Tags: Castro | Proves | Embargo | Foes | Wrong

Castro Proves Embargo Foes Wrong

Wednesday, 02 March 2005 12:00 AM

The exact OPPOSITE of what anti-embargo wizards and soothsayers had assured us. "Castro expressed his abhorrence for private business in his speech to 1,400 economists at an anti-globalization conference," continues Reuters.

Of course. Now he's back on his feet, so – CLAMP! – it's over. Castro whacks the hammer back down and struts around gleefully crowning every "free market" expert with 20-foot dunce caps. Let's survey the results a little more closely from the Reuters story:

"Cuba has been steadily CENTRALIZING [ALL capitalization mine] control again over state companies by scaling BACK the autonomy allowed during the deep crisis that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has also introduced foreign exchange CONTROLS, eliminated the U.S. dollar as legal tender, INCREASED REGULATION of foreign companies and CURBED private enterprise."

Now let's turn to a recent AP article: "Cuba's tourism ministry told its workers to keep their mingling with foreigners to a minimum, PROHIBITING everything from accepting personal gifts to attending events in the homes or embassies of foreigners without written permission." (Or ELSE!)

"While in the company of foreigners, workers are also urged to abstain from opinions that go against the 'prestige' of Cuba's socialist system. All workers should 'maintain permanent watchfulness over acts or attitudes harmful to the interests of the State,' and report all actions that could threaten the principles of the Cuban revolution." (Or ELSE!)

So, where are all the free-market wizards who assured us that, as more tourists flocked in and more foreign investment entered, Cuba would magically mutate into a big Cozumel?

In their ivory towers coughing behind their hands and wiping their brows, that's where. "Gosh, it worked so well in my position paper," gasps one. "Gee, it sounded so plausible at our last conference," snivels another.

Deep down, these wizards assure us, Castro's really just a somewhat misguided siding salesman. Dangle that "big sale" in front of him and he'll start shaping up. Grant him the "big sale" and he'll settle down, like the rest of us, to a cushy, peaceful life of SUVs and backyard barbecues, while that magical "invisible hand" of Western commerce slowly but relentlessly nudges him off center stage and eventually into the dustbin of history.

For over a decade we've been hearing this. For over a decade Castro has been doing billions in business (while defaulting on a good portion) and accepting millions of tourists from non-communist countries. And for over a decade (almost FIVE decades, actually) nothing in Cuba has changed. NOTHING!

Other wizards say that it doesn't matter whether or not Castro's a siding salesman. Given half a chance, that magical (and wonderfully sneaky) "invisible hand" of commerce and tourism will ambush him and cold-cock him regardless of his anachronistic ideological obsessions.

Every "position paper" of every "think tank," from the CATO Institute to the Hoover Institution demonstrates this conclusively.

Every "lecture" of every "free-market expert," from Congress' Jeff Flake to CATO's Daniel Griswold, leaves no doubt. Every dissertation of every graduate student from Harvard to Princeton, makes a solid case. Every book of every professor, from Jorge Dominguez to Marifeli Perez-Stevens, demonstrates its irrefutability.

Then whoops! That doggone EVIDENCE keeps butting in, that doggone PROOF keeps crashing the party and blowing every highfalutin theory from these learned ladies and gentlemen out of the water with a blast not heard since Krakatoa.

But don't take it from me. After all, I'm a Cuban-exile "crackpot," a "hothead," a "revanchist." I'm obsessed with "vengeance" and "turning the clock back." Fine, let's go back to the Feb. 14 Reuters story.

" 'We had to establish the most RIGOROUS [again, all capitalization mine] exchange controls," Castro said. He even attacked private jitney cabs that ply the streets of Havana in 1950s American cars. "We privatized as LITTLE as possible," Castro said, as he claimed victory for the survival of Cuban socialism."

From William F. Buckley to the Wall Street Journal, from Pat Buchanan to Dick Armey, from Jeff Flake to Max Baucus, from Archer Daniels Midland to Tyson Foods, anti-embargoism prevails. It's no longer a partisan issue, they say. Only those "crackpots" down in Miami, their crackpot representatives, the Diaz-Balarts and Ileana Ros-Lehtinens and that crackpot president they helped elect dare defy this formidable intellectual, commercial and political juggernaut.

And, once again, the foresight, knowledge and instincts of these "crackpots" have been amply vindicated.

Not that it matters. As with Castro's openly leftist groupies (Charlie Rangel, Chris Dodd, George McGovern, Wayne Smith, Oliver Stone, etc., etc.), his newly abused and openly ridiculed "free market" paramours will all come whimpering back, their arms bulging with reams of their academic hooey, their mouths primed to spout another geyser of highfalutin idiocies, all whimpering for another chance to help Castro defeat the fiendish Yankee "blockade," exactly as some battered women always come back for another bashing.

After all, with their stress on "historical forces" and "economic systems" rather than on factors like personalities (in their equation, Castro=Deng=Gorbachev), these free-market idealogues fall into the same folly as Marxist idealogues. So they wind up in the same corner with them, sharing the same dunce caps.

Note, we "crackpots" aren't saying a flood of tourists and investment won't further open already partially free economies under pragmatic and less megalomaniacal rulers, as in China and Vietnam. We're simply saying (and every shred of evidence shows) that as long as Fidel or Raul run Cuba, IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!

But the free-market wizards' theorems and equations don't allow for variables like "Castroism." So they keep plugging in China, Vietnam, Poland, etc.

Those systems were NOT Castroism. Will those people EVER get that through their heads? I doubt it, even after scraping their faces free from all the rotten egg that covered them after this latest blasting of their prognostications. Heck, sometimes I feel I'm better off trying to talk sense to those other economic determinists, the Marxists. At least SOME of those yo-yos have finally seen the light!

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The exact OPPOSITE of what anti-embargo wizards and soothsayers had assured us. "Castro expressed his abhorrence for private business in his speech to 1,400 economists at an anti-globalization conference," continues Reuters. Of course. Now he's back on his feet, so -...
Wednesday, 02 March 2005 12:00 AM
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