The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) has just written a term paper for Obama. Machetera gives it a D.
On the bright side, if CANF really has the inside track with the Obamans now (and they might, if Obama’s terrible pandering speech to CANF in 2008 is any indication) it looks like one of Machetera’s friends at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington will finally be able to realize his dream of shopping at Ikea before he leaves for Cuba later this year. (See CANF’s suggested removal of the 25 mile travel restriction on Cuban diplomats in the U.S. in return for allowing USA diplomats free roaming for subversion in Cuba.)
Other than that, it’s more of the same. Upgrade Radio/TV Marti? Please. Upgrade it yourself. CANF claims that the OCB says that 70% of the Cuban population used to tune in to Radio Marti. That’s laughable, and Machetera notices, not footnoted either. Probably somebody stuck a zero on the other side of the 7, hoping nobody would notice. Of course if the USAmericans on Obama’s staff were actually allowed to go to Cuba, they’d know this themselves. But the travel restrictions have worked remarkably well to put the Cuban American mafia in a position of filtering and distorting information for their captive political audiences.
Yet CANF can’t even put together a paragraph that makes sense, despite their feeble attempts to score intellectual points by googling the Hoover Institute and misquoting Max Litvinov. The Soviet diplomat is said to have stated “Food is a weapon,” in regard to Herbert Hoover’s food aid to Latvia following the 1921 famine in Russia. But the point is lost on CANF, who need look no farther than Haitian rice farmers or Mexican corn growers to see the modern corollary. Argentinean soy anyone? Or hell, they can just look at Cuba (that’s all they do anyway). Food is an imperialist weapon, and the blockade which forces Cuba to ship their rice from Vietnam, halfway around the world, is a perfect, shining example, but CANF misses the point, taking it to mean that communists are the ones who wield it, instead of being forced to deal with it being wielded against them.
Here they are on the blockade:
“To unilaterally lift the embargo without any significant evidence of irrevocable change in Cuba would be tantamount to sentencing the Cuban people to the continuation of the deprivation of economic, civil and human freedoms they have endured for the past five decades…”
This is unspeakably stupid. The blockade is the primary cause of Cuba’s economic deprivation, so lifting it could hardly mean this would continue. Deprivation of civil and human freedoms? With people in the USA being forced from their homes, deprived of basic health security, and a poverty rate in Miami approaching 1 in 3, perhaps we’d best not go there.
CANF reinserts foot in mouth regarding the Bush regime’s prohibition on mailing soap and seeds to Cuba:
The Bush Administration explained their rationale for the policy stating that the purpose in limiting “such parcels decrease the burden on the Cuban regime to provide for the basic needs of its people.”  This statement not only incorrectly assumes the Cuban government is concerned about providing basic needs for its people but worse yet, instead of urging and assisting Cubans in becoming independent of the State, it has the reverse effect of having Cubans turn back to the State as their sole provider and source for basic goods and necessities.
So…does the Cuban state provide or not provide basic goods and necessities? Because CANF can’t have it both ways and suggest that Cubans ARE turning to a state to receive these things “as their sole provider and source,” if the state is providing nothing in response because it is unconcerned.
But finally, the weirdest thing is their idea for micro-loans:
“Permitting Cuban-Americans and others, under license, to send cash, building materials, agricultural implements and provide services to independent, private entrepreneurs not affiliated with the regime for the establishment of micro-enterprises, such as artisans and family-owned small businesses, and the building and repair of private family residences affected by last season’s hurricanes would have an indelible and immediate impact on the growth of Cuba’s independent economic sector and civil society as a whole.”
Actually, no. Machetera gets tired of pointing this out, but Cuba is not the USA. It’s not that José Cubano can’t get his hands on the money to set up a ponchera (tire repair) under the stairs in his crumbling tenement in Central Havana. If it were all about the money, there are ways around the remittance restrictions, as ex-U.S. Interests Section chief Michael Parmly knows very well. It’s that small businesses have to be licensed in Cuba, just like they have to be licensed in Washington D.C., and small business licenses are for the most part not being dispensed any longer. The brief period where they were, was called the Special Period in Peacetime and it had to do with some exceptions that were made to help people get through the dreadful impact of the collapse of Cuba’s major trading partner, the Soviet Union. But Cuba is not a consumer society; as Fidel said on-camera for Oliver Stone, “That’s not what we’re doing here.” So you go ahead and flood Cuba with cute little micro-loans and there aren’t going to be any more artisans and family-owned small businesses, there’ll just be more unproductive people living on the (U.S.) dole while they suck up Cuban state resources.
As for the building and repair of private family residences affected by last season’s hurricanes, the Cuban government has already addressed that problem in a way that puts the U.S. response to hurricane victims to shame, but then, CANF’s idea isn’t really to help everyone equally, but to help some more than others, and oh by the way, with a little luck, undermine the entire system.
Fortunately, Cubans aren’t that stupid.