Saturday, November 26, 2016



Teaching is so much easier than blogging because you can see confusion in the students' eyes and know you need to go back over the material.

The headline should tell you I see Fidel Castro as a very important figure in Latin American politics, who stood up against the US and made Cuba a better place,.  Without the petty US embargo I am willing to be it would have one of the top three economies in Latin America.  I made clear freedom of speech is a myth.  I have also seen and always will see Fidel Castro as the voice of the people of Latin America.  Those who yell human rights abuses, have their heads in the sand as to what is happening in the US.  When you are willing to fix the problems in the US you can then worry about other countries.

The news reports out of Miami and Cuba show a split between the generations.  I used this reality to compare and contrast Castro to Somoza I of Nicaragua.  Yes, they were both dictators, who actually disliked one another, but both advanced their countries.  Fidel did it without US support because he was never going to give the land or factories back to the Batistas who kept the Cuban's in poverty, and good for him, and shame on the Cubans in Miami who have used their greed to keep Cuba poor. Somoza did not face the same problem as Fidel Castro so it was easy to align with the US and build the economy.  But all dictatorships must come to an end.

I could not imagine China being ruled with a US type democracy.  But yet the people are thriving with education, and opportunity, and for me this is more important than being able to say the government sucks.  The government is not listening anyway, so there is no value in our speech.


Americans, especially academics and politicians are so ignorant of the symbol Castro presented for Latin America they have zero knowledge of or understanding of the term Tiosamismo.  Translation Uncle Samism - or a continued policy of the Big Stick Policy.

In large measure the the immigration problems with Latin America are tied to governmental policies in Latin America in response to Tio Samismo.  Eventually some countries realize they need our military and we are in to help fight the drug cartels or revolutionaries.

I can tell you for sure that the Mexican government has invited U.S. Special Forces into Mexico to fight the drug cartels and ISIS which is now working with the drug cartels.  It is really no great secret, but it goes against the official policy on U.S. intervention or help in Mexico.

All U.S. help is viewed as an attempt to control these countries.  Just yell Tiosamismo in many of these countries and the people will rally around any dictator no matter how bad they are.  Just look at Maduro in Venezuela.

Reports out of Cuba are exactly what any good analyst would expect.  Those who saw the transformation under Fidel Castro are saddened by his passing.  Those who have spent their entire lives under the new Cuba see the passing of Castro as no big deal.  they have no knowledge of the servitude the people lived under, under the Batistas.

I saw this first hand once in Nicaragua.  My grandmother who saw the great strides forward under the senior Somaza, albeit a dictator, revered him.  My mother who benefited as a young adult and forward from the great strides forward just saw him as a dictator.

Once my grandmother had commissioned a portrait of Somoza.  We were staying with her with a group of family friends waiting with my grandmother for the portrait to arrive.  When it was brought in my grandmother stood.  If she stood everyone stood.  My mother refused. By this time she had lived in the U.S. for nearly 30 years.

My grandmother got her words in.  She lectured my mother that before Somoza most of Managua had no electricity, or running water.  Community healthcare workers did not exist.  They insured all children had their free shots and minimal healthcare for free.  My mother did not see it that way.  What she saw was Somoza being party to U.S. Marines shooting looters after the earthquake of 33' or 34', which is how he ended up solidifying his power.  She saw the poverty.  My grandmother reminded her how much worse it was before Somoza and the U.S. aide which came with Somoza.  My mother saw, the U.S. turning a blind eye to the problems because Somoza and then his son became solid allies against Cuba, and other communist insurgents.

It was generational, and this is exactly how the people or Cuba started to respond last night with the passing of Fidel Castro.   I have always found it odd that U.S. Americans prefer a freedom of speech no politician will even consider over food and healthcare.  Freedom is so much more complex than being allow to say the government sucks.

Cuba exports doctors for hard currency.  These doctors not only save lives in Cuba but all over the Third World.  I could be wrong but I prefer access to healthcare over being allowed to say the government sucks knowing full well the government is not listening or even cares.

Nicaragua under Somoza had the fastest growing economy in Latin America when he was forced from power.  More than 30 years after the revolution Nicaragua remains the second poorest country in Latin America.  Farmers are disappearing for the Chinese financed canal which will never be built.  They just elected Daniel Ortega and his wife president and vice-president of the country.  Daniel Ortega has de facto run Nicaragua longer than Somoza II.

Because of internal corruption many charities and christian organizations have left the country.  But Ortega yells Tiosam, and the people blame the US for the decision of Nicaragua to turn from hydro power which the U.S. was building to fossil fuel electrical plants designed by the Soviets, thereby making Nicaragua dependent on foreign oil to run their electrical plants.  They are now going back to the hydro plants the U.S. was building now that they can no longer rely on Venezuela or Russia to subsidize them.

It is my hope with the passing of Fidel Castro, the embargo will be lifted, although there is already significant trade with Cuba, while U.S. tourism is booming.  Key to U.S. foreign policy in Latin America is ending Tiosamismo.  My big fear is Trump is going to use an even bigger stick than we have been using in the past.  Threatening to make Mexico pay for a wall only reinforces the distrust Latin America has for the U.S. God save us if Mexico retaliates and throws out our Special Forces currently fight ISIS and the drug cartels in Mexico.

Honduras is a mess with mass criminal activity on every street.  Working class Hondurans with good jobs and bright futures are abandoning everything in hopes of being able to enter the U.S.  We can win the drug war, but for some reason choose to not fight back.  In part it is because these countries do not trust us, given our past.

We know where the kingpins live in all of these countries.  Yes taking out their compounds will mean collateral damage to a lot of innocent people.  But even more people are dying every day because we do nothing to take out these compounds.  If we force them to live in caves they will no longer be the heroes they are seen as today.  When you are hungry or given a choice of joining the drug cartels or die or have your family killed, you run for the Rio Grande, or join the drug cartels.

My hope is with the passing of Fidel Castro will bring in a new era of cooperation between Latin America and the U.S.  An era of mutual respect and understanding that we only survive through cooperation.  This is how you solve the undocumented worker problem.

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