New American Envoy Predicts Big Change in Cuba After Castro

Human Events Online Jim Burns December 19, 2005

America’s newest top diplomat to Cuba is predicting that the Communist nation will change from its current system even if dictator Fidel Castro stays in power for many more years.

Michael Parmly, head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, told Reuters news service he could not be specific as to what kind of change will occur on the island or when or how it will happen.

Parmly cited his experience as an American diplomat in Romania where he witnessed the ouster of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in the early 1990s as proof that people will rise up and topple Communist regimes. Ceausescu was later executed by the new Romanian government.

But in Cuba, Parmly envisions “revolt spreading like wildfire in the streets.”

“You cannot predict these things, but you do try to prepare for them when you are pretty sure they are coming, and I am pretty sure it is coming,” Parmly said.



8 thoughts on “New American Envoy Predicts Big Change in Cuba After Castro”

  1. There is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Cubans yearn for greater economic and political freedom, but this should not be intepreted to mean that they want US troops or US corporations to come rushing in immediately following Castro’s death to begin dictating the future of their nation.

    If the United States government is wise, it will push for free and fair elections and then trust the Cuban people to choose their own leaders and their own economic system. Castro’s henchmen will no doubt attempt to hold on to power and will exploit any overt, heavyhanded US attempt to intervene in Cuban sffairs as a pretext to maintain their own brutal dictatorship, justifying it as necessary to protect Cuba from foreign influence.

    We should seriously consider why, one after another, the nations of Latin America are turning away from the US economic model. One reason is that over the past 30 years the United States has used it’s economic power to manuever smaller Latin American countries into subordinate, disadvantageous economic relationships. We have lent them huge sums of money, but dictated how and with whom they must spend it. We then have imposed difficult terms of repayment that have left Latin American governments with little money left to improve conditions for their own poor.

    US attempts to use Latin American countries as test laboratories for extreme, free market economic theories, cooked up by conservative think tanks, has been a disaster. Just this week Bolivia chose left-wing former union leader Evo Morales, who describes himself as a “nightmare for the United States” as their new President. This repudiation of the US was in large part the result of a failed experiment by the Bechtel Corporation to privatize Bolivia’s water supply, an effort that pushed the price of clean water above the means of ordinary peasants and laborers.

    The United States is further dicredited in Latin America because we have tolerated brutal dictators, like General Pinochet of Chile and Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua for example, when it suited our purposes. We turned a blind eye to the dirty war in Argentina, to the massacres of peasants in Honduras, Gautamala, and El Salvador committed by soldiers trained and funded by the US. So our words about freedom and democracy ring more hollow there than they should.

    If the United States wants a good relationship with Cuba after Castro is gone we must endeavor to learn from our mistakes in Latin America and leave Cuba to select it’s own future. If we do this then in time a grateful Cuba will gravitate towards the US as an ally and trading partner naturally and on it’s own.

  2. Ah yes, of course. America is responsible for Latin American tin pot dictators.

    This reads like it came from “The Nation” magazine, maybe even “Mother Jones.”


    Well, Dean. Looks like I was right. On a hunch I went to “The Nation” website, did a search for “Bechtel and Bolivia,” and look what I found: The Politics of Water in Bolivia.

    The “Nation,” as you know, is unapologetically hard-left. They supported Stalin, opposed the Marshall Plan, called Castro a “hero” (Cuba was “one of the most egalitarian societies in the world…”), championed the Sandinistas, argued that “North Korea is abandoning its traditional policy of autarky and defiance,” while describing how Kim has rebuilt the North to the point where the “beauty” and “technological achievements” of Pyongyang “shock the foreign visitor”, the list goes on, and on, and on….

    A good rule of thumb regarding the “Nation”: the more totalitarian the regime, the more likely they are to support it. (They are a lot like Jimmy Carter this way.)

    Oh yes, “Nation” editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, the multi-millionare heiress, went to the Supreme Court seeking exemption from inheritance taxes while arguing on the pages of her magazine that rescinding the tax was unjust.

    You are free to believe whatever you want to believe of course. But let’s at least be clear about the ideology behind it.

  3. Cuba seems to be doing just fine on their own at present, with tourism being the # 1 trade at the moment minus the Americans. I,m visiting the island at the end of Dec from Canada so will have a better idea of their political status.
    Seems they have gotten stonger in the past 10 yrs. with Castros beliefs, maybe the United States could learn from them.

  4. Note 3. Windi, please do your homework. Castro drove the Cuban economy into the ground so that no nation will grant it credits, not even Mexico. It’s functionally bankrupt, and has been that way since the $6 million a day subsidy from the Soviet Union stopped after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    Tourism is its only real source of income. Castro depends, ironically, a great deal on the dollar despite his fevered rantings against the US in past years.

    Everyone is just waiting for Castro to die, especially the expatriated Cubans. He’s a living relic of a failed and blood thirsty, ideology.

    One interesting point. Going to Cuba I’ve read is like stepping back in time except that everyting is worn out. There is a new photo book about Havanna just recently published. You might want to take a look at it. Havanna looks like it did in the last century except that everything is crumbling. Hopefully when Castro is gone and the people are free, they will not tear down and rebuild, but restore these buidlings. Cubans are very resourceful people and may do just that.

  5. Father: I agree that Castro is a totalitarian despot and the failure of his policies can be measured by the steady exodus of Cubans risking their lives to flee.

    The question I a more interested in is whether the United States will be able to refrain from intervening in the affairs of a post-Castro Cuba, or find it impossible not to intervene in order to support US corporations seeking a dominant commercial position there. Will our priority be freedom for the Cubans, or freedom for US corporations to extract as much profit as possible from Cuba?

    Suppose for the sake of the argument that a post-Castro Cuba adopts a European Social Democratic economic model that reintroduces freedom of private ownership and private enterprise, but with state control of a few key industries, and more regulations and restrictions than US corporations are comfortable with.

    US corporations, who are unable to profit as much as they would be in the absence of such economic controls, would lobby Washington and shower key legislators with contributions in order to get them to pressure the Cuban government to ease its restrictions and regulations. US officials would make statements expressing their displeasure with the Cuban governmentâ??s economic policies. A chill in diplomatic relations would ensue. American statements and actions would then be interpreted by Cubans and other Latin American as the latest example of US economic imperialism in their part of the world, and would backfire. The old spectre of “Yankee” and “United Fruit” imperialism would arise anew, and post-Castro Cuban politicians would find being Anti-American a sure-fire strategy for winning popular support.

    Americans may conveniently forget, but Latin Americans will always remember, that the United States has a long and quite active history of intervening in the affairs of its neighbors south of the border. The list of leaders deposed and installed by the US Marines in Latin America is too long (6 pages) to be cut and paste into this posting. However, here is a link to the list if you doubt that the â??America is responsible for Latin American tin pot dictators.”

    â??U.S. Interventions in Latin Americaâ??,

  6. Glad to see your concern for the Cubans, Dean. I can’t figure out though why those fleeing Cubans chose America over other countries.

  7. Dean from my own dealings with Cubans who lived in Cuba in the pre-Castro days many look forward to U.S. involvment in the country.

    Also don’t be so quick on the gun about anit-el norte attitudes in Latin American. The U.S. isn’t the only country doing business in the South. China, Japan, Great Britian, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Russia, Spain (to name a few) all have business dealings in the south. Any opening up of Cuba would include these countries pouring in as quickly as the U.S.

    Also you’re not considering the envolvment of such countries as Brazil, Argentina, and Chile in developing new markets in the region.

    Your statement is more wishful thinking for anti-American rhetoric than actuality.

  8. Father Hans and Jerry,

    Rent seeking behavior is a major concern in third world and second world countries alike. While the U.S. is not the only abuser, the fact that others are guilty doesn’t excuse us.

    Classic example? The Clinton Administration loaned $40 billion to Poland with the stipulation that the funds be used to buy F-16’s. The Polish government has a fleet of MIGs. Buying the F-16’s forced the Poles to assume massive debt for a small country and to spend additional billions to support the new aircraft.

    Inside Poland, there was massive outrage. It appeared to the Poles that the U.S. government was using the aircraft deal as a condition for support in other areas, including NATO.

    Who got hosed? The American tax payer, who had to front the money, and the Polish tax payor, who will have to repay the debt. Who benefitted? The Democrats who delivered a major contract to a whole host of defense contractors who make systems, airframe, and subsystems for the F-16 and its armaments.

    This isn’t a ‘left-right’ kind of issue. As in my previous example, Dems are just as bad about this kind of thing as Republicans when in office.

    This kind of thing goes on all the time, and the results are catastrophic for small countries. Just because others do it, doesn’t make it right when the U.S. does.

Comments are closed.