Monday, April 14, 2003

Cuba Under the Radar
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: April 17, 2003

Just last week three of the men involved in hijacking a Cuban ferry in order to flee to America were executed under the regime of Fidel Castro under the charge of terrorism. Where was the United States in all of this? Unfortunately while freeing a people and riding the world of a tyrant thousands of miles away in Iraq we’ve let a madman torture and terrorize the island ninety miles away from our coast for the last fifty years.

The incident with the ferry follows a series of airline hijackings in the past several months where Cubans have been fleeing Castro’s paradise to get to evil Capitalist America. The ferry incident was particularly tragic though as the men who took over the boat pointed it towards Florida and hit the throttle. The problem was that there wasn’t enough fuel and the boat stalled thirty miles away from Havana. This was the rational for not intervening; being thirty miles out the boat was still in Cuban waters technically. However, when it is in our power to save the lives of these people and help them escape from a brutal and tyrannical regime, shouldn’t we do it?

Even if you don’t support kicking that out of power, helping out some people who don’t want to live under oppression when they went to such lengths to escape and come to America isn’t much to ask at all. Instead the United States looked on while the standoff culminated in the seizure of the boat by Cuban Special Forces and then the subsequent executions of the men responsible for hijacking the ferry. Why did we do nothing? How could we watch on as people are killed for nothing ninety miles away?

Unlike the cause for the Spanish-American War, supposed Spanish suppression of Cuban nationalists, which was greatly exaggerated by American newspapers, we now have the exact opposite. We now have real, brutal, and systematic oppression of all human rights while the American media ignores it or even praises Fidel Castro’s regime, with ex-Presidents Carter and Clinton hamming it up with the dictator personally.

I don’t support getting rid of all dictators simultaneously with US military power for several reasons; 1) we’d have to greatly increase the armed forces which would cost more money than we currently spend on the whole budget, 2) some tyrants could nuke any armies we could put in the field (Kim Jong Il, Chirac, etc.), and 3) it would be unworkable as a policy because we would have to then help out all of these countries in fashioning constitutions and rebuilding any infrastructure we destroyed.

However in the case of Cuba the situation is different (each situation will be unique) as the island of eleven million has no particular loyalty to the Stalinist police state Castro runs and it’s proximity to us makes the job far cheaper and easily within our power to accomplish. But even if we don’t remove the outlaw regime in Cuba, to continue this policy of not helping out those who are escaping is unacceptable. Just as it would be unacceptable to not help fleeing slaves from the South in 1860 or Jews from the Nazis in 1942, one cannot morally stand by to watch fellow human beings slaughtered when they can stop it.

Some nativists will cry that we don’t need more immigrants, and if that is your argument then 1) you are an idiot, and 2) you should support the removal of Castro so that Cuba isn’t a place people risk and pay their lives to escape from.

Of course the same people who opposed the war to oust Saddam will not support a war to oust Castro because, like Saddam, he’s a socialist and therefore, their intellectual ally. But as they are so often wrong on everything I think listening to them on this matter would be just as stupid as it would be for anything else. For proof of this try getting one of these Peace Protestors to denounce Fidel. Good luck, because even if they say he is oppressive they’ll throw in a “BUT” and then proceed to tell you how great the education, health, sanitation, and power systems are in Cuba.

As one final caveat against this communist thug who runs Cuba, let us not forget that he is an international supporter of terrorism. And not the “terrorism” he accuses his poor people of (trying to flee his country) but real terrorism. Angola is a prime example of Cuban intervention and the training of communist militia units who then perpetrated terrorist acts on the Angolan people to affect a communist takeover and start a whole new brand of terrorism, a communist state. Luckily this was thwarted by U.S intervention in favor of the other side in the Angolan civil war, but why didn’t we just destroy the source of the problem, Fidel Castro?

Evil exists and there are hardly clearer examples of it than in Cuba. Perhaps we’ll someday deal with it and save the unfortunates who have and will continue to escape or at least attempt to do so. To not do so when we can is an implicit endorsement of Castro’s right to rule which he gave up when he took power.

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