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Cuba to allow athletes to sign foreign contracts

Sep 27, 2013, 9:17 AM EDT

Are the days of ballplayers risking their lives to defect a thing of the past?

The Cuban Government’s anouncemnt thru GRANMA (the official newspaper of Cuba’s Communist Party) says that athletes will be able to sign contracts abroad as long as they “fulfill their obligations at home.” Said obligations were characterized thusly: “It will be taken into account that they are in Cuba for the fundamental competitions of the year.” This suggests that Cuban athletes will still be required to play for the national team and tournaments.

NBC’s Orlando Matos in Havana, who confirmed the news, says this could be considered one of the most radical economic reforms announced by the Cuban government.  Sports were declared strictly “amateur” in the early 60’s.  This reform would allow the athletes, trainers and other sports specialists to keep the money earned from contracts made abroad as long as they pay taxes to the Cuban government.   When it comes to Cuban baseball, athletes will start to get paid, receive bonuses and other monetary awards (all in Cuban pesos) and this indicates the beginnings of a professional Cuban Baseball League.

It is unclear how this affects baseball players coming to play in the United States beyond the issue of taxes, but one can only assume that this move is designed in large part to address them given the primacy of baseball in Cuba and the embarrassment to the government engendered by its biggest star athletes fleeing the country to play. Yasiel Puig has become a sensation. Yoenis Cespedes before that. We wrote the other day about a documentary on Yunel Escobar’s harrowing journey to the U.S. Before that we bore witness to Orlando Hernandez’s famous defection. As of now, teams are scouting Cuban defectors Alexander Guerrero and Jose Dariel Abreu, putting them in line to be the next big Cuban success stories.

The devil will be in the details, of course, and the details insofar as they relate to Cubans in Major League Baseball are not yet known. Nonetheless:  Viva increasing normalcy in a relationship that has been messed up for far too long.

  1. hcf95688 - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    I’d love to see a WBC in which all of Cuba’s great players could participate.

    • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      Doesn’t look like that’s far off now. Imagine – all those injured Cubans. It would look like the Palmetto Expressway on the morning after a rainstorm.

      • wowzers27 - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        At this point, you saying something racist is de rigueur, but this is totally out of line. What is your problem?

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:47 AM

        Now how did you know I meant only white Cubans?

      • wowzers27 - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        Xenophobic then? My sincerest apologies.. I’d hate to mislabel one form of hate for another.

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        Apology accepted, but you still seem to have a long way to go before you’re capable of making any kind of rational distinctions.

    • addictedzone - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      Seeking a comeback, Jose Canseco plans to pump up and be a player/coach for that team.

  2. Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Ackcherley, that’s a misnomer. Granma really is Fidel and Raul’s grandma. She is 147 years old and, like her grandchildren, will never die. There was a movie about that with Catherine Deneuve as Granma and David Bowie as Fidel called El Hambre.

    Suck on that, Marco Rubio.

    Meanwhile, El Keed must have gagged when he read this. If he’d waited five more years to escape, he could have signed for an enormous bonus. Now, he has to play out the string for Scrooge McLoria. Ah well.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      Dennis Miller was fired btw, because his schtick sucked, so does your carbon copy of it.
      Oh wait my bad, you see this as a part time job and you gotta keep it up to keep your PHT cred, please by all means continue copying Miller’s failed act.

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        I know you’re a total ignoramus but have you ever watched or listened to any other comedian besides Dennis Miller? Aside from the fact that my “shtick” is nothing like his, and aside from the fact that that’s all you seem to be able to think of when you react to anything I write (if thinking is what it is, though there are better explanations for it rooted in invuluntary responses arising from the brain stem), his shtick made him millions. So, even if you had the foggiest idea of what you were talking about, I’d be laughing all the way to the bank. Now get back to work – there are still dumpsters to be searched for aluminum out there.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - Sep 27, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        I didn’t read a word you typed, I just LOL’ed that you still take the bait.

        Who’s stupid again?

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        You’re not stupid again, you’re still stupid, despite your clumsy and transparent rhetorical segue away from having tour stupidity exposed – again.

      • sfbookreviews - Sep 27, 2013 at 6:44 PM

        Old Gator’s humor aside, Dennis Miller wasn’t fired because he sucked, he was fired because far too many of my fellow Americans were too stupid to understand what he was saying. There’s a difference.

        And while his act failed on football broadcasts, his “schtick” has made him an extremely wealthy man. You could only hope to fail like he has.

  3. lazlosother - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    I have never understood why an outgoing president, with nothing to lose hasn’t normalized relations with Cuba. What we’re doing hurts the citizens of Cuba, not the government. Ass-backward policy if you ask me, and I realize you didn’t.

    • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      Well, I had thought of asking you, but got distracted by a python grabbing my dog out in the yard. Dog’s fine, I’m wearing the python to the next rodeo.

      Yes, of course – our Cuba policy must be unprecedented in the anals (no misspelling there) of international relations for longest running futile, stupid, self-defeating failure. The problem, of course, is that in terms of electoral votes Florida is the tail that wags the dog (and if you don’t believe that, ask any Iraqi) and not enough of the Jurassic era Cuban population with its atavistic hostility to any policy not grounded in spite and bile has died orf yet.

      Obama got close to 40% of the Cuban vote here last time he ran. Most of that, of course, was second and third generation voters. We’re getting there, maybe in time for Hillary.

      • gibbyfan - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:29 AM

        Hey Gator–What’s with your Cuban Senator down there…I read he pushed for a judical appointment and then found out he was black/gay or whatever and fought against his own nomination..He’s not part of the mamanagement of the Marlins is he?……..

      • wowzers27 - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:46 AM

        I agree that the US stance on Cuba is unfortunate, and I agree that this is perpetuated by the Cuban-American lobby, but I would suggest for your consideration that this does not reflect the views of the majority of Cubans, nor the “Jurassic era Cuban population” (GASP!). Can you please just move to West Palm already, and for the love of Bob Graham please take your own “spite and bile” with you?

        “Jurassic era Cuban population with its atavistic hostility to any policy not grounded in spite and bile has died off yet.”

        Par for the course..

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM

        @gibbyfan: what’s with him is that our poor pretty-boy is stuck between a rock and a hard place. First he had to decide whether to pander to the anti-immigration reform lobby that makes up so much of the reactionary so-called “base” of the Republican party and draw the ire of the Latino voters he’s hoping will help advance his opportunistic march to the presidential nomination, or pander to the Latino population that’s most concerned with achieving immigration reform and pissing off the Jan Brewers and their drones in the conservative “base.” So after pushing for a not particularly well defined immigration reform, then watching his poll numbers and support within the party slacken, he gravitated over to supporting the bufoonery of Ted Cruz until the rest of the party began fragging him. A gay judicial candidate was a practically a gift from God – Rubio could turn on him on the most flimsy of pretexts (“soft on crime” stuff – when even the prosecutor in the case called the judge’s sentence more than fair) and re-establish his street cred with bigots and atavistics with nearly no downside in the diseased world of teabaggery for a change.

        in other words, it’s all about hypocrisy and opportunism. Welcome to politics in America.

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        wowzer: you need to check out my recipe for tostones a few threads back. You can’t get those in West Palm.

        Parden me for not taking your hysteria and frothing any more seriously than that. Your last post doubles on itself so many times that it wouldn’t be worth my time to expose it for the crock of mierda that it is – I’d be here all day.

      • wowzers27 - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        “Hysteria and frothing”? Hyperbole at Gator’s finest. Unfortunate, from a fellow Gainesville alum., (well we do have the Tebows of the world, so I suppose it is not entirely without precedent). Also, unfortunate in that I could not possibly agree more with your explanation of Rubio’s farce.

        I just wonder: if we assume (and I will, as you seem a well-read and well-tempered – in the Wendy Carlos sense – individual) that you would not make the same comment if we were discussing black, indigenous, Jewish, Chinese, Bahai, et al. players, cities, politicians. Why is it OK to say the same when discussing Cubans or Miami?

        I am sure you are not a racist, I just wonder if you don’t realize that your comments can be construed as racist? On the scale of possible racisms, your comments are fairly innocuous, but hopefully I have helped you reevaluate your preconceived notions about the fundamental Truths (capital T) of humanity, human dignity, the human condition etc.? Then I will have done my mitzvah for the day.

        Finally, given how often you comment, it would appear… you are in fact here all day. (I await your vitriolic and personal-attack laden response.)

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        You’ll be waiting a long time. Now wouldn’t it be hypocritical of me to advocate accepting the Cuban olive branch and rejecting yours? I wrote above that I couldn’t be bothered responding to your accusations of “racism.” But I figger I ought to be more receptive to a reasoned invitation like this one.

        So to begin: what’s so much more ridiculous about calling your comments “hysteria and frothing” than yours calling me “racist”? Fact is, since this was all in response to a blog post about Cuban politics, my comments were also about Cuba and Cubans – it would’ve been a stretch to goof on Jews, Ba’hais or anyone else, no? My problem isn’t with Cubans per se but with retrenched, right-wing Cubans who, like it or not, still (and this has been confirmed by poll after poll) make up a hard core of the local Cuban population; that core is then divisible along age lines, with a focus in the first two generations of exiles after the revolution and then a spike some years later for the Marielito period. Second and third generation American-born Cubans become progressively more moderate (those who would identify themselves as “liberal” are still in the distinct minority). I recall reading something about how much more conservative per capita Cuban-Americans in south Florida tend to be than the populations in, say, New York or New Jersey but I don’t recall the numbers.

        Then again, I don’t live amongst the ones in New Jersey so my day to day experience of them is pretty minimal.

        Now, my response to Cuban culture, making the admittedly artificial distinction between most of it and its political element, is anything but xenophobic – which I think was another unjustifiable stretch. I’m actually deeply embedded in Cuban civilization here – I speak and read Spanish quite well, love Cuban cuisine and music, really enjoy the Caribbean atmosphere of Cuban neighborhoods like Little Havana or West Miami (the latter having unfortunately produced Marco Rubio).

        However, I don’t like the very particular brand of right-wing politics entrenched in the exile community. This isn’t because I ignore the real pain behind it. I know that exile hurts. I’m closer to it than a lot of Anglos down here because I spent nearly twenty years as a bilingual educator teaching ESL students, the majority of whom were Cuban – in many cases, giving them back some of the literary treasures of their own culture they didn’t even know they had, like the works of Guillermo Cabrera Infante or Reinaldo Arenas. Yet, these same entrenched right-wingers would pontificate about democracy and then go out and throw rocks and batteries at Cuban performers like Gonzalo Rubacalba and those who tried to attend their concerts here. At a certain point, their “pain” becomes immaterial compared to their hypocrisy and violence. Their insistence on a punitive policy towards their homeland, in a misguided effort to punish Castro or the government that they viewed as their tormentor, has done nothing but harm to their brethren back home – yet they persist in it, and I persist in attributing it to spite and bile which, for the older exile generations, has done nothing but become more acute and even malignant as Fidel prepares to die peacefully in bed half a century after the fact. The Cuban government is ugly. So is the mentality of its original set of victims.

        And that mentality has really poisoned the political environment here in Macondo. Among other things, it has led to ethnic-block voting that has been counterproductive in its mimicry by other ethnic blocs. It has led to incompetent Cuban candidates or officials who got jobs they couldn’t do very well because they were Cuban (and you can extrapolate that to Black, Haitian and Good Ole Boy Anglo too). Our roads are twenty years behind the population growth. Our public works are a mess. Our mass transit is mess transit. And this is largely because of this sort of balkanized voting pattern consistently empowering nincompoops along purely ethnic lines. You want to get elected here? You have to hate Castro more than the other guy, even if he’s an engineer, you’re nothing in particular, and the office is county controller.

        Fortunately that mentality is receding, slowly but surely. The big break came about a decade and a half ago when a bovine blowhard named Miriam Alonso ran a blatantly ethnocentric campaign for mayor, even refusing to speak English during speeches or press interviews. The younger Cuban voters abandoned her en masse and she lost to a Good Ole Boy named Steve Clark. Suddenly everyone took note that the monolith was cracking. it continues to crack, slowly but surely. As I noted elsewhere here, Obama took close to 40% of the Cuban vote. I’m no fan of Obama but that was indicative of a growing maturity and sophistication among the Cuban-American population. They weren’t voting – or thinking – in lock-step anymore. Event the noxious phenomenon of Marco Rubio is indicative of this process beyond the Cuban community – Rubio won substantial support from white voters in northern Florida and the panhandle. Loathing this huckster as I do, I still have to admit that the fact that WASPS voted for him in large numbers is hopeful in its own way.

        Sorry for the extended history lesson but that does bring us back to this issue of making fun of Cubans for their ethnic quirks. I may be pretty far to the left but I have no patience for political correctness. All ethnic humor is self-deprecating. No population draws laughs by pointing out how great it is. It draws laughs by pointing out how human it is. Foibles, reflexive tics, speech patterns or unconscious habits make people laugh. Among Cubans here, the reputation of Cuban drivers is a subject of much mirth. I don’t see how there’s anything “racist” about it except from the perspective of a hidebound ideological investment, any more than, say, a Jackie Mason routine about Jewish housewives or young Jews condemned to medical school by their mothers is “racist” in the pejorative sense. When someone comes on here to insinuate that all Muslims ought to be thrown out of the country, there’s a problem. Then again, when the Axis of Evil launches into a routine about anti-American Arabs eating at a McDonalds in Amman, I find it hilarious.

        We all need to loosen up.

      • wowzers27 - Sep 27, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        As I pointed out somewhere in this rather long “debate”, I agree it is certainly extreme my calling your comment on its own racist (let’s leave aside the million other repetitive and tiresome light-hearted-jests you make whenever Cubans or Miami are mentioned). But that is intended as a pedagogical exercise to help you rethink these jests and their effect/affect on the jests’ object (“when thousands weep more than did laugh at it”, is perhaps appropriate?) – consider it a “lesson”? And come now, you know what I meant – if you swap Cuban with African-American or Afro-Latino (assume the appropriate analogous article – probably another [admittedly more egregiously racist comment by some broadcaster about lazy black or Latino players]), then you would not make that comment/jest. Why? Because society (and rightly so) has ingrained in all educated peoples that that sort of jest/commentary is inappropriate. Yet, you do not have the same compunction when referring to Cubans? Society will catch up, I hope you do too? Also, to hide behind the – “I was referring to Cuban-American/Miami politics” belies the Palmetto comment, your looking forward to the death of other human beings, and the countless simple harmless comments that may be construed by mere mortals as deprecating Cubans. Focus your attacks on Loria or his Chihuahua, we both know there is plenty of fodder there (or if you must – be explicit about the political aspects of the specific group in question, painting with broad strokes is never particularly helpful, especially in the context of ethno-cultural-racial relations – you should know better). Edit* I would also like to tone down the above in the harshness of its language – but I am too lazy to do so, insults get us nowhere (though, still too lazy to edit, just know that I disagree with myself in some of my word choice).

        (Hold collective eye-roll until the end please) – I have advanced degrees in International Relations focusing on the unique immigration experience of each wave of Latino immigration to the US – particularly how those differences correlate heavily with race and “elite-ness” in their home countries (Cuban – and recent Venezuelan – vs. Mexican, El Salvadoran, Dominican, Haitian et al), and in Law where my work concerns more the development of sovereignty among indigenous communities in international fora (not particularly useful here unfortunately). All that sound and fury signifying not much, is only to say that I am aware of the history – a history that, outside of some decidedly un-academic generalizations on your part, I agree with. Further, I hope many enlightened HBT readers read your brief and for the most part accurate history of the Cuban-American experience – it’s fascinating stuff, though I am certainly biased. I would only point out that every other major US city has similar if less extreme bloc voting patterns – unfortunately (Miami’s is exacerbated by the extreme and varied immigrations that help explain Miami’s idiosyncrasies). (Though I must admit, I have not read Reinaldo Arenas, I will take your reference as a recommendation.)

        Though may I ask – isn’t this moderatization (or the regression to the mean) of the Cuban-American population a natural backlash against the bag of goods sold to them by the old-Cuban political elites (though that did not stop them from buying the bag of goods regarding Loria Park, but let’s leave that aside), as well as the wounds of the communist revolution healing over the course of decades? And less a result of their “dying out” – something you seem to be actively rooting for (something that is normatively wrong – unless we’re talking about Loria). I understand the need for Internet shorthand, but perhaps it would help to not be so flippant in this regard?

        All ethnic humor is self-deprecating, I agree – but it’s generally made by people within that ethnic group (e.g. Cubans, Jews, blacks, women, dentists) – Jackie Mason was Jewish. Or else it’s seen at first-glace as racist (and the circle is complete!). I understand you can’t be bothered by a middle-class morality or political correctness – and perhaps an Internet message board about baseball is not the ideal place to hash out nuanced racial and ethnic clash of civilizations (I hate myself for referencing that drivel), but just be a little more circumspect is all I’m asking or least throw some caveats in. At this expense of the First Amendment I know, I know (saints preserve us).

        As for the driving, having now lived in several major metropolitan areas, it is not particularly worse and sometimes better (New York) – and it pales in comparison to the nightmare that is Europe or Latin America (I have not traveled extensively in Asia or Africa but I imagine this would hold true there as well).

      • wowzers27 - Sep 27, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        Also, I picked this fight with you, because I believe your insensitive comments (at least subjectively on my oversensitive part) are not intentional or hateful. There are plenty of outrageously racist posters/postings over the years here at HBT, that I’ve seen and said nothing. There is no hope for the uneducated (or the Rubios, Scalias, or Cruzs of the world either). And generally, I thoroughly enjoy your comments. Further, I enjoy that you are the elder ambassador for our oft-maligned fan-base. I only wish you would temper your comments, especially when your audience (being non-Miamian) may not grasp the nuances of your critique, or the “look-how-ridiculous-these-guys-are-but-I-still-love-them” attitude, and use it to fuel/reinforce their own decidedly racist preconceptions and beliefs.

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        This is much better.

        Okay, three things and then I need to get back to my work for at least a few productive hours.

        A) This first – yes, most ethnic humor is the product of members of the community in question. If you’re Jewish, you can joke about Jewish mothers and medical school. If you’re not, you’re “racist.” My lack of patience with political correctness extends to finding that insider-outsider dichotomy bullshit. What makes a joke racist or not racist isn’t where you stand with respect to the group you’re joking about. It’s whether or not you intend the joke to demean the group to some ideological advantage (using “ideological” in both the formal and informal sense) rather than to point out a foible or draw a laugh for its own sake. Context usually clarifies this, but having dispensed with epaulets, we’re still wearing mindless chips that keep us from bothering to evaluate context. Enough.

        B) As for the “dying out” metaphor, see below.

        C) About the architectural abortion that has risen on the footprint of the Orange Bowl: the population of Macondo overwhelmingly opposed it. We mounted lawsuits to force it to be decided by a plebiscite but were overruled in court – our charter invested our city and county councils and mayor with the authority to make the decision. It was a question of changing the charter, and there was no way to do that in nearly enough time to keep them from making the horrible deal that they made, a deal which will financially hamstring the city literally for generations as the interest on the construction bonds comes due. It would be much more accurate to say that they betrayed us than that we swallowed the sales pitch. The only ones who bought the bag of goods were our so-called elected representatives, or perhaps, that the bag of goods bought them. In the wake of the deal we thanked them with a recall election that booted the mayor and his handpicked staff out of office by an historic majority.

        in this connection, yes, the greening of the Cuban community is also a product of succeeding generations rejecting the virulence of their parents’ and grandparents’ anger and tactical self-subversion. The shift in voting patterns is also attributable to Cuban Americans finally getting it through their heads that they’ve been pandered to in the most scurrilous way. This especially extends to recognizing that while Republicans have been the most obsequious about “standing up to Castro,” they have done no more or less than Democrats – which is to say, nothing really. All either party has done is keep in place an embargo that was instituted by an outgoing Eisenhower in 1960 (in part as a move to enhance the prospects of that year’s Republican presidential candidate, his VP Richard Nixon) as a partial embargo but broadened into the six hundred pound aphaisic gorilla we know today by the Democratic administration of JFK in September 1961. Somewhere around seven years ago the young Cuban-American voters who were attaining majority realized that both parties were just paying them lip service. They might have figured it out sooner if not for the Elian Gonzalez fiasco, but that’s a whole other subject.

        Okay, must return to work. I’m pleased we reverted to an actual discussion format, though. Thank you.

    • chill1184 - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      Couple of reasons:

      1. Still plenty of relics of the Cold War still alive and kicking

      2. Cuban lobby (Florida is a battleground state)

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        Between raccoons and pythons.

    • historiophiliac - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      A president cannot unilaterally make such decisions. Also, this is not a unique thing. For a long time, anti-apartheid activists in South Africa were on our government’s terrorist watch lists as we participated in a boycott. See also, China, Burma, and North Korea for examples.

    • lazlosother - Sep 27, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      I knew Old Gator would weigh in, and as always it’s worth the read.

  4. natstowngreg - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Could this be like “ping-pong diplomacy” (with China)? A political thaw that starts with a sports thaw, perhaps? If so, the fact that the Cuban regime even raised the possibility is a big deal, despite the obvious political obstacles (as detailed by others).

  5. jm91rs - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    It seems to me that Cuba (or any small country looking for respect) should have loosened up these restrictions a long time ago. Can you imagine if all of the MLB great cuban players were able to play in the WBC for Cuba? The publicity would be a huge boost to morale in that country.
    If I were a Cuban ball player though I’d be a little skeptical. Like they might be trying to lure all the talent back to the island and once they’re there they aren’t allowed to leave. There’s also the matter of family members of these players, would they be allowed to join the players in the US?

    • dowhatifeellike - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Trick or no, once they leave there’s really no way Cuba can demand that they return. USA won’t extradite. It may be a little more tricky when playing in Canada or for one of the games played in Asia each year, but that can be worked around.

      I’d go so far as to wager that any stateside contract they sign will have a “no return” clause for just that reason.

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        The caveat here being that if the Cuban government ceases to make playing abroad a punishable act in the first place, there’s no reason for those athletes not to go home at any time. This is very much like ping-pong diplomacy in that it’s a small gesture that might lead to a more substantial one. If our imbecilic “embargo” mentality weren’t preserving the most repressive elements of Cuban government behavior and giving the hard-line elements there an ongoing excuse to keep enforcing their own restrictions, this entire process could proceed more quickly.

        As it stands, there are still fines and jail terms in store for any American citizen without Cuban family living in Cuba who visits Cuba without US government permission on the ridiculous pretext that bringing hard currency to the island sustains the iron grip the government has on the population – this after over 50 years in power! I doubt if this idiotic policy has cost any Cuban party member or government functionary so much as a single Cuba libre and it punishes economically only the average Cuban.

        And why? Because the hard-line exile faction I have called the Jurassic Cuban population (which wowzer, for his own self-aggrandizing reasons, somehow or other finds “racist” when it’s so clearly a political designation) wants so desperately to go on “punishing” Castro et al that if their brethren back home get caught in the crossfire, they don’t really care. Spite and bile indeed. Now, slowly but surely, as the immigrant population dies off – especially the first two generations of them – the native born or members of the population who arrived here too young to remember “home” are becoming more moderate and the political ossification of that population is letting up. But as the last election demonstrated, and as polls still demonstrate, wowzer’s uninformed assertions to the contrary, the majority of the exile population is still pretty hostile to the idea of lifting the embargo, and that hostility is still imbalanced along age lines. We still need to wait for a president with some guts to put the interests of the Cuban people before the interests of the spite-and-bile exiles and scuttle the embargo, giving expanded trade and contact between the populations an opportunity to encourage the process of loosening up repressive laws – on both sides of the straits.

      • wowzers27 - Sep 27, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        Outside of the personal slights and over-broad (to the point of unhelpful) diatribes, it’s shocking how much we agree on these issues – but I ask you: is it so inconceivable that there are socioeconomic distinctions that explain the differences/changes in Cuban-American voting patterns? I have family members who were immigrants (including some who fought with the 2506 Brigade) that are now card-carrying Dems. and Obama supporters and who do not “want so desperately to go on ‘punishing’ Castro et al that if their brethren back home get caught in the crossfire, they don’t really care.” Granted, anecdotal and SSS, but I would argue that this is increasingly becoming the norm – as further evidenced by the changing voting patterns (I am referring to changing voting patterns in neighborhoods that have old-Cuban pops., not the Hialeahs that have traditionally been the receivers of new waves of Cubans – that as you rightly point out, have different priorities, than the stereotypical “Cuban voter”.)

        “Immigrant population dies off”, is perhaps unnecessary? Perhaps insensitive?

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        Yes, it’s necessary, because that’s how the process actually works. Those early immigrant generations are taking their their intractable pain and their anger with them. Each older Cuban who isn’t around long enough to pass his virulent resentment to his nietos represents an addition by subtraction to a more reasonable political ethos. It isn’t meant to be pretty but there’s no justification for pretending that it isn’t the way things are.

        I’m afraid you may be projecting some notion of schadenfreude onto what I wrote. I’m not gloating about it. Just observing. And there are of course many ways to be relieved that a well of ideological poison is running dry. See my more extended response above.

  6. saintsfire - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    bout time

  7. billybawl - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Interesting. But would the U.S. embargo prevent a MLB team from contracting with a Cuban citizen who is still tied to the Cuban government, at least through their national team? I don’t think Cuba will just let a player go without some kind of recourse, though I could only speculate what that would be or how it would be enforced. Otherwise, why wouldn’t a player just defect once he was allowed to travel abroad?

    • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      The usual “recourse” that the Cuban government follows is an implicit threat of retaliation against a defector’s relatives who remain on the island. They get fired from their jobs, harassed, interrogated, sometimes dispossessed of their homes or even jailed. It’s pretty ugly stuff. Any liberalization of their restrictions ought to be welcomed and encouraged regardless. The current regime has ideological fault lines which are heavily generational and those need to be exploited – and responding affirmatively to any form of liberalization is the best way to do that.

      • wowzers27 - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        Again, could not agree more, well said. More reasoned responses, less banal sobriquets and irrational generalizations based on ethnic lines.

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