Obama's Conversation with Raul Castro

By Henry Gomez

Since he asserted in a campaign debate that he would meet Raul Castro and other despots without preconditions, Barack Obama has signaled that he is willing to engage in a dialogue with our enemies. The expectation of talks between Cuba and the United States are at their highest level in decades. Recently Hillary Clinton said of talking with the Chinese about human rights concerns that, “we pretty much know what they're going to say.” Judging on past behavior and rhetoric by the dictatorship in Cuba, we can also pretty much predict how a meeting between Obama and Castro might go:

Raul Castro: Hello Mr. President, I am Raul Castro, President of the Cuban Council of State and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba. I am also Second Secretary of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba as well as the Maximum General of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba.

President Barack Obama: A pleasure to meet you, I’m Barack Obama, President of the United States, but you can call me Barry.

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RC: Well you can call me, Mr. President or General, whatever floats your boat.

PBO: OK. Now Mr. President, I think we have a historic opportunity here.

RC: I agree. I mean after fifty years of imperialistic attempts to undermine a third world country, the United States finally has opportunity to rectify its mistaken posture and be a friend to the Cuban people.

PBO: Well…

RC: I mean your genocidal blockade has starved tens of thousands of Cubans over the last five decades and continues to …

PBO: Technically it’s a commercial embargo, we have not blockaded Cuba since the missile crisis.

RC: Ah yes, the October crisis when the United States conspired against the heroic people of Cuba to deny them the protection from aggression that they are entitled to.

PBO: Look, I was hoping we could turn the page on past misunderstandings and reach an agreement of mutual benefit.

RC: You’re right. We should look forward to the day when both of our countries share in the vision of a society guided by the principals of Marx and Lenin.

PBO: Well that’s not exactly what I had in mind.

RC: So what is on your mind?

PBO: We are prepared to lift the trade embargo completely. Cuba will be able to not only sell its goods in America but will be able to access all American goods. We will facilitate credit through the Export-Import Bank and other similar institutions.

RC: Excellent.

PBO: The thing is that in order to do this we need to see some progress in certain areas.

RC: Progress? We’re a very progressive country. Did you know that we have no racism in Cuba and that healthcare and education are free?

PBO: Yes, I’m aware of the accomplishments of your Revolution but we’d like to see your government release internationally recognized political prisoners like Dr. Biscet.

RC: We don’t have political prisoners in Cuba. They are imperialist agents who have committed acts of treason against the Revolution.

PBO: But Amnesty International says

RC: Yanqui puppets.

PBO: Look, we need to see some gesture in return for lifting the embargo. Can you allow some space for the democratic political opposition to organize?

RC: There is no political opposition in Cuba. I have the highest job approval ratings of any leader in the Western Hemisphere and I’m second only to Kim Jong Il.

PBO: That’s impressive but there has to be some opposition …

RC: No. Next issue.

PBO: I was hoping I could get a little more cooperation.

RC: So was I.

PBO: Maybe you could introduce some economic reforms …

RC: Yes, we are already implementing such reforms. Did you know that Cubans can now stay in the same hotels that foreigners can stay in? And I’ve granted all Cubans the right to purchase a cell phone.

PBO: My understanding is that most Cubans can’t afford either of those things because they work for the state and salaries are very low.

RC: Are you sure you went to the Harvard University? Look, the reason Cubans can’t afford any of these things is because of your genocidal blockade. Lift the blockade and I’ll personally guarantee a cell phone in every pocket.

PBO: How can an embargo be genocidal if there’s only one country enforcing it?

RC: Don’t question me.

PBO: It’s just that you said we could put all the issues on the table.

RC: Yes, all of the issues except for Cuban sovereignty. No leader is authorized to surrender the sovereignty of his people.

PBO: I don’t think we’re asking you to surrender Cuban sovereignty …

RC: When you use the imperialist expressions “political prisoners” and “democratic opposition” you are insinuating that Cuba is not a free country and that the United States is. I don’t have to tell you how racist and unjust your country is…

PBO: Look, every country has flaws …

RC: Not every country. Have I mentioned our free healthcare and education?

PBO: Yes, can we move on to something else?

RC: Of course. I wanted to discuss the naval base that you operate on Cuban soil. It’s an affront to Cuban sovereignty.

PBO: Well, our government made a deal for the property with a previous Cuban government.

RC: It was a corrupt puppet government. The base must go.

PBO: But you have to give me something.

RC: Fine. Those treasonous agents of the empire you want liberated.

PBO: You mean the political prisoners?

RC: Call ‘em whatever you like. You can take them back with you to the United States.

PBO: That’s not exactly what I had in mind.

RC: And I want you to return our anti-terrorism fighters that you are holding unjustly.

PBO: The five Cuban agents that were convicted of espionage? I can’t do anything about that. We have a separation of powers in the United States.

RC: You have the power to pardon.

PBO: But that’s for very rare and special cases.

RC: Like Marc Rich?

PBO: I had nothing to do with that.

RC: I know, I was just busting your balls. But I do want a pardon for those five valiant anti-terrorism fighters.

PBO: I can’t trade five convicted spies for political prisoners.

RC: Sure you can. It’s not like there aren’t precedents for these kinds of things. Even Reagan traded arms for hostages.

PBO: You’re not giving me much to work with here. What can I take back with me so as to appear that we’ve made progress?

RC: Give me the naval base, my five spies, err I mean anti-terrorist fighters, lift the embargo and give me the trade credits and I promise I’ll talk with you in six months and we can put everything on the table again.

PBO: Swear to God?

RC: Swear to God. I did this with the Europeans. Even if I don't meet with you again everyone will soon forget.

PBO (leaving): Good, I’ll have my press secretary issue a statement.

RC: It’s been a pleasure. Goodbye.

Raul Castro (to an aide): Sucker. When he makes the announcement please have Yoani Sanchez arrested.

Henry Louis Gomez is Cuban-American and blogs at BabaluBlog.com.

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