Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Obama Takes First Steps Toward Normalizing US‑Cuban Relations

And it's about damned time. (More here.)

Cuba survived its unhealthy dependency on the old Soviet Union. I suppose Americans assumed when the Soviets dropped their support of Cuba that Cuba would collapse in a heap; to the apparent consternation of our Red-baiters, that did not happen. You have only to watch Michael Moore's film SiCKO to see evidence of at least one aspect in which Cuba's citizens enjoy life circumstances superior to those of lower-income Americans, namely, medical care.

But I'm not here to talk about medical care. I want to talk about the performing arts. For better or worse, I'm going to quote myself, from a post on the ancient hand-coded YDD in 2003:

Chucho Valdés, 2014
Tonight the youth were supposed to share the stage with Chucho Valdés, a famous jazz pianist (about whom there's more below). ...


So... why am I writing about this, on a mostly political blog? Simple: the concert I expected to hear was not the one presented. I went because the eminent Latin jazz pianist Chucho Valdés was scheduled to perform. Why did he not perform? Again, simple: he was stuck in the Havana airport, unable to obtain a U.S. security clearance to fly here to perform. Yes, Valdés is Cuban. He has performed so many times in the U.S. that I can't begin to count them. But apparently George W. Bush & Co. are sure that anyone from Cuba must be a terrorist. Of all Dub's flaws, raw, unmitigated ignorance... proud ignorance, often enough... must be one of his worst.

Fast-forward to 2014. Valdés is still alive and apparently still performing at age 73, with a backup band called The Afro-Cuban Messengers. Bush-baby is no longer president. So if Obama can manage to complete negotiations of basic diplomatic ties with Cuba while he is still in office, maybe Valdés can come to the US one last time.

On the other hand, a Rethuglican still hellbent on Commie-bashing (e.g., soft-brained Sarah Palin or madwoman Michele Bachmann) could become POTUS in 2016, and Chucho could once again be stuck in the Havana airport...

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