In Re: Castro
No intelligent discussion can really begin without agreeing to the following: fundamentally, he beat the U.S. He outlasted ten presidents and nearly half a century’s embargo, and left office on his own terms–becoming, somewhere along the way, the longest serving de facto head of state (not counting constitutional monarchs like Rama IX of Thailand and Elizabeth II of the UK).
Let us also remember a few other facts: Castro wanted to deal with the US–his early contacts with the KGB for arms were not because he was a committed Communist, but because he was a committed nationalist and didn’t care where the weapons for his guerilla war came from: his next stop on his shopping circuit was the United States.
But ultimately, the Eisenhower administration shoved Castro in the direction of Krushchev by backing the corporations who had been so supportive of Batista and his thuggish rule rather than the people they’d run roughshod over.
And regardless of anything else, he outlasted us fair and square. This has nothing to do with rightness and wrongness, crimes real and imagined, it’s a simple statement of fact.
One wonders when, like Reagan before him with the Eastern Bloc, Dumbass will begin to claim victory simply as an accident of timing. Because nothing he—or any other US president—did moved Castro one millimeter closer to leaving. Barring any unexpected revelations, it’s clear he’s resigning because he just damn well wants to—interestingly, he’s surrendering at the same time the opportunity to die in office as a martyr to the needs of the state, “heroically guiding Cuba to his last breath” or some other propaganda fodder.
The real tragedy is that this is happening at a time when we have a (mal-)Administration which is intellectually and ideologically ill-equipped to take best advantage of the situation and offer the appropriate quid pro quos to guide Cuba to a more open society.
One hopes that the Cubans themselves will take matters into the future, and not the extremist exile community that retreated to America to damage our ability to rationally deal with an unpleasant neighbor on our border. Cuba does not need a return to the days of Batista, orchestrated by those who forgot the reasons why they overthrew him and then ran away rather than fight for their country further.