Michelle: Liberator of Cuba?

Okay, this is bordering on pure fantasy, and chances are it’s going to be a short-lived debate, but I can’t help wondering…

Right now there is a Category 4 hurricane closing in on Havana. There is the potential for widespread damage.

Cuba is not America’s friend. However, America does have a military base there, at Guantanimo Bay. Castro is aging, and the Cuban economy is still rather stifled by the American trade embargo. However, the American perception of Castro’s “weakness” has been belied by forty years of defiant existence.

I’m wondering what would happen if Cuba got really badly thrashed about by this hurricane.

Would America offer aid? Would Cuba accept it? Will the Cubans see an opportunity to perhaps try to push in the Guantanimo perimiter and run the Americans out once and for all while their attention is otherwise diverted? Would America consider “aiding” Cuba with a division of Marines, perhaps under the aegis of taking out a government that supports terrorism?

The answer, of course, is probably “none of the above.” But there may be folks out there who think otherwise. Is anyone out there keeping an eye on this?

Yeah, I was keeping an eye on it.

I think we should have ended the trade embargo years ago, right when the cold war was supposedly over, so hell yeah we should offer them some help if their country get ravaged (like it really looks like it will).

Well, I think we can rule out the Cubans making a push on Gitmo. What with the recent unpleasantness in New York and Washington, I believe that the American public would be very pleased by a massive invasion of Cuba. This would give us the perfect excuse. And Cuba would be a cakewalk compared to Afghanistan, since Cuba has all kinds of command and control that we could hit. Cuba is an authoritarian country, not in a state of Anarchy like Afghanistan.

If Cuba gets clobbered, we should use that as the excuse to open up new relations, end the embargo, and shower them with aid.

In light of the new global alignments taking place after Sept. 11, the Cuban embargo looks like a real anachronism. Mind you, I’ve been in favor of ending it since the Iron Curtain fell. The whole rationale for the embargo at one time was that it was intolerable to have a destabilizing Communist regime just offshore. And back in the Cold War, Cuba WAS exporting military forces into Central and South America, and needed to be contained.

That excuse hasn’t been valid for ten years, and both Cuba and the U.S. would be better off today if Cuba was allowed to trade freely. Not only that, but if we can defrost relations with Cuba I believe it will make it much more likely for the first post-Castro government to be moderate.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it will happen. The expatriot Cuban community is extremely powerful politically. They have a lot of money, and control a lot of votes. As a result, there are a lot of politicians on both the Democratic and Republican sides that would be cutting their political throats if they advocated opening trade with Cuba.

But maybe something like a humanitarian crisis caused by this Hurricane would be the external event required to break that political deadlock and give politicians an ‘out’ to helping Cuba without sustaining much political damage.

We should support that idea strenuously.

Other than showering them with aid, which of these is Canada (your “we”) not already doing?

Look, the embargo isn’t going to be lifted as long as Castro is in charge over there. When Castro dies, then it will become politically possible to end the embargo, but not before.


A forum on our situation with Cuba, that I post at. It was originally about Elian Gonzalez, but it’s moved on. You can get a REAL look at what some of the extreme Anti-Castro Cubans are like. Pretty scary. There’s one who said that comparing the Elian Gonzalez raid to September 11 was perfectly valid.

There’s some scary scary people out there.

Just take a look around, would you? I’d be interested as to what the Dopers think of the place, since some of these people are SEVERELY handicapped when it comes to debating skills-particularly a poster named Elliee.

Elvis: Oh yeah… I forgot I was Canadian there for a second. Let me rephrase: YOU GUYS should end the embargo and shower Cuba with aid if they get clobbered in by Hurricane Michelle.

Cuba offered to help us after the 9/11 attacks. We would be total assholes not to offer to help Cuba recover after Michelle (presuming there is severe damage). I would be embarassed for my country if we did not offer to help the people of Cuba.

Strange you should mention this… I was just thinking yesterday while watching the weather channel what a great opportunity this could be to mend fences if we came in with massive humanitarian aid for Cuba, even though our own Florida will likely be going thru the same thing and right after we’ve had such a horrible attack on us.

I efar, however, there’s too much going on nationally now for anything of lasting consequence to occur.

Well, so far the Cuban death toll is “only” five, which I don’t think is quite large enough to trigger the American “OhmygodwehavetoHELPthosepeople” reflex.


Hurricane Mitch, when it hit Honduras a few years back, was much worse, and it barely made the evening news.

So I don’t foresee any “excuse” to “liberate” Cuba, sorry.

Castro is a dirty thug (not that he lacks personal power or is always wrong), but he basks in the reflected glory of our hatred by thumbing his nose at us. How long do you stick with a policy that has been an abject failure from the start (about 40 years so far for us)? Cuba’s just about the only real Stalinist state left (China and N. Korea come close, except they don’t share Castro’s distress at seeing people actually making some money to enjoy life for themselves and their families, it seems). And Cuba is of course the one nation we’ve most implacably shunned. Hard to think that drawing him/Cuba into trade wouldn’t have produced a happier result.

Well, so it’s been a week or so, and so far not much is happenin’. Anthrax has pretty much shoved Cuba and her hurricane (which missed Florida anyway, so it’s off America’s radar) to the back burner. The stories on CNN.com’s home page today are anthrax, anthrax, anthrax, Osama says he has nukes, and oh, yeah, Ken Kesey died.

There was this in today’s Chicago Tribune.

So, to address the OP, it would appear that the answer is “no”. “No” to everything.

Well… The U.S. did the right thing, and the Cuban government is trying to play politics. Figures. Screw 'em, then.

Yeah, but…


Looks to me like both parties are acting pretty childish.

IMO everybody is just being stupid about the whole thing. “Oh, we can’t help you officially, we’ll have to have the Red Cross and the Salvation Army do it for us, because, you see, we’re not speaking to you.” I know some messy child custody battles that sound like that.

And then there’s “we can’t let any of this food fall into the wrong hands, because it might make Castro even stronger…” :rolleyes:

China and Germany are sending aid. Period. No strings.

That’s a stretch. But she sure has liberated my office… Er, I see we’re talking about different Michelles… sorry!

— Alfie