Monday, September 20, 2010

LPP First Draft...


The Smartest Guy in the Room

Monday, September 20, 2010
Thinks the Cuban people are dumb.

In yesterday's Washington Post, George P. Will sounded like the smartest guy in the room.

In his column on Cuba policy, Mr. Will discussed Paris cafes, Danzig, Les Deux Magots, Existentialism, Zeitgeist, Jean-Paul Sartre and Czeslaw Milosz.

Then, after setting up his impressive intellectual bona fides, he dedicated one sentence (at the very end) to U.S. policy towards Cuba:

"The U.S. policy of isolating Cuba by means of economic embargoes and travel restrictions serves two Castro goals: It provides an alibi for Cuba's social conditions, and it insulates Cuba from some of the political and cultural forces that brought down communism in Eastern Europe."

While we have the utmost respect for Mr. Will -- and he may very well be the smartest guy in the room -- he succumbed to the same seductive stagger of other intellectuals (some who he ironically criticizes in the column) when addressing Cuba policy:

Elitism.

The premise of Mr. Will's rationale against current U.S. policy is based on a misguided (and insulting) presumption that the Cuban people are dumb -- that they believe Castro's "alibi" for the regime's failures and should therefore be educated by U.S. "political and cultural forces."

Obviously, he is unaware of the tragic plight and death this past February of a 42-old Afro-Cuban plumber -- turned pro-democracy activist and political prisoner -- Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died pursuant to an 85-day hunger strike against the tortures and abuses of the Castro regime.

Despite his humble origins, Mr. Zapata didn't believe the Castro regime's nonsense, nor did he need "political and cultural forces" to explain the severity of Cuba's totalitarian dictatorship. Moreover, Mr. Zapata's entire family, who reside in the remote town of Banes in eastern Cuba and remain under siege by Castro's secret police, don't need "enlightenment" -- they need "solidarity."
As we've said on multiple occasions -- these courageous pro-democracy activists can teach us a thing or two about the importance of freedom, which we so often take for granted; of the overwhelming challenges of modern-day civil disobedience in the face of unchecked brutality; and of the high cost it entails.

And the Zapata family is just the tip of the iceberg. The hundreds of thousands of Cubans that have endured Castro's political prisons, the countless numbers that have met their fate at the firing squad and in the treacherous Florida Straits, and the millions exiled are a constant reminder that the Cuban people are well-aware of the challenge at hand -- it is called Fidel and Raul Castro.

Therefore, the last thing the U.S. should do is bailout and embolden the Castros' politically, socially and economically bankrupt regime.

In the meantime Mr. Will, don't underestimate the Cuban people.

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