Washington has made another 'overture' to Cuba, renewing a four-year-old offer to lift the economic embargo if Cuba 'embraces' democracy. Of course, the democracy on offer is rather something that will facilitate the return of Cuban-Miami fascists to the island and for US capital to make inroads once again in the Cuban market. A sensible foreign policy would have spurned the Helms-Burton act a long time ago, which only shored up support for Castro among his own people and won sympathy for the regime abroad; the Clinton adminstration protested to the Canadian government ten years back for doing business with Cuba and Ottawa duly told Washington where to go.
Unlike a lot of the left in the Northern Hemisphere I am no cheerleader for Castro; his time has long passed and the much-repeated mantra of 'the best literacy rates and health service in the world' are not enough to justify a continuation of his decrepit regime. Which is not to say that his intervention in 1959 was a negative thing in itself, nor that the only regime change that the Cuban people want is a neo-liberal stooge for the Bush administration. It may well be that the clichéd use of the word 'embrace' in that news report is the BBC's own but it is strange how it has come to be used in conjunction with 'democracy' so much. It conjures up a vampiric image, hardly worthy of a lofty ideal such as democracy. In fact it reminds me of the embrace and the kiss on the lips that Michael Corleone gives his brother Fredo in The Godfather Part II at the New Year's Eve party in Havana shortly before Fidel and Che run Batista and his Fortune 500 backers out of town. And we all know what happens to Fredo in that film.