I found myself in front of a TV this week (rare for me now) and was stunned by the amount of coverage on the Cuba situation. Specifically stunning was how much of this coverage was talking matter-of-factly about the end of Castro’s regime and what the Americans are planning to do once they step in. I shudder for Cuba. After 50 years of totalitarian regime, Cubans are being eyed hungrily as yet another outlet for US products and services – oh, and “democracy,” though the Bush admin has made a hollow joke of that lately. No pundit seems to acknowledge that there must be a decent percentage of the population that either supports El Presidente or is happy with the status quo. And that status quo will likely earn a nostalgia akin to Mussolini’s train scheduling if the transition to America Junior proceeds too quickly or if the US track record of screwing up countries that they seek to control – sorry, support – continues. The island has an exquisite environmental health that will disappear quickly if large corporations and industries move in. And a people used to free health care won’t take kindly to their first glimpse of an American-style itemized medical bill (being Canadian, I speak from experience there!) The US risks engendering a backlash similar to that of the Russians, whose failing democracy and economy are driving them back into the waiting arms of increasingly-autocratic President Putin. And one left-field (pun intended) possibility that no one has yet mentioned is that Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (who, you’ll recall, just signed an arms deal with his fellow personality-cultist Vlad) is a longtime buddy of Castro’s, and is a new buddy to Iran. Will he take the fall of a Latin Socialist state lying down? Oh, the sticky game of geopolitics!

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