Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 17, 2014

Washington Making Nice With Havana - Cubans Beware

So Cuba and the United States are making nice?

In a move to wipe away one of the Cold War's last vestiges, President Barack Obama will launch negotiations with Cuba on resuming full diplomatic relations five decades after they broke off, a U.S. official told Yahoo News on Wednesday. Obama's decision comes after Cuba freed U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross.

The U.S. will free the last three of the Cuban Five while Cuba also released an unknown U.S. "asset".

Alan Gross was a contractor for U.S. Aid on a clandestine mission to, allegedly, distribute secret satellite telephones to circumvent Cuba's control of its electromagnetic spectrum.

It is interesting that this news comes the very same day as the head of U.S.Aid, Raj Shah, was fired. Was his firing a condition the Cuban's made for the prisoner exchange?

Shah spoke to us Tuesday night, but gave very little insight into why he was leaving now other than the oft-cited government official reason that after six years working in the Obama administration he wanted to spend time with his family.

Shah had to go after several stupid clandestine attempts by U.S. Aid, the Alan Gross scheme, creating a fake Cuban Twitter, holding fake HIV prevention seminars and infiltrating Cuba's hip hop scene, to undermine Cuba's political system.

But should indeed a U.S. embassy return to Havana that job will fall again to the CIA. Cuba should be very worried about that. The only reason why the U.S. government has never fallen to a CIA coup is the lack of a U.S. embassy in Washington DC.

There is no reason for Cuba to trust the U.S. and it should be very careful about opening the country. It is not only the U.S. Aid meddling or the Cuban missile crisis, (which eliminated U.S. nuclear weapons in Turkey pointing at Moscow), that give reason for caution, but also the various other attack plans and assassination attempts against Cuban leaders. There are also all the recent "regime operations" the U.S. ran and runs in Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Hongkong and elsewhere. Whatever it may say publicly the U.S. will certainly continue to undermine Cuba's socialist system and to press for "regime change".

Cubans should recognize that any embrace by the U.S. is at least suffocating if not deadly for their self-determination.

Posted by b on December 17, 2014 at 16:31 UTC | Permalink

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Posted by: gemini33 | Dec 17 2014 16:37 utc | 1

I've been to Cuba. I came away thinking one Walmart there and the revolution is finished.

Posted by: dh | Dec 17 2014 16:41 utc | 2

@ b: "Cubans should recognize that any embrace by the U.S. is at least suffocation if not deadly for their self-determination."

Absolutely b.

Posted by: ben | Dec 17 2014 16:48 utc | 4

Chavez and Putin and the Castros? I guess it's about time for a long thread celebrating atavistic dictators. This is a regrettable MoA passion.

Posted by: slothrop | Dec 17 2014 16:49 utc | 5

Chavez, Putin, the Castros? I guess it's time for a long thread celebrating atavistic dictators. This is a regrettable MoA pastime.

Posted by: slothrop | Dec 17 2014 16:52 utc | 6

Chavez, Putin, the Castros? I guess it's time for a long thread celebrating atavistic dictators. This is a regrettable MoA pastime.

Posted by: slothrop | Dec 17 2014 16:53 utc | 7

Chavez, Putin, the Castros? I guess it's time for a long thread celebrating atavistic dictators. This is a regrettable MoA pastime.

Posted by: slothrop | Dec 17 2014 16:53 utc | 8

b, doesn't the murder of John Kennedy count as a successful CIA coup?

Posted by: Ken Nari | Dec 17 2014 16:56 utc | 9

Chavez, Putin, the Castros? I guess it's time for a long thread celebrating atavistic dictators. This is a regrettable MoA pastime.

Posted by: slothrop | Dec 17 2014 17:00 utc | 10

ooops. apologies, b.

Posted by: slothrop | Dec 17 2014 17:01 utc | 11

It is a "legacy" moment for Obama. I imagine he fancies himself quite the chessmaster: collapsing the ruble with his Wahhabi partners in Riyadh at the same time he normalizes relations with Cuba. The calculation in Washington is that the private sector has grown large enough in Cuba thanks to the Raul Castro reforms that a Maidan-type uprising can be initiated in five years.

Maybe Secretary of State Nuland in a Hillary Clinton administration will be handing out dulces to protesters in Havana's Revolution Plaza.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Dec 17 2014 17:02 utc | 12

Stupid move by Castro. He almost begging to have a anti-castro revolution.

Mike Maloney

Who said it was anything to do with obama?

Posted by: Anonymous | Dec 17 2014 17:24 utc | 13

The embargo was a joke and there is no real reason not to have some sort of normal relations with a country only 90 miles away from its border.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Dec 17 2014 17:29 utc | 14

Color revolution coming in 3...2...1... I hope that Cuba is aware of what is coming its way and prepared to repel it. Yes, normalization is long overdue, but it could come with rather high costs for Cuban people. Having a Walmart is a rather costly proposition.

Posted by: OIFVet | Dec 17 2014 17:52 utc | 15

Careful what you wish for. Holds true for all. Those who link the various intrusions of the U.S. as a warning, speak more truth then they might think, considering the outcome of each one of those adventures. One thing is certain, the hands of time can't be turned back, no matter how hard one tries.

Posted by: Norman | Dec 17 2014 18:06 utc | 16

I think this might be the beginning of an attempt by the US to drive a wedge between Cuba and the other Socialist countries of South America especially Venezuela. Russia may also be an indirect target for isolation and a PR defeat.

The Pope's involvement is certainly a bad indicator for the future of Cuba as anything revolutionary, the Catholic Church is one of the main impediments to progress in South America.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Dec 17 2014 18:12 utc | 17

This is great news, I never thought I would live long enough to see America and Cuba begin to mend fences.

Posted by: really | Dec 17 2014 18:49 utc | 18

Caveat emptor, Really. I don't allow people with that kind of track record into my home.

Posted by: Jim T | Dec 17 2014 18:54 utc | 19

Normalization, in this case, means opening Cuba up to exploitation by US corporations. Corporate powers, like agribusiness, have long been keen on opening up the Cuban market, so the guys behind the curtain are certainly pulling the strings of their puppet Obama here, who in any case doesn't have to concern himself with anti-Castro Cubans in Florida giving him electoral heartburn (and saves Jeb Bush from having this conflict). It's also possible that the US is firing another salvo in its war against Putin's Russia by driving a wedge between potential allies should Russia have the notion of putting offensive weapons on the US doorstep, as was done before. what we should not do is discount the US determination to use any means at its disposal in gaining peremptory advantage in the coming dust-up with Russia, which is priority #1.

Posted by: Hugo First | Dec 17 2014 19:03 utc | 20

I am actually thinking whether the US wants to make Nice with Iran and Cuba to Screw Russia up. Divide and Rule !

Posted by: Nini | Dec 17 2014 19:23 utc | 21

It looks like maybe just Guantanamo isn't big enough, anymore.

Posted by: Jeremiah Cornelius | Dec 17 2014 20:08 utc | 22


Posted by: Brian | Dec 17 2014 21:22 utc | 23

Oh 'really '! While US has just overthrown ukraines govt and now its mending fences In Cuba? Guess where Vicki Nulands next assignment will be!

Posted by: Brian | Dec 17 2014 21:24 utc | 24

Resident troll (one of them) is celebrating by spamming

Posted by: Brian | Dec 17 2014 21:25 utc | 25

Cuba be very careful of snakes in the grass if you do decide to have diplomatic relations with the US. Look what happened to Kaddafi when relations with the US was "normalized", Several years later he was overthrown.

Here's a google translate of Raul Castro's speech.

Posted by: NewYorker | Dec 17 2014 22:12 utc | 26

What are the odds Cuba uses this opportunity to infiltrate our healthcare system with their single payer scheme?

Posted by: IhaveLittleToAdd | Dec 17 2014 22:13 utc | 27

OK lets not get karried away below is the catch 22. If jk takes his time repugs will be in charge and will block this good will and 0 will do what he does best. potus will say I tried but they won't let me. It's funny yahoo and some so-called progressive sites left this out or removed later when it was spotted.

"Secretary of State John Kerry has also been instructed to review Cuba's place on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, potentially paving the the way a lift on certain economic and political sanctions."

Posted by: jo6pac | Dec 17 2014 22:13 utc | 28

Politically calculating move has upside potential for Candidate Hillary and Downside for Candidate JEB, Darling Marco Rubio and R Party.

Background - Miami Cubans Vote Repug in exchange for continued embargo (the old Cuban Guard in Miami WANT the embargo. They hope to return to Cuba one day and take back their property lost in the revolution. They can send money AND they can get relatives into the US via the corruption of the WET FOOT DRY FOOT Immigration Policy (Unique to Cuba). Problem is that many of these old farts are dead or dying. Support for this hard right wing position is half as strong among their adult children and grandkids).

The non-Cuban Miami Latinos and THE REST of the USA want CUBA open. Everybody wants to visit CUBA.

This issue is a win for the D PArty and a loser for the R PArty.

Notwithstanding all the other excellent comments (For sure - CUBA beware of the USA, Color Revolutions, Walmart, GMOS, Toxic Waste, Etc.) this is a different take on the situ. I could be wrong.

Posted by: Fast Freddy | Dec 17 2014 22:15 utc | 29

The Sloth, as his name implies, is somewhat slow in processing information. Apparently he doesn't know that Venezuela under Chavez was not a dictatorship. Just because there were street demonstrations, violence and people calling for the president to resign didn't make Venezuela any more a dictatorship than a certain neighbor to the north today.

Posted by: Maracatu | Dec 17 2014 22:25 utc | 30

@29 As a political issue, JFK's standing in the Democratic Party has never been hurt over the Bay of Pigs and sanctions. The truth is gross wealth inequality will be the overriding issue in an election especially among young people.

It's a legacy building issue, so Obama can have a display at his book kiosk (he won't have enough for a library). Hispanic voters born in this country give precisely the same value to relations with the home country as any other ethnic group. If the old Cuban Rs are dead or dying, this doesn't matter to the GOP who could be extinct if Obama was slightly less odious.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Dec 17 2014 22:36 utc | 31

Time to start "negotiating" the end of Guantanamo lease. If done in reasonable time, Guantanamo can be returned complete with the resident political problem of detainees with nowhere to go. At the glacial rate of American policy shift, the likely outcome probably would be end of lease complete with graves of expired detainees.

Business opportunities that Cuba should exploit. Medical tourism, and antique car restoration. Cigars have unfortunately become anti-social, so no real future. Fall back, bananas?

Posted by: YY | Dec 17 2014 23:17 utc | 32

the russians really need to work on their soft power skills, and after cancelling all that debt too. the suburbs of havana will soon be rolling with crack and iphones, way to go Cuba!!

Posted by: jobby | Dec 17 2014 23:20 utc | 33

Posted by: Maracatu | Dec 17, 2014 5:25:44 PM | 30

If you're the president in perpetuity, you're a dictator. It matters not if the people overwhelmingly voted for you. What did you expect them to do?

Of Mice And Great Men

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Dec 17 2014 23:33 utc | 34

That Lavrov visit to Cuba this past summer really did a hell of a lot of good. Also, how ungrateful of Castro when Russia forgave Cuba's debt. Putin must be pretty terrible if another Commie favors Capitalist Pigs over him. Tell me something I don't know and have been saying all along; Putin sucks.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Dec 17 2014 23:35 utc | 35

Please please please

Posted by: Dan | Dec 18 2014 0:14 utc | 36

Appropriate to mention here that Joe Lieberman was picked as Al Gore's VP Candidate b/c he was supposed to deliver the South Florida Jewish Vote to Al Gore and D Party.

It was strategized that The South Florida Jewish Vote with Lieberman on the ticket would offset the Republican Voting Hard Rightist Old Cuban Guard.

JEB put the fix in. Butterfly ballots in West Palm, Vehicle Inspections on Election Day en route to polls in poor neighborhoods, Hanging Chads, Black Box Voting with Chuck Hagel's Black Boxes, Touch Screen Voting Machines, The Brooks Brothers Riot to stop the recount, etc.

JEB missed his turn and his idiot brother took it. Its JEB's turn now. People are surely stupid enough to vote for JEB or Hillary. Each is a proven craven shitburger and a warmonger.

Posted by: fast freddy | Dec 18 2014 0:26 utc | 37

Cold Hole has a really has a special knack for reducing complicated foreign policy issues to "Putin sucks". But then so do all morons.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 18 2014 0:28 utc | 38

One more important note:

CUBA is the biggest and best Island in the Caribbean. Cuba has it all: Volcanic Soil, Mountains, Rainforests, Beaches, Springs, Rivers, Lots of natural beauty and resources to pillage and destroy.

The big five corporations which control everything want to f*ck Cuba real bad.

Posted by: fast freddy | Dec 18 2014 0:33 utc | 39

b: "The only reason why the U.S. government has never fallen to a CIA coup is the lack of a U.S. embassy in Washington DC."

Gold. Comic Gold.

Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 18 2014 0:35 utc | 40

The Cubans are a brave people to allow this. Especially the parts that allow for foreign telecommunications companies to invade the country. As b says, it is hard to imagine what they expect to gain through normalized relations with the world's greatest terrorist nation. A rising Latin America can provide everything they need. To open themselves to the United States at this point is to invite the destruction of their country. One only has to look at the sorry state of those Latin American countries closest to the US: Mexico, Colombia, Haiti.

Considering that the United States is acting more and more erratically and is busy sparking phony revolutions and civil wars in every country friendly to Cuba and indeed in Cuba itself, this is certainly playing with fire.

If there is any hope, it will be that the sprit of the Cuban Revolution can influence the US population more than the CIA can manipulate theirs.


The leaders of the American Empire have a real knack for leading us all towards our deaths in nuclear war. Are we going to let them?

In the following essay, which I added here because it is short and violent, is really an astonishing piece of work. Not only does Strobe Talbot reduce a 1000 year old nation to "Putin's Empire", he also goes on to threaten Russia with a third Chechen War. Knowing what we do about US involvement with the first, this is more than a mere "prediction" - it is a call for the deaths of tens of thousands of Russians.

That the leaders of the American Empire to accuse others of "scorched earth policies" is laughable. These are those who have since the fall of the USSR killed at least 1,000,000 Iraqis through sanctions and war, turned Libya and Syria into wastelands, smashed Yugoslavia, lead Afghanistan through another decade of war, watched as millions died in Africa and turned the Ukraine over to Nazis and oligarchs - not to mention leading their own countries into depression and austerity.

The hypocrisy of the American elite is limitless.

In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell


How I Declared War On Russia
by Strobe Talbot

The year ahead could see the outbreak of the third Chechen war, which, in turn, could be the death knell of the Russian Federation in its current borders.

If, as is imaginable, Russia dismembers itself later this century — the way the Soviet Union did in 1991 — it will largely be a consequence of President Vladimir Putin’s policies.

Putin came to power in the 1990s, when civil war broke out in Chechnya, a constituent republic of Russia in the North Caucasus. The first Chechen war, between 1994 and 1996, was ignited by Muslim rebels demanding independence from Moscow. A second war started in 1999, when Putin was moving rapidly toward Kremlin leadership, first as President Boris Yeltsin’s national security adviser, then as prime minister. With Yeltsin’s health and grip on power failing, Putin emerged as the driving force behind a scorched-earth policy — with massive collateral damage to the population as a whole. That conflict lasted a decade.

For the past five years, the situation has been more or less quiescent, though neighboring republics have been rocked by violence. The lull in Chechnya, however, ended in early December with a series of bloody incidents in the Chechen capital of Grozny.

The group behind the resurgence of unrest is advocating a “Caucasus Caliphate,” with ties to al Qaeda and, more recently, Islamic State. There is at least an indirect tie between outside support for Islamic radicalism in the Caucasus and Putin’s sponsorship of Russian secessionism in eastern Ukraine.

By proclaiming ethnicity and religion as the basis for Russian statehood and aggression against its neighbors, Putin is inadvertently stoking the forces of secessionism in those parts of Russia that are historically and culturally Islamic.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 18 2014 0:59 utc | 41

@guest77 #41:

Thanks for directing our attention to that rubbish (link), but I wouldn't let it upset me if I were you. The hatred of Russia of Anglophone elites is growing ever more virulent and insane; we might as well get used to that.

The timing of this rapprochement with Cuba is highly suspicious, given that the Empire is doing everything it can think of to implement its plan to destroy Russia.

My main concern at this point is whether the Kremlin is going to do what is necessary to prevent Russia's economy from tanking.

Posted by: Demian | Dec 18 2014 1:42 utc | 42

Posted by: OIFVet | Dec 17, 2014 12:52:08 PM | 15

Why do you want to deny Cuban women tampons and panty liners? Sicko. I guess they should continue to use a wash rag or a banana leave so you can feel all smug, self-righteous and revolutionary.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Dec 18 2014 1:52 utc | 43

Looks like the Ukrainians just aren't giving their country away fast enough for the likes of Chevron:

Shale gas was supposed to be Ukraine’s ticket to greater energy independence from Russia. Chevron Corp. (CVX)’s decision to pull the plug has smashed those hopes.

Chevron grew frustrated with the Ukrainian government’s failure to modify tax rules under which foreign explorers have to operate in the country, said Allen Good, an energy industry analyst at Morningstar Inc. in Chicago.

The Ukraine is finding out just how far it has to bend over to make the US elite happy.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 18 2014 2:15 utc | 44

@43: The lack of tampons and panty liners didn't prevent your mother from turning a dozen nazi tricks every day at a Lvov brothel, did it? How else could you explain yourself!?!?

Posted by: OIFVet | Dec 18 2014 2:27 utc | 45

I remember a few years ago Idaho's Gov Butch Otter went to Cuba for a visit. Otter is J.R. Simplot's ex-son-in-law. The Simplot ag-conglomerate is deeply into all things industrial beef, rapacious public lands welfare ranching beef, increasingly GMO potatoes (which even McDonald's for the time being has turned down) and heavy duty agri-chemicals, including fertilizer. It was reported at the time that he went to Cuba for future phosphate prospects. See

Posted by: katie vera | Dec 18 2014 3:00 utc | 46

May be war is coming.US is ensuring her back is covered.

Posted by: Orb | Dec 18 2014 3:40 utc | 47

I don't see Barry Choom going through with this, or at least, not too far. The omnibus bill was an act of supine prostration, so I don't see Obama standing up to the gusanos. They and the forces of inherited anti-communism (read -- Teabaggers and allied wingnuts, several have chimed in already) will prevent any real detente. He can re-open the embassy, but too much of the embargo is hard-wired into law.

But why this feint now? Cuba has always been open to ending the embargo with what was historically its largest trading partner; it trades with the EuroCommunity without fatally undermining the revolutionary regime (too much).

Good points on the color rev., legacy moment at 12 & 15. And Wayout, at 17, you may well be right about it also being a play in Latin America.

g77 @ 41 - Talbot has long been fixture in the Soviet/Russian Studies journo-politico-academic elite. And as such a reliable provider of received wisdom. Nice steamy little pile of it there, fresh from the horse.

Posted by: rufus magister | Dec 18 2014 5:07 utc | 48

Remember ebola and Africa ...

The UN health agency reported that as of December 10, there had been 18,188 cases of infection from the deadly virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, of whom 6,583 people had died.

... the US contirbution there was before the fact : a biowarfare lab working to weaponize ebola ... so it could then make a defense for the unnatural weapon it had created - that's their story and they're stickin' to it.

The Cuban contribution, after the fact, was doctors and nurses on the ground and helping those struck down, while everyone else ... the big, 'developed nations' ... were still at the 'gee, that's sooooo sad' stage ... and the US was taking the opportunity to send more troops to occupy Liberia.

There could not have been a more poignant show-and-tell comparison of the two countries : one a small, compassionate, socialist country, reaching out to help the victims. A country whose very existence is in spite of 50 years of economic warfare and subversion by the other, the gigantic, murderous, metastasizing, capitalist, superpower - which may well have been responsible for the outbreak in the first place, and is/was definitely responsible for trying in every way possible to destroy that same, small, socialist country ... and failing ... for fifty f'in years, but certainly not for lack of trying.

Now, as faith-in the USA has collapsed, and been replace by hatred ALL around the world - and absolutely rightly so - Obama makes this cynical, empty gesture, thinking he'll put Cuba in the shadow ... striding out into the spotlight himself ... Mr Big Heart - the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate/Drone Assassin ... and the f'in Argentine-junta-lovin' Pope holds his hand above his head.

The US embargo stays in place ...

“a line of action that makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the [Castro] government.”

... and is duplicated in Iran, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, Russia ... Barack Obama is an abomination : the CIA with stage presence, attempting this torturous lie. I don't imagine anyone is fooled about the US' or Obama's intentions but those who voted for him - and ask only to be fooled, again and again and again.

Posted by: jfl | Dec 18 2014 7:40 utc | 49

@20 "the coming dust-up with Russia": A pretty understated way to refer to an exchange of nuclear weapons...

Posted by: Snake Arbusto | Dec 18 2014 12:57 utc | 50

@37 "JEB missed his turn and his idiot brother took it."

"Idiot," "cretin," etc., okay. But I've always thought that "nincompoop" was a particularly good fit.

Posted by: Snake Arbusto | Dec 18 2014 13:05 utc | 51

Posted by: OIFVet | Dec 17, 2014 9:27:10 PM | 45

Exactly what a bigot and a sadistic rapist would say, but of course, we all know you intelligence folks are exactly that and cowards as well.

Cuba: Things to Know Before You Go

Ladies - please take tampons and sanitary wear with you, if the unexpected should happen you will be up pooh alley! You can not get tampons in Cuba and their ST’s are rather antiquated and nasty!!! Be sure to leave any unwanted tampons with a Cuban – she will remember you for ever.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Dec 18 2014 14:00 utc | 52

What self-respecting so-called "Leftist" would keep referring to Obama as Barry Choom? This kind, of course.

Barry Choom

Youse guys are too obvious. I think you think because b is German he can't pick up on your ruse. Maybe he can't. Only he can answer that question, but for some of us, it's obvious you comprise the majority of the comments to his blog in order to control, or I should say contain, the message.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Dec 18 2014 14:07 utc | 53

The troll complains that Cuba isn't hopping to the Russian beat - as obviously "allies" are expected to do.
Of course, a Russian ally is allowed to have its own views - and is expected to cooperate based on mutual interest rather than ideology, in notable comparison to American "allies".

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 18 2014 16:11 utc | 54

Video background from TRNN on US/Cuba relations:

Posted by: ben | Dec 18 2014 16:42 utc | 55

Guess Raul Castro wants to get knifed in the butt like Qaddafi.

Or did we make him an offer he couldn't refuse?

Posted by: L Bean | Dec 18 2014 17:19 utc | 56

Into the ether?Babs Bush on 12/7/14 said;Aren't there any other families in America besides the Bush and Clintons for the American public to vote for?I guess she recognizes her family and the Clintons aren't up to snuff.
Viva la Cuba(I hope)

Posted by: dahoit | Dec 18 2014 17:42 utc | 57

Hopefully we will not see Victoria Nuland passing out cookies on El Malecon. Yeah, I'm a cynic

Posted by: Misskg32 | Dec 18 2014 17:51 utc | 58

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Frazer has some unkind words about US exceptional ism.
"Australia should not embrace America, writes its former prime minister, but preserve itself from Washington’s reckless overreach". The USA; Australia's dangerous ally. Worth a read

Posted by: harry law | Dec 18 2014 18:25 utc | 59

No need to change the regime in Cuba.

Its the model Obama et al have plans to turn the USofA into

though i suppose the Pope prob deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for
his efforts at getting US and Cuba to talk to each other.

Posted by: chris m | Dec 18 2014 18:48 utc | 60

I think Colden Hole might be getting sore in major orifices from taking so much of Putin in so hard and deep. President Putin can't be president into perpetuity, asshole. He isn't immortal.
Why won't Western know-it-all douchebags give it up? Not every nation needs or wants politicians the likes of the US with their 10% approval ratings because they spend most of their time on vacation or campaigning for re-election to do anything other than please their largest campaign donors. There might be one or two US pols left that don't deserve to be thrown into a ditch and buried alive, but for the life of me I can't think of them.

Cuba can give the butcher the knife and offer up her neck now. Good luck with that.

Posted by: farflungstar | Dec 18 2014 19:16 utc | 61

from SST;

"As I have just explained to someone who used to comment on SST, I have no use for communism and its friends but ...... Many Americans are mutilated or die every year because of diabetic foot ulcers. First the toes go, then the feet and later the legs. Death follows. This drug [Cuba's Heberprot-P Drug) has been available since 2007? One might ask why it has not been available in the States?"

ANSWER: a communist medicine might shatter the notion of exceptionalism!

Yes the 'image' of US cold war may be coming down! But the cold heart is there in its entirety. The only fix is its natural death.

Posted by: Rd. | Dec 18 2014 19:34 utc | 62

Did Raul Just Reverse The Entire Cuban Revolution?

[Raul] thought he could preempt large-scale disturbances among the portion of the population with legitimate grievances that could be manipulated by the US through a proactive deal with Washington. But just like Yanukovich committed a flagrant folly through his ‘reach out’ attempts to the ‘opposition’, so too is Raul doing the exact same thing by working with the US. …

Putin made a surprise visit to [Cuba] in July en route to the BRICS Summit in Brazil, and during his stay there, he announced that Russia was forgiving $32 billion of Cuba’s debt, which was 90% of the total. In exchange, it was rumored that Moscow would be reopening the Soviet-era signals intelligence base in Lourdes, which considering the tense climate of the New Cold War, would have been a massive strategic detriment for the US. With this in mind, the US immediately set off to seduce Cuba.

This means that the US-Cuba deal must absolutely be viewed in the prism of current geopolitical rivalry with Russia. With that in mind, Washington scored an even larger victory than it initially seems. Russia obviously had its own secret plans for Cuba when Putin made his unannounced visit to the country over the summer, but it seems like the US has nullified them before they could get off the ground, since there is no way the US would allow Cuba to retain such a facility as part of the deal.

It looks like the US outmaneuvered Putin. Now that Cuba is cozying up to Washington, Russia is not going to get anything in return for the debt it forgave Cuba.

Posted by: Demian | Dec 18 2014 19:54 utc | 63

Of course, the estimate of 20 billion barrels of oil reserves north of Cuba, couldn't possibly have entered into the US decision.

Posted by: ben | Dec 18 2014 19:57 utc | 64

@Demian #63
I think it is far too early to say what exactly Cuba is or is not going to do.
Why is it so hard to understand that a reopening of relations - even if only nominally - is beneficial for Cuba and its people and is thus something which legitimately should be explored by Cuba's leadership?

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 18 2014 19:59 utc | 65

Is Nicaragua a model for Revolution leading to REAL democratic reforms? When Ortega was defeated at the polls in 1990 the culture avoided a complete return to Somaza's criminal state, but the virus of example set by model democracy (pfft US) prevails.

It's a cheesecloth false-flag, faux democracy, but we can still vote.


Posted by: Ben | Dec 18 2014 20:07 utc | 66

Is Nicaragua a model for Revolution leading to REAL democratic reforms? When Ortega was defeated at the polls in 1990 the culture avoided a complete return to Somaza's criminal state, but the virus of example set by model democracy (pfft US) prevails.

It's a cheesecloth false-flag, faux democracy, but we can still vote.


Posted by: Ben | Dec 18 2014 20:10 utc | 67

software..*cough cough.

Posted by: Ben | Dec 18 2014 20:16 utc | 68

One possibility is that the US has done this to pre-empt a repeat of the missile crisis. I suspect Barry does not want to follow Kennedy that closely.

Irrespective of reasons, the Cubans should treat the US with the greatest of caution. Fortunately for them, John Tefft, the US master of destabilization, is busy in Moscow.

Posted by: Yonatan | Dec 18 2014 20:25 utc | 69

I dimly recall that Obama made an electoral “promise” to ease relations with Cuba? I might be wrong about that. Certainly he has been moving forward on this point for a long time.

LA Times, 2007:

WaPo, 2007: Obama Calls for Easing Cuba Embargo

If this comes to some kind of (still vague??) fruition right now, it is because it took a long time to prepare, set up (exchanges, etc.) + - I’m not sure of this - the war-crazed now accept or like because it can be felt as sticking it to Putin, + various commercial corporations see oppos for big profits — agri, real estate, hotels, vacations, cigars!, oil as well though as per usual hopes are aka pipe dreams.

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 18 2014 20:36 utc | 70

@c1ue #65:

I hope you are right, but given that the US under Obama has behaved with sustained malevolence towards both its enemies and friends, the fear that Raul Castro may have been driven by naivete to make similar mistakes to those of Yanukovich is not unjustified. Given that USG is quiet open about its project to destroy Russia, it is hard to believe that it is not going to use any improvement of relations between the US and Cuba to undo the Cuban revolution.

But USG's game is by now apparent to anyone who is paying attention. Turkey is able to maintain good relations with the US without (unlike EU countries) completely neglecting its own interests or having its government fall in a color revoultion. Let us hope it will be the same with Cuba.

@Noirette #70:

I just hope that Raul Castro has taken to heart Putin's good will, and that Cuba will manage its relations with the US under consultation with Russia.

Posted by: Demian | Dec 18 2014 21:24 utc | 71

Guest77 at 44…some details .. Both Chevron and Shell pulled out of projects in Ukr. These were the best known, the most quoted, as planned long ago.

2013, hopes, propaganda, guff: reuters:

2014: FT Ukraine crisis unsettles Shell and Chevron

Chevron is now blaming ‘lack of reforms’ on the part of the Ukr. Gvmt. Mealy-mouthed and ungrateful, as Yats plus his buddies have done all they could to privatize, allow foreign ownership, lower taxes, give up profit sharing agreements, and have accepted (afaik..) the EU’s third energy package, which stipulates, in part, that transport of resources (gas, oil, coal..) can be basically foreign owned. (In this way one controls the market, while the extraction work is done by locals who become totally dependent. Details would require speicalised knowledge.) Chevron and Shell don’t want to admit - now I’m no expert, or ‘in the know’, all this is rather superficial, but one can ‘smell’ this a mile off -

a) that war conditions put paid to any projects (as officially there are just some pro-Russian terrorists in a circumscribed region), that without all the guarantees of a stable state, such projects can’t ever be lifted off or into the muddy ground, even with plentiful slave labor;

b) that their projections of ‘available resources’ were, as usual, wildly optimistic, to attract and fool investors, who now have cold feet -not about resources - but concerning a ‘unitary Ukraine’ which is clearly dead in the water.

Thieves, scammers, swopping illusions. In this story, they all lost.

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 18 2014 21:53 utc | 72

@72 It's not just marginal projects in Ukraine. Canada, North Sea....they can't make money below $60 barrel. Oil companies are cutting back all over.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18 2014 22:58 utc | 73

"On it's way to satisfaction or relaxation (DC in Libra) it (US) now, for the current 14 months, has to stick to the symbolism of Sagittarius meaning to the symbolism of the funnels wide edge, in the zodiak the edge of intuition comprising the whole circle of the world and thus the essence of reconciliation."

This is the telling of the force, driving the US in the current 7 months.

Posted by: mundanomaniac | Dec 18 2014 23:18 utc | 74

What do you want to bet that Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker's family will be first in there with their hotels?

Posted by: MRW | Dec 18 2014 23:19 utc | 75

What kind of exposure does Cuba have to a Venezualan default?

Posted by: Nana2007 | Dec 19 2014 0:34 utc | 76

@72 - Thank you Noirette - always an excellent source of info.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 19 2014 0:37 utc | 77

dh@73-you're right the contagion appears to be widespread: here's the latest on UK oil from zerohedge

So with great delight we present the latest blowback from Obama's "brilliant" strategy to cripple Putin: in addition to the default wave about to crush America's own shale industry, America's biggest foreign ally and military partner when it comes to "ideologically pure missions of liberation" - the UK, and specifically its North Sea oil industry which according to the BBC is in a "crisis" and according to Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers' association Brindex, the industry was "close to collapse".

Posted by: Nana2007 | Dec 19 2014 0:43 utc | 78

"It looks like the US outmaneuvered Putin. Now that Cuba is cozying up to Washington, Russia is not going to get anything in return for the debt it forgave Cuba."

Its a good thing to fear, but I don't suspect the Cubans can simply rush into the arms of Uncle Sam. They know better than anyone the tricks of the US. To some extent I suppose they are, rhetorically, in a tough spot. They have always talked about how unfair the embargo is. Now, I suppose, they'll have to live up to it.

We have to remember now that it is all words so far. But it will be interesting to watch the implementation.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 19 2014 0:43 utc | 79

I like "waiting for the shoe to fall", somewhere near the Bay of Pigs.

Posted by: Curtis | Dec 19 2014 1:11 utc | 80

@Nana2007 #78:

Nice to see that Brits and not just Europeans are experiencing the fallout from USG's war on Russia.

Posted by: Demian | Dec 19 2014 1:12 utc | 81

@81. Don't forget retired people on fixed incomes. Energy stocks are a big part of the index funds.

Posted by: dh | Dec 19 2014 1:26 utc | 82

Mundanomaniac@74- this is good news. My feeling is that the US consults the Necronomicon for its quarterly strategy and any quarter that doesn't unleash hell on earth for someone and summon the old ones is a bad quarter. But here's hoping.

Demian@81- I'm afraid we're all going to experience the fallout from this stupidity. What could Cuba gain from friendly relations with the US? They must be well over a barrel...

Posted by: Nana2007 | Dec 19 2014 1:35 utc | 83

If this was a move to prevent Missile Crisis II, I say good. Russia needs to have a military presence in Cuba as much as NATO needs to be in Ukraine... Anyway, it's about time they normalized relations. Cuba has suffered for fifty years under the embargo. If the Cuban Government decides this is the best way to avoid a catastrophe, who are we to question their right to self-determination?

Yes it would be horrible for the gains of the Revolution to be undone, but do you think Cuba would simply roll over and submit to Uncle Sam after half a century of resistance?

Posted by: Almand | Dec 19 2014 1:53 utc | 84

@84 'do you think Cuba would simply roll over and submit to Uncle Sam after half a century of resistance?'

For tampons and toothpaste and ipads and microwave ovens they just might. The revolutionaries are getting old. There's a new generation there that wants the goodies.

Posted by: dh | Dec 19 2014 2:03 utc | 85

Almand@84- I say there are too many unanswered questions. And why is it good just now? The timing is off..

It' not like Cubans don't know the history of the US stomping on their self-determination after taking credit for their success against Spain? They must learn this in secondary school. Cuba needs to rerelease Juan of the dead with the focus on this is what capitalism looks like- free tickets for all. Make it a double feature with a documentary on Haiti.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Dec 19 2014 2:09 utc | 86

Almand@84- I say there are too many unanswered questions. And why is it good just now? The timing seems off...

It' not like Cubans don't know the history of the US stomping on their self-determination after taking credit for their success against Spain? They must learn this in secondary school. Cuba needs to rerelease Juan of the dead with the focus on this is what capitalism looks like- free tickets for all. Make it a double feature with a documentary on Haiti

Posted by: Nana2007 | Dec 19 2014 2:12 utc | 87

To CDH at 53

I'm not sure I see the relevance of the guy's Twitter. O's was in the "Choom Gang" back in his high school days, you know, when he used to be cool.

Didn't we go over this before? I'm a long standing ultra-left from back in my Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) days. I forget your record of activism....

And a Seasonal Greeting (appropriate to your culture and religious view) to you and yours. And a Happy New Year to all my fellow Barflies.

Mrs. M & I just finished putting a few tasteful decorations on the lawn, so I'm feeling festive.

Insert your favorite version of "What Child is This" here. Or "Jingle Bell Rock," to taste.

N2K7 @ 83 Necronomicon? Lovecraft fan? I ripped thru the Cthulhu mythos back in the early 80's. Put's a different spin on "opening up the books," it's a hell of an audit.

Maybe it will all work out like SNL's "lost ending" to the classic "It's a Wonderful Life." It's a seasonal favorite of Mrs. M's, despite the mediocre "Auld Lang Syne" at the end.

Posted by: rufus magister | Dec 19 2014 2:25 utc | 88

Rufus@88- I know, Lovecraft is unreadable-I wasted a few years reading him in my highschool days, but I think he's integral to understanding the current rise of Cthululu...I mean Putin.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Dec 19 2014 2:51 utc | 89

@dh "The revolutionaries are getting old. There's a new generation there that wants the goodies."

And you know this, how?

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 19 2014 3:24 utc | 90

It's hard to get useful info on Cuba. It's all filtered through the likes of turcopolier who's at pains to tell us he "ain't no commie, dadgummit!"

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 19 2014 4:00 utc | 91

@70 noirette,

This promise has been around, but Obama is a run of the mill Democrat surrounded by the ilk who admire James Carville types. When Cuba came up, I have no doubt they recognized it was low hanging fruit because everyone who really cares votes Republican, all the problems are caused by the U.S., and criticism of a President's foreign policy is generally met with criticism from the media. They decided to hold off until they needed a win. The Pope might have forced the issue. Obama would have a hard time if Francis began to call for an end to the embargo and made it an issue.

As a domestic example, Obama made promises about repealing DADT, but his administration fiercely defended legal challenges and only sought a repeal AFTER a federal judge ruled DADT unconstitutional. Obama only acts if he has a direct interest or he is under immense pressure.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Dec 19 2014 4:02 utc | 92

I don't expect the casinos and mafia whores and parking meters will be coming back to Havana. And no, I don't believe the Cubans will sell their souls or their history for a fistful of consumer trinkets. But I think b has the right idea in warning them to beware of the US and its embassy. Watch the NGOs too, keep tabs on every step they take.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 19 2014 4:07 utc | 93

N2K7, 89 --

I would not say Lovecraft was a waste of time. The only thing really embarrassing is the work set in Red Hook, where his nativism is on display. But when he writes about degenerate Yankees in economically depressed and decaying New England, he can be pretty powerful. "The Lurking Fear" was always my favorite, with "The Shadow over Innsmouth" next. There's apparently a film version "At the Mountains of Madness" in the works.

Hmm, Putin as "as a gigantic and wholly evil entity worshiped by cultists. Cthulhu's anatomy is described as part man, part dragon, and part octopus." (see the Wikipedia on HPL's creation). While I don't especially like our accidental progressive, I don't think I'd go that far.

I think the late Hugo Chavez had it right when he smelled sulfur at the UN a few years back, after George the Younger spoke. To be fair, the present incumbent would probably give off a similar scent, perhaps with overtones of patchouli or sandalwood (hippie scents, that is).

And while I'm here, Tannahill Weavers do the best "Auld Lang Syne." You'll find it a bit more contemplative than most versions of this fine air. "We'll take a cup o' kindness yet/For the sake of auld lang syne."

Posted by: rufus magister | Dec 19 2014 4:35 utc | 94

It never hurts to be skeptical of US intentions, but we should not underestimate the shrewdness and adroitness of the Cuban government. When Cuba legalized the US dollar in the 1990s many left-wing sages announced the end of the Cuban Revolution; when the Cuban turned to tourism as a means of obtaining foreign currency after the disappearance of the USSR and the intensification of the US blockade, many again predicted the end of the Revolution. To be fair, these predictions were not baseless: these actions of the Cuban government did entail risks, of which Cuban officials were cognizant and candid. However, the Cuban leaders did not need arm-chair revolutionaries from Europe and the US to alert them to these risks; nor do they need the patronizing counsel of the many commentators on this article to be aware of the new set of challenges the diplomatic and commercial normalization of the relationship with the US will carry.

Posted by: Roger Milbrandt | Dec 19 2014 5:31 utc | 95

@90 Personal observations. I've been to Cuba twice. I have friends there. I think there is a tendency among Western leftists to romanticize Cuba.

I admit don’t know much about the Cuban education system. Maybe the new generation can resist the temptations. I hope so. But my impression is that a lot of ordinary Cubans are hungry for consumer products.

Posted by: dh | Dec 19 2014 7:54 utc | 96

Folks keep saying it's about time that Cuba got out from under the embargo ... any links to where Cuba is getting out from under the embargo? any links to the return of Guantanamo? All the Cubans get out of this deal is a new CIA base at the US Embassy. I think they know what they're doing, but this is a media show only so far. Isn't it?

Don't look at the US' death and devastation of the Middle East, don't look at the incipient genocide and/or WW III in Ukraine, don't look at the shadow of 'humble' China looming over Eurasia, Africa, Latin America and the world ... it's Cuba Libres for all, Happy Hour, and bottoms up.

Posted by: jfl | Dec 19 2014 8:28 utc | 97

96 / jfl

I agree, however I am not sure that Cuba do understand what they (Cuba) are doing. As you said, if the embargo wont be lifted, whats the point?
Or have Castro become pro-US suddenly?

Posted by: Anonymous | Dec 19 2014 9:14 utc | 98

myanmar [1]
cuba [2]

dont be surprised if the next one to *open out* to uncle sham is nk !
*Throughout the last two years U.S. airplanes landed several times in North Korea without the United States informing its allies about their missions
There must be many secrets between the United States and North Korea that Japan does not know about," a Japanese government source said. *



Posted by: denk | Dec 19 2014 11:04 utc | 99

It's all filtered through the likes of turcopolier who's at pains to tell us he "ain't no commie, dadgummit!"

If he's not, he needs to quit servicing Putin day in and day out, because he's been sucking communist dick for quite some time now. What a shame — all those wasted atrocities in Vietnam under the auspices of fighting communism only to end up sucking communist dick when his testosterone levels drop with old age.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Dec 19 2014 11:16 utc | 100

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