Coming Soon: Another Castro Surprise?

A mostly political weblog.
April 6 2009 7:56 PM

Coming Soon: Another Castro Surprise?

Monday, April 6, 2009  

Are Cuba's Communist leaders  eager to see the U.S. embargo end (as Marc Thiessen suggests ) or terrified at the prospect (because it would unleash forces they can't control)? In 2003, Ann Louise Bardach noted that every time relations with Cuba seemed to be easing , Fidel Castro did something calculated to ratchet the tension back up: 


Consider what happened in 1996, after the Clinton administration and Cuba had settled on migration and drug interdiction accords.

Castro (after months of warnings) shot down two planes operated by the exile group Brothers to the Rescue, killing four people.

The upshot was the signing of the Helms-Burton Act, which significantly tightened the embargo and codified it into U.S. law.

Did Castro know this would be the result? Of course he did.

In 1980, president Jimmy Carter re-opened the U.S. Interests Sections in Havana as a de facto embassy. Castro responded by sending 125,000 refugees to Florida in the Mariel boatlift.

In the mid-1970s, in a remarkable and audacious act of diplomacy, then-state secretary Henry Kissinger and his assistant, William Rogers, conducted secret negotiations with the Cuban government on ending the embargo. Just as they believed they were closing in on a deal, Castro sent troops into Angola - scuttling the talks.

And gee, now that President Obama is preparing to lift family travel and remittance restrictions--and there's talk of lifting the entire travel ban--we hear about plans for Cuba to host Russian bombers , while Raul Castro conducts a dramatic, power-centralizing purge . But those surprises don't seem to have derailed the anti-embargo plans. If Bardach's theory holds, then, shouldn't we expect something even worse from Raul, and soon , no? ....  8:33 P.M.


Huh? Ruben Navarette, explaining why "comprehensive immigration reform" failed, goes for the symmetrical condemnation  prized by editorialists:

We learned that immigrant advocacy groups wanted an unconditional path to legalization for the undocumented, but that law and order conservatives would object to what they call amnesty. Although we need a new round of tougher and easier-to-enforce employer sanctions, it seems only right that they be accompanied by a tamper-proof identification card so employers know who is legally eligible to work. Conservatives fought the sanctions while liberals fought the ID card. In the end, we were back at square one. 

Conservatives fought the sanctions? Not the conservatives I'm aware of. Certainly not the "law and order" conservatives who opposed "what they call amnesty." ... 7:43 P.M.


"Employee Free Choice On the Move " Part XVIII! Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln comes out against cloture for card check "in its current form." ... Again, it's not clear that "card check" has even 50 Senate votes at this point, let alone 60. ...  7:41 P.M.




Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.