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.




Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Photos of the Crowds That Took Over NYC for the People’s Climate March

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

I Wrote a Novel Envisioning a Nigerian Space Program. Then I Learned Nigeria Actually Has One.

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 22 2014 11:13 AM Your Own Personal Rand Paul How the libertarian hero makes his foreign policy contradictions disappear.
Business Insider
Sept. 22 2014 9:39 AM Adrian Peterson Has a Terrible Contract, and Cutting Him Would Save the Vikings a Lot of Money
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 22 2014 11:15 AM Avenue of the Baobabs: Madagascar's Magical Upside-Down Trees
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 11:23 AM Robot Plants Are the Latest in a Long Line of Robot Thingies
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 11:23 AM Two Impacts, One Landslide… on Mercury
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.