A blog about interesting ideas, things, people, and events.
Thursday, October, 2007
AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE RON PAUL © ABIP 2007by Agustin Blazquez with the collaboration of Jaums SuttonThe biggest enemies in the United States of those who want freedom for Cuba are the liberal media and academia. This Cuban American’s personal opinion has been reinforced by 40 years of life in this country seeing and reading reports from the liberal media and academia about the Cuban revolution and life in Cuba since Fidel Castro’s military regime took power.
When you know a subject matter very well, the romantic ideas, false myths, errors, misconceptions, misleading reports and propaganda, do more than jump out at you; they attack you with fury.
The liberal media and academia, after decades of bombarding the American people with relentless misinformation about Cuba, fool most of them, but they cannot fool a Cuban American with firsthand experience about the Castro brothers’ ongoing totalitarian regime.
I don’t think most Americans – misinformed by the liberal media and academia – can make an educated judgment or decision about the Cuban issue. Many are so misled that they even wear Che T-shirts.
They don’t know that Che Guevara was a criminal who took pleasure in executing people – including minors – without trial. They don’t know that he was the architect of the Cuban gulag, prison and execution system. They don’t know that other than that, he failed miserably, mismanaging everything Castro assigned to him.
The confusion extends to our politicians.
Of the Democrats running for President, Barack Obama and John Edwards recently made statements about Cuba that revealed their ignorance.
An opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times on August 25, 2007, said, “Barack Obama, determined to cast himself as the Democratic presidential candidate most open to new ideas on foreign policy, raised plenty of eyebrows recently when he proclaimed that he would be willing to meet personally with such rogue figures as Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.” Castro has proven repeatedly that he is, unfortunately, not open to negotiating.
ABC News’ Rick Klein reported on August 17, 2007, that John Edwards, at an event in Oskaloosa, Iowa, answered a question about Cuba’s healthcare system thusly: “I’m going to be honest with you – I don’t know a lot about Cuba’s healthcare system. Is it a government-run system?”
Even decent, honest, well-intentioned politicians don’t have a clue about how the totalitarian military regime in Cuba operates.
On September 24, 2007, replying to an inquiry about U.S. policy toward Cuba, the campaign of Republican Congressman Ron Paul of Texas responded: “Congressman Paul believes that real free trade benefits both parties involved. His stance on Cuba would be to end the embargo, which only leads to the suffering of the people of Cuba while Castro is far from ‘punished’ and is in fact, strengthened by them. By setting a good example at home we can become an inspiration for countries such as Cuba, who may wish to emulate our actions
This naive approach would work if the Castro brothers’ totalitarian regime and their henchmen thought the way Americans think, but unfortunately they do not.
This is my answer to Congressman Paul: the reasons why I think his policy, with which many agree, is misguided and why the Cuban embargo should not be lifted and free trade should not be established with Cuba.
1. What is good for agribusiness in Texas is not necessarily good for the Cuban people.
2. Doing business in Cuba is not doing business with Cuban business owners. The Cuban government requires that all foreign business done in Cuba be conducted with the Cuban government as intermediary. As revealed by many participants, foreign companies must pay the regime in dollars to get workers, and the regime keeps 90% of the salaries; workers receive just 10%, and they are paid in Cuban pesos. Independent labor unions are forbidden. On August 11, 1989, Carlos Miguel Suarez and Isidoro Padron Armenteros were executed in the city of Sagua La Grande, Cuba. Their crime? Trying to organize an independent labor union.
3. The embargo is working. If it had not been in place, the Cuban government would have had more money to spend on spreading communism and terrorism around the world and on maintaining control of and suppression of the Cuban people. It may even have been able to afford nuclear weapons by now. It is on public record that Castro asked Nikita Khrushchev to use nuclear missiles against the United States during the missile crisis in 1962 and that Che also wanted to use nuclear weapons to destroy the U.S. In addition, the embargo may prove to be a bargaining chip for a future change of government there.
4. Doing business with Cuba does not put pressure on the Castro government to increase freedoms; it merely reinforces the existing elitist system, since the only Cubans permitted to do business with foreigners are the privileged elite, who are chosen by the government. But not even the elite can put pressure on the Castro government, because their status can change in the blink of an eye.
5. Many naively point out the role of free trade in overturning the totalitarian regimes of countries such as China and Russia. But as reported by 60 Minutes on Sunday, September 23, 2007, and many other sources, Russia is resuming its totalitarian police state. The television program 20/20 reported a few weeks ago that Vladimir Putin has created a Hitler Youth–type organization to fight dissent, similar to Castro’s dreaded paramilitary Rapid Response Brigades, which equate to the “Tonton Macoutes” of the late Haitian dictator “Papa Doc” Duvalier. All are used to control, intimidate and create fear among ordinary citizens.
6. The United States has been trading with China since the Nixon era, yet that country remains a totalitarian police state and is a major human rights violator, including the use of slave labor. In addition, most big companies in China, such as China Ocean Shipping Company COSCO, are owned in partnership with or solely owned by the repressive military elite.
7. The unscrupulous businessman’s dream is to convert Cuba into another China in partnership with the repressive Cuban military elite. The Cuban elite in conjunction with American businessmen continues taking advantage of cheap Cuban labor. Currently, via international business agreements, Cuba exports slave labor to other countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. For upcoming documentaries I have interviewed ship workers sent to Curacao and doctors sent to Venezuela. I have a relative, a dentist, who was sent to Peru twice.
8. Shortages of consumer goods is one of the tactics used by the Cuban regime to control the citizens: They are so preoccupied with obtaining their next meal that they don’t have the time or energy to complain about the government. In Hugo Chavez’s “Cubazuela” (Venezuela’s carbon copy of the Castro revolution), shortages of consumer goods have been appearing for some time, despite the oil wealth and despite the lack of a U.S. embargo against the Chavez regime.
9. Cuba does not have the money to pay for what it buys from companies in other countries. Cuba’s credit history is notorious and well documented. U.S. agricultural companies will end up being paid by U.S. taxpayers instead of by the Cuban government.
10. It was immoral doing business with South Africa because of the apartheid regime. Why are you in favor of doing business with Cuba? The records clearly show that Cuba has an apartheid regime. Are you in favor of keeping ordinary Cuban citizens away from beaches, restaurants, hotels, stores, nightclubs and neighborhoods; from participating in business deals, from owning property, etc.? Foreigners in Cuba enjoy all of those rights, but average Cubans are forbidden by law to participate in the pursuit of freedom and happiness.
11. It is immoral to do business with a regime that has caused the deaths of over 100,000 people (documented by Dr. Armando Lago in an ongoing study referred to in numerous publications such as the Wall Street Journal). Cuba is designated by the U.S. Department of State as a terrorist country that sponsors terrorism around the world and slowly but surely is subverting Latin America. Take a look at Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina.
Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul as well as other decent politicians should consider these points before making more errors dealing with the Castro brothers’ regime. The U.S. has a dismal record of failures dealing with them dating back to 1957. All must read The Fourth Floor: An Account of the Castro Communist Revolution by Earl E. T. Smith, a former United States Ambassador to Cuba from 1957 to 1959.
© ABIP 2007Agustin Blazquez, founder and presidentUNCOVERING CUBA EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION (UCEF) A non-profit organization [501 (c) (3)]AB INDEPENDENT PRODUCTIONS (ABIP)Producer and director of the documentaries:
COVERING CUBA, premiered at the American Film Institute in 1995, CUBA: The Pearl of the Antilles, COVERING CUBA 2: The Next Generation, premiered in 2001 at the U.S. Capitol in and at the 2001 Miami International Book Fair COVERING CUBA 3: Elian presented at the 2003 Miami Latin Film Festival, the 2004 American Film Renaissance Film Festival in Dallas, Texas and the 2006 Palm Beach International Film Festival, COVERING CUBA 4: The Rats Below, premiered at the two Tower Theaters in Miami on January 2006 and the 2006 Palm Beach International Film Festival and the 2006 Barcelona International Film Festival for Human Rights and Peace, Dan Rather "60 Minutes," an inside view , RUMBERAS CUBANAS, Vol. 1 MARIA ANTONIETA PONS, COVERING CUBA 5: Act Of Repudiation premiered at the two Tower Theaters in Miami, January 2007, at the Hispanic Cuban Club in Madrid, Spain and the 2007 Palm Beach International Film Festival, and the upcoming COVERING CUBA 6.
For documentary previews visit:
Author of more that 300 published articles and author with Carlos Wotzkow of the book COVERING AND DISCOVERING and translator with Jaums Sutton of the book by Luis Grave de Peralta Morell THE MAFIA OF HAVANA: The Cuban Cosa Nostra.