Official story-line: The President’s historic trip to Cuba has opened the doors for our offshore island neighbors to frolic in the sumptuous font of luxurious 21st century living.
First-draft version: So-called Yanqui largesse, as it were, signifies the resumption of business as usual, making the island safe for pillaging and crony capitalism once more.
Realists among us view the much-anticipated infusion of fresh capital as doing little except resupplying the depleted inventory of oxygen tanks, walkers and life-support machinery to prop up the decrepit Marxist functionary, Fidel, for the rest of his life. After that, all bets are off.
Ask Yoani Sanchez – who might also differ with the PR hoopla – since she, as a native Cuban, and political dissident, has been forced to live her entire life in the backwash of Castro’s drifting dinghy to nowhere. Until Fidel is gone, Yoani’s expectations are not great that the lives of herself and her countrymen will improve that much, if at all. Get lost, you smelly fossil! Fósiles olorosa, dejar!
Six pretty good books to read about Cuba…
“Dancing with Cuba” by Alma Guillermoprieto
Professional dancer travels to Cuba to teach modern dance, abetting in Castro’s epic struggle to meet the island’s sugar quota
“The Brilliant Disaster” by Jim Rasenberger
Play-by-play narrative and post-mortem of how a plan with too many moving parts went so catastrophically wrong
“The Americano” by Aran Shetterly
True story of a sad-sack soldier of fortune from Toledo, Ohio who signed-on with Castro, then later was purged from the history books
“The Bay of Pigs” by Howard Jones
Chronicles of shadowy DC jerk-wads plotting campaigns of astonishing ineptitude, all with the deniable blessing of John F. Camelot himself
“Havana Real” by Yoani Sanchez
A Cuban woman's struggles with everyday life, chronic hunger and broken plumbing in the world’s last non-functioning Marxist commode
“The Brothers” by Stephen Kinzer
Everything you ever needed to know how America alienated friends and influenced enemies, and the two sibling clown-pants behind it all