Someone, long ago, said that politics is the art of the possible.
When it comes to our national policy towards Cuba, our absurd decision, also from very long ago, to allow Cuba policy to be run parochially from a small ethnic enclave in South Florida has turned politics into the art of the impossible, at least as far as changing Cuba policy is concerned.
Exhibit one for this act of political alchemy may well be Jeb Bush’s recent speech at a luncheon in Miami, hosted by a Cuban PAC that spends car-loads of money on keeping the stale and arrogantly defended –on the face of practically world-wide condemnation- policy to isolate and strangle Cuban society.
Jeb, whom, until this week, I considered a sensible and sensitive politician –a rarity these days- capable of saying what he thinks and not just what his audience wants to hear, made a very clear point regarding how our foreign policy should be conducted: free from the constraints of domestic political concerns. And then, Shazam!!! He turned the possible –though very difficult, in the present state of our decadent and ever more dysfunctional “democracy”- task of dislodging our foreign policy from the clutch of lobbyists who specialize in holding common sense hostage, into the impossible, by kowtowing to those who bought him lunch (and applauded him rabidly and vacuously) and vouching for the continuity of Cuba policy, the hardening of it even, a policy that is “the” text-book case for foreign policies succumbing to parochial interests.
I know that is how politics is supposed to be played in our model of “democracy”, but I doubt Jeb was aiming to remind us all that phrase repeated in so many westerns, also from long ago: white man speaks with a forked tongue.
If we truly understand what "democracy" is all about, we need to recognize that all Americans should be allowed to weigh in on this (Cuba policy) and other matters involving foreign policy, as Jeb suggested before his tongue split up. I have a hunch that if that national discussion ever takes place –not easy either, since most Americans could care less about Cuba-, the vast majority of our fellow Americans will disagree with the policy presently in place and will choose another path for dealing with Cuba, just as almost everybody else in the planet does and unanimously tell us year in and year out, in every international forum we share with them.
And they will choose another path not just because it is economically expedient; they will choose it because it is the right thing to do. Because the embargo and its impact on Cuban society as a whole is unjust, and keeping it in place is an affront to the dignity of both sovereign nations, Cuba and also -and foremost- to the dignity of the United States and what it stands for. That is the message the UN General Assembly, all the governments in our Hemisphere, the Popes, and even our closest allies and friends in the world, have been sending us for many years.
Of course, many of those in Jeb’s lunch audience will still believe the world at large is wrong, and they, and they alone, are right. That everybody else has a faulty “communist detection device”, that they have all sold out to the Castro Bros. gold or are terrified that two octogenarians in a Caribbean island could reach out with their hairy hands and de-stabilize their countries. There is even a “Manual” out there explaining how everyone who does not see the world as these folks do are little more than idiots. But hey, this is Miami and we do things differently here…
We need to free Cuba from American politics, and this is a task for ALL Cubans to undertake, even those who answer with a “Pavlovian” applause whenever an American politician hollers a “Viva Cuba Libre” somewhere in Miami.
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