Elian goes home, turns out Castro may not be Satan...(7/2000)
Strange, but the first story I heard after his plane lifted off was that Fidel was putting on a huge welcome for the kid, a real propaganda party. The next news report said Fidel wasn't there to meet him, and finally, Dan Rather said only his immediate classmates and such met the plane (although very enthusiastically) and that Fidel was not there and that the kid was driven off in an old Russian limo. The story changed three times in as many hours.
I am old enough to remember Castro visiting this country, and at that time he was received as a hero. Little kids wore uniforms like him, although not to the same extent they might wear Roy Rodgers outfits, but still, the welcome was warm enough that an official change of mind later didn't automatically change my mind also.
As I understand it, and I'll be brief, one of the reasons people supported the revolution was because one of the goals was to distribute land that was confiscated from the peasants and which provided them with their food. The land was confiscated so it could be sold/leased to rich American growers so they could deplete it by growing nothing but bananas or some other monoculture crop, on the South American model.
Castro was obligated to return the land to the peasants, and he offered to buy it back from American interests, who of course had no intention of giving up their lucrative business just so a bunch of peasants could be self-sufficient. When his offer was refused, he re-confiscated it and gave it back to the peasants. From there on, Cuba was assaulted with plots to take it back, 14,000 children were airlifted out (Operation Peter Pan, conducted by the catholic church, the state department and opponents of Castro. Planes landed in the middle of the night and parents who had become convinced, by a rumor, that Castro intended to collect all the children and send them to Russia for reeducation, tossed their kids on board. 40% never saw their parents again and ended up in some pretty miserable foster homes. It is a monstrous thing to steal a country's children), assassination attempts for many years, biological warfare (against pigs and tobacco), boycotts, embargoes, threats, and slander. It has been a country under siege, and that should be taken into account when critizing Fidel for not allowing dissent. To expect him to do otherwise is to expect a higher standard than we have ever displayed.
I feel comfortable in what I believe when I hear people like Nelson Mandela, a person I respect enormously, call him a friend. I think in addition to being a hero, Castro also enjoys the distinction of being the only leader in this hemisphere who has managed to keep the US from owning all the people and resources. Much of the early efforts to topple him were not only out of pique but also because he was setting a bad example - all of Latin and South America might have wanted to be free, own their own land, pick their own leaders and such. The man who can defeat our brand of imperialism, what Twain called the peace and democracy plan, 90 miles offshore, has to be one shrewd sumbitch. Around the world, that tiny island is known for medicine, sports, and living according to one's humanitarian beliefs, and we are known for bullying smaller nations.
Okay, I lied - couldn't stop typing after all. And I'm definitely not picking on you, Neut, I just needed an opportunity to work off a couple swallows of hycodan and I do mean everything I say about Castro. I think that the nature of the Cuban government has been shaped more by our policies and actions against Cuba than by the hearfelt wishes of the bearded one. I do wish he would live forever, because I know the next guy can't possibly be as clever and it is only a matter of time before we end up owning the place again. I guess the only totally unspoiled coral reef in the world is near Cuba, and scientists are springing to explore it as much as possible, as soon as possible, because they know it won't remain unspoiled for long. If Castro can engineer a way to keep Cuba indpendent after he's gone, he's even smarter than I thought.
Thanks for (presumably) bearing with me. Hic.
The Meaning of Life...
>Men are much more exciting than women are, IMO.
You are so mistaken, dear Tina. Men should be grateful that women can tolerate our boorishness at all, let alone for life.
Many ponder the meaning of life, but I know what it is: women are the meaning of life. When they are concerned with your life, you are living right. When a lover smoothes your hair, or a girl on the bus is wearing a skirt that can't hide her black panties, that is the meaning of life. Baptism is carnal, and more powerful than 4-way purple microdot acid.