Tags: Foiled | ABC | Poll!

Foiled by ABC Poll!

Thursday, 16 May 2002 12:00 AM

I just saw this and choked:

"ABC NEWS Poll Finds Lukewarm Support for ending Cuban embargo. The public splits evenly in a new ABC NEWS poll on whether the United States should establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and end the embargo."

I'm ruined! I'd just hung my shingle saying "Humberto's Lobbying Solutions. Political Skullduggery With a Smile (Please note: I'm a Cuban-American.)"

How could I fail? Hell, I made it plain as day: I'm a card-carrying member of the most fiendishly clever cabal to ever grease a palm, plant a story, fund a PAC, or place a severed horse's head in your bed. We make up a minuscule 1/300 of the U.S. population, yet – from all I keep hearing and reading – we control U.S. foreign policy with a firm testicular grip, against the wishes and interests of the ENTIRE U.S. population.

That takes talent. Supposedly, we make monkeys of Congress, the Beltway media and the farm lobby. We run rings around the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Legions of Republican governors and Democratic senators alike oppose our nefarious political machinations in vain.

"Cuba Policy isn't made in Washington," harrumphs Bill Press in his current CNN column. "It's made in Miami by former Batista supporters who think they can reverse history!"

Yet none of the present leadership of the Cuban American National Foundation were even born when Batista fled Cuba, Mr. Press.

"Bush's defense of the embargo serves a family voting bloc and little else!" snarls Kathleen Parker in her current column.

Yet the embargo was tightened under the administration of one William Jefferson Clinton. And Cuban-Americans aren't exactly a Clinton "voting bloc," Ms. Parker.

"A small number of powerful exiles in South Florida cow our politicians into keeping the crazy Cuban policy!" snaps media baron Al Neuharth in USA Today.

Yet Janet Reno's storm troopers demonstrated exactly who "cows" whom, didn't they, Mr. Neuharth?

Enough flattery, please. I'll take a bow. You really gotta hand it to us. We Cuban-Americans have forged a consensus among America's thinking class like no one since Hideki Tojo.

We managed to get Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal, Rush Limbaugh and Noam Chomsky, Pat Buchanan and Hillary Clinton, The Brookings Institution and the Cato Institute, Tom Daschle and Jeff Flake, The Wall Street Journal and The Nation, and the already-mentioned Bill Press and Kathleen Parker all on the same side of an issue.

By now, all of the above have come out publicly against the Cuban embargo. All blame it on the "politically powerful" and "well-heeled" Cuban-American lobby.

All this takes talent, my friends. Around our domino tables we snicker derisively at those bumbling Trilateralists. Between handfuls of mariquitas we guffaw and slap our thighs at the incompetence of the Bilderbergers and Rothschilds.

We Cuban-Americans are the Illuminati to beat all Illuminati, the slickest of the slick. We watch "Godfather II" and snort scornfully. That was a chump operation Mikey Corleone pulled on Nevada Senator Geary with that dead prostitute. We woulda had him in our pocket for half the trouble.

We watch "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and direct our boos and hisses at Jimmy Stewart. What a fuddy-duddy.

Also arrayed against us: the entire governmental apparatus, press and punditry of every country in the world (save a few cranks in Israel, Taiwan and Uruguay). Plus, every international organization, from the EU to the U.N., from the OAS to the World Council of Churches, from Pope Paul to Ayatollah Khomeini. Haven't heard the Dalai Lama weigh in on this issue yet, but I'll bet he'd follow the lead of his Hollywood chums and slam us too.

Against this massed might, we consistently prevail. Against this colossus of opinion-shaping and influence-peddling, we repeatedly win.

Finally it went to my head. How could it not? Remember Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in "Stir Crazy" strutting around, "Yeah, we bad!"

I was strutting around, "Man, we're SHARP!" Between Miami and New Jersey we're a veritable "axis of guile." Hell, I've gotta cash in on this somehow, I thought to myself. Hence my shingle.

But now this blasted poll blows everything!

Turns out that even with the punditry solidly against it and a virtual media blackout against the pro side, half of America favors the embargo! So much for our diabolical genius at underhanded politics.

Looks like – GULP! – it might be American representative democracy at work after all. Looks like it might be the political reflection of the sound instincts of a liberty-loving people. I'm ruined!

Pat Buchanan offers the most interesting case. No sentimentality in his recent column against the embargo. His was based on his classic "America first" viewpoint. As well it should be.

And it's precisely from this viewpoint that squeezing Castro with the embargo makes the most sense. Pat writes: "The rising threats to the United States come from a China that is becoming virulently nationalistic, from an Islamic fundamentalism that is on the rise and from rogue regimes colluding with terrorists. Time has passed Fidel by. ..."

Far from it, Pat. Don't think for a second that just because Soviet communism crumbled, Fidel is short on powerful anti-American allies. Fidel will make common cause with any and every anti-American regime out there – and he's already doing it.

Haven't you heard? That very "virulently nationalistic" China that you rightly fear is setting up shop at the Lourdes intelligence station recently vacated by the Russians.

Haven't you heard? Those very "Islamic fundamentalists" and "rogue states" that you rightly fear are getting bioweapons technology from Cuba while chanting "Together we will bring America to her knees" jointly with the Maximum Leader himself.

It's hard to believe the old "pit bull of the right" is unaware of these things.

The deadliest threat America ever faced was not from Soviet communism. All they had was thousands of nuclear missiles. And – you'll excuse me here; I'm a card-carrying gun nut and NRA member myself – "Missiles don't kill people. People kill people."

The point is, as declassified Soviet documents now show, that famous Dr. Strangelove finale came closest only when Castro himself got heart-thumpingly close to the buttons.

Don't forget, it was Fidel who asked for those Soviet missiles back in '62. And it was Fidel who wanted to press the button and incinerate the southern U.S. That was the main reason Khrushchev got the missiles out.

"Holy s**t!" Nikita barked (in Russian). "We were doing this mostly as a symbolic gesture. But this lunatic actually wants to use them! We can't leave these things here with this nut!" But don't look for this in the utterly asinine movie "Thirteen Days."

Ask about Castro's communism (when, and if, he ever genuinely became a communist) and you'll spark animated debates around any domino table in Miami. But no one – NO ONE – who ever knew him will argue against Castro's persistent, rabid and implacable anti-Americanism. The man is consumed by it.

The Cuban middle classes became his object of hatred only in proportion to their link to the U.S. He doesn't hate America because of the "Miami Mafia." He hates the "Miami Mafia" because of its links to the U.S.

Over the years Castro had amicable relations with and some very nice things to say about the regime of Francisco Franco – a fascist regime. Fidel was damn lucky that his father emigrated to Cuba before he was born. His little "Moncada Attack" stunt would not have gone over very well in the Spain of 1953. Franco was very touchy about such things.

And Franco's police and Guardia Civil were very vigilant and resourceful. A decade earlier they'd been trained by a visiting "consultant" named Heinrich Himmler.

The young Fidel's little "History Will Absolve" performance wouldn't have made it through the prologue in the Spain of 1953 – much less his pardon a year later. Franco's firing squads were quick, too.

Yet when Franco died in 1975, Fidel announced a national holiday – in honor, not in enmity.

The point is, anti-communism does not a Castro enemy make, nor socialism an ally. Indeed, leftists like Jose "Pepe" Figueres of Costa Rica and Romulo Betancourt of Venezuela were Castro's first and bitterest enemies in Latin America. They were socialists, all right – but U.S.-aligned socialists, hence instant foes.

Franco, a genuine fascist with the blood of tens of thousands of communists and plain leftists on his hands, was an instant friend, simply by virtue of that lingering streak of anti-Americanism you find in Spaniards (indeed, most Europeans) who remember when they had an empire – and, in Spain's case, who snatched it.

These continentals never took to that insufferable Monroe Doctrine, so they were immediately attracted to the man who shredded it. Even better, Fidel made them look better.

That upstart colony had been showing them up shamelessly. In a mere 50 years of independence it zoomed past the motherland in living standards, literacy and per capita income.

Worse, its people picked up barbarous habits from those cultural oafs to the north. They bathed daily, not bimonthly. Their press was free, vibrant and sassy, not muzzled, cowardly and stupid. They put food in contraptions called "refrigerators," not holes in the ground. They watched TVs, not bemedaled morons spouting asinine propaganda from a balcony. They used automobiles, not donkey carts.

Castro – God bless him – cured the uppity colonials of this boorishness. He made Cuba more like a colony again, with a cowed and impoverished population, with slave labor and plenty of cheap prostitutes. Thus reasoned the Franco regime and its heirs.

Castro also sided with the Argentinean generals who hunted down and exterminated Argentina's own Fidelistas like rats. He did this during the Falklands War when Ronald Reagan's sound instincts and sense of decency aligned him shoulder to padded shoulder with Margaret Thatcher, even against the advice of some of his foreign policy "specialists."

The point is, as long as anti-Americanism – from whatever creed or point on the political spectrum – exists, Castro will have allies. And as long as America remains free, prosperous and decent, anti-Americanism will exist in the world.

You may reach Mr. Fontova by e-mail at

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I just saw this and choked: ABC NEWS Poll Finds Lukewarm Support for ending Cuban embargo. The public splits evenly in a new ABC NEWS poll on whether the United States should establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and end the embargo. I'm ruined! I'd just hung my...
Thursday, 16 May 2002 12:00 AM
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