Obama prepares for the future as critics dwell on the past

Fidel Castro will be 90 in August; Raúl is just five years younger. At some point in the not-too-distant future, we will see whether Castroism can survive without a living Castro. Anyone who wants U.S. policymakers to have influence when that question arises should applaud Obama’s initiatives.

Source: Obama’s visit will hasten freedom in Cuba – The Washington Post

The image of an living American President Obama in front the image of the deceased revolutionary icon Che Guevara nicely captured the political reality of the event. Naturally, the outnumbered critics of Obama’s Cuba opening denounced him. One described Guevara as “a racist, terrorist, mass murderer who oversaw concentration camps.”

Say what you will about Cuba’s dismal human rights record, racism was not one of its qualities. The revolution was strongly supported by African-Americans in the late 1950 and early 1960s because Castro’s pledge to abolish racial segregation practices in Havana–which he did. Castro’s won more support from black Americans by staying in Harlem’s Theresa Hotel during his first official visit to the United Stares in 1960.

At the same time, Castro and Guevara were abhorred by most American conservatives of the day, especially in the segregationist South, for the same reason. In the lexicon of the day, Castro and Guevara were “pro-civil rights.” Their success in Cuba was just one sign that the Jim Crow system defended by conservatives was in deep trouble.

For an American conservative to denounce Guevara in 2016 as “racist” is a backhanded compliment, a way of attempting to claim the moral high ground achieved by the Cubans. It is no surprise that the first American president to visit revolutionary Cuba was of mixed race heritage.

The fact that Afro-Cubans were–and are–underrepresented in Cuban  government is hardly proof of racism, though there is plenty of racism in Cuban society. That fact also has to be balanced with the fact that Afro-Cubans, poorer and less educated than Hispanic Cubans, have been disproportionate beneficiaries of the revolution’s redistribution of national wealth.

An honest appraisal of racism in revolutionary Cuba concludes:

“When it came to race, it [the Cuban government] carried out some important reforms in race relations, such as the desegregation of beaches and provincial parks, and class-based reforms, such as in the areas of education and health, that disproportionately benefited black Cubans.

But only a long-lasting vigorous campaign of affirmative action and authentic multiculturalism could have brought about a clear break with the past—a revolution, and not just a reform, of race relations.’

Guevara, a revolutionary hard-liner, would probably have been skeptical of Raul Castro’s willingness to meet with an American president and he would have been horrified by capitalist competition among U.S. hoteliers.


  1. Bill Clarke says:

    Fitting that Obama has his picture made with Che. He’ll probably wear a Che T-shirt home from Cuba.

    • JohnR says:

      Relax, Mr. Clark. I was kidding my nephew about how, now that he’s in college, soon he’ll be wearing a Che t-shirt. He didn’t know who I was talking about. The Cold War really is over.

      • Wait!!!

        I thought that Obama was supposed to be a Muslim!

        Lol…Anyone who grasps the political theatrics in the West, knows perfectly well that Obama is a titular figurehead at the bidding of the elites of the financial establishment.

        “Presidents are selected, not elected.”~Franklin D. Roosevelt

        • Tom S. says:

          Lol…Anyone who grasps the political theatrics in the West, knows perfectly well that Obama is a titular figurehead at the bidding of the elites of the financial establishment.

          Lol….knows perfectly well that Garrison was a titular figurehead at the bidding of the elites of the financial establishment.

          Thomas H. Purvis – Posted 19 July 2013
          The “power structure” within New Orleans lies not with those who are currently in what is some temporary political position.

          It lies with those who possess the capability to place these persons in the various political positions…

          Stephen B Lemann announces appointment of Walter J Machann : (July, 1965)

          Garrison is describing Stephen B Lemann:

          2of2 Garrison 06/18/67 letter to FCC comm. Rosel H. Hyde
          (Top of right side column)
          …It should be added that the last described endeavor has been accomplished not by members of the station (WDSU) itself, but by an attorney closely connected with the station who has previously been known to disperse funds in the New Orleans area in behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency….

          Judith Shulevitz, Nicholas Lemann
          November 7, 1999
          ….He is the son of Thomas B. Lemann of New Orleans and the late Barbara London Lemann. His father is of counsel at Liskow & Lewis, a New Orleans law firm.

          The Rise and Fall of Big Jim G.
          By Nicholas Lemann, February 6, 1974
          But because his career has been so bizarre, it’s not likely that anyone will ever herald Garrison as a champion of New South politics…..

          Unredacted Episode 1: Transcript of Interview with Joan Mellen
          Joan Mellen is the author of A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History. This interview was conducted on 22 Feb 2006. Tyler Weaver provided the introduction, and the interview was conducted by Rex Bradford.
          REX: I – I think –

          JOAN: – when Baldwin was present, he was a CIA asset, his brother worked for the International Trade Mart and Clay Shaw, David Baldwin, and these, these are CIA people….


          (Link to supporting footnote – https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vuym6rw9doQ/Vrdqs-3WcEI/AAAAAAAACu0/OK-mVPFKpW0/s512-Ic42/BaldwinCousinDonaldCarpenterFootnote.jpg )


          My Investigation of the Garrison Investigation, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 17, 2015 – Joan Mellen
          I interviewed about 1200 people for “A Farewell to Justice.” I often had to judge who was telling the truth and who wasn’t, member of the Louisiana Historical Association or not…..


          John McAdams – 2016/03/22 at 8:17 pm

          …No, because Rocca was skeptical of the New Orleans justice system.

          And with Garrison as DA, he had a right to be.

          Happily, the jury was sensible….


          As for the CIA “Garrison Group,” a much more complete account is here:


        • “Lol….knows perfectly well that Garrison was a titular figurehead at the bidding of the elites of the financial establishment.”~Tom S.

          And some recognize that Garrison became a “traitor to his class”…just as Kennedy became a “traitor to his class”. Which is why the elites set out to destroy both of these men.

          It is those who chose to become more than mere figureheads, who attempt to use the statutory or constitutional authorities invested in their office who become the gravest danger to the power elite. For they have been “selected” by an error of perception of the elites.

          It is in being fooled by such men that the elites can become most enraged and violent.


          • Tom S. says:

            Uhhh….Willy? Please describe the actual “destruction” of Jim Garrison. He was re-elected NODA after the Shaw trial. He had enviable support as he “beat the wrap,” in the federal prosecution
            trial. He became a well respected judge. He published two books, and Oliver Stone bought the rights to the second of the two and made a successful, $41 million movie project largely based on it.
            Would new federal investigations have begun in earnest, sooner than in 1975 if Garrison was not directed by the folks that brung him into political office? That cannot be answered, but the question
            is a reasonable one. Did Garrison oppose the CIA presence he claimed was subverting his investigation and his prosecution of Shaw by every means at his disposal, we now know he did not. Instead,
            he named no names of CIA directed individuals. Did Shaw use the information David Baldwin shared with him, in a later dated one day after Shaw’s arrest? No, neither Shaw nor his lawyers ever
            disclosed it. Does Sklar ans Stone’s film portrayal of Liz Garrison give the slightest inkling of her proximity to Garrison’s claimed CIA directed protaganists, Ed Baldwin and Stephen B Lemann.
            Did Lemann’s nephew aggressively and publicly belittle Garrison drom 1974 to 1992, without the slightest objection from Garrison, even as Perry Russo sued Nichola B Lemann for defamation?
            Would not that lawsuit have been the suitable time for Giant, or his ex-wife Lix to confront Nicholas B Lemann, exposing his conflicts on behalf of Russo?

            You chew up and soit out what has been said, but as McAdams and DiEugenio are doing, you ignore who Garrison was, considering what we now know, vs. what he could have done, but did not.
            It is reasonable to observe that he did what he was directed to do, just as you pointed out that Obama has, lol……

            You want to make an exception of Garrison, and you overlook that he didn’t earn it, and that he was rewarded for his going through the motions, in silence, just as Obama is being rewarded.
            Shaw and Garrison give every appearance of being good soldiers, stalwartly following orders. Burnham pointed out that Stone vetted Prouty. On the face of it, Stone did not vet Garrison.

          • “Willy? Please describe the actual “destruction” of Jim Garrison.”~Tom S.

            Tom, I said that ‘the elites set out to destroy both of these men’. I did not claim that they succeeded.

            What if Kennedy’s enemies would have set upon a massive campaign to defame Kennedy, rather than murdering him on the streets of Dallas?
            Do you think Kennedy would have lost the reelection to President in 1964?

            Nothing is certain, but I would say it is doubtful that Kennedy could have lost that election.

            I submit that Garrison won reelection as New Orleans District Attorney DESPITE attempts to destroy his career by his enemies, many of which were in own in-laws.

            Let me ask you this Tom, despite our disagreement on this specific aspect of the topic; wouldn’t you agree that Clay Shaw was clearly shown to be Clay Bertrand, and an asset of CIA in subsequent years?

          • GM says:

            Tom S., just to clarify in regards to Jim Garrison, do you believe he was effectively acting as a CIA asset, and acted thus to discredit those who believed there was a conspiracy/plot larger than Oswald to assassinate JFK? That is what I interpret you to be saying. So in effect the trial of Clay Shaw was a set up?

          • Tom S. says:

            GM, the details I have presented, especially considering the bold writings of Nicholas B. Lemann accompanied both in 1974 and in 1991 with no disclosure or disclaimer, indicate it is reasonable to think the Garrison investigation and prosecution of Clay Shaw was a limited hang out coordinated, presented, and covered up in cooperation with and possible sponsorship of the CIA and more openly, of the DOJ.

      • JohnR says:

        Tom S.: Please consult this site’s commenting policy regarding relevancy. How jokes about Che Guevara t-shirts became one of your ridiculously long posts about Garrison, I’ll never know.

      • Bill Clarke says:

        March 22, 2016 at 7:54 pm

        “Relax, Mr. Clark. I was kidding my nephew about how, now that he’s in college, soon he’ll be wearing a Che t-shirt. He didn’t know who I was talking about. The Cold War really is over.”

        I’m pretty relaxed John. Sorry your nephew didn’t know Che. A reflection on our education system today, I believe.

    • Fearfaxer says:

      I could say many negative things about this comment, all of which would be accurate, but at bottom, it’s so . . . trivial. Really, is this the best you could do? In 1972, did Nixon return from Beijing with an autographed copy of Mao’s Little Red Book, then a few weeks later come back from Moscow with a bust of Lenin?

      Obama’s Cuba policy is the most sensible thing an American President has done since . . . well, dammit, since Mad Dick went to China. Even the once rabidly anti-Castro Cuban refugees in the US seem to agree, however grudgingly.

      • Bill Clarke says:

        Obama’s Cuba policy is the most sensible thing an American President has done since . . . well, dammit, since Mad Dick went to China.

        Certainly the most sensible thing Obama has done. Long overdue I think.

  2. kennedy63 says:

    As I watch the devolution of political debates across social media over everything political (imagine that in an election year?), I am left with an ironic haunting, specifically, if JFK was killed because of his Russia/Cuba policy of rapprochement centered on civil rights pronouncements and actions, the first African American president fulfilled both tenuous JFK objectives in his historic visit to that beleaguered island-nation. The very people repressed in America, who early on supported Castro (despite the propaganda of mainstream media), is now at the vanguard for the restoration of diplomatic missions and normalized relations. Were one to view America from the 1950’s to present day (given the rise of Trump), America has no moral ground to stand upon in continued condemnation and isolation of Cuba. Obama brings healing from America’s past misdeeds aimed at Castro, and the people of Cuba. Alas, only the oppressed can truly appreciate the struggles of the repressed; yet, historical truth can be appreciated by everyone, if open to understanding events. 52 years later, America acknowledges the truth and correctness of JFK’s ideas toward co-existing with others with differing governmental/economic philosophies. Admitting mistakes can not validate the prophet unless the beneficiaries change their behaviors to confirm the prophecy. Admittedly, JFK was ahead of the Cold War mentality.

  3. ed connor says:

    Jeff, have you lost your mind?
    Castro, if he had his way, would have started WWIII in 1962 by launching tactical nukes against U.S. forces. Fortunately we had JFK and Kruschev at the helm instead of Nixon.
    There have been no elections in Cuba since Castro took power in 1959. Thousands are imprisoned for advocating freedom. Thousands have perished on the Straits of Florida, including Elian Gonzalez’s mother, because they wanted their children to grow up free.
    While Obama watches baseball with Castro, ISIS is blowing up the Brussels airport.
    JFK would not be taking Jackie, Caroline and John to hang out with a murderous dictator in Havana during an attack on a NATO ally.

    • Wow Ed,

      Spoken like a true Cold Warrior. I didn’t realize you had that in you.

      Who is ISIS? What is NATO?

      Have you never heard of the “Controlled Opposition”?

      Perhaps Operation Gladio?

  4. mike says:

    Cuba has many shortcomings granted. But if you want to see real destitution and suffering visit Detroit or Baltimore or south Chicago. Ive travelled to Cuba and never seen anything close to the poverty and depravity on display in those cities. Lets not be hypocritical… conducting elections has never factored in our foreign policy; Arbenz,Allende,Lumumba, Mossadegh etc etc etc. We also support “democratic” Saudi Arabia unconditionally even though they finance jihadi promoting madrassas throughout the middle east. Not to mention most if not all 9-11 hijackers were Saudi.
    Agreed ED … Castro was a belligerent SOB but I’m calling you on hypocrisy.

    • Tom S. says:

      Mike, it seems you have not had a “good” education….is it simply a matter of other priorities, or could it be that the overwhelming majority in our country are bats*** crazy?

      The Goose-step: A Study of American Education is a book, published in 1923, by the American novelist and muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair. It is an investigation into the consequences of plutocratic capitalist control of American colleges and universities. Sinclair writes, “Our educational system is not a public service, but an instrument of special privilege; its purpose is not to further the welfare of mankind, but merely to keep America capitalist.” (p. 18)

      The peril of valuing celebrity over history
      By JAMES CARROLLJULY 30, 2007
      ….Sinclair Lewis, for his part, showed how the simultaneously banalizing methods of capitalist enterprise (false advertising, consumerism, pieties of affluence, amoral bureaucracy) are exactly what that enterprise created to keep from being criticized…..

      Infant mortality rate compares the number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the same year.
      RankCountry(DEATHS/1,000 LIVE BIRTHS)Date of Information
      1Afghanistan115.08 2015 est
      40Haiti47.982015 est.
      94Dominican Republic18.842015 est.
      US State of Mississippi – 8.2 2014 state reported statistics – http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/6435.pdf
      167United States5.872015 est.
      179Canada4.652015 est.
      180Cuba4.632015 est.
      222Japan2.082015 est.

      Here is our “moderate” the serious candidate, the one who “knows how to get things done.”:
      John Kasich signs bill to defund Planned Parenthood …
      Kasich signs bill to defund Planned Parenthood. By Tom Kludt and Cassie Spodak, CNN. Updated 11:28 AM ET, Mon February 22, 2016. Kasich VA town hall …

  5. David S says:

    “Obama prepares for the future as critics dwell on the past”

    Irony Alert!

    I hate to break it to you, Mr. Morley, but this entire site “dwells on the past”

  6. Anthony Martin says:

    Sometimes, you got to laugh at the irony:

    Note: Maybe Senator Heller (with Mr. Obama in Cuba) from Nevada is checking on casino opportunities!

  7. If one wishes to understand “Democracy” in Amerika, all one has to do is understand Bernays, the most influential PR man in US history:

    “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
    ~Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda

    We have lived in a “Bernaysian Democracy” since the time of the Wilson regime. This is in contrast to the Republic established by the US Constitution.

  8. kennedy63 says:

    How forward looking are we as Americans? Can we join in the raised voice of JFK, at American University, testifying that we all share this small planet, breathe the same air, want the same things; and, that we all are mortal? We are transients through this world, and nothing more. Our fantasy existence is not only devastating this planet but the future of our children’s inheritances. What shall our legacy be 100 years from now, when our great-great-grandchildren look upon the folly of our existence – that we cared not to love, but to steal, kill, and destroy humankind….that is, if our great-great grands ever come into existence. “How long will they kill our prophets, while we stand around and look” Bob Marley (Redemption Song).

  9. “In 2009, President Obama stood before an adoring crowd in the center of Prague, in the heart of Europe. He pledged himself to make “the world free from nuclear weapons.” People cheered and some cried. A torrent of platitudes flowed from the media. Obama was subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    It was all fake. He was lying.

    The Obama administration has built more nuclear weapons, more nuclear warheads, more nuclear delivery systems, more nuclear factories. Nuclear warhead spending alone rose higher under Obama than under any American president. The cost over thirty years is more than $1 trillion.

    A mini nuclear bomb is planned. It is known as the B61 Model 12. There has never been anything like it. General James Cartwright, a former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said, “Going smaller [makes using this nuclear]weapon more thinkable.”~John Pilger

    • Fearfaxer says:

      I read that too. Just what the world needs (groan).

      I wonder just what is meant by a “mini-nuclear bomb.” Presumably it would be a mini-H bomb, I doubt we even bother making fission type nuclear warheads any longer.

      One thing that’s never emphasized enough in MSM articles about nuclear weapons is just how godawful powerful they are. From my understanding, when compared to the typical H-Bomb in our arsenal, Fat Man and Little Boy were nothing more than firecrackers. When most Americans think of nuclear war, I think they imagine that a nuclear bomb going off, awful as it would be, would be no worse than what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The power of the explosion would be far, far greater.

  10. kennedy63 says:

    Thank you, John, for that correction regarding Bob Marley’s lyric line. I just hope the Cuban people do not return to the previous status quo of allowing a perverted form of “democracy” to again become entrenched on the island-nation. This American sponsored dictatorship fueled the revolution. What has the US Government learned from that experience? What has the military/industrial nexus learned? Will businesses with ties to the CIA once again infiltrate the island, then act to overthrown any form of self-determination the Cuban people chose for themselves? The Castro’s will soon die and the Cuban people should then determine their own course, but they should NOT allow any interference from external sources to dictate or influence their decisions.

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