Friday, March 25, 2016

Barack meets Raúl


Image result for obama doing the tango in buenos aires

In the eight year of his rock star style Presidency Barack Hussein Obama made his way to Havana to pay homage to Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz.  We read that in anticipation Raúl had ordered his people to spruce up a bit the slum of his long making and it is likely that any of those unruly types who dared to occasionally complain about life in the Socialist Workers paradise were rounded up and dropped into the deep freeze during the President’s Potemkin tour.  Just to show who was boss, Raúl snubbed the American President, sending one of his flunkies to greet him on his arrival on the Havana tarmac.  Hermano mayor for decades enjoyed waving his middle finger at Uncle Sam. This occasion was, however, unique: Obama was the first American President to fly down and willingly get himself dissed in person.

Obama did not even catch a glimpse of the Damas Blancas (the Ladies in White), those brave women who Raúl’s goons regularly beat up for publically asking about the fate of their husbands, brothers and sons rotting as political prisoners in Castro’s vast dungeons. “Just hours before President Obama landed Sunday in Cuba for his historic visit to the communist island, Cuban authorities arrested more than 50 dissidents who were marching to demand improved human rights.”

From the Washington Post: “A group of dissidents known as the Ladies in White was met outside Havana’s Santa Rita church by an organized crowd of Castro loyalists shouting insults and revolutionary slogans. Then, The Post reports, Castro’s secret police pounced on the women and ‘half-dragged, half-carried them to waiting buses,’ while men marching with the women “were chased, thrown to the curb and handcuffed.” As they were arrested, the crowd chanted ‘This is Fidel’s street!  Yes, those Fidelistas had it exactly right:  Cuba belongs exclusively to Fidel and Raúl, not the peons they boss around. It is their personal fiefdom and the clowns who spout that human rights nonsense deserve whatever abuse comes their way from the the guardians of “The Revolution.”

But that was probably just fine with Obama who apparently was willing to bear whatever indignities the regime cared to dispense, and who cares about the dissidents, anyway?  They have universal health care. What else do they want?  He was likely wearing his Che tee-shirt from his college days beneath his suit jacket.  Fidel, Raúl and Che, after all, were the young Hope and Change guys of the Caribbean when BHO was, as they say, just a twinkle in the eye of Barack Sr. Like President Obama during his 2008 Presidential campaign, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” (, the Castros in 1959 promised a  complete transformation of  their homeland with some smoke and mirrors palaver about free elections and democracy.  And “transformation” is a handy euphemism for exactly what they did, namely make the island into a hell hole (gulags, summary executions and all) that Cubans have for decades been (literally) dying to leave.  It is now a vast slum which not withstanding the 60-year iron fisted rule of Fidel and Raúl is entirely, they claim, the fault of the U.S.    

One suspects that Obama feels much more at home in Havana, yukking it up with a decrepit dictator than in those red states in the U.S and has a much higher regard for Raúl than for any of those Republicans back home whom he likes to speak of as his “enemies.”   Obama’s comfort with Raul, one also suspects has its origins in a deeply shared conviction that the U.S. is a country, as his wife Michelle, so eloquently put it in 2008 that is “just a downright mean.”


Beyond that, for some striking evidence of the President’s affinity for the Castro brothers’ version of Hope and Change we have Obama’s very own testimonial in his autobiography.

"To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students, the foreign students, the Chicanos, the Marxist Professors and the structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets….  At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz [sic] Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting bourgeois society's stifling constraints. We weren't indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated."  [Dreams from my Father, 100-101]

Granted, this was how Obama represented his Marxist bona fides as a youth at the university.  That was then, and now is, well ….  One remains hard pressed to discover much of a difference in conviction and attitude between the twenty-something university student and forty-forth U.S. President.  Since his university days up to the present Obama has continued to choose friends and associates strikingly similar to his university pals – Bill Ayres, Jeremiah Wright, Father Pfleger, Van Jones, and, of course, the race-baiting, riot-fomenting Al Sharpton.  While we hope he is not grinding out his cigarettes in the While House carpet to express his alienation, Obama has demonized policemen (“bourgeois society’s” armed enforcers) and given tacit support to rioters, as in Ferguson, who burned the place down.  In 2011 Obama celebrated American poetry and prose with a gathering of poets, musicians and artists at the White House.   According to the Associated Press he invited Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. aka  “Common,” a notorious hip-hop artist famous for celebrating the killing of police officers and one notorious cop killer in general.   So, Obama, the alienated, Marxist university student, and Obama, the racial polarizing, Castro-enthusiast President seem to be separated only by years.  There is no evidence in word or deed that Barack Obama has ever relinquished the resentment and his affinity for the leftist radicalism that motivated him as a young man: he is just much more sophisticated in managing it. 

One, however, should be careful with comparing Obama and Raúl  Castro.  To be fair to Raúl, as a Marxist, he is the real McCoy, one tough hombre, enduring in his youth the precarious Granma expedition from Mexico and the harsh rigors of the Sierra Maestra mountains as a guerrilla fighter, taking on Batista’s troops, getting shot at, taking hostages and executing them.  In the early days of the Revolution Raúl was even by his older brother's estimate a brutal fellow.  

"As the 'brothers show' developed, Fidel carefully and deliberately nurtured the myth of 'good brother, bad brother.' Whenever he wanted to threaten people with the results of his possible demise, he pointed to Raúl — 'He will be much worse than I,' he warned repeatedly. And he may have been right. Sierra fighters like Lucas Morán called Raúl's front a "small totalitarian state in which discipline was rooted in the terrible drama of death by execution." Geyer, Georgie (2011-02-01). Guerrilla Prince: The Untold Story Of Fi (Kindle Locations 3285-3288). Garrett County Press. Kindle Edition.   

Obama would not know which end of a gun the bullet comes out of, and it is doubtful that the man has an ounce of physical courage.  His Marxism is of the prissy, academic sort with all of its usual hand wringing devotion to the oppressed and its self-righteous, self-congratulatory posturing but is personally squeamish with a preference for softer approaches to coercion and, as he said in 2010  punish[ing] our enemies and … reward[ing] our friends.”  Like his close friend, Al Sharpton, his style (dropping his “g’s” when necessary) is to demonize his critics and keep the rabble on a slow boil with artful demagoguery while working the system for all of its perks – golf, basketball,  jet-set vacations, celebrity hob knobbing, etc. 

From Havana the Commander and Chief flew to Buenos Aires where he was photographed practicing his Tango steps with a luscious Argentine partner.   When he becomes an ex-President and Hope and Change is long forgotten, when asked about his years at the top he can with a smirk quote Sen. George Washington Plunkett of the old Tammany Hall days: who in his memoirs wrote, “I seen my opportunities and I took ‘em.”