Fidel Castro Not Returning to the Presidency


castro fidel raul.jpg
OK — Which of the presidential candidates is prepared to finally break US-Cuba relations out of the anachronistic Cold War cocoon they have been frozen in and initiate a new course that benefits American interests?
Barack Obama has sketched out the initial steps of a changed direction already, while Hillary Clinton in response said that the Bush administration’s management of Cuba was just fine with her until something triggered a reason to change.
When Fidel Castro hinted in December that he would be stepping down, I asked the Hillary Clinton campaign if this news was substantial enough for it to stop hugging the Bush line and consider a new groove. I was told by a Clinton adviser that if something significant occurred to justify a rethink, then a “full policy review” would be done by the Clinton team.
Well, the hint Castro gave is now real — and this seems significant.
The ending punctuation point of Fidel Castro’s tenure in office marks the conclusion of the longest serving head of state in power today (except monarchs).
The US embargo against Cuba — which all nations but three vote against each year in the United Nations — has utterly failed to generate any positive impact on the Cuban government or people.
Of all the low cost opportunities to demonstrate a new and different US style of engagement with the world, Cuba is at the top of the list. Opening family travel — and frankly all travel — between Cuba and the US, and ending the economic embargo will provide new encounters, new impressions, and the kind of people-to-people diplomacy that George W. Bush, John Bolton, Richard Cheney, and Jesse Helms run scared of.
This is a huge potential pivot point in US-Cuba relations. Will Hillary Clinton step up to the plate — and will Obama move beyond the somewhat timid proposals he offered previously and go to the gold standard in US-Cuba relations articulated by Senator Chris Dodd?
And will John McCain just ignore history’s offered up opportunity or will he continue to paw the dirt and blow steam at the island nation just off the Florida coast?
One interesting US presidential race tidbit involves Fidel Castro — who is know quite dismissive of and sparring with John McCain over McCain’s accusations that Cuban agents engaged in torture in Vietnam. However, before this spat, Castro said that the “unbeatable” US presidential ticket would have both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on it.
Something to consider. . .
— Steve Clemons


19 comments on “Fidel Castro Not Returning to the Presidency

  1. Qaisera says:

    thank you very much for posting this.


  2. Shady says:

    “everyone want the presidency ! what is going with the politics ???”
    Yeah I agree with you, look whats happening in Pakistan now…. Bludy politics


  3. Nome says:

    everyone want the presidency ! what is going with the politics ???


  4. francois beaudin says:

    Why so much interests for Cuba?
    Their oil perhaps or for the vote of the cuban american in Florida? I doubt it i think the major interest for the States is the oil….huge amount of it offshore Cuba….chineses, canadian, norvegian and spanish compamies are already there harvesting the black gold…..50 years ago Castro and his troops kicked you out of there along with your puppet at the time Batista….your organize crime was sent to sea at the same occasion…now since the fifties you gave them shit hoping that the Maximo will be thrown out with his government but you were unsuccesful and he still there until yesterday….now you want to help this country but i think they don’t need you neither your big hotel chain and fastfood outlet…i don’t think they want to see american people there either they have enough tourist for their needs….stay home and help your own people stay home and get out of all the others countries that you invade and occupied for the last century….i think the U.S. of A just harvest what she seeded for a very long time please don’t go there in Cuba because your top peoples have no credibility stay home and help yourself.
    F. Beaudin


  5. Henry Gomez says:

    For the record, Mr. Liar Man, Obama has said the only thing he would change is the family travel restrictions and the remittance restrictions.


  6. jennifer says:

    tony foresta! you are speaking my language!
    it seems absolutely incredible to me, knowing all that we know from history about the US-CIA involvement in sovereign states the world over (Italy, Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, Iraq x 2, Afghanistan x 2, Colombia, Chile, Angola, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, need I continue because this list is rather embarrassing in its length…), that any quasi-intelligent person can actually profess to believe that the US government is interested in promoting democracy and human rights.
    this is the question of our age.
    the only thing that history and declassified documents have highlighted is how the US government has always been interested in promoting whatever is most beneficial to itself at the time, full stop. if this happens to the form of a brutal military dictatorship (Pinochet in Chile, Franco in Spain, Hussein in Iraq, Batista in Cuba, Somozas in Nicaragua) then so be it. when the tide turns and this is no longer the most agreeable option (again, Hussein in Iraq), then so be it. if a country has democratically elected a government that is not pleasing to the US (Hamas in Palestine, Socialists in Spain) then by golly, this democracy will be starved out.
    i wonder how many times the neocons repeat their myths to themselves in order for them to seem real.


  7. TonyForesta says:

    It would seem easy to remove the impediments to US/Cuba relations once any sane leader subtracts the ridiculous gibberish regarding this nebulous nonething called democratization.
    Assisting Cuba into modernization, and gleaning mutual benefits from that assistance would seem logical. But all logic and reason is tossed to the winds unless Cuba bows to some perverted, mangled, bastardized, and Americanized “disconception” of this unknown unknown thing called “democracy”, ie: marauding that nations resources, exploiting that nations populations, and funnelling that nations wealth resources into the offsheet accounts of select US cabals, coteries, cronies, and oligarchs.
    What exactly is democracy. Currently America promotes and advances tyranny, and deceptively calls it democracy, – but we in no way, anywhere on earth advance democracy.
    Let’s clean up the festering putrid seething mess in our own glass house, before we start hurling stones and at any other nation.
    Is democracy a government, wherein the government can spy on its own people without due process, or just cause, and without review, or any remedy for abuse?
    Is democracy a government wherein torture is institutionally indoctrinated and advanced as government policy.
    Is democracy a government wherein the leadership can fabricate a festering litany of exaggerations, dodgey, unvetted, single sourced, cherry picked hype and naked lies to FALSELY justifiy hurling the nation to a bloody, costly, noendinsight war and occupation against a people that did not attack us, for the wanton profiteering of the fascist leadership?
    Is democracy a government wherein the executive offices act as a monarchy, or totalitarian dictatorship and through any number of nefarious and insidious means, or presidential signing orders ignore, supercede, dismiss, or counter the will of congress and the people?
    Is a democracy a government wherein opposing candidates are “swiftboated” by fascist cabals funded by fascists oligarchs, and parroted by the complicit parrots in the socalled MSM?
    Is a democracy a government wherein the highest levels of leadership proliferate weapons for profit, conduct malfeasant manipulations of energy futures and financial instruments for profit, betray and pervert the constitution and every principle that formally defined America on a daily basis, conduct acts of treason against US operations,(Brewster Jennings and Associates) and assets (Valerie Plame), advance economic policies that rob and deprive poor and middle class Americans to feed the superrich, repeatedlty lie in the faces of the American people, manipulate elections and the elections process, conduct concerted military disinformation warfare, (information domination, perception management, and propaganda) campaigns on the American people, and ruthlessly slime, dismiss, or silence all opposition, dissent, and any questions or challenges to fascists policies of the government, and deny the people the right to petition the government for redress of grievances?
    Is democracy a government wherein the trenchant king and his evil minions operate above, beyond, outside, and in total disdain of the rule of law, and the laws of the land?
    Before any American leader starts pimping democracy anywhere else on this wild and violent earth, – there must first be some marked restoration of democracy here in America. We do not live in a democracy, so how can we impose democracy upon any other people?
    The government of Cuba should be determined by Cubans, and NOT by the fascist tyrants, despotic thieves, and pathological liars in the Bush government, or anyone who aids and abets the fascists in the Bush government.
    “Deliver us from evil”!


  8. JohnH says:

    What an enlightened approach toward Cuba might look like:
    “Cubans living on the island — not politicians in Washington, not their kinsmen in Miami — …must decide for themselves what happens next in Cuba.”
    “Now would be a perfect time to send the long overdue signal that the United States is no threat to Cuba’s national security, that we honor the aspirations of average Cubans, and that we are capable of having a constructive relationship with their government.”
    Such an approach is much more than just a “new course.” It is a new mindset, one that emphasizes dignity and mutual respect, words sadly lacking in Washington’s foreign policy establishment.


  9. Matt in Texas says:

    No candidate is going to make any major changes until after the election because they’re still scared of losing Florida. But even there, change is coming to the Cuban-American community. The old-time Castro-haters are incensed that the younger generation isn’t as hardcore as they are, preferring some changes in U.S. policy.
    Those same hard-core types lost most of their non-Cuban support by how ignorantly and arrogantly they handled the whole Elian Gonzalez situation. I was living in south Florida at the time (and still have a house there) and EVERYBODY – including some normally very conservative types – thought the “Elian Cubans” were way out of line.
    And I won’t EVEN go into the total hypocrisy of the differences in U.S. treatment of Cubans versus non-Cubans that come into Florida illegally………


  10. RonK, Seattle says:

    If memory serves, the Clinton Administration made moves toward normalization of relations with Cuba — prepaying the (steeper in those days) political price for it — and their efforts were ignominiously shot down by Fidel (or rogue elements of his defense forces).
    I find it understandable that Sen. Clinton might be incined to let actions (theirs and hers) speak louder than words on this matter.


  11. Mr.Murder says:

    The tobacco lobby will block any kind of competition into its sector coming from Cuba.
    Citrus lobby would alos.
    The oil lobby has more money than either and could change that on the topic of offshore elase sharing….


  12. JohnH says:

    Instead of “initiating a new course that benefits American interests,” why not try an entirely new approach that benefits the interests of BOTH nations. We have had 50 years of lose-lose. Why not try win-win for a change?
    Steve’s approach seems to imply that each nation should simply look out for itself. Win-win requires that each party take the time to understand both their needs as well as those of the other, something chronically lacking in US foreign policy. Understanding the other opens new opportunities to benefit from the relationship. And it builds trust, the basis for a solid, long term relationship.


  13. rich says:

    By all that is holy, we will OVERTHROW the demon dictator of Cuba by any means necessary and all means at our disposal! De-Castro-ification! Un-nationalization! By my father’s father’s father’s father’s innate brutality, we will root them out!
    If Castro will not loosen his grip on the throat of maiden Cuba— oh, wait.
    uh, nevermind.
    Wily, that Fidel.
    Depriving us of a ready-made war and a real good cleansing by defying every accepted point of dogma . . nothing to do but grumble bitterly, grow old, and lust impotently after his collectivized sugar plantations . .. here in Miami, without health care.
    You’d think American confrontationalists would learn a thing or two from Fidel about power politics, just by keeping up withe news.


  14. Montserrat Nicolas says:

    Don’t get upset Steve, but is this really such a big deal? Will US grain and agri export to Cuba increase with all this hoopla? Will Exxon and friends have more ‘ready access’ to (possible) large petro reserves, competing with the Europeans that are already there?
    Like they say in the airline industry, ‘on top doesn’t matter as much as below’ = cargo.
    My point is that it really doesn’t matter what each of the candidates say…


  15. Jay C says:

    I realize it is a long shot, but do you think, Steve, that there is any chance the Bush Administration is likely to do something to change the present (non-productive) US/Cuban policy, given Castro’s retirement?
    For a “normal” Administration, a significant change like this might be perceived as an opportunity to earn itself positive spin for itself (and, presumably, its preferred successor) on the diplomatic front.
    Or do you pandering to the Cuban-exile lobby in Florida is just too important in a election year?
    PS: MY guess is the latter case: “normal Administration” not really applying.


  16. george says:

    As a second generation Cuban American I am certainly glad to awake to this new. The “hope” is that either this administration (of which I have zero confidence in) or the next (Obama or Clinton) would start to engage the Cuban government. On this I am not very encouraged by the policies of Senator Clinton whom believes that the Bush policy of continuing the embargo is sound. That policy has accomplished nothing but failure over the last 40+ years. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens in the next year or so…heck maybe this is a way for W to save what is left of his legacy…


  17. DonS says:

    Our Cuba policy, not unlike our Israeli policy, highlights the stupity and corruption of our domestic politics and foreign affairs policy in one fell swoop.
    Is this a great country, or what? Sorry if that sounds to negative at only 7 am, uh, here in Virginia.


  18. CTown says:

    We had the opportunity to travel to Cuba with an alumni group in March 2003, just days before the Iraq war started. Without question the Cuban people are some of the friendliest, most hard-working people I have ever met. When they learned that we were Americans, they were extremely excited to speak with us, and the only negative comment that could be offered was that we shouldn’t go to war with Iraq (which I agreed with wholeheartedly.)
    If our foreign policy does not embrace Cuba, after this longstanding “face-save” from the waning days of Eisenhower Administration, we are fools. What better way to help repair relations around the world than finally acknowledging our neighbors to the south.


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *