Paul Marks at Samizdata speculates about the end of Castro. It’s a familiar discussion. Predictably, the reader comments are full of jabs about the U.S. embargo, with one or two blame-the-U.S. assertions thrown in. Most of these arguments are beside the point.
One of the U.S. govt’s bigger blunders in recent decades was not overthrowing the Castro regime when it would have been relatively easy to do so. Instead we played around with tepid subversion and lost our nerve after a half-assed invasion which we allowed to fail.
Since then we haven’t had the will to do anything serious, and the result has been the transformation of the most advanced country in Latin America into a festering dung heap, and the destruction of the dreams, freedom and life potential (and in many cases the lives) of several generations of its citizens. The embargo is a sideshow that won’t change any of this.
Yet God forbid anyone suggests we deal with the root of the problem by overthrowing the Cuban regime. No, can’t have that — we must have stability. (Where else have we heard that recently?) Never mind that the vast majority of Cuban immigrants from the supposedly disastrous 1980 Mariel boat lift have been successfully integrated into U.S. society. Never mind that the Cuban populace is increasingly unhappy. Never mind that Cuba is militarily weak. No, we must take no risks. We must wait Castro out, even though doing so may consign more generations of Cubans to wasted lives; and even though it’s conceivable that, absent external pressure, the communist regime will survive Castro.
If we can consider destabilizing Iran, we should consider destabilizing Cuba. The risks of not acting may not be as great in the case of Cuba as for Iran or Iraq, but neither are the risks of taking action. Cuba is a damaged society and would take years to recover to a point where it would contribute more than emigrants to the Caribbean region, but that’s a reason to start the process ASAP. Just as the Middle East will be a better place with a democratic Iraq and Iran, so the Americas would be better without a dysfunctional communist kleptocracy led by a senile thug. Bush may have more important things on his mind, and our foreign-policy bureaucracy and think tanks may have given up on Cuba long ago, but perhaps it’s time to reconsider our tacit policy of non-intervention.