Forget All That Human Rights Stuff; Cuba’s Open for Bidness!

Or perhaps: ‘US Capitalist Pigs Stage Bay of Pigs Invasion 2.0’

cuba obama chess

And… depending on one’s point of view, with or without the aid of the Castro administration or the Communist Party?  The larger question seems to be: is this the beginning of the end of the Revolution?  The USian Lords of Capital see it so.

Even the Guardian sees the true purpose of Obama’s rapprochement with Cuba, diplomatically aided by Cubano Cardinal Jaime Ortega and Pope Frances, I’d add:

“Obama’s visit thinly masks the economic bonanza awaiting US companies eager to invest in the island only 90 miles from Florida – not least those headed by Cubans from that state, anxious to claim their share of a new economy after two generations in exile.

“Cuba is a highly symbolic country politically,” said John Paul Rathbone, the Latin America editor for the Financial Times. “Soon the original revolutionary generation will be dead. The change in US policy recognises this. And Obama’s trip to Havana will be a carnival of stage craft – hopefully a glorious one – that further encourages change, and perhaps even an early end to the embargo and a speedier transition to whatever-comes-next in Cuba.”

In a spate of irony, SOS Kerry was being chastised during his visit a week earlier, for not being muscular enough in condemning human rights in the island nation, nor meeting with ‘dissident groups’.  It’s hard not to love Elliott Abrams’ featuring a graph on ‘arbitrary detentions having risen to a five-year high in January, and that “the Madrid-based Cuban Observatory on Human Rights said 1,474 people, including 512 women, were “arbitrarily” detained in January” (whatever that group is).

During a joint press conference in which the President called him out on the issue, Castro denied there were political prisoners there, but he said that the US should abandon Gitmo and end the decades-long financial blockade.

 “We believe that civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights are indivisible, interdependent and universal. We cannot conceive a government does not defend and guarantee the right to health, education, social security, food and development, equal pay and the rights of children,” said President Raul Castro.

But even from the U.S. perspective, the human rights abuses occurring on Cuban soil are not being committed by the Cuban government but rather the U.S. government at their illegal detention center in Guantanamo Bay.”

It was at least a little bit fun that two days before the island sank into sea two more inches under the onslaught of Western Capital, VZ President Nicholas Maduro flew in to accept Cuba’s highest state honor in the form of the Order of Jose Marti medal from Raul Castro.  Solidarity noted!

Telesur names ‘5 Ways the US Helps to Create ‘Dissidents’ in Cuba’ with brief  descriptions and histories under each:

  1. USAID Meddles in Cuban Affairs (Alan Gross)
  2. Launching a “Social Media Network”
  3. Infiltrating Hip-Hop Movements
  4. Millions in Funding for “Civil Society” Groups
  5. Funding the Ladies in White Group

And those are just the current list; forget the last eighty years, starring the CIA, NED, and other Democracy Exporters in Cuba.

In the comment stream at this op-ed by Elaine Díaz, someone provided The List of current political prisoners locked up in Cuba; what constitutes a ‘political prisoner’ is often down to potential bias of a particular human rights organization, of course.

“Despite the thawing of diplomatic relations, the U.S. government continues to provide financial “assistance” to individuals and groups dedicated to “regime change” in Cuba.”

Yes, and isn’t regime change, at least partially from within’, what has turned the tide to favoring…Obama, et.al.’s sincere generosity to the Cubanos?

Let’s see who was there, just a partial list of what Alexander Fangmann at wsws.org provided of the ‘up to 1200’…now this doesn’t include elected officials, mind you, nor the Cabinet secretaries:

“Representing US business interests are Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, CEO of PayPal Daniel Schulman, CEO of FUBU Daymond John, and Brian Chesky, the president and founder of Airbnb. Also present will be Julie Hanna, the CEO of Kiva, an organization specializing in crowd-funded “micro-loans” and one of the partners in Cleber, an Alabama-based company that has received authorization to build a tractor manufacturing facility in Cuba.

The changes already made to open up relations between the US and Cuba have resulted in a large increase in economic activity. Regularly scheduled commercial airline service will resume later this year, with up to 110 flights per day. United Airlines recently announced that it would start offering service out of four US cities.

In the past week, US telecom company Verizon signed a deal that allows direct calls and roaming access for Verizon customers. Sprint concluded a similar deal in November of last year, while AT&T is currently negotiating with Cuba’s national telecom company, ETECSA.

Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that it will begin offering seven-day cruises departing from Miami starting in May that would allow “cultural, artistic, faith-based and humanitarian exchanges between American and Cuban citizens.”

Marriott and Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced on Saturday that they had signed deals to run three hotels in Cuba, making them the first companies to do so since 1959.

On Sunday, US-based Airbnb, a company which matches individuals who wish to rent out their homes or apartments to travelers, was given a Treasury Department license to expand their business in Cuba to all travelers, not just those from the US, which they had been doing for the past year.”

Fangman wonders if ‘regime change’ will have to occur before the embargo is lifted, or the plan is that the compliant dissidents and even the Commies will help to create a comprador class to sell out the many, many workers who will be needed increasingly to service the multitudes of tourists and bidness people.

“Granma, the organ of the Cuban Communist Party’s Central Committee, published an “official” biography of Obama, which would be more accurately characterized as a hagiography. Displaying an obvious reverence towards the American mythology of middle-class perseverance and success, and ignoring all the political connections which were employed to vault Obama into all the most important positions he has occupied…”  (and then it gets more gaggable)

But no, the Imperium can’t handle that Brazil and China already have toeholds there, including Brazil’s having expanded the port at Mariel, which now can accommodate Chinese ships passing through the Panama Canal.

Obama’s Visit to Cuba: Dangers and Benefits to The Cuban Revolution

(the transcript if and when they put it up; ha!  They finally have!)  Early is cautiously optimistic, Alex Main… less so.  His remark that ‘to the US, ‘free markets equal freedom’.

Can someone suggest that Sharmini get screened for asthma, bless her wonderful anti-capitalist heart?

John Wight calls Obama’s visit ‘Goodbye to ‘Viva la Revolución!’, which phrase was used liberally by O, and some were not amused hearing José Marti’s words pass his lips, I’ll add.  “Liberty is the right of every man to be honest.”  A scolding fail, considering Obama’s rule, and not that he would have quoted Marti in 1895: “Once the United States is in Cuba, who will drive it out?”

“Ever since the Cuban Revolution of 1959, led by Fidel Castro, swept the US puppet dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista from power, the island has stood as a beacon of dignity and independence to its many supporters across the world. However its struggle to remain so in the face of a decades-long US embargo has only allowed its socialist system to redistribute poverty rather than wealth. Despite this, no one can deny Cuba’s outstanding achievements in the realms of healthcare and education, both provided as a right to its citizens regardless of income unlike in the United States where both are a privilege of income.

Moreover, Cuba’s famed medical missions overseas prove that the internationalism enshrined in its socialist constitution informs an engagement with the world that has been and is a testament to human solidarity. Washington’s engagement with the world, meanwhile, has been informed by endless military interventions, conflicts and wars, responsible for the mammoth destruction of human life.

This is why Obama’s intention to broach the issues of democracy and human rights during his three-day visit reveals astounding impertinence, not to mention arrogance. The leader of a country that continues to occupy Cuban territory – in the shape of the despised Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and at home where it imprisons a full quarter of the entire world’s prison population, disproportionately comprising blacks and other minorities – is in no position to lecture anyone.”

He adds of the potential positives for Cubano citizens, notes the dramatic increase in numbers of tourists, and how it’s spiked hotel and other prices rapidly, and has already caused some class conflicts that might increasingly tear at the fabric of social cohesion among the citizenry.  He uses this great imagery as cautionary:

“On another level, the thought of thousands of cigar chomping, Bermuda shorts wearing, and hamburger-eating Americans landing in Cuba and barking orders at waiters, taxi drivers, and hotel workers sends a chill sliding down the spine.

In what may well turn out to be a sad irony, this army of tourists could achieve what decades of botched invasions, sabotage, assassination attempts, and covert plots to topple the country’s government over the years failed to in producing its political transformation. As the economy grows so will the demand for political reform, thus exerting more and more pressure on the status quo.”

No one knows what ‘political reform’ will look like, Mr. Early in the TRRN interview notwithstanding.

If you can take any more for the sake of posterity, Bill Van Auken at wsws narrates the epic unintentional satire in Obama’s televised speech to Cubanos.

So: I’ll see you in C-U-B-A!  I’ll be the breezy Isadora Duncan look-alike cruising around in a baby-blue vintage Pontiac, baby blue chiffon scarf blowin’ in the wind.  Or a same-color Caddy, if that’s all that’s left that hasn’t been shipped ‘home’ by the Masters of Capital’ already.

19 responses to “Forget All That Human Rights Stuff; Cuba’s Open for Bidness!

  1. good gawd all-friday; another email touting Barry’s cuba trip just came in, an one might think this fellah isn’t the goodwill ambassador they should be extolling.

    now on the Big Trip were also a couple hundred MLB players, commissioners, tra la la. mr. wd reminded me that given the embargo, anyone who wanted to play in the US had to defect, okay? a lot did. but this fellah says:

    “At 26 years of age, I made a decision to leave my Cuba. Not knowing what the outcome would be, I, along with a few members of my family, floated away in a small cramped boat for more than 12 hours before reaching Haiti. The waters were rough, the night was scary, and the sun was unforgiving.

    I remember looking back as we drifted away, leaving behind my life, my family, my friends, and my two-year-old son. I could feel my heart pounding harder and harder as we got further away. I knew that even if I made it to my destination safely, I didn’t know if I would be able to ever return.

    It was the hardest decision I have had to make but it was exactly what needed to happen. I couldn’t have imagined how blessed my life was going to be after I left; how my dream of becoming a professional player in the Major Leagues would become a reality, as well as becoming a symbol of pride for my people.

    Yet, I lived not knowing if or when I would be able to see my family or be able to go back. I was so blessed to return to my homeland last year as part of the Baseball Goodwill Tour thanks to the efforts of Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association, President Obama, and the Cuban government.”

    yep, his dream…he never mentioned a wife, but he leaves his two year old son? but he cried tears of joy, and the email featured a video of the ‘historic’ bésibol game the obamas attended. joe torre killed me. ;-)

    on edit: i wasn’t going to mention the timing of the game, since i reckon running home to prevent ‘terrorist attacks in the US is kinda…silly, but the photo of rice and O just cracked me up:

    ‘The US president hoped to display a ‘new era’ for relations at an exhibition game, but terror attacks in Brussels earlier in the day left him facing a difficult challenge’ oh, how to spin this?

  2. it’s funny how people refuse to see what’s in front of them when they drive down the street to see what’s (likely) about to happen to cuba. those strip mall hells & miles of roads don’t build themselves, people. i can just see the armies of obese americans saying things like, “hey, do you know where i can find another authentic all-you-can-eat cuban buffet? for some reason, they just kicked us out of the buffet at El Applebees Havana and clearly me & the family haven’t had ALL we could eat.”

    i don’t know what you think of this strategy, but when talking w/someone about cuba, i find myself asking them, “Did you see Godfather 2? what part of that whole Cuba business didn’t you understand or find to be inaccurate?”

    it’s funny how revolutionary movements (like fascism) just sort of…happen. the phlogiston was extra volagile in the aether that year so the cubans decided to revolt. there is no cause & effect; there are no discernible circumstances in which events occur. so revolution emerges b/c of this amorphous primal “evil.” can’t you tell? all the good we promise to do in future, were we not doing in that the past? yes, we were. so why the cubans ever revolted becomes a mystery that no one can ever possibly hope to understand.

    • first, thank you for causing me look up ‘phlogiston’. yes, the revolution was just accidental alchemy divorced from reality. but, heh, one guardian essay (maybe the one that had the rolling stones’ coming concert in havana) asking if once again drugs, prostitution, gambling, and mafia-based crime would appear again like…phlogiston? ;-)

      so many comments under so many of the msm coverage of ‘the rapprochement trip’, both before and during…were jaw-droppingly ‘naive’, shall we say? propagandized, i guess. and yes, your godfather 2 analogy sounds about right. i grabbed this link i’ve only started, but it seems based on the same theme. http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/batista.htm

      but in general, from bloomberg to wherever else, the ‘open markets equal freedom’ catechism is ubiquitous.trying to understand others’ thought processes really slows down the work, doesn’t it? and yet that’s necessary to change minds. it was what i loved best about occupying mancos, co: when folks would actually get out of their trucks or cars and come and dialogue, so many left nodding their heads in at least partial understanding.

      telesur has a few bits up concerning obama’s next stop after havana: macri the putz in argentina. kinda breezed right by the US’s support for the dirty war, shockingly. i might stick in some comments on the love he gave macri, who has opened argentina up for ‘further bidness’.

    • jason, considering your excellent construction of el applebees and ‘someone’s got to build those roads’, etc., garry leech wrote today about obama’s extreme arrogance today, and highlighted some of his comments i hadn’t heard about that were made to show that replacing cuba’s socialism with…that other thing.

      “Obama made clear his desire to promote corporate capitalism in Cuba when he referred to the blockade by declaring, “It’s a burden on the Americans who want to work and do business or invest here in Cuba. It’s time to lift the embargo.” Such a declaration should come as no surprise given that his delegation was filled with US corporate CEOs. He then proceeded to tell Cuba how it should manage its economy by stating, “But even if we lifted the embargo tomorrow, Cubans would not realize their potential without continued change here in Cuba. It should be easier to open a business here in Cuba.” And then, in an effort to ensure that US corporations can exploit Cuban workers in the same manner they exploit poor Latin Americans in capitalist countries throughout the region, he declared, “A worker should be able to get a job directly with companies who invest here in Cuba.” Furthermore, in contrast to Obama and the US media’s suggestions that the economic reforms implemented in Cuba in recent years constitute a shift towards capitalism, in actuality they represent a redefining of Cuban socialism that seeks to improve the degree of economic democracy in country.”

      well, sure: allow US corporations to hire wage slaves, extract all we can from them, and look how cuba’s GDP can rise! (yeah, i’ve been listening to michael hudson with (ish) chris hedges, but part II is what i really wanted to hear/read.) i am glad i listened and read part I, though.

      • i read the gary leech article.

        OT, but did you know max is sidney blumenthal’s son? ah, the mystery of life. no one would confuse chelsea for anyone but hill & bill’s infernal spawn. per a slate article on HRC at AIPAC (she’s supposed to be an alternative to Herr Arbeit Macht Big Hair?), papa sid is taking flack from certain kosher quarters for refusing to condemn the son who doesn’t daven before the zio state. not offering the kids up to Moloch is grounds for suspicion.

        • perhaps maxie takes after his mama?

          but sheesh, i just read sidney’s whole wiki, and i’m thoroughly embarrassed to admit i don’t remember him at all. it sounds like he was quite the liar for the clintons, though.

          i’ve seen the aipac and candidates headlines, is all. i just cant handle the circus at all; even counterpunch is a major disappointment to me, in that almost all the essays are about…that. clinton’s performance at aipac however many years ago i do remember well, though. she had the gleam of a true believer in her eye addressing the crowd, though. come to think of it, i read a piece not long ago that posited that NO candidates should speak there, with a little history of how it came to be de rigeur, but i’ve forgotten the year that began.

          the exception to my non-attention to candidates are the few opinion pieces whose titles ask whether or not there really is any sort of organized sanders revolution afoot. arun gupta was the most recent, and he’d mentioned social democrat v. democratic socialist, which terms i’d meant to look up further. one is just a reform capitalist, he said.

          i’ve seen a number of op-ed titles from ‘leftists’ saying they’d vote for clinton over that man. Arbeit Macht?

          but anti-semitic indictments, as well as ‘self-loathing jew’ charges are part of the political zeitgeist, aren’t they? as to the former, not too long ago a wonderful man left the café calling me the former for asking if he’d left firedoglake due to zionist issues (i should have said ‘I/P’ issues). my stars, what a loaded issue it is! so loaded, that i do tend to stay away from reading or writing about it, even when i see maxie interviews on trnn.

          on edit: i just bada-binged “Arbeit macht frei”. how did i not remember that?

          • i don’t remember sid from the clinton days either. intentionally flying below the media radar?

            George Carlin: it’s important not to give a shit. the phony outrage over America’s Top Cheerleader staying for a baseball game after the “terrorist” attack (that, per Haaretz, was not quite such a surprise after all) misunderestimates the role of the titular “‘leader’ of the ‘free’ ‘world'”. It’s a coin toss which is more relevant: the spectacle of ‘terrorism’, or the spectacle of Professional Team Sports. Plus the tens of billions on the hook in foreign investment in Cuba. the marketing gurus behind America’s Top Model told him to stay put & blather on about the glories of the free market. So that’s what he did.

            • i think i like the notion that potus is the actual “ms. america” of the country.

              • aw, jeez; that was adorable, as well as brilliant! how did i not see ‘sleeper’?

                yep, carlin’s right, but somehow…some of us still care, painful as it is, and try to seek out a closer version of the truth, dagnabbit. found a great song to end my next diary, by the by. ;-)

                • i was thinking specifically of the election w/the carlin quote.

                  happy friday. i note sourly that some countries get a whole week off for easter. bloody catholics.

                  • i will admit that i care almost not at all about the election, at least the presidential one. good friday to you and all, and i won’t embed eric idle’s ‘always look on the bright side’ out of some sense of decency. ;-)

                    from work they get a week off? now…school chirren in the U of A seem to, but they call it ‘spring break’, when HS kids go crazy in florida, but few get arrested for anything short of murder.

            • well, his wiki makes it clear that sidney did a lot of testifyin’ in the big dog’s impeachment hearings, so…not so much under the radar. but it’s good he didn’t diss his son, yes? and rahm blocked him from working for SoS clinton?? didn’t grasp that one.

              but yeah, R empty suit raging against the economic machine. really, though, the falsity of the photo was too much fun. maybe i can embed it; i’ll see.

              and during the attacks in brussels, rice and obama are locked in an an underground unisex toilet at the ballpark showing concern ‘n talking to DHS:

              http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/23/barack-obama-cuba-trip-brussels-terror-attack-raul-castro-baseball#img-2

              dinnae work; rats.

            • clinton SoS as well. sorry mine eyes failed before being able to assess who sidney was in the clinton emails clusterfuck, but he is well-represented:

              • the drug-infused rapine of the brown-skinned Other, can’t be trusted round his nor our women…wow. that fantasy keeps on givin’ don’t it.

                in this rape fantasy and in the “saddam cracks open the incubators and then drops the baby eggs on the floor”…advertisement, marketing/PR war fluff piece, we must ward off the threat to the womenfolk and hold the mother of all battles over who possesses that fertile, fertile, fertility. some sick fucks out there. concocting these lurid rape & child murder fantasies as they shoot depleted uranium all over the place & bomb all H2O treatment plants.

                • ach, i can’t remember how many arguments i had back in the day about all this shite, even with a man i shared a website with. remember that woman who’d burst into a press center in some city in libya, telling the viagra rape story, and claiming gaddafi handed out condoms, to boot? then…she disappeared. bullshit detector, uh huh… but the story was reified, and if per that story, whatever human rights organization put paid to it, i sure never heard it.

                  but doggone it, jason! i used to know the name of the madison ave. ad agency that concocted the saddam incubator story. ;-) oddly, i reckoned the one that would stick was the mobile chemical labs in hellish-copters, dropping goddess knows what from the sky. but you seem to be right: it was the fertile neo-natal reproductive stuff con that lent itself to outrage. wow.

                  and in afghanistan again: that ubiquitous marquee poster thanking NATO for protecting the womyn and chirren. or something.

                  sleep well; i’m out. oh, and thank you so much for being here. if not, it seems i would have been talkin’ to my blessed self all week (not that it’s a deal-breaker, ya unnerstand…) well, not just for bein’ here of course. ;-)

                  • yes. afghanistan too. i can see genghis khan w/a sly grin & a devilish twinkle in his eye saying to the troops, laddies! let’s go protect us some women! and all the men having a good laugh, a hearty malicious laugh and cracking glasses all around.

                    but when john kerry or HRC or SoS spokescyborg John Kirby get up & say that shit, why aren’t the media laughing their asses off? or rather asking things like, so, Sec. of Botox Kerry, are you suggesting, that prostitution & heroin addiction among women in Kabul is down since the NATO invasion?

                    • the media don’t laugh because they know in their hearts and souls that amerikka is exceptional, and the global bastion of freedom, democracy, and human rights.

                      but you did cause a sick, gurgling laugh to bubble outta me. but speaking of saving women from violence, your old pal madeleine is on the job, an always remember that!

                      now if her highness also happens to own and operate Albright Stonebridge Group and be the chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets…it’s just akin to ‘companion planting’ in gardens, no?

                      yeah, there’ve been a few kerfuffles concerning some of the hideous deeds among our Partners in Peace, but they don’t amount to a hill of beans, do they?

  3. jayzus; i’d been wondering about this:

  4. Oopsie; O and fidel hadn’t met in cuba, but this is just fine, considering everything else:

    ‘Fidel Castro: Cuba Won’t Surrender to the United States’; the iconic revolutionary figure penned an opinion piece warning the U.S. against thinking Cuba would serve the interests of Washington’

    “In the article, published Monday, the iconic revolutionary figure explained that “Cuba doesn’t need the empire to give us anything,” adding that “nobody should be under the illusion that the people of this noble and selfless country will surrender their rights and spiritual wealth that they have won with the development of education, science and culture,” under the Cuban Revolution.

    He added that Cuba can “produce the food and material wealth we need through effort and intelligence of our people.”

    Fidel Castro expressed amazement at Obama’s call during his visit to Cuba to simply “forget the past … look to the future,” and referred to the “merciless blockade that has lasted almost 60 years” and to U.S attacks to overthrow the revolution via “mercenary attacks on ships and Cuban ports, an airliner full of passengers detonated in midair, mercenary invasions, multiple acts of violence.” (more at telesur)

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