The Cuban Mouse that Roared

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary It is almost like a bad script to a rightwing propaganda fantasy movie. Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson goes to Cuba at the invitation of the government there for a “discussion.” When he gets there there is no discussion. He is lectured and told he cannot see American political prisoner Alan Gross let alone bring him back to the United States. In short the Cuban government treated Mr Richardson like crap. And suddenly the Cuban government has shown itself in a light that seems inexplicable. They have shown themselves as cruel, inhumane (releasing Alan Gross would have been very humane), and actually quite threatening. For Bill Richardson to say that he could never go back to Cuba is saying a lot about how nasty the Cuban government has gotten.

Bill Richardson alluded to powerful hardline elements in the Cuban government for doing this. Maybe, but it is a move that is sheer stupidity at best and barbaric at worst. Richardson was offering a way out for the Cuban government, and they virtually kicked Richardson out. If the Cuban government had released Alan Gross—a very sick man whose family is now suffering—then everything could have been on the table. This could have included trade, commercial ventures, the possible ending of the U.S. embargo, all restrictions on travel to Cuba lifted, and just maybe diplomatic relations being restored between the United States and Cuba. While the Republicans in the U.S. Congress may have opposed everything to even remotely improve ties with Cuba, at least there would have been a growing chorus of people who could push through changes that can make a big difference between the two countries. But whoever these Cuban hardliners are they are putting their own country in serious danger.

They, and not the rightwing Republicans, are guilty of making this mess. They and no one in the U.S. government seem to be spoiling for a fight. They and certainly no ordinary American who supports improved relations with Cuba want to see things go backward. Apparently those in the Cuban government want a complete reverse of whatever improvements there have been. To them all I can say is picking a fight with the United States is a very sorry choice. These looney hardliners have put the four letter word “Communist” back into the Communist Party of Cuba. Bill Richardson has recommended that no improvements be made in the relationship with Cuba until Alan Gross is unconditionally released. I have to agree with that. We must bear in mind that Bill Richardson is one of the strongest advocates for an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba. For him to recommend that any part of the embargo be kept in place is speaking volumes about how low an opinion he has now for the Cuban government. I have to further echo that sentiment. As for the Cuban government, all I can say to it is, “free Alan Gross now!”

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