Friday, August 04, 2006

Family Affair

Heading out to Ptown this weekend for a week-long vacation with both sets of parents and siblings. Read about last year's shenanigans here.

As I procrastinate on my packing and listen to Nina Simone, trying to convince myself that I will be able to just sleep in and eat whatever I want for eight days, I got to thinking about the little dramas in one's life that can consume the task of living. A stubborn parent, a brat child, a reckless sibling -- conflict is endless when everyone is hell bent on being "right."

So when I read that Condi Rice has just broadcast a message to the Cuban people tonight, offering them our country's support should they choose to embrace democracy while Castro plays footsie with death, I got to thinking that our relationship with Cuba is nothing more than just one messy family argument.

See, I have a teenaged brother that has a rather bohemian outlook on life (if only he knew what bohemian meant, but oh well). As I watch him hopscotch through one bad decision after another I can honestly understand our country's fifty year obsession with Cuba. Communism doesn't work and we've waged war upon war to save the world from a very bad decision.

Now we're back at it, this time hoping that our brothers in Cuba will come to us on bended knee, asking, finally, to drink from the fountain of our wisdom and democracy. Oh for the day when my little brother just says "you were right."

In the meantime, the back and forth on this blog over my recent post about the conflict between Lebanon and Israel has shown me that many of my readers are just hard-asses.

Dare I say that inside every blogger there's an angry big brother?

Back to Cuba, though.

When I was in college I read Ariel, one of the most beautifully written essays on the Latin American experience by the Uruguyan philosoper Jose Enrique Rodo. To illustrate the dynamic between a burgeoning superpower like the U.S. and a slower, more aloof entity like Latin America, Rodo references the story of Caliban and Ariel, characters immortalized by Shakespeare. Long story short, Caliban is the tough guy, Ariel is the dreamer. While Caliban wants to subjugate Ariel, Ariel's spirit is annoyingly resilient, stubborn, everlasting.

As Cuba's future teases the hopes of so many here in the U.S., it might be worth contemplating that perhaps things on the island won't change much after all. Perhaps we should just relent and let the Cubans live their best life while we live ours. Can we just let our annoying little brother be?

I'll let you know next week.


ThatGayConservative said...

Can we just let our annoying little brother be?

Sooooooo.....what you're saying is to just say "to hell with it" and let Cubans continue to live in misery under the thumb of a dictatorship? I think many of the exiles here would disagree.

BTW, did that book explain how Cuba went from having the 3rd greatest Latin American economy to the shit hole it is today thanks to Fidel?

GayConservativeLiberal said...

Good points GTC, but 10 US presidents later it would seem that it's a losing battle. If we really cared about the Cuban people, we'd work with the system that they have in place to stimulate their economy and engage the people's abundant talent. We have no problem dealing with China's oppressive regime, so let's let Cuba be the best it can be and stop fighting with Fidel. Just a thought and not at all a defense of that evil man.

ThatGayConservative said...

but 10 US presidents later it would seem that it's a losing battle.

I don't think any of them were willing to overturn a Kennedy mandate. Further, there's a law enacted in 1994(?) that prevents the POTUS from changing it even if he wanted to. I read about it in the WSJ yesterday and have been meaning to see if I can read a copy online.

Further, there is some speculation that this Raoul clown fancies China's economic set up. That would be interesting to see.

I will say this, I would love to see Cuba myself. I would be more interested in seeing the Havanna of the 1950s though. I've thought that way since I found out that Havanna was THE place to go before Vegas took off.