It ain’t what you don’t know that hurts you. It’s what you think you know that just ain’t so … Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige paraphrasing Mark Twain.
It’s called fake news. For decades, Cuba has promoted a false narrative regarding its revolution. A receptive media have dutifully perpetuated this lie and Americans remarkably suspend all critical thinking regarding Cuba, accepting this deception categorically.
What Americans think they know about Cuba just ain’t so. Here’s the #FakeNews:
Cuba is a socialist country. Wrong. Cuba is a totalitarian white male military dictatorship that insulates itself from accountability to the Cuban people through the enormous bureaucracy of the Cuban government.
The Cuban government “owns” Cuba’s industries. No, the military owns these, particularly the tourist industry run by Raul Castro’s son-in-law (a general). Virtually every aspect of licensed travel by the U.S. Treasury to Cuba is controlled by the military (who are white). Tourism funds the repression.
There is social justice in Cuba. Nope. The dictatorship has institutionalized an apartheid between foreigners and Communist Party elites — Cuba’s 1 percent — and “ordinary” Cubans. How? Through two currencies, a valuable one for the former and a worthless one for the latter, who are mostly black and brown.
Tourists use one currency (CUCs) pegged to the U.S. dollar. Cubans are paid (by law) in the second worthless currency. The latter can pocket tips in CUCs. Consequently, neurosurgeons rush through brain surgeries to park cars, drive taxis and bus tables for tips. Most doctors, lawyers, teachers and engineers leave their professions altogether. This slavery few Americans even notice. It’s disgraceful.
There is no racism in Cuba. Ha! As one white regime official put it on page 119 of UCLA professor Mark Sawyer’s book, “Racial Politics in Post-Revolutionary Cuba,” “It is simply a sociological fact that blacks are more violent and criminal than whites. They also do not work as hard and cannot be trusted.” This was 2003; enough said.
Free health care and education for all. Sorry. University professors and managers in tourism are overwhelmingly white and connected to the generals. Most university students must join the communist party.
There are hospitals for foreigners and Communist Party elites and those for everyone else. The former are for medical tourism with Cuba’s best doctors. The latter have no sheets, soap, toilet paper, electricity, medicines or even Cuban doctors — they are imported from Africa.
Where are Cuba’s doctors? Those not driving cabs are “rented” to foreign countries for $10,000 monthly. The chattel slave doctors are paid a few hundred CUCs while their families are held in Cuba. Ditto for thousands of Cuban nurses, social workers and teachers. Human trafficking is the dictatorship’s largest source of hard currency — by far.
Opening Cuba represents a tremendous business opportunity. Really? Cuba is bankrupt. Moreover, everything in Cuba is stolen: land, homes, rum, cigars, even old American jalopies — in many cases from Americans. Every enterprise in Cuba will involve trafficking in stolen property. This isn’t a business opportunity; it’s criminal and immoral behavior.
The intent of U.S. law is to protect, not disenfranchise claimants as President Obama has done by allowing select companies to “do business” and traffic in stolen property. Sustaining this requires protection by the dictatorship and a U.S. administration that disregards property rights and the rule of law. It’s politically sanctioned organized crime.
History is replete with examples that economic engagement will not bring political liberalization or change (e.g., China). See Cuba before 1959, when American cronyism brought corruption and three dictators — Batista and the Castro brothers. Why would U.S. businesses “invested” in Cuba property want change? A democratic government will return property to the legitimate owners and these “investments” will be lost. Investment seeks certainty.
The embargo is “failed” policy. The teeth of the embargo, the ability to prosecute traffickers in stolen property, has been waived since its inception to “expedite a transition to democracy in Cuba,” a justification that is conclusively false.
It’s the definition of insanity: capitulating with another dictatorship and perpetually violating existing sanctions while expecting change.
Here’s a novel approach to Cuba policy: Enforce the law.