Cuba, Conservative Cruzeros, and Hidden History

The New York Times has now officially weighed in on this week’s announced economic policy changes in Cuba in its Week in Review section. The headline fits in nicely with today’s information technology obsession–“Cuba Resets the Revolution”–or is it a reference to Bill Clinton’s appearance at the Brooklyn Bowl last week? You remember, the reset button? Oh well.

One sentence resonates a little with my earlier post: “The mix of consumerism and authoritarianism that one finds in Vietnam and China is presumably a more palatable model — privatization, but with the state in firm control,” Lacey remarks about the possibilities for Cuba’s new experiment. But no one really knows whether the Castros have the Chinese, Vietnamese, or Russian models in mind. Maybe they’re just trying to cut the budget by allowing a space for very small business ventures that they can somehow monitor and control.

The knee-jerk same-o same-o: quoting the ubiquitous Yoani Sanchez out of context–her actual post in response to the revelations mentions “state capitalism” and waxes poetic with the question “How will he [meaning either Castro] react when the labor and economic autonomy of the self-employed turns into ideological autonomy?” Which of course begs the question, “how will the self-employed react when, after reveling in his ideological autonomy, he  is exposed to the globalized labor market whose prime directive is to crush the value of his labor”? Oh, the second knee-jerk same-o? A reference to rice and beans in the last sentence, a predictable criollo kicker!

This item courtesy of Jose A. Delgado’s blog in Sunday’s El Nuevo Dia. It seems that despite repeated denials from El Capitolio, our old pal Luis Fortuno is up to his Republican eyeballs in a cruise sponsored by CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Committee, the American Conservative Union Foundation, and the right-wing magazine the American Spectator. Book now and you can enjoy speeches from Florida Republican Senate candidate and wannabee Jeb Bush Jr. Marco Rubio, Heritage Foundation and Reaganite tax-cutting privatizer Steve Moore, Nixon-Agnew-Reaganite ACU stalwart David Keene, and American Spectaor’s Alfred Regenery, Keene’s law school chum who published several gutter-journalism books claiming among other things that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian, the John Kerry “Swift boat” book, and some Ann Coulter rant. A Washington Post columnist is claiming that the cruise will climax with a dinner at Fortuno’s Governor’s mansion in Old San Juan, adding: “(Note to Luis: Remember, Sarah Palin hit the big time after she lunched in Alaska with cruisers from the Weekly Standard and the National Review, so go all out.)” Oh yes, he misspells his name as “Fortunato.”

Finally, overheard at last week’s opening for El Museo del Barrio’s Nueva York 1613-1945: Guest speaker and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was apparently a little miffed about the time span of the exhibit. Why? It ends right before the story of the Great Puerto Rican Migration begins. “They did it on purpose,” says my source. It does make for a tidier story this way, I guess.

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