One of the more appalling policies the US has clung to over the years has been the unwillingness normalize relations with Cuba. Successive American administrations, both Democrats and Republicans, sanctioned this petulance thanks to combination of factors . First there was guilt over the godawful dictatorships (the ones Castro rebelled agains) which we underwrote --for commercial reasons. Then there was intense political pressure from Batista-supporting middle- and upper-class Cuban refugees in Florida. Finally we were enraged at Castro's middle finger held high in the sky, pointed at the imperialistas to his north.
Man, we hated that guy for taking away our sin city and sunny beaches. So America refused to having anything to do with him, if you ignore the arrangement about Guantanamo and the countless attempts to ice him over the years. You can bet we spend more money than we'd like to admit on intelligence in Cuba, money from our fit-of-pique budget. Castro was just autocratic enough (and economically desperate enough) for us to feel justified in condemning his oppressive regime.
Probably the most annoying thing to the average American is having Cuba declared out of bounds to citizens of this free country. People have resorted to special arrangements, to flying in from Mexico without passport stamps, just to visit the place. All in all, this has been a sad and shameful chapter in American contemporary history.
At 80, Castro has just undergone intestinal surgery. Doesn't sound good. He's signed over power to Raul, his brother. Word on the street is that this has been anticipated for quite some time and the Bush administration has been tripping over its feet in excitement at the possibility of returning Cuba to the status of US economic fiefdom. We are the vultures on the fence, grooming our wing feathers, waiting for Castro to die. We liked the set-up Batista and his predecessors afforded us: the profitable corruption, the corporate and mafia playground. Cosa nuestra.
We can't wait to own Cuba again.