Glaring Contradictions and Revisionist History

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Former New York Times foreign correspondent Joel Brinklley has penned an opinion column in Politico critical of U.S. policy towards Cuba, but full of contradictions and historical revisionism.

The first contradiction is Brinkley himself, who has written various columns about Burma, its repression and concerns that the U.S. doesn't jump the gun embracing the Burmese dictatorship simply because Aung Sun Suu Kyi is now free.

Yet, not a single concern about Castro's brutal dictatorship, the plight of Cuba's pro-democracy movement and the sharp rise in repression in Cuba.

Brinkley did, however, pick up on the second contradiction, which is worth noting:
"Looking at the embargo today (Cuba calls it “the blockade”), its principal accomplishment is that “it has given Fidel Castro and Raúl Castro the perfect scapegoat on which it can blame all their problems,” argued Ted Henken, a fervent Cuba expert at Baruch College in New York.
Ted Piccone [of The Brookings Institution] said most Cubans aren’t buying that argument. “The average Cuban is not blaming the U.S.” he said. “I’ve seen polling on this. They’re blaming the system.”
We don't usually agree with Piccone, but he's absolutely right on this point.

As an aside, what is a "fervent" Cuba expert?

Perhaps it is a realization that many of these Cuba "experts" are in essence "advocates" for their views, which is perfectly fine, but to be labeled an "expert" insinuates a certain non-bias that is fictitious.

Finally, a glaring piece of historical revisionism (or negationism):
Some Cuba experts argue that allowing American tourists to visit Cuba for the first time since 1960 might bring the beginnings of substantial change by fostering greater prosperity. They point to China, a passive agrarian society until the government opened the economy, pulling millions of Chinese out of poverty. Suddenly, these newly prosperous people began standing up to their government, demanding greater freedom and opportunities. The same could be true for Cuba, Henken said.
Did we miss something?

China remains one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world.

To the contrary, U.S. policy and business interests have helped turn China from an agrarian society into the most lucrative dictatorship in history, whereby the U.S. and Western nations are now too afraid to criticize the horrible abuses that take place due to potential financial repercussions.

Meanwhile, in the process, the Chinese regime has nearly systematically wiped-out (through imprisonments and murder) a thriving pro-democracy movement, which seemed unstoppable in the 1980s and early 1990s.

And the world remained silent.

Is that what we want for Cuba?

Please take a moment to read this column we penned last year in The New York Times on this very issue entitled, "Freedom First or Business First?."