How Cuba divides the rights


The Mayor of Miami, Francis X. Suarez, was never shy, never minced words.

In the past, Washington “deposed” [Manuel] Noriega [in Panama] and this country had peaceful democracy for decades, ”Suarez told Fox News this week. “And President Clinton in Kosovo, who is interfering in a humanitarian matter with air strikes.”

The presenter Martha MacCallum made sure that she didn’t hear anything wrong. You don’t.

“I’m not a military expert,” Suarez replied. “I’m not going to sit here and give my opinion on it which type military intervention should be used. ”Suarez said,“ What I am proposing is that this option is one that needs to be investigated and cannot simply be discarded as an option, ”using the US assassination of Osama bin Laden as an example.

When crowds of protesters took to the streets in Cuba this week, the mayor of America’s stronghold of Cuban exiles made his preferences clear as propaganda.

Now, 60 years outside of the US Allies’ concert, the Communist Party that rules Havana hired a head of government outside of the Castro family for the first time. As President Miguel Díaz-Canel attacked Washington’s ongoing embargo on his country, he said his government has taken on some responsibility.

In dialectical language, the career party member said, “We must also conduct a critical analysis of our problems in order to act and overcome and avoid their repetition,” according to the Associated Press.

Avoiding regime change can be a desperate volley. President Díaz-Canel is now playing a significantly weakened hand with the new Biden administration, a Democratic team ready to restore the kind of détente instigated by Biden’s old boss Barack Obama.

“The Cuban Communists find it hard to do without a charismatic leader,” said Justin Logan, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. “At a time when socialism is in vogue in the United States, no children wear Miguel Díaz Canel T-shirts. Cuban communism has entered its shuffling gerontocracy phase. … It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving group of guys. “

But Logan warned, “It would be nice if we didn’t even try to make another country’s policy over ourselves.” In all likelihood: no such luck.

When Biden pushed for a revision of voters in the United States and called his conservative critics as un-American illiberals, the president described the unrest in Havana as a “call for clarity for freedom”. His administration botched the reaction, mildly, with the White House spox arguing tangentially that the unrest was motivated by access or lack of vaccines.

But Biden avoided Obama’s casual mistake of giving protesters the cold shoulder, as the 44th President did during the failed “Green Revolution” in Iran in 2009 – even in the first year of a new democratic government. This snafu became a Cause celebre on the right and undermines a president who valued his own powers of persuasion and his ability to sell the nuclear deal he later brokered with Iran – only to toss it overboard by his successor.

A crisis in Cuba, of course, has the potential to shake the ranks of the American left. “How do you turn a left-wing extremist into a free trader? Bring Cuba here “, sniffed Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork, on Thursday.

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But it is on the right, divided and out of power, where open disagreements break out.

First and foremost, the Conservatives, incited by a former president who accuses them and his old government of all kinds of intrigues, are increasingly receptive to messages of war against the security state. Tucker Carlson, enlarged by time Magazine in an interview on Thursday as “the most powerful Conservative in America” ​​has said in recent months that the National Security Agency has been spying on him personally, along with numerous other complaints, adding to the track record of challenging the foreign policy status quo in the Trump- Years (including the voice for this writer).

While much of the rest of Fox devoted much of their programming to the island this week – including fellow prime time stars Sean Hannity (who hosted Senator Marco Rubio) and Laura Ingraham (who greeted former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo) – Carlson has Done ignored it by far conspicuously, except that it was briefly brought to the attention of politicians who were more invested in this country than what was happening on the US southern border.

And in recent months, Carlson has escalated his alliance with the independent journalist Glenn Greenwald, a kind of trans-partisan anti-establishmentarian who beat up the Biden government and liberal media stars and shocked old comrades on the left. But Greenwald has been beating up a lot of people in the last few days who are more right-wing: those who support a side in Cuba.

“The last five years of right-wing discourse have revolved around the evils of the CIA and the Deep State. Why do you want to unleash such people and enable them to interfere in other countries? “Grünwald told the spectator.

But to quote this film about communist intrigue Hail, Caesar!: It would be that easy.

The high command of the Republican Party is increasingly focused on Florida. The state’s residents include not just Rubio and Carlson and Donald Trump, but almost myriad other big names and plausible future presidential candidates: Senator Rick Scott, Suarez, and perhaps the greatest Republican name after Trump, Governor Ron DeSantis. And that list didn’t include the conservative-friendly Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Tom Brady.

And the fulcrum of the Republican vote in Florida is the constituency where Mayor Suarez’s views aren’t exactly an outlier: the Cuban diaspora.

This doesn’t even make up for perhaps the most promising development for the Grand Old Party in an otherwise dismal 2020: rising Hispanic support, not just isolated to Cuba-Americans. Negative government opinions in Latin America often motivate Hispanic Conservatives to support persistent immigration policies.

But what is politically unchecked: to demand border protection at home and at the same time to proclaim complete disinterest in the fate of people still living abroad. If they cannot move to America, what will become of those trapped under dictatorship or desperation or both? And what should become of a political party that is potentially short-sighted in communication? Republicans have outperformed with minorities in 2020 and are careful about losing the moral authority that these gains brought, but aren’t sure how to go about it.

An additional factor: California, especially San Francisco, has been exodused recently, where else is it going? Miami. While it’s not exactly officially a Republican story, Miami’s success as a start-up incubator and refugee camp is pretty clear to those tired of the Golden State Gauleiter. Many of these venture capital types have been thinking openly about making Cuba the 51st state in the past few days, not clearly jokingly.

A writer who straddles both worlds, Antonio Garcia Marquez, wrote this week: “If protests in Cuba continue to rise, I would bet the government will reopen the escape valve in exile to calm things down. … In this scenario, the Biden government will have a crisis in hand. “

This would be bad news for those involved and for Biden, but possibly good political news for Republicans. Her bogeyman, Vice President Kamala Harris, happens to have the immigration portfolio, and initial results leave something to be desired from Biden’s alleged successor.

Harris supported ending the Cuban embargo during the presidential campaign, but sometimes things change, as every aspiring politician knows.

“We are focused on addressing both the acute factors and root causes of migration,” Harris told the Conference of the Americas in May. “First, the acute factors – the disasters that are causing people to flee right now…. And then there are the longstanding problems – the causes – and I am thinking of corruption, violence and poverty. The lack of economic opportunity … the lack of good governance. “

And Harris knows exactly how dangerous it is to be seen as too easy on the Cuban regime. In 2020, her main rival for the vice president nomination, Los Angeles Representative Karen Bass, was disqualified likely because of the late Fidel Castro’s earlier praise.

In many ways, the Cuba discourse reflects Israel and Palestine, which last flared up in May. In these theaters, conservatives can feel comfortable for once, at the side of the angels against terrorist, failed left governments. Though nuances abound, it gets lost in the sound and anger of patriotism and democratic upheaval by politicians eager not to be seen as too close to Hamas or the communist hates in Havana.

Maybe against Greenwald, who witnessed the scenes in Miami this week, was for many the first time in a long time that people would remember a gathering on the streets where the clear spirit of the crowd was that America is good.

* * *

The politics here are not clean for the Republican Party and its conservative base.

As its takeover by Donald Trump shows, the GOP is clearly poised to move away from the wars in the Middle East, with the possible, worrying exception of a future open conflict with Iran. But the policy on Latin America has been less clear for years.

Rex Tillerson, Trump’s short-lived foreign minister, once called for a renewal of the Monroe Doctrine to counter China.

The ex-oilman called it “clearly… a success” and said the fifth president’s declaration of regional power was “as relevant today as it was the day it was written…. Latin America does not need new imperial powers that are only trying to benefit their own people…. China’s state-run development model is reminiscent of the past…. It doesn’t have to be the future of this hemisphere. “

More combative newcomers to Donald Trump’s innermost sanctuary – Rubio, Pompeo, and John Bolton – agreed, and more.

Bolton, of course, led the charges against a possible, but ultimately sunk, invasion of Venezuela. And a former senior official told me Rubio was the “pointman” as Trump preferred to informally divide regions in Latin America at the beginning of administration. Whatever Rubio did to Trump’s nationalist, populist base – and he has – the senator is still haunted by concerns about a seemingly neoconservative, nation-building past.

But Rubio wisely anchored his criticism of the Cuban regime in China this week.

“And by the way, this system in Cuba that turns off the Internet? Guess who gave it to them? China, ”Rubio told Fox’s Sean Hannity this week.

And while Bolton is now a Trumpist renegade, Pompeo wants to become Trump’s successor prontobut he can. And this week it’s Cuba.

“This is about communism, this is about socialism,” Pompeo told Fox ’Ingraham this week. “They know their family’s life is not going to be any better in the next generation,” said Pompeo, hesitating slightly, perhaps concerned about the possible comparison with the intergenerational struggles in the United States. “You know that I have called your country a state sponsor of terror,” said the former secretary.

Maybe there will be a red line. Resistance to Biden, repeating the last Catholic president’s early mistake in office – an invasion of Cuba – is easy to imagine. But all other bets appear to be off.

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