“If I were a U.S. citizen I'd vote for Obama for president," said Mariela Castro during her San Francisco conference this week. "I think he is sincere, I think he speaks from the heart." To cheers and applause from the San Franciscan crowd Raul’ Castro’s daughter also proclaimed that, “what we want is the power of emancipation through socialism."
Interesting choice of terms here this “emancipation.” To wit, in 1962 the Soviet satrapy overlorded by Mariela’s family started rationing food to its subjects (in 1958, by the way, Cubans enjoyed the 5rd highest protein consumption in the Western hemisphere.) Under Soviet tutelage Mariela’s uncle Fidel and his toadies decreed that their subjects’ daily food intake would henceforth total: 2 ounces of meat, 3 ounces of rice, and 6.5 ounces of starch and 1 ounce of beans.
Interestingly, back in 1842 the Spanish King had royally decreed daily rations of 8 ounces of meat, 4 ounces of rice, and 16 ounces of starch and 4 ounces of beans for all slaves in the Spanish colony of Cuba.
This means, that Cuba’s literal slaves ate better than Queen Mariela’s “emancipated” subjects—if it were left up to her family’s regime, that is. Fortunately Cuba’s Black Market takes up the considerable slack.
Actually the Castroite-Democratic affinity expressed by Mariela this week is an old story. "We'd better hope Kennedy wins this election," Fidel Castro confided to a subaltern in 1960. "If Nixon wins our revolution won't last." The Bay of Pigs boondoggle, where a Democratic President denied vital support to Cuban Freedom-fighters trying to topple Castro found Fidel nodding smugly. A year later the Missile Crisis “resolution” where JFK pledged the U.S. to protect Cuban Communism, had Castro slapping his knee and high-fiving his Soviet patrons in vindication and glee.
Last year former Democratic president Jimmy Carter thoroughly charmed Mariela’s father and Uncle in Havana. “We greeted each other as old friends,” gushed Carter regarding his meeting with Fidel Castro.
“In 2002, we received him warmly,” reciprocated Castro. “Now, I reiterated to him our respect and esteem."
“Jimmy Carter was the best of all U.S. Presidents,” gushed Raul Castro while seeing his American guest off personally and jovially.
In fact for many prominent Democrats Castro’s Cuba resembles the very Land of Oz, with Cubans laughing the days away—“ha-ha-ha! ho-ho-ho! and a couple of tra-la-las!” If this sounds hyperbolic here’s Conscience of the Democratic Party George Mcgovern after a visit to Cuba in 1975: “Everywhere we were surrounded by laughing children who obviously loved Fidel.”
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.