Monday, January 23, 2012
Republican Candidates Threaten Cuba
I watched about half of tonight's Republican Presidential debate in Florida. I'm struck by how little these people actually talk about. The debates have been a really bad long-running reality show where they basically accuse each other of all manner of horrible things. They don't discuss their plans, they don't discuss the reasons things are the way they are, they don't discuss any real facts or issues. Except they do make a lot of threats and insinuations. Against each other. Against President Obama. Against black people. Against gay people. Against immigrants.
Tonight they threatened Iran, and, it being a debate in Florida, they threatened Cuba. There was something so visceral in their attempt to outdo each other in their bloodthirsty desire to return the laws of organized crime and plantation rule to Cuba. Well, except for poor Ron Paul, who said the U.S. should leave Cuba alone. Though today I also watched a video clip of him speaking in front of a Confederate flag in 2003 denying that the Civil War was fought over slavery which pretty much cancels out anything he says about anything else at all. The new Republican frontrunner Newt Swingrich basically said the CIA should be going to Cuba to overthrow its government. Which we presume the US has already been trying to do for over fifty years.
The government established by the Cuban Revolution in 1959 has made its share of mistakes, sure. But there is something about what Cuba has managed to do through the course of its revolution that really is meaningful, and that has to do with values and priorities. These start with healthcare and education. It really shouldn't be a surprise that someone like Gingrich, who thinks poor children should be earning their keep cleaning out bathrooms, sees the Cuban reality as a threat. American politicians have never actually cared about democracy in Cuba; they certainly didn't care about democracy when Batista was in power. What they care about is returning the rule of capitalist property relations and US dominance to a country that has dared to reject those things so close to our shores.
There's lots that could be said about the horrible things these candidates keep saying: their bigotries and their swaggering lies, their love of ruthless financial exploitation. Their charade is going to go on for a while, and I for one am not convinced that Gingrich won't be the last man standing.
It's often hard to know where to start when considering just how awful all these politicians are — from both parties. But here's another thing to add to the list. When they talk about attacking Cuba, they're talking about attacking the right of any and every social movement to break free from the clutches of corporate America.
There's only one response for the 99%: Defend Cuba!