Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cuba, Da: Embargo, Nyet!

In an interesting bit of international pantomime during the visit to Moscow by the "Cuban Foreign Minister" Felipe Perez Roque, both parties for reasons of their own made all sorts of conciliatory noises. The headlines emerging include Cuba "inviting" Russia to drill for oil here, Russia extending a $20 million dollar credit to Cuba here, and the best- both announcing that "President" Raul Castro will be visiting Moscow next year here. Of course, there are the usual demands that the US obey the rest of the world and lift the embargo. Something I find a tad presumptuous at best. There is if nothing else the question of uncompensated seizures of American property. Guess it's easy to give away other people's money. There seems to be a lot of that going around these days. Then the Russians know all about the lack of remuneration, as the Cuban misrulers owe the old Soviet Union about $26 billion in unpaid debts.

Sure it's all meant to scare the US into submission. The Cuban regime wants money, money, money- There must be more money!- as it rattles its tin cup menacingly, saying, "See, if you aren't nice to us, we'll cozy up to the Russians." In the end, what they want is credit, as they've burned just about every other country in the world community. Okay, maybe they also want access to American markets and American tourists. It all adds up to filthy lucre, little of which is going to seep down to the population. The Russians want to sell arms to Latin America, I hear. They already have the cover of being miffed with some reason over the placement of missiles in Eastern Europe, which by the way we have handled in a ham-handed fashion.

It seems a bit of political theater, because Russia cannot afford to carry the economic black hole that is the island. Similarly, the Cuban regime has learned that it cannot depend the Russians to carry their economy. Although not averse to a suckle or two at the Russian teat, they are in search of a benefactor, waiting for the "One." Frankly, there are enough bailouts going around. It is past time to deal with the Russians in a respectful, if critical, manner. They are giving us a taste of our own medicine. As to the Lords of Misrule in the Caribbean...that's fodder for another time.

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