[Marxism] NY Times editorial: "90 Miles and Light-Years Away"

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 11 12:34:05 MDT 2006

This editorial appeared in Thursday's New York Times and is of the
most remarkable political significance. In its political essence, with
all allowances for rhetorical bombast, the New York Times is saying
UNCLE. That is the real signficance of this remarkable statement.

The NYT is telling Washington that the blockade has failed and the
United States has no way to influence anything in Cuba because of
the failure of United States policy. The New York Times, of course,
has its full share of responsibility for this failed U.S. policy, but that
they have come, belatedly to see that, is of profound significance.

This is also reprinted in today's International Herald Tribune as:
Start Talking to Cuba:

90 Miles and Light-Years Away
Published: August 10, 2006


President Bush and his top aides have said repeatedly in recent days
that they haven’t a clue what’s going on inside Cuba. With Fidel
Castro’s health faltering, they need to start figuring it out.

Cuba is a closed, repressive society. But the Bush administration has
gone out of its way to ensure that the United States has neither
access nor the slightest chance to influence events there.

In the name of tightening the failed embargo — a bipartisan policy
for more than four decades — Mr. Bush has made it much harder for
academics, artists, religious people and anyone else who might spread
the good word about America to travel to Cuba, and much harder for
Cubans to travel here. In a decidedly un-family-values move, the
administration has also limited visits to Cuba by Cuban-Americans to
once every three years.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, a would-be Castro, has helped make up any
lost cash with cheap oil exports. And Cuban officials who might be
tempted to the side of reform have been given more reason to believe
Mr. Castro’s claims of unremitting American hostility. In the same
cut-off-your-nose spirit, the administration canceled migration talks
with Havana — intended to prevent a repeat of earlier boatlifts —
that were the only regular high-level sit-downs between the two
governments. American diplomats in Havana know their wisest career
path is to keep their contacts to the bare minimum.

None of this made much sense when it looked like Mr. Castro would
outlast yet another American president. It makes no sense at all now
that it’s clear his days are numbered.

The White House is understandably nervous that roiling in Cuba could
set off a large flow of refugees. It is considering ways to speed up
admission of family members while punishing those who try to jump the
queue. It also needs to revive migration talks so the governments can
coordinate a humane response should those warnings go unheeded.

The administration has moderated its rhetoric, recognizing that it’s
up to Cubans on the island to decide their future. But if Mr. Bush
wants to get the message of democracy across he should loosen
restrictions on cultural and academic exchanges and open the way for
serious diplomatic contacts.

United States law blocks the White House from doing more even if Mr.
Castro’s chosen successor, his brother Raúl, shows signs of
moderation. Mr. Bush should tell Congress now that he doesn’t want
his hands pre-emptively tied that way.

No one knows when Mr. Castro will go or whether it will be with a
bang or a whimper. But the policies of self-isolation will ensure
that the United States is the last to know when big things happen —
and will have no one in Cuba to talk to when they do.

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