don't know if the treaty has a time limit, whether it has to do with when Castro leaves power, but I know that we've agreed not to invade Cuba. Maybe some of you didn't know that, maybe some of you just don't trust the Bush Administration to keep Kennedy's promise.

pseudobrit
Aug 30, 2003, 09:50 PM
Originally posted by bobindashadows
The problem now are the countries that support (financially, materially) terrorists

You forgot to parenthetically add "allegedly" and "hypothetically."

maybe some of you just don't trust the Bush Administration to keep Kennedy's promise.

Or trust it on anything. Seriously, can the country be any more screwed up than it is now? Is there anything Bush hasn't nearly totally ****ed up? I guess we'll find out if he gets another four years to "fix" it.

Sayhey
Aug 31, 2003, 01:36 AM
Originally posted by bobindashadows
Wow....

I don't personally know the workings of the speechwriter (who was dumb enough to let people know he wrote it) but I have a very, very strong feelings that Cuba didn't make the list because communism isn't the threat anymore. The problem now are the countries that support (financially, materially) terrorists and harbor them. But then does North Korea come in?

Oh, and I think some of you guys don't understand something, or maybe you do and don't think the administration would bother keeping the treaty but the U.S. has agreed not to invade Cuba. I don't know if the treaty has a time limit, whether it has to do with when Castro leaves power, but I know that we've agreed not to invade Cuba. Maybe some of you didn't know that, maybe some of you just don't trust the Bush Administration to keep Kennedy's promise.

I remember Kennedy's pledge (I've noted it a couple of times in another thread just recently), but I don't trust the folks in the Bush administration to honor it. If they could figure out a way to kill Castro tomorrow they would do it.

edited for spelling.

actripxl
Aug 31, 2003, 10:01 AM
Rat you say Castro isn't trying to spread the word of the revolution? Guess you haven't heard of a place called Venezuela then huh?

bobindashadows
Aug 31, 2003, 10:35 AM
Originally posted by Sayhey
If they could figure out a way to kill Castro tomorrow they would do it.

As would have Kennedy, and he did organize assassination plots. Whether they were actually with the Mafia is another story, but President Kennedy made several assassination attempts against Castro.

Sayhey
Aug 31, 2003, 11:38 AM
Originally posted by bobindashadows
As would have Kennedy, and he did organize assassination plots. Whether they were actually with the Mafia is another story, but President Kennedy made several assassination attempts against Castro.

I'm aware of them, including also plots with exploding cigars and chemicals to make his beard fall out. My point was this administration hasn't forgotten Cuba or their desire to overthrow the regime by any means they can. Having been to Cuba many years ago, they are fooling themselves if they think it will be easy install a "friendly" regime there. The Cubans don't like to be told by the US how they must conduct their affairs, regardless of what the exiles in Miami may say.

Desertrat
Aug 31, 2003, 11:53 AM
:) I'm quite aware of Chavez' politics. Seems he's another who cannot learn from observation, much less a reading of history and economics.

I'm always puzzled at the sycophants of leftist socialist regimes such as "Cuber". They refuse to see the reality of a repressive structure with government control of a socioeconomic system. The majority of the population is picking doodoo with the chickens, while 90 miles away even the poor folks are drinking pina coladas.

Folks yapped about the "free medical care" in Russia and Cuba. Problem is, there's no medicine with which to care...

Any country which has folks standing in line to buy toilet paper just doesn't have much going for it.

'Rat

zimv20
Aug 31, 2003, 12:03 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat

Any country which has folks standing in line to buy toilet paper just doesn't have much going for it.


i think there's a grave fallacy in judging a culture by availability of consumer goods. i have friends who've seen cuba and fell in love w/ its people. i've had positive, formative experiences in countries that have failed your consumer test.

and what of the flipside? can the US do no wrong so long as there's a steady stream of TP?

Sayhey
Aug 31, 2003, 12:04 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
:) I'm quite aware of Chavez' politics. Seems he's another who cannot learn from observation, much less a reading of history and economics.

I'm always puzzled at the sycophants of leftist socialist regimes such as "Cuber". They refuse to see the reality of a repressive structure with government control of a socioeconomic system. The majority of the population is picking doodoo with the chickens, while 90 miles away even the poor folks are drinking pina coladas.

Folks yapped about the "free medical care" in Russia and Cuba. Problem is, there's no medicine with which to care...

Any country which has folks standing in line to buy toilet paper just doesn't have much going for it.

'Rat

Cuba has all kinds of problems, both of their own making and as a result of the embargo. Doesn't mean they will easily bow to the wishes of Uncle Sam.

IJ Reilly
Aug 31, 2003, 12:17 PM
I know several people who have visited Cuba under the economic and cultural exchange program (I forget what it's actually called), and they were all enthralled with the country and its people, irrespective of their political leanings. I don't know precisely what to make of this. The country is poverty-stricken, the Castro regime is repressive and anti-American. By any measure, this is not a place Americans should enjoy visiting, but when it's allowed, they do. I heard some of the same things from some of the first American tourists in China during the '80s. Setting aside geopolitics, Americans and Cubans, Americans and Chinese, get along just fine. Which seems like a good argument for setting aside politics whenever possible.

It also seems like an good argument for the US government preparing for the day when Castro keels over on his own account, instead of continuing to fight these old ideological battles.

Desertrat
Aug 31, 2003, 12:28 PM
Embargo? Who's observing said embargo besides the U.S.? Anything needed in Cuba is available to it--including U.S.-made items bought through Canada or Mexico. All it takes is a halfway-decent economy to get beyond bandaids and aspirin.

zim, what does "consumeritis" have to do with toilet paper and medicine? Or vice-versa? Neither have anything to do with the merits of a people, or the inherent good qualities of any country.

Lord knows I'm no advocate of the high-on-the-hog lifestyle of way too many U.S. folks. I'm pretty much of a minimalist, by and large. But folks oughta at least be able to eat as much meat as they want, if they want, and not have to do without ample supplies of the basics.

For the record, about the only non-using stuff I own was bought on account of I figured I'd make a profit, later. Otherwise, my tools and "stuff" are pretty well worn--and paid for. :)

'Rat

zimv20
Aug 31, 2003, 12:34 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat

zim, what does "consumeritis" have to do with toilet paper and medicine?

you said:

Any country which has folks standing in line to buy toilet paper just doesn't have much going for it.


sounds to me like you're damning any country that doesn't have a ready supply of TP and enough cashiers to make the purchase speedy.

Sayhey
Aug 31, 2003, 12:40 PM
Originally posted by IJ Reilly
I know several people who have visited Cuba under the economic and cultural exchange program (I forget what it's actually called), and they were all enthralled with the country and its people, irrespective of their political leanings. I don't know precisely what to make of this. The country is poverty-stricken, the Castro regime is repressive and anti-American. By any measure, this is not a place Americans should enjoy visiting, but when it's allowed, they do. I heard some of the same things from some of the first American tourists in China during the '80s. Setting aside geopolitics, Americans and Cubans, Americans and Chinese, get along just fine. Which seems like a good argument for setting aside politics whenever possible.

It also seems like an good argument for the US government preparing for the day when Castro keels over on his own account, instead of continuing to fight these old ideological battles.

IJ, I went there in the mid-seventies and fell in love with the island and its people. It is a gorgeous place and a wonderful culture. Having said that it is also a tough place to live. By anyone's standards having one individual as the leader of your country for over 40 years is more than just problematic. 'Rat's observation about the economics of Cuba is to some extent true. It all has to be judged from where Cuba was before the revolution compared to the progress made since then. I think anyone who accepts the propaganda of either side is going to get a very distorted picture of the Cuban reality.

For us in the US, I think we are such a prisoner of our own domestic politics, including the strength of the Anti-Castro Cuban lobby and the history of US Corporate dominance of the island I think we can't make a real change until Fidel dies. Hopefully, we won't go back to the days of the Sugar Cartel, mobsters, and the Platt amendment.

IJ Reilly
Aug 31, 2003, 12:54 PM
Originally posted by Sayhey
IJ, I went there in the mid-seventies and fell in love with the island and its people. It is a gorgeous place and a wonderful culture. Having said that it is also a tough place to live. By anyone's standards having one individual as the leader of your country for over 40 years is more than just problematic. 'Rat's observation about the economics of Cuba is to some extent true. It all has to be judged from where Cuba was before the revolution compared to the progress made since then. I think anyone who accepts the propaganda of either side is going to get a very distorted picture of the Cuban reality.

For us in the US, I think we are such a prisoner of our own domestic politics, including the strength of the Anti-Castro Cuban lobby and the history of US Corporate dominance of the island I think we can't make a real change until Fidel dies. Hopefully, we won't go back to the days of the Sugar Cartel, mobsters, and the Platt amendment.

I'm afraid we've never really escaped that history. It's managed to survived many presidencies, due in large part as you say, to the influence of the Cuban expatriate lobby. Given the results of the 2000 election, we can't expect any positive change on that score. It was a surprisingly minor back-story of the election, but I think the man in the White House owes his presidency to a Cuban kid named Elian Gonzales. Had the Clinton administration not decided to send this kid home to his father in Cuba, its seems quite likely that Gore could have won the handful of votes in Florida that would have put him in the White House instead of George W. Bush.

Sayhey
Aug 31, 2003, 01:21 PM
Originally posted by IJ Reilly
I'm afraid we've never really escaped that history. It's managed to survived many presidencies, due in large part as you say, to the influence of the Cuban expatriate lobby. Given the results of the 2000 election, we can't expect any positive change on that score. It was a surprisingly minor back-story of the election, but I think the man in the White House owes his presidency to a Cuban kid named Elian Gonzales. Had the Clinton administration not decided to send this kid home to his father in Cuba, its seems quite likely that Gore could have won the handful of votes in Florida that would have put him in the White House instead of George W. Bush.

Other than the fact I think Gore did win Florida, I agree with you. Gore would have won with enough votes so there wasn't any question. There is no doubt the Clinton justice department's handling of the Elian Gonzales matter did hurt Gore in Florida even though Gore's weasaling on the matter was an attempt to placate the Cuban vote. Although we have Bush in the White House, I'm still glad the kid is home with his father.

Durandal7
Aug 31, 2003, 04:10 PM
Actually Cuba is part of the Axis of Evil. The Axis was apparently quietly redefined a while back to contain North Korea, Iran, Syria, Libya and Cuba.

zimv20
Aug 31, 2003, 04:16 PM
Originally posted by Durandal7
Actually Cuba is part of the Axis of Evil. The Axis was apparently quietly redefined a while back to contain North Korea, Iran, Syria, Libya and Cuba.

it'll never catch on -- breaks the rule of threes.

Durandal7
Aug 31, 2003, 04:20 PM
Originally posted by zimv20
it'll never catch on -- breaks the rule of threes.

True, that's probably why I only see Bush or Powell mentioning the new Axis when they're overseas.

I suspect that Syria will take over Iraq's old slot, at least until they're rubbed out and it's North Korea's turn.

Sayhey
Aug 31, 2003, 05:50 PM
I've got to say, the reluctance of Rumsfeld to commit adequate numbers of troops to Iraq is making more and more sense as the plans for invasion of other countries becomes more evident. Just how thin will our troops be spread in keeping this new empire in check? You know, the title "President" won't cut it anymore - how about going back to that old standby, Caesar?

IJ Reilly
Aug 31, 2003, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by Durandal7
True, that's probably why I only see Bush or Powell mentioning the new Axis when they're overseas.

I suspect that Syria will take over Iraq's old slot, at least until they're rubbed out and it's North Korea's turn.

Dan Schorr says he thinks they're being taken in the wrong order.

http://www.npr.org/rundowns/rundown.php?prgDate=30-Aug-2003&prgId=7

wwworry
Aug 31, 2003, 07:12 PM
Ours is a strong country that acts like a weak, petty fearful country. What do we have to fear from Cuba? Peace through Walmart

Desertrat
Aug 31, 2003, 10:27 PM
zimv20 said, "sounds to me like you're damning any country that doesn't have a ready supply of TP and enough cashiers to make the purchase speedy."

Not the country; the idiots in control who screw up the economic system such that there is not a ready supply of TP and meat and medicines and many other things.

Speedy purchase? Hey, we got slow enough stores in the US! I'm used to being patient in the check-out line! Thank the inventors for scanners!

No, what really fried me, decades back, was reading that housewives in Russia went out with their shopping bags every day, just hoping to find something, anything, useful in the way of food--or TP.

Then again, I found it interesting that the German government expressed disapproval over the idea of Wal-Mart coming there, as there were just too many choices...

'Rat

Sayhey
Aug 31, 2003, 10:49 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
zimv20 said, "sounds to me like you're damning any country that doesn't have a ready supply of TP and enough cashiers to make the purchase speedy."

Not the country; the idiots in control who screw up the economic system such that there is not a ready supply of TP and meat and medicines and many other things.

In Cuba they still have a command and control economic structure. This works well for concentrating economic resources for large infrastructure projects, but is horribly inefficent in the providing of consumer goods. I remember in the Brezhnev era the Soviets were the worlds largest producers of shoes. Only problem was nobody would buy the shoes, but they kept producing them year after year because they met their quotas. In Cuba the have done remarkable things in some areas - literacy, health care, housing, etc. All of that is of course relative to where they were prior to the revolution. They have also wasted many resources in ill-advised schemes. 'Rat, you may scoff at the effect of the embargo, but it is real and profound. Remember all of the Cuban industry and agriculture was geared for the US market. In short, those who would deny that Cuba has had any progress since 1959 are doing so out of an ideological agenda, just as those who overlook the many faults of the Cuban system do.

Desertrat
Sep 1, 2003, 07:15 PM
"Remember all of the Cuban industry and agriculture was geared for the US market."

Okay. Fine. But 1959 was 44 years ago. You want me to believe that 44 years isn't long enough to find other markets? When you look at what so many other countries have done in much shorter time frames, hey, what's Castro's (bleep)ing excuse?

'Rat

IJ Reilly
Sep 1, 2003, 07:33 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
Okay. Fine. But 1959 was 44 years ago. You want me to believe that 44 years isn't long enough to find other markets? When you look at what so many other countries have done in much shorter time frames, hey, what's Castro's (bleep)ing excuse?

Cuba spent most of those 44 years as a client state of the Soviet Union. Also not to defend or attack anything in particular, but simply to make a factual observation: many other Caribbean nations without command economies have also not advanced much if at all in the same time-frame. Haiti and the Dominican Republic, are two examples.

Sayhey
Sep 1, 2003, 07:54 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
"Remember all of the Cuban industry and agriculture was geared for the US market."

Okay. Fine. But 1959 was 44 years ago. You want me to believe that 44 years isn't long enough to find other markets? When you look at what so many other countries have done in much shorter time frames, hey, what's Castro's (bleep)ing excuse?

'Rat

Castro has, as I've already said, made huge mistakes. Not the least of which is to try and control every economic decision from Havana. My only point is that the successes or failures of Cuba must be judged from the point of view of where they were prior to the revolution. Part of that understanding is starting with a country that was essentially a one crop economy that was at the beck and call of the US market. Yes, there was also tobacco and tourism, but these as well were geared to the US market and played a much smaller role. If one looks at Cuba relative to the other independant nations of the Carribbean then the progress it has made in some fields is more evident. Remember prior to 1959 over 80% of Cubans were peasants who were not only nearly totally illiterate and uneducated but had no access to medical care and lived in dirt floor huts. Much has changed for the better economically for these people. Think of present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic and you can get an idea of what a Cuban peasant's life was like.

If you want to criticize Cuba for turning from one market reliance (the US) to another (the Soviet Union) I'd agree with you. Should the economic lives of Cubans be better - yes, of course. Castro didn't do enough to move Cuba away from the dominance of Sugar and he has continued to, for ideological and control reasons, refuse to use market forces to help develop Cuba's consumer industries.

Although they are interrelated none of this deals with Cuba's fundamental mistakes on the question of political democracy. I just can't stand folks making simple judgements based on ideology rather than the facts of the case. We may not agree with the path Cuba has taken, but they have the right to their own mistakes and choices. The last thing we need to do is impose American solutions on them.

groovebuster
Sep 2, 2003, 03:45 AM
Originally posted by Desertrat
Then again, I found it interesting that the German government expressed disapproval over the idea of Wal-Mart coming there, as there were just too many choices...

:D Where did you hear that version? Nice fairy-tale...

In fact the real reason for the disapproval was, that the German (grocery) retail industry is already in a desasterous competition. Most of the chains had to close down stores or to fire many employees, because margins on the sold products are almost non existant. Another retail chain would have just increased the problem causing even more unemployment, the few new jobs by wal-mart don't cut it overall. Considering the high unemployment we are facing at the moment this "disapproval" is not just the fear of having too many choices...

Man, you made me laugh! ;)

groovebuster