Trashing Reagan's Legacy

By Humberto Fontova

You expect the pinks at CBS to trash Ronald Reagan's legacy. No surprise here. But 53 Congressional Republicans following suit?

That's the number who joined ranks with chronically Castrophile Democrats to vote for lifting the travel ban to Cuba last week. That travel ban was President Reagan's doing. He re-imposed this "failed" policy in 1982, after Jimmy Carter lifted it in 1977. The Gipper can't be very pleased with last week's vote.

Pinks and farm-state ward-heelers always refer to the "embargo" as "failed." They have it exactly backwards. It's this fetish for "engagement" with Castro, this lust for "rapprochement with" the Maximum Leader that has failed--time and time again it has failed.

Presidents from Ike to Clinton have tried an accommodation with Castro. Every time the scheme blew up in their faces like an exploding cigar. Picture Wyle E. Coyote after another failed scheme to catch the Roadrunner, blown up, scorched, cinders dropping from his nose, and "Beep-Beep!" ringing in his ears. There's your Castro "engagement" crowd to a tee.

Carter tried a "be nice to Castro and he'll be nice back" approach to Cuba relations by lifting the travel ban in March of 1977. Castro reciprocated with thousands of Cuban troops spreading Soviet terror (and poison gas) in Africa, more internal repression and thousands of psychopaths, killers and perverts infiltrated onto the boats and shoved our way on the Mariel Boatlift.

"Beep-Beep!" went the Castroites.

Even earlier, in 1975, Gerald Ford (under Kissinger's influence) had relaxed the embargo. He allowed foreign branches and subsidiaries of U.S. companies to trade freely with Cuba and persuaded the Organization of American States to lift their sanctions. Castro reciprocated by starting his African invasion and by trying to assassinate Ford.

You read right. On March 19th, the Los Angles Times ran the headline "Cuban link to Death Plot Probed." Both Republican candidates of the day, President Ford and Ronald Reagan, where to be taken out during the Republican National Convention in San Francisco. The "Emiliano Zapata Unit," a Bay area radical group, would make the hits. When nabbed one of the culprits sang about the Cuba connection. Naturally nothing was "proven." But the hints were strong.

Early in his first term Ronald Reagan himself explored a deal with Castro. More probably it was Alexander Haig's (another Kissinger protege) initiative. Haig met personally in Mexico city with Cuba's "Vice President" Carlos Raphael Rodriguez to feel him out. Then he sent diplomatic wiz Vernon Walters to Havana for a meeting with the Maximum Leader himself.

The thing came to nothing. Walters had Castro's number. He came back reporting Castro wouldn't budge an inch on anything. Castro was hellbent on exporting revolution to Grenada and Central America. Carter would have smiled his little smile and proceeded with his rapprochement. Mondale wouldn't have missed a step. Fortunately we had clear-eyed, hard-nosed men at the helm back then. "Suit yourself, Fidel," snorted Reagan and his team.

Within a year Castro's troops got thoroughly stomped and booted out of Grenada. Reagan administration aid to local anti-communists continued the rollup of Castroites through El Salvador and Nicaragua till all central America was cleansed of Marxist-Terrorist scum.

Castro's groupies and agents at the U.N., OAS, Democratic party, Hollywood, Congressional Black Caucus,. Congress, New York Times, Washington Post, Ivy League, all squawked to high heavens. But Fidel knew better than to try anything cute--not during Reagan's terms.

He saw what happened to his chum Gaddafi in April '86. That loudmouth ended up literally like my earlier description of Wyle E. Coyote. You'll notice he's been rather mum and hasn't tried anything cute himself for about 17 years now. The 82nd airborne and a couple squadrons of F-14s seem to have a very salutary effect on uppity dictators. "Beep-Beep!" from us this time.

Alas, come '92 and we get another Democratic administration. Time to play nice again. Time for more "cultural exchanges" etc. with Cuba. In 1993 Mobile Alabama set up a sister-city deal with Havana. Much cooing and gurgling ensued by Mobile's Best and Brightest. The wonders of "people to people" contacts, the glories of "engagement," were hymmned over oceans of cocktails and mountains of hors d ouvres ( taxpayer provided). Respective officials went back and forth on friendly visit after friendly visit. Much toasting , smiling and bantering.

Then whoops! Turned out the charming Cuban official responsible for the heartwarming arrangement, this witheringly sympatico gentleman who charmed the Guccis and Capezios off Mobile's glitterati, was unavailable to attend the ten-year celebratory bash earlier this year. What happened?

Well, Oscar Redondo is his name, and he'd been fingered by the FBI and booted out of the U.S. for espionage. Even better, as Castro defector Juan Vives tells us, a priority for Cuba's intelligence agency is to capture, with mikes and cameras planted in hotel rooms, the nighttime cavortings of all of Cuba's visiting "friends." Vives says they even used it on Gabriel Garcia Marquez. (This Marxist millionaire's affection for Castroland might have more to it than meets the eye.)

"Beep-Beep!" went the Castroites to Mobile's Best and Brightest, who's smiles were looking more like grimaces as they went damp on the forehead.

The blizzard of pious piffle spread by the "lift the embargo" crowd get's thicker by the day. So please listen up: this "embargo" was enacted , not as a means to topple Castro, but because Castro stole (that's, S-T-O-L-E, as in T-H-E-F-T) $1.8 billion in U.S property.

Say a business owner gets stiffed by a customer. He cuts him off, right? The deadbeat customer then looks around for other saps and stiffs them. Does that mean that the first business owner's "embargo" of the thief has "failed?"

After our "embargo" Castro stuck it to the Soviets for about $50 billion. He stuck it to the European Union for another $4 billion. Japan the Phillipines, Argentina and Uruguay, they're all holding the bag Only America escaped more rooking. Looks to me like this embargo has worked like a charm! Another: "Beep-Beep!" from us.

"All politics are local" quipped Tip O'Neil. Lifting the travel ban is a perfect example. As always in politics, let's follow the money trail. Castro needs dollars to pay for these senators constituent's farm goods. U.S tourists will provide these dollars and in the process consolidate the rule of both Castro and his military successors. These latter run Cuba's tourist "industry."

What gets me is how the "lift the embargo" gang claim the moral high ground on this issue. Could anything be more preposterous? They claim, with reams of pious humbug, that "engagement" by U.S businessmen, and especially tourists, will help topple Castro by the shrewd and relentless working of free-trade's invisible hand. American tourists, we're told, will show Cuba's poor huddled masses what capitalism provides, what they're being denied, etc.

Stop insulting those poor people, will ya! Don't you think they KNOW perfectly well that they're poor and oppressed! Tens of thousands of them talk and visit with their U.S. relatives weekly! Do you think the thousands who brave storms and Tiger sharks on floating chunks of styrofoam do it for the thrill like yuppies in Outside magazine?!!

From 50,00 to 80,000 Cubans have been ripped apart by sharks in the attempt. They might have been reckless. They were certainly desperate. But must you also imply that they're imbeciles?

According to the "lift the embargo" gang, it seems that Cubans will only recognize their piteous condition after Jeff Flake shows of his Rolex at the Tropicana and Ted Kennedy and Barney Frank model their Speedos at Varadero Beach.

1,300,00 tourists from free countries visited Cuba last year. Millions have been visiting for decades. Has it made a dime's bit of difference in any Castroite policy? Has it improved the lot of ordinary Cubans? As Cuban-American scholar Jaime Suchlicki asks, "where's the evidence" for the pinks' and free-traders' prognostications? Nowhere. All evidence shows that western "engagement" actually prolonged East Europe's agony.

Like the European and Canadian tourists (and like the roughly 200,000 U.S tourists last year) any new flood of U.S. tourists will rarely hobnob with ordinary Cubans. They'll stay at the fancy Hotels, dine in the fancy restaurants and frolic along beaches the glorious nationalist revolution barricades against the Cuban people. Worse, every dollar they spend will be with a business owned and run by Castro's military.

You can't shout it often enough or loudly enough: Castro's cold war is not over. "The much bigger war against America is my destiny." Castro wrote that in 1958, right before his "rebels" kidnapped 50 U.S. military personnel from Guantanamo.

Last month the UPI reported on Castro's star pupil and current lifeline, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, providing funds and false passports to Al Quaeda operatives. Last week, Foxnews quoted North Korea's highest ranking defector on North-Korean weapons in Cuba.

And WE'RE the shortsighted ones? And WE'RE the ones with our heads in the sand? It's you people who need to poke your heads out of the sand, out of the clouds and out of your.......

Enlightened opinion accuses us Cuban-Americans of being "blinded by emotion" of being "unable to see reason" with regards to Castro. Again you people have it exactly backwards. Ours is the empirical approach. We have first hand experience with the Lider Maximo. Our posture is the empirical one--the one based on experience and evidence. Yours is the emotional one--based on wishful thinking (and perfidy) In 57-58 we warned (in vain) that he was a violent communist. A bit later we warned (in vain) of Soviet rockets being installed. A bit later we warned (in vain) of his training and arming of guerrillas throughout the hemisphere.

So why listen to us? Hey! I read a book by Adam Smith, another by David Ricardo two by Von Mises! Surely I know a lot more about Cuban history and Castro's mental habits than those tacky, hot-headed Cuban-Americans! Of course!

Well, now we've got the Wall Street Journal itself coming out against the "embargo," William F Buckley too. "The one thing Cuba cannot resist is capitalist intervention," writes Buckley in his last National Review column. This from the founder of a magazine that for two decades carried a "Capitalist Rope dept," where all who transacted with any communist country were lampooned viciously.

Castroite Cuba has been "resisting capitalist intervention" by about 114 capitalist countries for almost three decades now--and quite successfully. Just this year different monitoring groups reported that Cuba has the highest incarceration rate, and the lowest press and economic freedom indexes on earth. It's right alongside North Korea. And I repeat, that's after 3 decades of capitalist intervention by 114 countries.

"Private trade, self-employment, private industry, or anything like it will have NO future in this country!" That's Castro himself shrieking into the microphones 20 years ago.

"We will NOT change Cuba's political system or Cuba's economic system! We will accept NO conditions for trade with the U.S.!" That's Castro just last year. What will it take to convince you people?

The Castroites are very vigilant against the slightest crack in the system. Castro himself warned Gorbachev that his dabbling with Glasnost and Perestroika was a folly that would doom socialism and him. He warned Daniel Ortega that allowing elections in Nicaragua would doom him. He was precisely right on both counts.

He's no dummy. In fact he agrees with us: any kind of private sector activity or political opening will indeed imperil his rule. Don't you think he knows that? He knows that better than anyone. And he's very vigilant against the slightest hint of either.

And I love how Jimmy Carter and the Congressional Fidelistas always point to Cuban dissident and embargo opponent Osvaldo Paya. "See! See!" they gloat. "Even Cuban dissidents themselves oppose the embargo! That's proof that Castro secretly favors it so he can blame all Cuba's problems on the U.S.!"

They never point to Cuban dissidents who support the embargo--in fact who want it tightened! These dissidents (Elias Biscet and Maria Beatriz Roque) find themselves rotting in Castro's dungeons. Denounce the embargo from Cuba (Like Paya) and regardless of other sins against the glorious revolution, your utterings find themselves splashed throughout the Western press. You're even allowed to travel abroad to receive awards and kudus.

Support the embargo and here come Castro's goons with the handcuffs and billy sticks. Soon you're beaten and starved amidst the spiders and scorpions of Castro's dungeons. If that doesn't make the pro- embargo point I don't know what does.....Oh, and because Castro secretly favors the embargo must be why Maxine Waters, Charlie Rangel, Danny Glover, Chris Dodd, Wayne Smith, Ed Asner, Jesse Jackson, Oliver Stone, Kwesi Mfume etc. all oppose it.

Do we look THAT stupid! PLEASE!!

Alciabedes Hidalgo was Raul Castro's (Cuba's Defense minister ) chief of staff for over a decade. Last year he defected to the U.S. "Lifting the travel ban would be a gift for Fidel and Raul," he told the Washington Post recently.

Ronald Reagan had the smarts and decency to withhold this gift from a regime that presented the U.S with the gravest threat in it's history and incarcerates "enemies of the state"at Stalin's rate. And despite congressional selfishness and stupidity, George Bush is poised to withhold it too--with his veto.

Better luck next time, Congressional Fidelistas...and oh, I almost forgot: "Beep!-Beep!"


Humberto Fontova is author of the newly released The Hellpig Hunt, described by Publisher's Weekly as "Fascinating and Fun!"

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