President Bush came to the sovereign state of Miami last Monday and led, as only U.S. presidents can lead, a panderfest to the Cuban exile community. His speech, predictably enough, was an exercise in condescension, disingenuousness and political expedience.
It’s arrogant to say, in effect, to Fidel Castro’s Cuba: “You must satisfy these conditions of ours. Never forget that we are not only the world’s lone super power but the world’s only perfect democracy where all citizens cast well-informed, accurately counted votes for competent, well-intentioned public-servants-to-be. We lecture; you listen.”
It’s duplicitous to say, in effect: “We know this is insulting and what your answer must surely be, but these are the pro forma pre-requisites. Meet them — from allowing outside observers to monitor your 2003 National Assembly elections to permitting independent trade unions — and we can do business. Direct mail, some humanitarian aid, some scholarships. That sort of thing.”
And it’s brazenly myopic to think Americans, Cubans and the rest of the world don’t see through the transparent political pandering to those who continue to misrepresent this country’s best interests vis a vis Cuba.
In his Miami harangue, the president even stooped to waxing Reaganesque with rhetoric reminiscent of a certain Berlin Wall ultimatum. “Mr. Castro, once, just once,” bellowed Bush, “show that you’re unafraid of a real election.”
Mr. Bush: tear down this fa