Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review May 2, 2000/ 27 Nissan, 5760

Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder

Jackie & Raul
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports
Weekly Standard


Cuba si, Castro nu -- LET'S GET SOMETHING STRAIGHT right from the start. We have no ulterior or interior motive for what we are about to set forth. We hate Fidel Castro. He is a two-bit dictator, lower than a dachshund's belly who, from within spitting distance of Florida, makes a living by thumbing his nose at us. Furthermore, we don't know how to rumba, we don't even like cigars, and we feel more comfortable when a man has a beard on his face if there is a yarmulke sitting on top of his head.

Having made this point, we believe, and we say this with the highest possible respect, that our policy towards Cuba has all the common-sense of a man deciding to deliver a long-distance letter to Canada by walking a high-wire over Niagara Falls.

Let's face it, we put Mr. Castro in power before even bothering to find out if he was a communist. When we found out he was sleeping with the Russians, we then imposed a trade embargo against Cuba. Now, the Russians are our new best friends, and Bill Clinton has a place to visit when he wants to meet new girls — which is probably what he means when he says he is conducting foreign affairs. The Russians left Mr. Castro with a case of empty vodka bottles and unfulfilled promises, and today they are at each other's throats. Now we have made up with the Russians, but still the trade embargo against Cuba remains in place.

We now are about to have a permanent trade relationship with one of the most repressive regimes in the world, China, recognize North Korea and North Vietnam — countries that have spent a great part of their national energies and treasuries in killing American boys, and yet Cuba is still quarantined by us.

Worse yet, we launched an unsuccessful invasion of the country and tried to assassinate Mr. Castro — even trying to slip him a drug that would make his beard fall out. This, apparently, under the assumption that like Samson, the loss of his hair would cause him to lose his powers.

What exactly is it about Cuba that should make us worry? Cuba has virtually no army, no navy and no atomic bombs or missiles. There is no American who has ever woken up in the morning saying, "I'd better not go to work today. Instead I'm going to immediately learn how to speak Spanish."

Our government says that if we begin trading with the Chinese communists they will see how wonderful democracy is, and they will then come around to our way of thinking. If this is true for people who live 10,000 miles away, and probably have little concept of our way of life, shouldn't this argument make even more sense for people who are 90 miles away?

If you try to talk your friend into going out with a girl you know but who lives on the other side of the country, and you describe to him how beautiful she is, wouldn't you stand a better chance of getting a marriage broker's commission if the girl lived next door and he had seen her himself before you tried to tout her charms?

There are some basic truths we have to accept. Cuba has had a long history, for all intents and purposes, of being an American colony governed by a series of dictators who were kept in power by this country. Immediately prior to Mr. Castro's coming into power, Cuba was run like Chicago during Prohibition —basically as a criminal enterprise controlled by American gangsters. Mr. Castro remains in power because he is the only game in town for the Cubans. He is a unifying force against the big bully, neighboring America. This is not a situation like that which existed in eastern Europe — with East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the other states in the Soviet sphere, unable to break free, cowering in the presence of the Red Army.

Our present trade embargo against Cuba is just plain silly. The only ones being hurt are some poor Cubans who cannot access proper medical care and imports that make life more comfortable. The only one who is helped is Mr. Castro, who utilizes the foreign menace to keep his people in line.

The embargo should be immediately lifted. Cubans would then have U.S. dollars earned from the sale of cigars and rum available to purchase the products of the rest of the world, and Mr. Castro would soon be drowned in boom boxes and Nike sneakers.

American foreign policy toward Cuba has consisted of waiting and watching. The problem is, while we are waiting, Mr. Castro has been watching eight American presidents come and go, and has become more and more entrenched. The current American line is that, because of his age, he will soon pass from the scene. Since we now know that people in Mr. Castro's family have lived well into their 90s, we may have to do a lot of waiting.

JWR contributors Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder need no introduction. Comment on this column by clicking here.


04/17/00: Gen. Kennedy for Commander-in-Chief
04/06/00: Guns, hypocrisy and common sense
03/31/00: What's sleazier than a lawyer?
03/23/00: Clinton the 3-D Man
03/10/00: Politics or Pro Wrestling?
02/28/00: Free advice to the pundits: Get a life --- and new jobs
02/14/00: She Flunked!

© 2000, Jackie Mason & Raul Felder. This article first appeared in The Washington Times