[Marxism] Thoughts on on Barack Obama's proposals to change U.S. Cuba policy.

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Aug 25 12:54:07 MDT 2007

This is a comment on the noisy criticism which have been posted 
recently to various websites denouncifying Illinois Senator 
Barack Obama's call for the lifting of travel and remittance 
restrictions on Cuban Americans. I've posted many of the 
criticisms on the same page

Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California

Some people just can't take "yes" for an answer
Comments on Barack Obama's proposals to change U.S. Cuba policy.
by Walter Lippmann, August 22, 2007

For almost half a century, mainstream dominant political discourse
about U.S. policy toward Cuba has been characterized by a combination
of silence and bi-partisanship. Washington has been able, for close
to half a century, to prevent nearly all people from the United
States, and most people form Cuba, too, to visit one another's
countries. In the 2007 presidential nominating contests, Cuba policy
has become an issue. This is an entirely good thing. While supporters
of the Cuban Revolution may not agree with each and every, or many of
the arguments which are made to support the proposed changes, the
fact that they are being discussed and debated is a very good thing.

This reflects the demographic changes which have taken place in the
Cuban-American community, first of all in South Florida. The older
and more rightist and Batistiano elements which have dominated
Cuban-American politics are dying out and losing influence. The
younger ones who may not support the Cuban Revolution, who mostly
came to the United States in hopes of better possibilities for an
improvement in their material way of life, are coming to the fore.

Some perfectionistic people are freaking out about this. They say
that because people like Obama and Dodd frame their arguments in how
best to overthrow the Cuban Revolution (or as Republican Congressman
Jeff Flake has long done, that we have to raise up the warning flags
and follow the advice of Nancy Reagan. We must JUST SAY "NO"
according to these people.

Personally, I'm a socialist and don't support Democrats and
Republicans politically. But I'm glad to see this issue becoming one
subject to public debate in the United States. This is all to the
good as we witness the current legal phase of the Cuban Five trial.

This is all to the good as we watch a new Elian Gonzalez type of case
unfolding in the courtrooms of Miami. If I had my druthers, my
preferred candidate would be Peter Camejo, but he's on sick leave.
Cynthia McKinney hasn't as yet been nominated by any political Party.
Mumia Abu-Jamal is not available for public campaign engagements
right now, and he's not in quite the same position as Eugene V. Debs
was in 1920.

But campaigns like those of Obama, Dodd and others are raising these
issues in a very timely and effective manner, within the framework of
the political positions which they hold. No one who supports the
Cuban Revolution could get nominated for high political office in the
United States of America today. Cuba has been demonized for close to
half a century. That giant mental log-jam must be broken. Cuba has
its problems, but I'm confident Cuba can handle the challenges of an
end to the travel and remittance limits, but first they would have to
be enacted.

Carlos Lazo is speaking out strongly in support of the proposal to
end the travel and remittance restrictions. It wouldn't surprise me
at all if he want out to raise funds for Obama. Why shouldn't he?
He's a U.S. citizen with the right to vote. He has the right to vote
for anyone he wants and the right to campaign for anyone he wants.
Some people who are very strongly pro-normalization and for good
reasons are participating actively in the Obama campaign. They're
even raising money for Obama on the basis of his of his support for
the right to travel. This is not a bad thing. It helps to generate
interest in the issue. It can add emphasis and encourage Obama to go
further and come out for full freedom for everyone to travel, as Dodd
has done. This is not something which Cuba's friends and supporters
should be fretful about.

Winston Churchill, a reactionary if there ever was one, had a few
good things going for him. One was his expression that "prefectionism
spells paralysis", on which he couldn't have been more right. The
fear and panic which some are expressing over the calls by Obama and
Dodd to allow more travel and more remittances to Cuba would be
amusing if they weren't so tragically mistaken. Among the silly
comments received recently was that from the Canadian "mart" who
calls Sgt. Lazo a "baby-killer". Lazo is a medic, not a combat

Ike Nahem, of whom it is my pleasure to say "I Like Ike", argues
fiercely against what he says is a series of comments he says I
wrote. Unfortunately, Ike didn't read carefully since the comments he
is so upset about were written by Mathew Glesne, of A View From the
Left, not Walter Lippmann. I have never met Mathew Glesne, but he and
I are, as they say in Cuba "en la misma trinchera" (literally, in the
same trench) on thinking that when candidates think it's good for
their campaigns to come out for travel to Cuba, that's a "GOOD THING"
and not a "BADDD THING."

Ike Nahem, a well-intentioned militant who enthusiastically supports
the Cuban Revolution, some of the time gets a bit carried away with
the exuberance of his verbosity. This was the friend who thought that
Fahrenheit 9/11 was a PRO-war movie[?!?!]. Here's what Ike wrote
about that: http://www.walterlippmann.com/f-9-11.html

Finally, let's keep in mind what Blase Bonpane explained awhile back:
"Perfectionism is not part of the program. We don't wait to do the
perfect thing before we do something. Those who are waiting for
perfection will live and die without doing anything.


Some people, it really does seem, would prefer that Cuba remain poor,
but pure. This is where I part company with that paralyzing kind of
political non-thinking. Where Ike and some others go wrong on this?
Basically, they haven't understood what is perhaps one of the most
profound concepts to come out of the Cuban experience. As Jose Marti
explained clearly: "to achieve certain objectives, they must be kept
under cover; to proclaim them for what they are would raise such
difficulties that the objectives could not be attained."

"Mother, may I go out to swim?" 
"Yes, my darling daughter, 
Hang your clothes on a hickory limb, 
But don't go near the water."
Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California
August 25, 2007


Posted on Fri, Aug. 24, 2007


Ease travel rules

As a veteran of the Operation Iraqi Freedom, a proud combat medic in
the U.S. Army and, foremost, a Cuban-American victim of the inhuman
Cuba travel restrictions imposed by the Bush administration, I thank
Sen. Barack Obama for his stand on lifting these cruel regulations
(Our main goal: Freedom in Cuba, Aug. 21, Other Views).

He is right that, "Cuban-American connections to family in Cuba are
not only a basic right in humanitarian terms, but also our best tool
for helping to foster the beginnings of grass-roots democracy on the

Since the policy was implemented three years ago, most in the Cuban
community have realized that these despicable travel restrictions
lack common sense. The regulations not only have taken away our
chances to have normal relationships with our families in Cuba, but
also have stolen the most basic right to go to the funerals of our

I do not know if Obama will win the Democratic nomination or if he
will become president. But I do know that he has already won a place
in the hearts of thousands of Cuban Americans for his courage,
integrity and compassion.

CARLOS LAZO, Lynnwood, Wash.

Here is the Cuba dialogue page of Obama for President website:

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