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Cuba Again

Another bad opera in the Florida Straits

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, February 28, 1996.

Cuba is again in the headlights of the United States. Cuba shot down two Cessnas run by the pseudo-heroic “Brothers to the Rescue”, a group of Miamians who got in the headlines by dropping supplies to rafts escaping Cuba. Then pamphlets over Havana itself.

Now, unlike many here at KGNU over the years, I am not a fan of Fidel Castro or Cuba. Castro sold his army to the Soviet Union to fight in Africa to keep himself in power. He’s still, most importantly, in power, and no more damming epitaph for communism need exist than the fact a nation laboring under it ever found a way to be democratic or to change leadership. If Castro were a revolutionary, he’d have resigned, held elections, and be attending baseball games as a UN representative. But, no.

And so the U.S. has been harboring the descendents of Batista’s residue for nearly 40 years now. They are right wing and too close to the underworld, both illegal like the Mafia, and legal like the CIA. They and their children have been trying to get the US to invade Cuba for decades. No matter who gets killed in the process. This, rather than wait for Cuba to implode, or Castro to die, both imminent.

So now some lunkhead in the Cuban air defense shot down, in international waters, two previously guilty planes, but guilty of what? Breaking airspace and dropping leaflets? If the U.S. adopted the same attitude, the Canadian border alone would be aflame with burning Cessnas, the coasts backlit with flaming boats. It was unnecessary, as both planes could have been forced down, the pilots captured. It was a silly over-response by a frustrated and insulted country. Nothing for them to be proud of, but hardly unexpected, hardly worthy of extensive government response.

But Clinton, in an election year, has responded, pushed by Dole and Jesse Helms and the politics of an election year. Our government routinely lies to the world and itself about Cuba, and Clinton, I hope, is only trying to corral all action under federal wing. This, to forestall any blithering idiocy from the Republicans and their foolish candidates and their strong financial supporters in the Florida Cuban community, forcing us into military action against common sense. Like Alsace Lorraine, Bosnia, Taiwan, and other points of conflict, Cuba is damned to be a suppurating sore in this hemisphere for years. And it’s made worse by the pyromaniacs in Miami, and the lunkheads in the Cuban air defense.