Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Miami and D.C.; Axis of Propaganda

   Jose Azel.  Just one of the many whose articles or opinion pieces on the subject of Cuba should be considered as nothing more than litter.  His writings add nothing of any intelligence to the debate about US policy towards the island.

   As opposed to taking an honest opinion about the subject, his most recent piece attempts to clutter the minds of the readers.  Iran is a touchy subject here in the US, especially within the context of our political discourse which heavily relies on fear mongering.  Talking heads and politicians alike have exploited the terrorist attacks in 2001 to justify every military action, every torture, every secret prison, and every sacrificed civil liberty.  Political candidates and office holders are almost frozen by their fear of appearing weak so that they march to the drum beat of the military industrial complex which profits from war whether it is a quagmire or a relatively simple drone strike to apply the death penalty on a perceived enemy without showing the strength and confidence of due process.

   By associating Cuba with Iran, Mr. Azel is counting on readers to imagine a new "axis of evil" which threatens the US.  He continues attempting to portray Cuba in a bad light for supporting Iran's right to peaceful nuclear power.  Iran is a signatory of the non-proliferation treaty, and by that measure, Iran is within its rights to carry on with its nuclear activities.  Washington has disregarded the spirit of so many treaties, why would it be expected to treat Iran's rights as a signatory to this one any differently?  

   Everyone on earth is aware that the reason Washington is concerned about Iran having nuclear power has nothing to do with its own security but that it would neutralize Israel's monopoly on nuclear weapons in the region.  Only a purely arrogant attitude can suggest that Iran has no right to defend itself.

   But that's all part of the game Mr Azel plays.  His entire argument attempts to claim that we need to be concerned about "rogue" type nations.  We should be, but "rogue" by his standards is one that isn't dominated by Washington or Europe.  Cuba has not been willing to follow the dictates of Washington since 1959 and therefore the arrogant people in power believe it should be considered a problem.
Azel's argument though, is being made at a time when growing numbers of Americans want to move beyond the senseless embargo and are becoming more vocal.  Even more troublesome for Mr. Azel is that the same trend can be found amongst Cubans living in the US.  The mighty power of the anti-Cuba groups has been waning in recent years so it is natural that they employ tactics like Mr. Azel chooses to employ.

   Mr.Azel states that a relationship between Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela is "perplexing".  The three countries have different economic systems and religious beliefs.  Should this be a stumbling block for respect between nations?  Of course not.  What brings these countries together?  Mutual interests.  Mutually beneficial trade.  Mr. Azel would like our imaginations to come to the idea that the mutual interest shared by these countries is something like the destruction of the US, but that is a political game meant for the people who are unwilling to think clearly.  Cuba and Iran suffer from sanctions and it is natural that they would seek to find ways to benefit from trade between each other.  Washington can sanction those two countries all it wants but it clearly can't prevent them from trading with each other.  Necessity will trump economic and religious ideologies, why else would Washington be so friendly with Saudi Arabia or China for a couple of examples?

   Mr. Azel knows that people can understand that it is normal for these countries to do business, but true to his anti-Cuba form, he slips into his analysis the charge of illicit business going on between them.  Extremists like him always feel the need to make things appear more sinister than they actually are.  He says that we would be mistaken to view their dealings through our "western" perspective.  What is special about our perspective?  Is not every country seeking to better itself economically?  Ahh, but his arrogance reveals itself.  "They" according to him are different.  If he can convince us of that, then we can imagine them to be inferior, proclaiming ourselves more enlightened, more benevolent.

   Thinking that he himself is more enlightened than the rest of us, Mr. Azel goes into some nonsense about the unifying factor is the hostility of these countries towards the US, once again looking to cause reason to worry.  He can't except that Bolivia and Ecuador also don't follow the rules of the Northern giant, so he deduces that they too are under the influence of the Iranian government or Castro (the ultimate vulgarity for a man who works in the University of Miami's Institute of Cuban and Cuban-American Studies).

   What this pseudo-intellectual is unwilling to admit is that there is a tremendous popular awakening in Latin America and a wave of elections being won by candidates who aren't anti-American but pro their people.  These anti-imperialists are speaking in a way that irks the dominant powers of yesterday who are more likely to try to slander them than respect them.  That is why he feels the need to suggest that we fear South-South friendships that run counter to the status quo.  He pushes the idea that we should fear them and our foreign policy should be more aggressive, lumping all countries who strive to make their own future free from foreign domination into the sinister camp.

   It's time for thoughtfulness to defeat Mr. Azel's and others' arrogance and story telling.  Cuba has no history of aggressive actions towards the US.  In fact, it has been an victim of over 50 years of aggression and economic warfare by Washington and the extremists in Miami.  The rest of the world is aware what kind of dangerous stories are created by extremists in the US.  Just look at what our lies led to in Iraq.  Mr. Azel is just one more creative mind trying to present to us an alternate reality, one in which we should be fearful of countries taking their own paths, that they threaten our tranquility.  His silliness needs to be recognized for what it is, one more story meant to portray revolutionary Cuba as the boogeyman 90 miles away.

You can read Jose Azel's newest addition to Miami's axis of propaganda at :


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