You tell ’em, Marco!

I AM NO FAN of Castro’s Cuba.

Alas, we cannot say the same of Sen. Tom Harkin,* a Democrat senator from Iowa, who apparently, on returning from a recent holiday to the island despotism, told his Senate colleagues about the wonderful communist society he found there.

This, understandably, was not to the liking of Sen. Marco Rubio, a first-generation Cuban-American whose parents left Cuba in 1956.

Rubio took to the Senate floor to set the Cuban record straight.

And to give Harkin the verbal comeuppance he richly deserved.

The mind reels at the collectivist mindset. No matter how often socialist experiments fail, and they have all failed or are in the process of failing, people embrace the nutty notion.

It fails on a colossal scale, as in the Soviet Union, Red China and Cuba, or more commonly on a smaller, less ambitious level like numerous West European nations and the State of California, all regions mired in foggy ideas, redistributive debt and strangled by regulations that seek to create a “fair and just society.” It never works. Never.

These pipe dreams always clash with human nature and sound economic principles.

* * * *

* No surprise it’s a Democrat.

(Note: Two years ago, we spent our 10th anniversary in Havana, a fascinating, sad and pathetic place. The primary post on that visit and its hooker sidekick remain the most-read items on The Unseen Moon.)

21 thoughts on “You tell ’em, Marco!

  1. Just a minor correction to your post, Felipe. Marco Rubio’s parents fled Cuba in 1956. Castro did not take power until January, 1959. It was not Fidel Castro’s tyranny that the Rubio family fled, but Batista’s tyranny, years before Castro led his rebellion against Batista. Marco Rubio has gotten into hot water for statements on his official website misleading people on the date of his parents exit from Cuba. He now agrees that they indeed fled Batista in 1956, not Castro in 1959. Rubio however, still seems a little confused over the dates and circumstances of his family’s history. The story and a sound clip are here:

    Beauty however, is in the eye of the beholder as is seen with people’s impressions of Mexico. You and I love Mexico. We love the people, the culture and the country in general as do so many others. Many of your former countrymen however, do not feel the same. Travel forums are full of dire warnings about travel in Mexico and feature many people stating that they would never go to Mexico and wondering why anyone else would. US Government websites warn against travel in Mexico.

    Same with Cuba. You went and did not like it. You will probably never go back. I on the other hand, went there, enjoyed the experience, and will likely go back. Senator Harkin evidently had a good experience as well. Everyone will have their own opinion of Mexico, Cuba and every other country they visit. The important thing is that we at least travel and give ourselves a chance to experience other cultures and people.


    1. Muchas gracias for the correction, Señor Croft. I have edited the post to make it right.

      But Rubio’s family history is not the meat of the matter here. Whitewashing the Cuban dictatorship is.

      Yes, the U.S. media and government continue to badmouth our Mexico Lindo. Pathetic. But as far as my loving the culture here, I appreciate much of it. Other parts less so. All nations have their warts and beauties.

      True, I went to Cuba and did not like it. I totally went out of curiosity, and that curiosity has been sated. I will not return. It is a dictatorship, as Rubio points out eloquently. I now have two dictatorships under my travel belt. The other was Haiti decades ago during the Duvalier despotism.

      Dictatorships are nasty, but communist dictatorships are the nastiest of them all.

      Your ongoing love affair with the Castro tyranny always leaves me slack-jawed with incredulity.


  2. I am no fan of Senator Rubio. He is a notorious neocon who wants the U.S. to continue to be the world’s policeman. The Cuban trade embargo is senseless after five decades.


    1. Andres: The embargo is certainly a bad idea. The main reason no administration of either party has ended it is due to the large Cuban-American, rabidly anti-Castro population in the state of Florida, which is a big banana in the Electoral College.


  3. Perhaps, after reading the blog “Generation Y” that originates in Cuba, some may get a better understanding of Cuba and the residence thereof. Having said that, it was not too many years ago, the American government was doing the same things as what is happening in Venezuela. Water cannons, shootings, etc., etc. Not a proud moment in American history either. Suppression is always ugly. I think much of what Marco says carries weight. Maybe should have left the Venezuelan references out.

    A store keeper near where I live travels to Cuba every year, stays with a family in Havana always. Not a wealthy family, just an ordinary Cuban family. She loves the people, the culture and accepts it for what it is.


    1. Bob: Generation Y paints a very clear picture of life under Castro’s communism. For those who have never read it:

      But, Bob, gimme a break. I imagine your references to “not too many years ago,” the U.S. government was using water cannons and shooting its citizens is a reference to the hard times we passed through during the Civil Rights Era.

      First off, that was half a century ago. Secondly, the U.S. government was not doing those things at all. It was done mostly by a very few municipal governments in the South and occasionally by a state government. Arkansas and Mississippi come to mind. It was the federal government that finally stepped in and put a stop to it.

      Your comparison holds no water.

      I do agree that Rubio could have made his point just as well, perhaps better, without dragging Venezuela into it. However, Venezuela and Cuba are bosom buddies these days, so it’s relevant.

      As far as your storekeeper visiting Cuba and accepting it for what it is … I do not accept it. Nobody should accept dictatorship.


    2. P.S. Just occurred to me that you may be referring to the Vietnam War protests. Again, any subduing of those protests were done by local law enforcement and occasionally the State National Guard which sometimes were called in when the local cops felt overwhelmed.

      Washington does not do those things. Federal government in despotisms do, however.


  4. From the National Journal

    Elahe Izadi

    “It makes sense that as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Tom Harkin would want to check out how other countries are doing when it comes to public health. So he spent last week in Cuba, where he saw all sorts of things that made quite the impression on him.

    Cuba is a “poor country, but they have a lower child mortality rate than ours,” the Iowa Democrat said to reporters Wednesday. “Their life expectancy is now greater than ours. It’s interesting—their public health system is quite remarkable.”

    Harkin, who made a 186-mile trek over the course of three days, also cited low infection rates in Cuban hospitals and the country’s success in reducing smoking among citizens through public health campaigns.”

    Facts matter…


    1. Beanie, Beanie, Beanie, what’s to be done with you?

      All “statistics” coming out of Cuba first pass through the communist government’s cleansing filter.

      In other words, they are totally meaningless. They are not facts. They are spins, pure propaganda. Harkin was a dunce to come back and repeat them as if they were legit.


      1. Let’s assume for a very brief moment that the longevity stats are true (which they probably aren’t). What might explain the longevity of Cubans? Could it be that they don’t have a packaged foods industry? Could it be that they can’t afford meat, so they mostly just eat beans, corn and rice, and not too much of that either? Could it be that they can’t afford to smoke, or drink alcohol, or to drink carbonated soft drinks? Could it be that the average Cuban can’t afford French Fries? Could it be that none of them die in car accidents because they can’t afford cars?

        All of those things could potentially explain longevity, but I’m not sure we’d want to duplicate them here in the USA.


      2. Here are statistics compiled by the The World Bank of Mortality rate, infant (per 1,000 live births).

        Canada 5 – Cuba 4 – Mexico 14 – USA 6 in 2012. Infant mortality rate is the number of infants dying before reaching one year of age, per 1,000 live births in a given year. Estimates developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN DESA Population Division) at

        Until you go back to Cuba and do your own research I, as most of the world, will rely upon them. As for the dunce cap you awarded Harkin it would be better placed closer to home.

        Having visited Cuba twice some twenty years apart I agree with Harkin that it is a beautiful country with charming people. Sadly, held hostage by a US Embargo and Authoritarian government.

        Facts matter…


        1. Beanie: Yet again, all Cuban statistics come from the communist government. If the World Bank of Mortality (whatever that is) wants to believe them, I have a nice bridge in the Sahara I will sell them.

          Or to you! Great price!


    2. Cuba also has a higher literacy rate than the USA (99.8% vs. 99%). I noticed that most people can also speak at least some English.


      1. Croft: All statistics from communist Cuba come through the government filter. They are almost always, one can reasonably assume, positive. I imagine that had you lived in the first half of the 20th century, you would have believed the glowing results of the Five-Year Plans that came from the governments of Stalin and Mao. The Five-Year Plans were always grand successes, proof positive of the glorious communist way.

        Except they weren’t.

        As for most Cubans speaking at least a little English, I imagine that is so in the Varadero tourist trap/resort where, if I am not mistaken, you spent most of your time vacationing in Cuba. And even for that great majority of Cubans not fortunate enough to snare a government job in Castro’s copy of Cancún, learning English would be of much interest. They hope, some day, they can ride a raft to freedom just 90 miles away in Key West.


        1. We did in fact spend the majority of our time in an all inclusive Varadero resort and yes, of course the staff all spoke flawless English and the patrons were almost without exception, fellow Canadians. That is not what I am talking about. We also spent three days in Havana where we talked to staff and patrons in restaurants as well as random people on the street, including those walking down the street in front of our residential area B&B as we had breakfast on the porch.

          Stats do in fact come from the Government and this is true of any country, including the US and Canada. Can we believe them any more that the stats coming out of Cuba? What is the true literacy rate in Canada and the US? Or do we believe one government and not another? When you and most of your neighbors are unemployed, can you fully believe the glowing employment rates published in the newspapers?


  5. I am hoping that the Cuban government will fall under his own weight soon. Poverty, misery and corruption will give way to something better I hope. I want to visit Cuba when the regime falls.


    1. Ms. Teguz: I too hope the regime collapses as soon as possible.

      I must confess, however, that we made our trip specifically before that blessed day simply because I wanted to see the reality of that famous despotism. And we sure did. A depressing reality it is.


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