According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: Cuba Si! Yanquis What's Up?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cuba Si! Yanquis What's Up?

Sam and I totally agree with the first line of an April 15, 2009 Time U.S. article by Claire Suddath, titled A Brief History of U.S. - Cuba Relations, that we found on the internet. The article says, “The U.S. and Cuba sure know how to hold a grudge.” 

We were looking for information regarding the history of U.S. and Cuba relations when we found the article; we were prompted to do our research because we just read an earlier article by Arian Campo-Flores in The Wall Street Journal, reporting that Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed a bill barring state and local governments from doing business with firms having contracts of $1 million or more with Cuban entities. Even if a Florida company has no direct business with a Cuban company, if it’s a subsidiary of one that does, it could be in trouble. 

How ridiculous is that? On a scale of one to 10, 10 being the most ridiculous, that’s a 12. Sheesh! When are we going to get over ourselves? Ever since John F. Kennedy and his overzealous brother Bobby totally screwed up relations with Cuba, the U.S. has acted like an irrational kid - not to say that Cuba has acted any more rationally. 

Since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, relations between our two countries have involved bitter ideological arguments, political grandstanding and international crisis like the Cuban Missile debacle of 1962. This is with a country that lies less than 100 miles (160 km) off the coast of Florida. Cuba is our close neighbor, a country that should be our friend rather than our enemy. But the U.S. has had no diplomatic relations with Cuba since 1961; we have to use Switzerland as a mediator whenever our two countries need to talk. 

Again, that is ridiculous. One hopes that President Obama’s April announcement that he was lifting some longstanding restrictions, allowing Cuban Americans to visit and send remittances to their families. and easing — but not removing — the 47-year-old economic embargo on the island nation will pave the way for better future relations, but don’t hold your breath.

The big obstacle to normalizing relations with Cuba, apparently, is all the ex-patriots of that country who escaped to the U.S. (many to Florida) after Castro and his boys took over. A huge influx of those people arrived here in April 1980, after a downturn in Cuba’s economy caused about 125,000 of the island’s citizens to seek political asylum in foreign countries. According to our politicians who suck up to any ethnic group of people who might vote for them en masse, those ex-pats, protest vehemently every time the U.S. tries to normalize relations with Cuba.

But let us put the blame where it obviously lies. If you are any kind of history student at all you should have realized by now that the 1960s were marked by a number of subversive, top-secret U.S. attempts to topple the Cuban government. According to the Time U.S. article, “The Bay of Pigs — the CIA's botched attempt to overthrow Castro by training Cuban exiles for a ground attack — was followed by Operation Mongoose: a years-long series of increasingly far-fetched attempts on Castro's life. Between 1961 and 1963 there were at least five plots to kill, maim or humiliate the Cuban leader using everything from exploding seashells to shoes dusted with chemicals to make his beard fall out.” Those plans never worked - not even the one to hire a Mafia hit man - and Castro and Cuba became increasingly alienated from the United States.

According to an PBS film titled RFK American ExperienceOperation Mongoose, if not the brainchild of Bobby Kennedy, was certainly driven by him. "We will take action against Castro," Bobby wrote. "It might be tomorrow, it might be in five days or ten days, or not for months. But it will come."

Sam Halpern, executive officer of the CIA team charged with carrying out Operation Mongoose, reportedly described his orders from CIA Director Richard Helms to say, "Get rid of Castro and the Castro regime.” Helm’s was reported to say, "You haven't lived until you've had Bobby Kennedy rampant on your back.”

The CIA machinations provided much of the fuel behind various conspiracy theories of John Kennedy's assassination in Dallas in 1963. I personally have thought for a longtime (and now Sam agrees with me), that John Kennedy was assassinated as revenge for trying to get rid of Fidel Castro, and we wouldn’t be surprised if that was why Bobby was killed too. Apparently, both of those guys believed America was omnipotent and we could do anything we wanted in the world. Many of our other politicians have wrongly thought that too and look how much the world hates the U.S. as a result.

It’s too bad so many of our country’s leaders continue to feel it isn’t a good idea to normalize relations with Cuba, because it’s way past time to do that. Three bags of poop on continuing to be the bad neighbor that we are.

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