So what’s going on in Cuba? Nobody has seen nor heard from either Fidel or his supposed successor, Raul, in more than a week and all foreign reporters are barred entry to the island. In the meantime, Cuba’s military is on combat alert and reservists are called up island-wide. The neighborhood spy and snitch groups (Committees for the Defense of the Revolution) are much more vigilant and obnoxious than usual. The goons of the Rapid Response Brigades (Cuba’s version of early Nazi Germany’s S.A.) roam the streets with chains and pipes menacing to shatter the teeth or chain-whip any malcontent or backslider.
Stalinist Cuba’s entire repressive apparatus is locked, loaded and poised.
The best guesses from the best sources, primarily the multinational staff of reporters and analysts of La Nueva Cuba, point to a possible power scuffle that has the regime very tense. "We’re worried," said the head of Cuba’s Conference of Catholic bishops, José Félix Pérez Riera. "Things are calm on the surface for now. But we’re still very worried."
Raul Castro heads Cuba’s Armed Forces. Ricardo Alarcon is "president" of Cuba’s "National Assembly." Signs point to some behind the scenes (granted, in Cuba everything’s behind the scenes) scuffling between Alarcon and his gang, against Raul Castro and his henchmen.
In plain speak: the Communist geeks might be having it out with the Communist hoods to see who’ll run Cuba. The groups overlap slightly. Not all the geeks are with Alarcon and not at all the hoods are with Raul. In June when Raul addressed a military audience during military maneuvers he wore a bulletproof vest under his shirt, proof he’s not completely convinced of their loyalty. But rather than bore you with a list of three-word names that mean nothing I’ll leave it at that. There’s much speculation that the now famous "succession testament" of last Monday was authored — not by Fidel at all — but by Raul.
That Ricardo Alarcon’s name (by most estimates Cuba’s highest ranking civilian) was conspicuously absent from the document lends more credence to the theory of Raul’s authorship. Here’s proof that, regardless of what all those academic "experts" babble and scribble, the highest ranking civilian in Cuba has less governmental authority than a dog-catcher has in Miami. Cuba’s military runs Cuba and has done so for years. If the term "military dictatorship" ever fit a Latin American nation, it’s Cuba.
But I defy you to find the term in any mainstream media article on Cuba. I also defy you to find this term absent from any mainstream media article on Pinochet’s Chile, which was overwhelmingly civilian and robustly free-enterprise.
Last week’s "succession document" read on Cuban TV is proof that Cuba’s National Assembly is not a legislature but a joke, laughed at by everyone except academic "experts" and think-tank soothsayers. Naturally these are the wizards we’ll see trotted out on CNN and whose wisdom we’ll see quoted in the New York Times over the next few weeks.
This succession has actually been in the works for several months now. Raul Castro’s first official act in January 1959 was lining up 100 potential regime opponents in front of a ditch and having them machine gunned and bulldozed into a mass grave. By the end of the year he had signed off on 550 murder warrants. As a rebel he was fond of shattering the victim’s skull with the coup de grace blast himself, much like his chum Che Guevara. So a little PR work was clearly needed. Starting in June the Cuban press commenced with the makeover. Raul the lovable grandpa and family man was the motif, which was expanded to include his crony Generals. Read these pieces and you’ll realize that both Ward Cleaver and Ozzie Nelson were dysfunctional dads compared to Raul and his cronies.
Cuba’s military is fat and happy — has been for decades. They run Cuba. The only thing properly describable as an "industry" in Cuba (tourism) is run primarily by Cuba’s generals. They also run the export industries. Ottoman Sultans would envy the life of these gentlemen. Among these Red robber barons is Raul Castro’s favorite son-in-law, Col. Luis Alberto Rodriguez. Defectors report how their former colleagues, including Raul himself, siphon millions into Swiss Bank accounts. These gentlemen have the most at stake in this tense drama. If anyone craves a successful succession to Raul-rule, it’s these high-rolling graduates of Cuba’ Military Academy, and not just because of fiduciary considerations.
Tito Rodriguez Oltmans, a former Cuban freedom-fighter and political prisoner, watched many of these men, as young cadets, perform one of the requisites for graduation from Cuba’s military academy of the time. "They were all armed with Belgian .308 caliber FALs as they lined up for the firing squad," recalls Mr. Rodriguez, a prisoner in La Cabana prison in the early 1960s. "Every evening the cadets would be bused in from the Managua army base and the Muriel naval base near Havana. As darkness fell the condemned patriot — shirtless and gagged — would be dragged to the execution wall and bound. The cadets would line up only four meters in front of the patriot and all had loaded weapons." … FUEGO!
A brief aside: historically and almost universally, most members of a firing squad shoot blanks, to assuage their conscience. But such assuaging would contradict the Cuban firing squads’ most vital purpose, secretly named "El Compromiso Sangriento" (the Blood Covenant.) This tried and true Soviet scheme was presented by Soviet GRU agent Angel Ceutah to Che Guevara just days after he and Fidel entered Havana in January 1959. The scene was a meeting at Che’s palatial (and recently stolen) estate in Tarara just west of Havana. Every candidate for officer, suggested Ceutah, would take his place in a firing squad and pull the trigger with live ammo.
In front of a genuine Soviet GRU agent, Che (who often signed his name Stalin II) was breathlessly star struck — probably hyperventilating. As chief commissar for Cuba’s new military and death squads, Che immediately embraced the idea. He was probably whooping and high-fiving with Ceutah in the process, coughing and wheezing while frantically fumbling for his asthma inhaler.
So let’s see here: a policy suggested by a Soviet butcher and adopted by an Argentine flunky of murdering Cuban patriots, instantly became government policy in newly "nationalist" Cuba. I defy anyone to read any of the current crop of mainstream media articles or listen to one of the current crop of mainstream media interviews with the usual academic wizards that doesn’t stress how the Bush team mustn’t in any, any, any manner whatsoever even appear overbearing toward Cuba because of the prickly "nationalist" sentiments of Cuban "leaders."
The point of the Blood Covenant was to bond the murderers, especially those in line for future leadership, with the murderous regime. The more shooters the more murderers. The more murderers thus manufactured the more people on hand to resist any overthrow of their system. After thousands of firing-squad murders Cuba’s officer corps was plenty "bonded" to the regime. The fanatical and suicidal resistance by Hitler’s S.S. troopers against the advancing Red Army to the bitter end saw the same theme at work. These S.S. troops knew they were fighting the sons and fathers of people they’d murdered in places like Babi Yar.
As I write, Raul and his crony generals fear the same from any resistance that might sprout in their fiefdom. Not that armed resistance is even remotely possible in Cuba, unless it came from a few disaffected Generals or from Ramiro Valdez, who heads Cuba’s Secret police. Recall that Don Tattaglia resented Don Corleone’s hogging of certain privileges in their joint gangster fiefdom. The same thing among the same types is possible in Cuba.
Not that these high-rolling crooks would fight anything like the S.S. fought, or even like Clemenza and Sonny fought. The very notion is laughable. The Castroites’ cowardly clown-shows at the Bay of Pigs (40,000 Castroites barely defeating 1,400 freedom-fighter and only after the latter were stabbed in the back, abandoned and had expended their last round)and in Angola (50,000 Castroites against 5,000 South African troops, also without outside support of any kind) give a clue.
Enlightened opinion from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times to the usual crop of academic wizards all recommend an "opening" to these blood-stained wretches in Cuba. Even the normally sensible Peggy Noonan joined the chorus in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece. This chorus blames the resistance by the Bush administration to such an "opening" on relentless henpecking by those insufferable ("backward-looking" was the New York Times term in a recent editorial) Cuban-Americans, who cannot be made to see reason, and who persist in their blockheaded and "failed" policy on Cuba.
Fine. Count me among these.
Webster’s defines "embargo" as "a government order imposing a trade barrier." As a verb it’s defined as "to prevent commerce."
Yet according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. has done more than $1 billion dollars worth of business with Cuba in the last few years. Currently the U.S is Cuba’s biggest food supplier and 4th biggest import partner.
How a nation’s fourth biggest import partner and biggest food supplier "blockades" it, might be best explained by George Orwell who coined the term newspeak.
"Ten American Presidents have tried to topple Castro! But Fidel has outlasted them all!" complain (actually, gloat) Cuba "experts."
Actually, one American President, Eisenhower, (unwittingly) put Castro in power. Another (JFK) pledged to safeguard Cuban communism with U.S. arms. And most U.S. Presidents since (including Reagan) have attempted to come to terms with Castro — have in fact taken the initiative themselves. "The embargo has failed!" constantly complain (gloat, actually) the Cuba "experts" of the mainstream media and academe.
Whatever has "failed" has not been an "embargo." Yet the consensus among the "experts" is to expand this failed policy with the successor military/gangster dictatorship.