This recent piece in The Miami Herald
is a testament to the folly of those Cuban Americans in South Florida who have spent their lives betting on the United States’ (or the OAS, for that matter) willingness and/ or ability to bring “freedom” and “democracy” to Cuba. It should also be a warning to the nationals of many other “subjugated” nations in our Hemisphere who, from their (temporary?) Miami homes, bet on the same type of solutions for their homelands while demonizing those presently running their governments. Whether it is Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, or even Argentina (where a recent paradigm shift resulted in the same polarizing demonization, though from a different politico-ideological sign: those who have spent over a decade demonizing “La Yegüa” have now being joined by those eager to demonize “El Pelotudo”), demonization is nothing more than the key ingredient of polarization.
As becomes our multimedia era, the piece has a video clip attached showing today’s Republican presidential candidate, back in 1999, speaking at a rally and haranguing a few of our neighbors about the prospects of bringing “freedom” and “democracy” to Cuba. The amoral con-man -as per our two younger Cuban American members of the world’s most exclusive club, as the US Senate is known (or used to be known)- tells Jorge Mas Canosa, right after Jorge’s introduction and under a banner of the CANF: “I guess that means I get the first hotel in Cuba …, sounds like a pretty good deal”.
If you look closely at the video, I’m sure you’ll find Cuba’s “future” minister of tourism –to be appointed once a US backed CANF was running the island’s affairs- somewhere in the dais, nodding excitedly… And this was almost two decades ago… Countless other American politicians have since appeared as peregrines before the Versailles shrine chanting “Viva Cuba Libre”, “No Castro, no Problem” or other similar inanities, while sipping Cuban coffee or mojitos, the billfolds of many in attendance eagerly jumping out of their pockets…
When you watch The Donald back in Versailles these days saying exactly the same thing to mostly the same crowd, while “making American policy towards Cuba a joke again”, is there any lesson we Cuban Americans can learn?
The answer is NO: most Cuban Americans are impervious to lessons… Not even the easy ones, such as that anyone who is willing to put in the White House someone he sees as an amoral con-man with the vocabulary, thought processes and “emotional quotient” of a twelve year old, simply because doing so helps advance his political career can hardly complain if he himself is then regarded as an amoral con-man.
As to the OAS under Uruguayan Secretary General Luis Almagro, to see that institution and him as the new paladins of the Cuban exile cause is simply to see what those who thrive in demonizing and polarizing wish to see.
A dear and courageous friend of mine, who has spent her life denouncing the excesses of the Cuban Revolution and fighting the Castro Bros. from the US, described Mr. Almagro as “just another communist” shortly after his appointment as Secretary General. I see him differently, but not too different from his Chilean predecessor, Mr. Insulza: both have proved capable and have done as much as possible for a better Hemisphere, within the limits and constraints the OAS statutes impose on them.
Sure, Mr. Almagro is more vocal than Mr. Insulza ever was. But vocal only matters when your voice allows you to croon as, say, Ricardo Montaner…
Almagro is on the record saying he would like to see Cuba back in the OAS, even stating that:
“Cuba has a very positive agenda, including the dialogue with the United States and the fact it keeps good bilateral relations with all countries…
Mr. Insulza was demonized by many of our professional “demonizers” who today praise his successor, even if when it counts –or when OAS member countries get down to voting as such- nothing much has changed in that venerable and useful (even if limitedly useful) institutions. But this is simply a Miami pattern, when it comes to our self-proclaimed experts: they are so shallow they cannot even detect their selective incoherency.
Thus we have libertarians who support travel and trade bans, liberals and neo-liberals that are truly reactionaries (whether unwittingly or in disguise), and moralists who support those who support Donald Trump after calling him an amoral…
Even Carlos Gardel knew better when he tangoed:
“Almagro, Almagro of my life, you were the soul of my dreams”*….
And the emphasis should be on dreams.
*Almagro, Almagro de mi vida, tu fuiste el alma de mis sueños…