Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Cuba Complexity

What's going on in Cuba?

Cuba is obviously not the Eden that idealists choose to believe it is. But when I was there in 1981, it was clearly not hell on earth, either. The US policy toward Cuba has been essentially the same for the past 44 years, and that policy has made it possible for Castro to stay in power. Castro is an enlightened despot. Enlightened in his speeches and actual policies that seek to improve the general welfare, making social services such as health care available to average Cubans that would make many Americans writhe with jealousy if they knew about them. Despotic - well, that hardly needs expounding, he's a petty dictator who brooks no opposition.

Cuba remains the only country against which the US is still fighting the Cold War, and this is absolutely unnecessary. Were we to drop our trade and travel restrictions - Ronald Reagan called it "constructive engagement" in the context of South Africa, where such a policy was misguided - Cuba would open up at warp speed. Cuba would follow the path of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Russia, and soon Castro would lose his power to the demands of a people interacting with the world. As it is, he maintains an iron grip because the people see no alternative.

Are we just going to wait for Castro to die, and then hope that the ensuing void will result in a more satisfactory regime? Or will some brave US politician stand up to the Miami cabal and finally kill Castro with kindness to the Cuban people?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Virgin Post

There comes a time when new things must start. Today, The Pen Ultimate pens its first.

Expect big things from this blog, in days ahead. But first, expect little, for The Pen Ultimate is about to take his first vacation.

A wedding, in Bucharest. Followed by a honeymoon, in Croatia. These revelations will not be blogovised.

Though the blog may develop a bit in the few days before takeoff.

This is prelude.

All that follows is The Pen Ultimate.