Cuba, Ignorance and Dishonesty

One benefit of bilingualism is that it gives you the ability to transport yourself instantly to an alternative reality. On 12/17/14, I watched in utter fascination a French discussion of the Obama Administration’s announcement of a change in diplomatic relations of the US with Cuba. It was on TV5, the French language international channel. It was not on French television in France. (But see below.)

First, the same TV5 news anchor I have denounced several times on this blog an in my on-line collection (“Les pumas de grande-banlieue….”) His first name is “Laurent.” (Can never catch the last name.) It’s the same luminary who announced a couple of years ago the “extinction” of the American mountain lion (the same large predator that eats pets a couple of miles from where I live). He is the guy who declared that the Soviet spies, the Rosenberg spouses had been executed “because they were Communists.”

Anyway, my buddy Laurent announced that all the news would be superseded that day by the Obama and Raul Castro announcements. Then, he switched to the TV5 permanent correspondent in DC who gave a garbled explanation. It might just as well have been garbled because it became clear that the guy did not understand even minimally what Pres. Obama had announced. Then, TV5 switched to a discussion between a French news pundit and a member of the French parliament who was born in Cuba. Two remarkable facts about an otherwise unremarkable discussion. First, everything in the discussion and everything said by the DC correspondent implied that the US economic embargo against Cuba had just been lifted. Second, the word “embargo” was never pronounced, not once. Instead, everyone involved used the word “blockade.” This is not an innocent mistake at all. A blockade is a physical act. It prevents goods from moving into a country and out of it. The US did have a blockade. It was at the time of the missile crisis, fifty years ago. It lasted a couple of weeks. Some mistake!

The word is that used by Cuban propaganda organs. They do this with a purpose. If there were really a blockade of the island, it would go some way toward explaining the communist Castro regime’s miserable economic performance forever. The supine French adoption of this misleading false term allows them to excuse themselves from asking the obvious questions. Why would the denial of commerce by a single country destroy the economic potential of any country? What is it exactly that the Cuban regime wants to sell abroad that it can’t sell because of American actions? Overpriced Cuban sugar? The small Cuban cigar production? What else does it have to sell or is this the whole thing? What is it that Cubans cannot obtain outside the US? Can they not buy whatever machinery they can afford in Germany? Airplanes in France? Olive oil in Spain? Cheap clothing and bicycles in China? Wait a minute, there is something: It might be difficult to purchase outside the US spare parts for the 1955 Chevies that grace the streets of Havana. This is tough but they could easily trade (through Mexico) these inadvertent collectors’ items for brand new Toyotas. OK, big suffering: no spare parts of obsolete cars.. A main source of misery! N. S.!

If you have trouble understanding the above paragraph – especially if you are French – it’s probably because you have accepted deeply the Castro lie. I repeat: Nothing prevents Cuban economic actors from buying anything they can afford anywhere in the world outside the US, or to sell anything.

Now, on to the other mistake in the discussion on TV5. The journalists there, including the permanent DC correspondent, did not understand the announcements, the American or the Cuban. They do not know that the American president does not have the power to abrogate embargoes, that only Congress does. They are not curious enough to find out by asking. They like their simple-minded leftwingist certainties. They don’t want to face the evidence that Communist Cuba is a beggar country. They don’t want to have to think about the daily massive violations of human rights in one of the world’s last real Communist tyrannies (but with nice beaches). This is a striking illustration of a general phenomenon: Intellectual dishonesty breeds ignorance; ignorance promotes intellectual dishonesty.

In the meantime, brave Cuban citizens on the ground continue their thankless task. Here is a quote from Yoni Sanchez who blogs from Havana. Her blog is linked to this blog both in its English version and in its Spanish version. Take a tour there; you learn a lot. (Generation Y; Generación Y).

“We must take advantage of the synergy of both announcements [Obama’s and Raul Castro’s] to extract a public promise, which must include, at a minimum, four consensus points that civil society has been developing in recent months.

The release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience; the end of political repression; the ratification of the United Nations covenants on Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the consequent adjustment of domestic laws; and the recognition of Cuban civil society within and outside the island. Extracting these commitments would begin the dismantling of totalitarianism.”

In the meantime, the grotesque. murderous Little Kim of the concentration camp that is North Korea now dictates what Americans can’t see at the movies. We have become truly pathetic. A proud nation would put pressure on the movie theaters to show the film for free and Sony to release it quickly, also for free. A freedom-loving president would have the government purchase the movie rights – with 100% Republican approval – and make it available world wide. No such luck. Our president is both a wimp and a leftist sympathizer to dictators.

About Jacques Delacroix

I write short stories, current events comments, and sociopolitical essays, mostly in English, some in French. There are other people with the same first name and same last name on the Internet. I am the one who put up on Amazon in 2014: "I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography" and also: "Les pumas de grande-banlieue." To my knowledge, I am the only Jacques Delacroix with American and English scholarly publications. In a previous life, I was a teacher and a scholar in Organizational Theory and in the Sociology of Economic Development. (Go ahead, Google me!) I live in the People’s Green Socialist Republic of Santa Cruz, California.
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7 Responses to Cuba, Ignorance and Dishonesty

  1. McHenry says:

    Cuba aside, the rescinding of Sony’s film is hard to swallow. The worlds great power bent by a nasty email. I’ve been troubled the last few days about the message that sends. And I wonder, haven’t we learned yet that only white males cause troubles in the theaters?

  2. McHenry, my friend: Nothing surprising. When your friends elected Mr Obama he was a already a leftist and there was zero reason to believe he was competent at anything. I told you so on this blog; many others in the general media did. Mr Obama never deceived anyone and especially not the second time around. A large segment of America gave itself a stupid frisson by electing a black-seeming president without taking a second look. We are being humbled daily by tinpot tyrants who would not survive a week among Chicago gangs. I hope you are now creating chances to take your friends who voted for Mr Obama behind the barn.

    By the way, you seem to be dying to write something about the Sony cave-in. Be my guest; do it here.

  3. TIge d'airain says:

    Only a few low-minded French including the majority of media people (it’s a pleonasm) believe that there is a blockade of Cuba maintained by the US navy to prevent any exchange of goods between this island and the rest of the word. The rest of the French have understood that the responsibility for the blockade of Cuba falls to the Castro system itself and its inability to cope with the modern world. It is obvious that despite the future of their relationship with the US the Cubans shall not have access to freedom and prosperity as long as the Castro mafia shall rule their country. It is very likely that Cuba shall now become a clone of the Chinese communist-capitalist system.
    I wonder whether the famous Karl Marks admonition was not a premonitory address to the Cuban and North-Corean people “proletarians of all countries, unite!”

  4. Tige: I hope you are right but I have trouble figuring out where any French people obtain the factually correct information about Cuba or anything. I have hard the term “blockade” applied to Cuba several times on French radio and never the word “embargo” (Dear readers: the words are about the same in French and in English: “blocus,” “embargo.”) Le Figaro, a moderate centrist news paper, did not say anything. (Thus it used neither blockade nor embargo.) I would welcome any link to any ordinary French media source setting me right. IN the meantime, I suspect you are paradoxically blinded by your own cosmopolitan experiences and, first, by your ability to read English. I think the latter changes everything.

    I will write something else soon about Cuba and the embargo. I was going to yesterday bu I took my granddaughter to pick mussels instead. “Moules marinieres” au menu!

  5. McHenry says:

    I’m now thinking the Sony hacking was a marketing ploy and also a sneaky way of making fun of Angelina Jolie.
    North Korea denies responsibility, the President has been offering free publicity by way of denouncing Sony, and now, the film will be released just in time for the holidays.
    Supposedly there was sensitive information also leaked, but all that has come out is a strong distaste for Mrs. Jolie’s acting ability.

  6. McHenry: I think you are too quick to give credit. Large corporations like Sony are not diabolical; they are hapless. If they were not, Apple would not exist. IBM would have stopped it.

    What are you saying anyway? North Korea had nothing to do with it and the FBI is mistaken or misleading us? Finish your thought, man.

    Merry Christmas!

    PS: You say anything bad about Angelina and you will have to answer to me!

  7. Pingback: Obama, Cuba and Maybe the Beginning of the End | FACTS MATTER

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