What’s The Matter With Cuba?

Fidel Castro has resigned as Supreme Grand Poobah or whatever of Cuba. Yippee. His hip younger brother, Raul Castro Ruz, 77, will take over and maybe Fidel will start blogging or something.

Not to belittle the plight of the Cuban people under that horrible dictator Fidel, but, really the man wasn’t a complete monster. Swap out a Castro here and there, so long as the US maintains its embargo, not much is going to change there. Crippling poverty and a complete and total lack of freedom. Or The US under President McCain.

The real problem with Cuba is not which ineffectual elderly man named Castro is in the driver’s seat. It’s what’s going down at the other end of the island in our own private gulag, Guantanamo Bay. Hell if Raul said he was going to kick the Navy off his island and close down that torture shop, I’d be waving the Cuban flag for him. But he’s not and until President Obama gets into office and can finish the much needed spinal transplant of the Democratic party, nothing will. Which makes me ill.

What makes me laugh however is the news that some of the Big Brass in the Pentagon have the vapors over how GTMO is being portrayed in an upcoming film:

On April 25, on a screen near you: “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay.”

[…] in popular culture, the debate about Guantanamo is largely over, as suggested by a look at a growing number of novels, nonfiction books,movies, plays and other forms of expression.“Whether it’s America’s Devil’s Island or not, that’s how people are going to keep thinking about it,” said Dan Fesperman, a former Baltimore Sun reporter who set his 2006 mystery novel “The Prisoner of Guantánamo” at the base. Harold and Kumar’s escape is only the latest cultural road trip through the detention center on Cuba’s southeast corner. And in most of them, Guantánamo is an eerie outpost, with scorpions, five-foot iguanas and banana rats — rodents the size of small dogs.

The image of a forbidding prison camp is not entirely false. But it is not the picture Bush administration officials would prefer to emphasize. They portray Guantanamo Bay as a clean and modern detention camp, where humane treatment of terror suspects is the rule.

[…] In some portrayals, some of the men and women stationed there drink too much. In others, guards are doused in urine and feces thrown by the inmates. These descriptions, too, are not necessarily false. But it is a matter of emphasis, said Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby, who runs thecamp for the Pentagon. In an interview, Admiral Buzby said thatcountering what he called preconceptions about Guantanamo was “probably the biggest challenge that I face.”

The focus on Guantanamo as a creative subject can lead to distortions, Admiral Buzby said. “It’s as if someone turned up the gain on our life to make it sound really bad.”

Poor Admiral Buzby. He and other War Criminals Torquemadas Good and Honest Service Men may take exception to classifying all the staff at Gitmo as criminals. But I take exception to them turning my childhood home into a gulag.

I lived in GTMO for three years in the mid 1980’s when it was a training base for the Navy. My father worked for DoD and took a promotion there. From the time I was 8 until just two days after my11th birthday, I ran around with friends and played in what is now a detention center for Afghan taxi drivers who were turned in for the money, Canadian citizens with the wrong name and teenaged “terrorists”.

Imagine hearing nightly on the news about how someone was torturedin your childhood home and then try and defend these monsters. No one forces our soldiers to torture. They do it because our leaders have no empathy, human decency or scruples and because they can. And some of them like it.

So yes someone made a stupid movie making fun of GTMO and others have written books and told jokes as a way to cope with the horror of knowing that a few hundred miles off shore, on an island where the people live in poverty because their leader says the wrong slogans, we keep a torture camp. There’s so much wrong with Cuba and quite a bit of it is our fault. So we find creative, satirical ways to laugh because otherwise we’d cry ourselves sick. Beats stopping the completely voluntary evil we’re collectively engaged in, I guess.

Link via Bong Boing.

1 thought on “What’s The Matter With Cuba?”

  1. I don’t know, mate. While I agree with you that Guantanamo needs to be shut down, the embargo needs to go, and torture needs to be repudiated as a tool of the US government, I have to object to your characterization of Castro as being “not that bad”. Cuba underneath the Communist party-state has remained a horribly oppressive atmosphere, with dissent being quashed and lots of people being jailed or exiled for things that we are free to do in places like the US or Western Europe. One thing that I want to advise is that while we can and must criticize our leaders here, there is no need to excuse dictators elsewhere. You can hate both Bush and Castro.

Comments are closed.