From my favorite South Florida political blog this consideration of Miami and its relationship to Cuba now that the failed embargo is likely to be swept away soon. I particularly enjoy the perspective of this blog on the politics of Miami and how they relate to Cuba. "On this blog, over many years now, we expressed this point less tactfully but more truthfully: how hatred of Castro in Miami moves elections through an orthodoxy as rigid as that in Havana." The Diaz Balarts have been in a family struggle with the Castros since before the Revolution and when the Bearded One won the war the Diaz Balarts gave up and fled to Miami to bitch at their brother-in-law across the Straits of Florida. Their behavior in Miami as Eye On Miami suggests would have been no better than that of the Castro brothers in their island fortress had the US allowed the exiles to be as undemocratic as they would have liked. Its only because the Republican Cubans hold the balance of power in Florida's electoral college votes that the undemocratic embargo has lasted as long as it has. People still make the case that the US needs to be the world's policeman. We need to get a lot better educated and a lot less blinkered if we want to do it well, in my view. As it is the US seems to get abused by everyone everywhere and like any abuse victim we give it back the way we received it. Hummus up the ass? No problem; we have learned torture from our tormentors. Time to let everyone else embargo each other and for us to manufacture and trade and make money once again. Let these feuds play out without our support, we simply corrupt ourselves. Check out the real story of Miami and the Cuban Exiles:
"This is where President Obama failed to understand the city," Strouse writes. "It is not just "a demonstration of what the Cuban people can achieve." These days, Venezuelans fleeing a failed economy play a role almost as large as the Cubans. Brazilians, whose economy is also flagging, have bought up huge blocks of downtown condos. Colombians, Nicaraguans, Argentines, Haitians and others all have their piece of the city, too."
Fair enough. The expanding influence of other Hispanics in South Florida has been well noted throughout our economic and political life. Strouse continues,
"… I wish, as the president said, that Miami were "a place that reminds us that ideals matter more than the color of our skin, or the circumstances of our birth." It is not. It is one of the nation's most segregated cities and one of the most extreme when it comes to rich and poor. Blacks have complained for decades of their inability to get good jobs here and many of the best African American minds have departed."
Strouse is right on point, of course, but I have a different interpretation. By singling out South Florida Cuban Americans, President Obama's speech acknowledged the outsized influence on Florida and national politics. (The New York Times ran an analysis along this line, yesterday.)
On this blog, over many years now, we expressed this point less tactfully but more truthfully: how hatred of Castro in Miami moves elections through an orthodoxy as rigid as that in Havana.
The purpose of this orthodoxy -- that manifests in political campaigns and regular broadsides (Spanish language AM radio in particular) -- is economic. By fixing the pecking order in city and county government, Cuban American elites in Miami achieved spectacular results. Not so good if you care about the quality of life.
But times change. Baselines shift. The Cuban American orthodoxies that Bill Clinton responded to in 1992 and Bob Graham even earlier have faded. Antagonists grow old. They disappear.
Every morning at Miami International Airport, in queues to ticket counters of outbound flights to Havana, the failure of the embargo is on full and visible display.
One reaches a simple conclusion ignored by the GOP: the Kabuki theater of US-Cuba relations outlasted audience preferences.
In yesterday's blog post, I called out Republicans for opposing Obama's historic initiative as "fighting yesterday's war". Along this line, angry Senator Marco Rubio, who repudiates reconciliation and science (global warming), ought to have a prayer session with the Pope.
In the meantime, the economic elite in Miami's Cuban American community -- mostly Republican -- if they haven't already visited Havana, will be buying their tickets now.
Fidel Castro's passing will feed a Miami audience hungry for any kind of catharsis, but change in Cuba -- when it comes -- whether slowly or quickly, will not be "democratic" for a long time. In the meantime, our Republican Congress would do well to get our own house in order; never mind Havana. Let's start with campaign finance reform. Imagine the celebrations in the United States, if we had fair elections and fair districts.