Oscar Guillen

51st Anniversary Of Bay Of Pigs Fiasco: Time To Open Up To Cuba

Today marks the 51st anniversary of the Bay of Pigs fiasco under President John F. Kennedy, the failure to overthrow Fidel Castro and Communism in Cuba.

Often thought to be possibly the worst action of the Kennedy Presidency, it simply emboldened Fidel Castro, and it led to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, leading to the most dangerous moment in the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union.

Had it not been for cooler heads on both sides, including President Kennedy’s brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the world as we knew it might have come to an end in a disastrous nuclear war.

In the years since, negotiations went on with the Soviet Union until its downfall in December 1991, and relations with China, the largest Communist power, ensued, and despite many problems and issues between China and the US, we are now marking 40 years of contact with that nation.

But our involvement with Fidel Castro, and now his brother Raul Castro, has been very minimal, and an embargo on trade has failed to overwhelm Cuba, even after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Instead, for political reasons, the influence of Cuban Americans in the Republican Party, and particularly in Florida, has led to the refusal to deal with Castro, which all other nations do, and has made us look ridiculous.

Dealing with an evil government which denies human rights to its citizens is not a good thing, but yet we deal with many governments diplomatically, who do just that, deny basic human rights to its people.

If we were to deal only with governments that guarantee equality and human rights, we would be isolated from contact with much of the world, as sadly, much of the membership of the United Nations is governed by abhorrent leadership.

The point is that Cuba will sometime soon see a change of government, as with Fidel Castro reaching 86 this summer, and Raul Castro in his early 80s, we could have a dramatic effect on the future of that island nation if we began diplomatic ties and stopped the ridiculous, ineffective embargo that has gone on now for more than half a century.

It is time that we decided that we are not going to allow the Cuban American community of South Florida, which is indeed becoming more diverse, in any case, simply by the changing attitudes of the younger generation, to dominate the issue of the future of Cuban relations.

And as part of that, we need to have people willing to stand up to the dominant, older, right wing forces in the Cuban community, who are not interested in democracy in Cuba’s future, but only in establishing a right wing government that favors the wealthy who were forced out of Cuba in 1959-1960, and want to influence the future of that nation through their family connections, but have poisoned politics in Florida and the nation by their intransigence on the Cuba issue all these years.

And therefore, it is time for the Miami Marlins to stop pandering to those in the community who have called for the firing of manager Oscar Guillen because he had the “nerve” to speak his mind about Fidel Castro. IF we do not promote freedom of speech, how are we any different than what has gone on in Cuba for the past half century? And although the author thinks Fidel Castro is reprehensible, that does not mean that Oscar Guillen’s job should be based on denial of his right to his personal views, whether you and I agree with such views!

Hopefully, in a second term, Barack Obama will be able to move forward on the issue of opening up to Cuba, as a plan for the future of our relations with that island nation, soon to change simply on the basis of time passing and leadership leaving the scene!