So by now everyone should have heard the news that US and Cuba are moving towards normalizing relations after 54 years which came after the release of the three remaining Cuban 5 members from the US and Alan Gross from Cuba. President Obama’s announcement was immediately met with that standard mixed reaction with many Republicans and some Democrats criticizing him for bowing to the Castro regime and supporting the oppressive system that constantly violates human rights. To these people I raise the question concerning why #BlackLivesMatter is a thing or why is there a denial about systemic racism in America? Let’s also not forget the Senate torture report that was released. After having the pleasure of visiting Cuba I welcome this news as the only people who truly suffer from the current Cold War punishment are the Cuban people. After half a century the US policy has not brought change to Cuba but is only used by the government as a reason for the current economic conditions (they literally have billboards criticizing the embargo). As I mentioned in a earlier post the Revolution’s goal was noble and that should be commended, however many people de-historicize and tend to focus on the Castro regime for being oppressors of basic human rights. These same people fail to remember that Batista also oppressed the people but he was supported by the US government. I spoke to an senior woman who was alive during Batista’s regime and she mentioned how under his government the villages were left abandoned while the rich in Havana enjoyed life and the money that American tourists brought with them for their weekend getaways. However, she did mention how food was cheap under his dictatorship which does say a lot about the current embargo. I do not know the facts for this but I would guess that US subsidies played a significant role in cheaper food during the Batista regime because of his stance against communism.
This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of normalizing diplomatic relations between the two countries. NJ officials are now looking to use the new relationship with Cuba to arrest Assata Shakur who escaped from prison 40 years ago. The case of Assata is important for many because of how the evidence showed that she did not shoot the State trooper as originally claimed because no gun powder residue was on her fingers. However, President Obama mentioned how Cuba will be removed from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, which raises the question of if officials should even try to force this issues especially considering Assata is in her late 60s and like Cuba poses no physical threat to the US. France even refused to extradite her back to the US after completing their own independent investigation because they reached the conclusion that she would face racial and political persecution if sent back. Now I will not go into the specifics of how Assata represents the legacy of J Edgar Hoover on the FBI and the war against members and affiliates of the the Black Panther Party, but the desire to have Assata extradited to the US relates to fears I have for the Cuban people. I fear that they will be given a long list of demands that they need to follow or else everything goes back into a deep freeze erasing the change President Obama is attempting to make. Whenever someone asks about my trip to Cuba I always tell them about the beauty and the spirit that exist among the Cuban people which truly made my experience worthwhile. I want the living conditions for the Cuban people to improve but I don’t want them to lose their souls in the process. I want a Cuba not only free of dictatorships but also a Cuba free from bowing to imperial influences because in my mind that would only be a return to Pre-Revolution Batista Cuba. I want a Cuba where the Cuban people, not a dictator or foreign interests can steer their country. I still unfairly romanticize Cuba but I feel that a romantic Cuba is better than viewing Cuba as a place that needs to remain isolated. If anything this embargo has only shown what happens when a country goes against the imperial of a larger nation. I think people need to also get over the bitterness that is half a century old because that is not good for their health or mental state. Also, I welcome new relations with Cuba because the US does business with far worst systems in China and in Saudi Arabia. If the infamous handshake between President Obama and Raul Castro last year at Mandela’s Memorial Service showed anything is that these two countries can at least put aside their difference and come to work together to reach some sort of compromise. Whatever happens next my only prayer is that this new diplomacy between the two countries benefits the Cuban people the most.
This post somehow got deleted so this is a reposting of it
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