By Hugo J. Byrne

"It was the failure of the Washington policy-makers to recognize these simple truths that in time delivered Cuba to Communism, and the cost has been very high, so high that it cannot yet be measured."

Mario Lazo ("Dagger in the Heart"-1968)

We are very surprised at the surprise of so many. "What is Jimmy Carter doing in Cuba?" That is the strange question asked by some of our acquaintances and readers. The answer is both simple and difficult.

Certain explanations could be complex and not necessarily difficult. Or vice versa. Some people are known for their simplicity, but at the same time are not easy. Or vice versa.

Not playing with words we could say that elemental geometry is easy, but that it is very difficult to teach elemental geometry to someone that has not learned yet basic math.

With that preamble we do not wish to insult the kind readers. Only to stress -one more time- the need to study those recent historical events that affected us so negatively. We can only provide against the many deleterious consequences of certain political forces when we learn their true nature.

Castro and Carter make the perfect match. They are made for each other. They complement each other like red and green in the color spectrum. Beyond their very negative historical record as leaders of their respective countries, their personal affinity is obvious. If they were of different gender and single, they could marry each other with great probability of happiness.

Castro is the perfect villain. His capacity for intrigue and mischief is almost boundless even at his present semi-senile stage. Carter, beyond his lordly countenance, is just an altruistic and religious fanatic who believes his hemorrhoids were healed by the prayers of Egyptian Muslims. No joke, dear reader. Just read his statements in a recent book. Carter is the perfect victim. His visit to Castro is evidence of that fact beyond any doubt. Castro victimized Carter long before during the latter's presidency with the Mariel boatlift.

That was Castro show of gratitude for the many friendly diplomatic advances of the Carter administration toward his regime. Top among them was the establishment of a "U.S. Interests Section" in Havana with a Castro apologist as its first Ambassador: Wayne Smith. Some years later, Smith lost a civil judgment to the late Jorge Mas Canosa for slander. Smith accused Jorge Mas of belonging to the Mafia. Mas was the Chairman and founder of the Cuban American National Foundation, and his award would have been $50,000.00 had not Smith apologized. Smith teaches at college level and has the audacity of appearing often on TV talk shows as an "expert on Cuba."

The so-called Mariel boatlift also victimized Bill Clinton. The future president, then Governor of Arkansas, lost his reelection bid to the governorship in 1980 on account of a prison riot led by "Marielitos." Clinton, whose I.Q. probably double that of Carter's, always kept as president a prudent distance from Castro. Clinton even used the downing of the planes of "Brothers to the Rescue" to his political advantage, obtaining with a water-down version of the Helms-Burton Act, the votes of some naïve Cuban Americans in 1996. When Castro flooded Southern Florida with raft-people he meekly responded to the blackmail with the immigration agreements of 1995.

Castro and Clinton are wolves of the same pack, with different agendas. Carter is not a wolf. He is a slow sheep. The kind of sheep that always lags behind the flock. Some are suspecting Carter's collusion with multibillionaire Soros and the big agro-business that is always searching for an opening in the Cuban embargo. The kind of opening that would allow extending credit to Castro at U.S. taxpayer's expense. That gives too much intellectual credit to the former Plains businessman.

According to one of Castro's many mouthpieces, Ricardo Alarcon -figurehead of the so-called "Asamblea del Poder Popular" of Cuba- the dictator has great respect for Carter. Perhaps ABC's George Stephanopolous, who was interviewing Alarcon when he made that statement, cannot remember certain events vis-à-vis Cuban American relations. But we do. On Friday, September 28 1979, Castro said about then President Carter: "His behavior has been dishonest, insincere and immoral, because unless he is a moron, a fool or an idiot -and I cannot think that he is- I have to conclude that he lacks ethical principles." Some respect. Castro even used to call Carter "the peanut-vendor."

During the four unfortunate years of Carter's presidency we suffered spiral inflation and unemployment, a big dip in our productivity and a sharp decline of our GNP. U.S. international prestige reached an all time low, and American interests were in full retreat everywhere in the world.

Those that like shameful trivia remember Rosalind Carter dancing barefoot among the diplomatic corps at the event of her husband's inauguration ball, brother Billy -who handled business for Muammar Qadhafi- getting arrested for relieving himself of the residue of two six-packs in a Plains' street, and the President complaining about "Montezuma's Revenge" to no other than his Mexican counterpart in front of TV cameras during an official visit to that country. Carter's presidency was an embarrassment to the U.S. Never had the Carter family reached so high, nor America stepped down so low.

However, much more serious and damaging to this nation was the fact that officers of the Air Force were piloting planes older than themselves, that Nicaragua was falling pray to the Marxists with Castro's help, that Iran's Sha was being overthrow by a clique of fanatical Moslems whose visceral hatred of the U.S. led to the invasion of our embassy in Teheran and the kidnapping of its personnel. Who has forgotten Carter's kiss to Leonid Brezhnev being rewarded with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan?

Most of those setbacks were partially the result of Carter's naïve policy, but some -like the Nicaraguan debacle- were the direct result of it. Carter appointed archliberals and left wing radicals to ambassador posts like his representative to the U.N. Andrew Young or his envoy to El Salvador.

Between "populist" Jimmy Carter and "Marxist-Leninist" Fidel, there is indeed a lot of common ground.

Will Carter's visit to Castro bear any fruits or bring any positive results? For the U.S. or the Cuban people we think not, but for Castro's agenda the visit of an American ex-president is obviously a big propaganda victory. Just like it was with the visit of the Pope, Carter will advance Castro's agenda by denouncing the "American blockade" and siding squarely with Castro -and against his nation- in his denial of Cuban bio-chemical weapons research and delivery to rogue nations. After all, Carter is not an expert in that field or any other, exception made of making a fool of himself and embarrassing his fellow citizens. In that he excels.

In a perfect world, the ideal outcome of this visit for the U.S. would be Carter deciding to stay in Cuba. That, of course, would be exceedingly cruel to the Cubans.


Hugo Byrne

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