Castro Regime About to Collapse? Let’s Push It

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.

11 thoughts on “Castro Regime About to Collapse? Let’s Push It”

  1. On the other hand, at least you can smoke a cigar in the restaurants (or anywhere else you want) in Cuba — unlike New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the northern suburbs of Washington D.C.

  2. How about this. It is now the liberal cause du jour for the US to send troops to Liberia for some damned reason, just so the Bush administration can convince Jesse Jackson that it cares about black people I guess. Why Bush or anyone would care about that eludes me. I don’t know what the Hell we’ll accomplish there or why it does anything for the USA if the place is a paradise or if it slides into the Ocean.

    Pause for breath.

    How about this instead. Whatever US troops are going to go to Liberia, reroute the convoy and send them to Cuba. Destroy Castro’s air force with a cruise missile attack, then have a battalion of US Marines pounce on Castro in a midnight helicopter attack, kill his sorry commie ass and declare the country liberated. And show his corpse on TV like Uday and Qusay.

    Why the Hell not.

  3. Anyone who reads my blog knows that I have no sympathy either with the Castro regime or its apologists. I’ve posted on the general vileness of the regime many times.

    But your comments seem to ignore a couple of relevant facts.

    a) Back in the early Sixties, there is no doubt whatever that the regime had great popular support among the majority of Cubans, though not, of course, in the upper class. But Castro had not yet proven his true colors, and the revolution against Batista was genuinely popular. Thus the failure of the Bay of Pigs (arguing about the lack of air support is a tedious distraction from reality). Thus the fact that overthrowing Castro was most certainly not “relatively trivial.” Indeed, the Kennedy administration was nigh-obsessed with efforts. Asserting that it would have been “relatively trivial” is simply ahistoric.

    b) Possibly you’ve forgotten that as a key part of the agreements that ended the Cuban Missile Crisis (and thus kept your parents alive to have you), the US solemnly agreed to neither invade Cuba or continue to foment coup efforts.

    Needless to say, the US needs to keep its word, and keep its diplomatic agreements, no matter that it makes matters difficult or less than ideal. The Soviet Union has fallen, but arguing that that relieves the US government of its obligation to keep its word is an argument fraught with potentially vastly ill outcomes.

    Meanwhile, the biological solution to the Castro regime, as I posted recently, will come relatively soon.

  4. – I didn’t use the term “relatively trivial,” I used the term “relatively easy.” And it would have been relatively easy to overthrow the Castro regime, back before 40 years of precedent for our tolerating it. If you don’t think the U.S. was capable of overthrowing Castro I don’t know how I could convince you. Kennedy, for all his concern with Cuba, wanted to do the job on the political cheap with an emigre army and that’s what doomed the attempt. The U.S. military would not have had a problem. Where we did have a problem was with will, which we lacked.

    – I see no reason for us to adhere to an agreement that we made with a now-defunct nation in a geopolitical context which no longer exists. This agreement no longer serves our interests and we should not allow it to hamstring us. I think slavish legalism is more likely to weaken us than is decisive action that is clearly in our interest.

    – It’s a nice idea, that the Cuban communist regime will fade away when Castro dies. The problem is that there are lots of people in Cuba with a lot to lose if that happens, and they are going to do their best to keep the system going. I don’t think it’s prudent to wager the lives of the next generation of Cubans on the proposition that change will come easily. The process may be difficult and now is as good a time as any for us to start the ball rolling.

  5. “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.”

    I think everyone is forgetting one aspect of this. In the right setting, Cuba is hardly some military milksop.

    Oh, I don’t mean that they could stand up to the US, or even France (heh). But they have this annoyingly capable brigade of mercenaries that have been hiring themselves out to 3rd World Communist dictators for decades. They’ve caused some real damage in Africa, not to mention ratcheting up the tensions in South America. (Right now I think they’re in Venezuala, but don’t quote me on that because I really don’t know for sure.)

    Toppling the Communist regime in Cuba might not bring any direct benefits to the US, but it certainly would reduce a government that has tried to stir up trouble in a very direct way.


  6. Keeping any agreement on Cuba with the -rightly- defunct Soviet Union is equal to keeping the old SALT treaties alive and not taking care of our real-world problems now and in the future. Please!

  7. Castro’s death will be like Tito’s. The decrepit machine will stagger on indefinately until something horrible happens.

    Any solemn obligation undertaken 40 years ago under nuclear blackmail can be safely relegated to the trash heap. The world may be shocked at our illegal action. Too bad. Let them be even more shocked at the harshness of our dealings with our declared enemies.

    I was more than half joking about conquering the place. But Cuba, America and the world would be better off if we were aggressively involved in getting a non-commie post-Castro gov’t in place there — and we should start now, while he’s alive, actively articulating what we want to see in Cuba when he’s gone and what benefits Cuba will get from us when he’s gone, and that we won’t deal with cronies from his regime. That will create a set of incentives for dynamic change.

  8. Like LBJ, I believe Castro assasinated JFK. If Johnson believed that, and he did, he should have invaded Cuba, not pursued a half-hearted Vietnam campaign.

    When an American President can be killed with impunity, it sends a signal. In 1966, Cuba sponsored the Tri-Continental Congress, internationalizing terrorism and became a terrorist training camp.

    2 years later, RFK was killed by a ‘Palestinian’ and Arab hi-jackers began landing in Havana. In ’72, Arafat would murder our diplomats with impunity. If Castro can get away with it, then Arafat can too.

    I believe that JFK’s unavenged murder was the predicate action in Terror War on America. Killing that bastard and dismantling his regime is long overdue and would have a extremely salutary effect. As well as being simple justice.

    Like the Left says: “We need to address root causes!”. I agree.

  9. Castro’s grandfather lived to 100. Don’t count on him dying anytime soon. If you think it’s ok to just sit back and wait for journalists and librarians to be freed with no external pressure, you are either cruel or naive. Invade, embargo, bomb…I don’t care what, but something must be done to show solidarity with the oppressed, otherwise Castro will continue to feel he has a free hand to jail dissidents. The intellectual elite in this country are shameful panderers to this monster and history will hold them accountable for their appeasement. –scott

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