23 September 2008

More on Castro's machinations

Mary Anastasia O'Grady breaks it down.

Aid has already arrived from allies like Russia and Spain, but none has the vast relief resources the nearby U.S. can muster. However, Fidel wants lines of credit from the U.S. that will help him hold onto power, and without that he says, Yankees go home.
This is largely bravado posturing for Cubans. The U.S. government is giving $1.65 million to nongovernmental organizations working in the disaster areas, and has authorized more than $5 million in private NGO donations; that total could go to $10 million. None of this is out of the ordinary. Americans are the single largest humanitarian providers to Cuba; in 2007, private donations totaled $240 million.
Fidel doesn't want the U.S. getting credit for stepping up to help. But that's not his only problem with the status quo. More urgent for him is that relief efforts come from the regime, which, when not engaged in such kind-hearted work, is busy torturing political prisoners. To wield that kind of power he needs to borrow money, which he is not likely to pay back. Americans have shown that they are ready to help hurricane victims, but loans that will prolong the power of a despotic and incompetent regime is no way to relieve Cuban misery.

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