Jewish World Review June 5, 2003 / 5 Sivan, 5763

Jay D. Homnick

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Is Castro convertible?


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The latest topical storm to in-Cubate off South Florida and turn into a national "whether" problem revives our battle with that old Stalin grad, Fidel Castro. He is taking a jab at Jeb, beating around the Bush family, accusing them of trying to beleaguer him out of office.

In fact some say that Castro, President for Life, may want more than one term (Deepak Chopra, call your office). He has been there without a regnant pause since he saw Dwight. Supposedly, he could have been a major league baseball player but he turned back the invasion of the Pay of the Bigs. His pragmatic "Commie see, Commie saw" approach has served him well and his people ill for four decadent decades.

The chance of deposing him anytime soon, to be candid is a flash in the pan-American region. Ain't happening. His junta may not pray, but supple application of violence keeps the populace kneeling. If there are any signs of decrepitude in Fidel, they are creeping slowly; he continues to be generally lissome.

But the piece of Cuba policy which might be amenable to actual change is the loony system whereby any émigré whose feet touch American soil is granted amnesty, while those who can't make it to the port are deported. So anyone caught in the wave of immigration still wet is sent back like an illegal Elian. We may not have Reno anymore, but this clunky Fiat is still blocking the road to freedom.

Watching the gruesome spectacle, an almost nightly event here in South Florida, of Coast Guard ships smugly snagging the smuggled, is an affront to the Home of the Free. Not to mention the feat of keeping freedom-loving feet off the Land of the Brave. Yes, George Michael is right, this guilty feat has got no rhythm, or rhyme or reason for that matter. All too often the grim choice for these folks is Castro vs. Wade, and their effort is ultimately aborted.

When the United States became great can be dated, how it became great is debated, but how it remains great seems to me apparent. A sort of sociological Darwinism dictates that only the best and the brightest, the most ambitious and adventurous, the entrepreneurs and the risk-takers, undertake the upheaval of kissing kith and kin good-bye to find fame and fortune. In the case of Cuba, add "killers" to the k list and "freedom" to the f list.

It is far easier in these countries to lisp and say "diffident" in place of "dissident", to choose defects over defection, to stay home and iron the curtains.

It takes a creative impulse, a free spirit, a johnny-come-early, a jack-out-of-the-box, to buck the private armies of the tyrants. I suppose that you have to be a little nuts, "a bissel mishuggeh" - but in a good way, to hurry through the canes of Cuba, to brave the Havana gila monster, to triangulate Bermuda, to find the Keys to the kingdom of freedom. If he had to take a chance like a lunatic, shouldn't we grant him asylum?

(For Jews in particular, the memory of the St. Louis, turned away from Cuba and not rescued by the United States, then sent back to Belgium and near-certain death at Nazi hands, is still a raw wound on the American conscience. It is one thing to discourage hostage peoples from fleeing, that is merely invidious; it is quite another to send back those who have fled already, that is truly insidious.)

If Fidel gets nary a consequence, at least let us not burn those citizens who roam.

In loving memory of Richard Folch, RIP, who friendship and respect sustained me during the loneliest period of my life, after my mother's passing.



JWR contributor Jay D. Homnick is the author of many books and essays on Jewish political and religious affairs. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2003, Jay D. Homnick