Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Will 'Sicko' be the Next Elian for US-Cuba Policy?

Personally I don't think so. We don't have the cute kid with a simple moral question, we have the divisive Michael Moore and socialist Cuba. I think the exposure will do loads of good but the impact of Sicko will be primarily on US health care (hopefully). I don't expect the embargo to fall unless perhaps we elect Obama.

After 45 years and counting, sanctions still don't work against Cuba -- says the The Kansas City Star

May 22, 2007, By MARY SANCHEZ

Filmmaker Michael Moore has the chance to stir the pot on U.S./Cuba relations in ways we haven’t seen since Elian Gonzalez boarded a plane back to Havana.

Young Elian, you’ll recall, was the child unlucky enough to become a pawn in a Cold War struggle that should have ended years ago. The 6-year-old landed in the U.S. after he and his mother escaped Cuba. She died en route. Elian’s father, in Cuba, wanted him back. And the boy’s fate became a media sensation, illustrating the cruelties suffered by families split between the two nations.

The Elian controversy opened the eyes of many Americans to the extremism of diehard anti-Castro Cuban-Americans. Normally sane and respected folks such as Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan — who worked to keep Elian in the U.S. — went nearly loco with venom for Fidel. And the whole sad affair ended with U.S. agents ripping the screaming boy at gunpoint from his new home in Florida to send him back to Cuba.

The fervor of those days in 2000 has died down. But in ensuing years, people far less camera-ready have had their lives devastated by this pointless diplomatic impasse — especially by the policies of the U.S.’s 45-year embargo restricting trade and travel to Cuba. Missionaries have been threatened with thousands of dollars in fines for taking medicine to the Cuban people. A Cuban-born National Guard member serving in Iraq was denied the right to visit his sons in Cuba. And hundreds of students and professors have been told Cuba is off limits to their studies.

These cases attract little attention. But Moore has the potential to do what he does best: shine a light on crazy policies. The creator of “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11” is being investigated by the Treasury Department because of a trip he made in March to Cuba.

Moore went to Cuba to film a segment of his latest documentary, “SiCKO,” an indictment of the U.S. health care industry. He took along a few 9/11 recovery workers affected with respiratory problems, presumably as a way to contrast Cuba’s much-praised health care system with our own. “SiCKO” premieres at this month’s Cannes Film Festival and will hit theaters June 29.

In typical fashion, Moore sees the investigation as a grand conspiracy to undermine his work. “I can understand why that industry’s main recipient of its contributions — President Bush — would want to harass, intimidate and potentially prevent this film from having its widest possible audience,” he wrote to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in a letter widely posted on the Internet. Rep. Jose E. Serrano of New York has joined in Moore’s fight, calling the investigation “a witch hunt.”

But this is no conspiracy — it’s just a really dumb, outdated federal policy run amok.

They say the definition of crazy is doing the same thing again and again, expecting a different result. Well, the Bush administration has taken that adage to a whole new level. Instead of dismantling a policy that has not worked — it was put in place in 1962, yet Castro is still in power — Bush has tightened the sanctions. Cuban-Americans were allowed to visit family in Cuba every year; the current administration has curtailed visits to every three years. It has also strictly cut the amount of money Americans can send to Cuban relatives.

People-to-people trips, like the one that brought the Buena Vista Social Club to U.S. audiences, were halted. Some trade is allowed, but only through cash payments, which is cumbersome. And special courts have been set up to slap sanctions violators with fines. This is what Moore faces.

While Bush clings ever more tightly to the failed sanctions, others are increasingly willing to consider new remedies. More and more Democrats and Republicans in Congress every year support legislation that would rescind or undercut the embargo. Even Cuban-Americans are polling stronger and stronger against sanctions.

Engagement, people-to-people exchanges, trade — things that stand to improve the lives and lift the expectations of the Cuban people — are the best way to inspire democracy. Funny, Bush preaches this for China and Vietnam, but not for a neighboring island held by a dictator with one foot in the grave.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the son of Cuban immigrants who came to the states in 1962, fleeing communism. Yes, I said the "C" word here because, that's what it is. Not socialism, not Fidelism, communism. So let me state my point succintly because I know damn well it will fall on deaf ears. When a system of government denies the individual the right to private property, says everything in the state BELONGS to the state, and then prevents people from LEAVING the state, that's wrong. On every level, wrong. Any person, American or foreign born, who SUPPORTS Cuba and Fidel Castro is supporting this fact. So while it's easy for a left winger to say that Estefan and Garcia get rabid at the mention of Fidel Castro, it should be understood WHY. I wonder if the left would criticize jews for getting all worked up over Hitler... Well, that's who he is to the Cuban people. He is Hitler. He is a mass murdering, ego-maniacal coward. And Amricans who see him as some kind of rock star have got to be the dumbest schmucks that ever walked on this Earth. I mean, if you're gonna worship Fidel and root for him, why not root for ALL Dictators, regardless of which political side of the fence they're on? So, no love for the fascist? Why not, they're every bit as vile and evil as the communist? I'll say it again, if you're not allowed to leave the system of government is evil. Say what you will about our beautiful American capitalistic system, whomever wants to go can do so. You should TRY that in Cuba, just for fun. Or better yet, try saying something like THIS LINE FOR MEAT IS RIDICULOUS, FIDEL SUCKS. Just say it, whisper it. And if you're overheard, you're in jail. For years. Can you imagine serving jail time for criticizing President Bush? I'd be in prison for life! Bottom line is that you left wingers don't know what life is like in communism! I think you guys think it's like DOING WITHOUT A FEW THINGS... Like camping. It's not camping, it's a death sentence for every good and decent dream you've ever dared to dream. So, is the embargo working? Define your definition of working. Was it supposed to make Fidel suddenly want to resign? Or was it supposed to limit Cuba's resources so that they could no longer interfere in Central and South American affairs? Hmmmm... When was the last time Cuba sent troops to do battle anywhere? The left side is all passion and very little intellect. Here's a fact, I'm not a right-winger but the Russians caved to conservative philosophies. I remember everything that was argued and said back then, and the left's position is always the same. Let the bad guy have what he wants and maybe he'll just go away and leave me alone so I can keep banging the nanny and smoking my joints on the weekends. They were wrong then and you're wrong now. Holding Cuba up as an example of health care is a joke! Why not add China and every other one of the main violators of human rights? Jesus, you guys are so stupid. Finally, as my final wish, as a moderate, middle of the road guy, I wish that everyone who secretly roots for Castro (including commie Micahel Moore) be forced to live in Cuba for 5 years. And yeah, I mean FORCED. Like the natives are. I guarantee you, the left wing perfume wears off after a few months and all you're left with is the rancid, soul killing stench of communism. Fidel will die and hopefully, Cuba will move in a democratic direction. And then we'll all claim that the sanctions worked. Just remember Gringos, praise for Fidel is praise ofr our Hitler. And them's fighting words...

1:30 AM  
Blogger jsb said...

Anon, the author of this blog is a communist and supports the closure of private media and dissolution of private property. He's not just an advocate, he's the enemy.

4:59 AM  

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