“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”
Strangely, when President Barack Obama was elected with ease in 2008 and had a comfortable Congressional majority he didn’t really capitalize on his advantage. He may have gotten elected promising ‘change’ but he didn’t make many when he made it into the big seat.
Now, perhaps sensing the end of his term as President, and in spite of the Democrats’ recent crushing defeat, he is becoming ‘Obama the bold’, maker of decisions, changer of things.
Hence his recent decisions to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and an amnesty for five million illegal immigrants in the US.
JFK imposed the embargo on Cuba way back in 1962, in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In JFK’s day the embargo was America’s way of thumbing its nose at the Soviet Empire. Cuba was less than 100 miles from the continental US and its defiance of the mighty Uncle Sam was an embarrassment, particularly after the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
Curious therefore that Obama cannot see the similarities with Putin’s stance in the Ukraine, but that’s another story.
However, getting back to the Cuban embargo, it was a decision that has been condemned by almost every nation in the world ever since. I think it smacked too much of the big rich kid in the schoolyard picking on the little poor kid.
But, like a lot of things that are half a century old and more, the Cuban embargo was well past its sell-by date. Not least because it didn’t work!
Neither of course did the Cuban system, which failed mainly due to the disintegration of the Soviet Empire that had kept Cuba financially afloat long after Castro’s communism would have bitten the dust if left to its own devices.
In Cuba today there is a realism and a recognition of that very fact. Fidel Castro himself admitted that their model “….no longer works even for us,” when he was speaking in support of his brother Raúl’s “liberal” reforms announced a few years ago.
For the moment, that ‘liberalization’ in Cuba means allowing employees, most of them former civil servants, to become the owners of the small businesses that employ them.
I call that capitalism. What do you think?
Lots of US corporations are queueing up to develop their business interests in Cuba. Big names, like American Airlines, Hilton Hotels and PepsiCo are already in the starting blocks.
It will be interesting to see what happens when the new US regime sweeps into power.
In the meantime I think I’ll buy a nice big box of cigars.