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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Baseball Star Rey Ordonez Allowed To Return Home Thanks To Obama Travel Policies

A .289 OBP can’t get you to first base…but it can get you home.

This week, Ordóñez took advantage of the Cuba travel policy enacted in January and finally returned to Havana, where he was given a hero’s welcome.

An AP reporter found Ordóñez hanging out in a hotel in downtown Havana, taking pictures with his fans and generally having a good time. The shortstop expressed his joy on returning to his homeland and his shock at his star power, saying “It surprised me because I’ve been gone twenty years and, really, I didn’t play much in Cuba.”

Ordóñez owes his trip to an Obama Administration policy, much criticized by Marco Rubio, allowing so-called people-to-people trips to Cuba. Though the process of going to Cuba is still extremely complicated, it is now possible for savvy travelers and homesick ballplayers.

If there is a rebuttal to the argument against Cuba travel—essentially that it helps prop up a communist dictator—it is surely the photos of Ordóñez seeing his birthplace and family again through new eyes.

Repoz Posted: March 19, 2013 at 11:40 AM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cuba

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   1. MM1f Posted: March 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4391198)
Ugh, thaaanks Obama.
   2. Swedish Chef Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4391255)
where he was given a hero’s welcome.

Well, they probably don't know any better, if the advanced stats that prove Ordonez to be crap still are under embargo.
   3. jyjjy Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4391260)
Do people still actually believe the idea that, when forced, isolationism magically promotes change rather than preventing it as all evidence and common sense shows? As the chef points out it only promotes ignorance to the point that an all glove SS who couldn't get to first base with a prostitute and played for the Mets gets a hero's welcome.
   4. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4391285)
Stupid decades old policy driven by people with an assymetrical effect on US politics.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4391297)
Do people still actually believe the idea that, when forced, isolationism magically promotes change rather than preventing it as all evidence and common sense shows?

I don't think people care. The idea is to punish the country b/c the Castros run an evil regime.

I wish we applied the same standards to China and Saudi Arabia.
   6. Tripon Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4391298)
Hey, the U.S. doesn't have any relations with any Communist countries...

Well, expect for China, and Vietnam, and Laos, and uh...

Well, I'm sure there's a good reason why Cuba is singled out.
   7. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4391303)
I don't think people care. The idea is to punish the country b/c the Castros run an evil regime.

Then people are stupid. Anyone who would cut off his/her nose to spite his/her face is stupid.

Note: As crappy as I think Obama has been on economic issues....and he's been Bush crappy....that's how good he's been on international stuff, with Hilary Clinton getting a bunch of credit there.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4391312)
Then people are stupid. Anyone who would cut off his/her nose to spite his/her face is stupid.

We're not doing that. Not trading with Cuba doesn't hurt the US one bit. There's 20 other Caribbean countries we trade with that produce the same stuff.

Not saying it's a good policy, but there is zero harm to the US.

Hey, the U.S. doesn't have any relations with any Communist countries...

Well, expect for China, and Vietnam, and Laos, and uh...

Well, I'm sure there's a good reason why Cuba is singled out.


I wish we didn't have relations with any of them, frankly.

They let the Soviets base nuclear missiles 150 miles from the US; that's the precipitating event.
   9. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4391316)
I don't think people care. The idea is to punish the country b/c the Castros run an evil regime.

Punishment is the least important component of our criminal justice system; deterrence and prevention are the primary goals. The same standard should apply to foreign policy. Our main concern should be improving the lives of americans and the people who live in those countries, and engagement is a far better way to accomplish that objective.
   10. Swedish Chef Posted: March 19, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4391323)
Then people are stupid. Anyone who would cut off his/her nose to spite his/her face is stupid.

But it's not like that, the embargo is feasible just because there's no cost to it (outside of cigar fanciers).
   11. smileyy Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4391325)
I'm really happy the federal government is recognizing the immigration rights of gay couples.

Wait, that's not the issue here?
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4391326)
Punishment is the least important component of our criminal justice system; deterrence and prevention are the primary goals.

So say you. That is not the traditional view of the morality of punishment. Historically, retribution is the primary goal of punishment. Not revenge, but evening the scales for the wrong committed. That's why it's called the "Justice" system.

One can make a pretty strong argument that punishing someone to deter others is immoral. It uses that person as a means to an end.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4391328)

But it's not like that, the embargo is feasible just because there's no cost to it (outside of cigar fanciers).


Exactly. And the only reason we are so cozy with China, is that big business is making billions and billions of dollars off China trade.
   14. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4391333)
None of us knows if the embargo has cost the US anything. It's entirely possible that we would have benefited significantly from trade with Cuba over the last 50 years.
   15. jyjjy Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4391341)
Not saying it's a good policy, but there is zero harm to the US.

Yeah... there's no Americans who were born in Cuba or have family there that are harmed. Not real Americans at least. Pointlessly continuing policies harmful to the citizens of one of our closest neighbors, for half a century, seemingly out of spite... Yeah, that might make the rest of the world and especially the specific area right next to us think less of us but we already spend more on our military than the next dozen countries combined just so we don't have to care about what silly brownish people who think they should be considered real humans have to say about us. Zero harm indeed.
   16. Tripon Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4391344)
It should also be noted that Cuba has a good(At least working) relationship with every country besides the U.S. You think Canada and Cuba don't talk to each other? The embargo doesn't even acheive its goal of blocking access of Cuba from the rest of the world.

And if the U.S. goal is to punish an evil government in Cuba, I'm sure we're going to ban contact with the Saudis anyday now.
   17. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4391346)
They let the Soviets base nuclear missiles 150 miles from the US; that's the precipitating event.


The US started a limited embargo during the revolution in 1958, stepped it up in 1960, and stepped it up again in Feb of 1962 - before the missile crisis.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4391348)
And if the U.S. goal is to punish an evil government in Cuba, I'm sure we're going to ban contact with the Saudis anyday now.

I agree with this 100%. That relationship is an embarrassment.
   19. Styles P. Deadball Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4391349)
Well, I'm sure there's a good reason why Cuba is singled out.


29 Florida electoral votes allegedly largely decided by the Cuban emigre population in South Florida.... that's why.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4391351)
Yeah... there's no Americans who were born in Cuba or have family there that are harmed. Not real Americans at least. Pointlessly continuing policies harmful to the citizens of one of our closest neighbors, for half a century, seemingly out of spite... Yeah, that might make the rest of the world and especially the specific area right next to us think less of us but we already spend more on our military than the next dozen countries combined just so we don't have to care about what silly brownish people who think they should be considered real humans have to say about us. Zero harm indeed.

And there are millions of Americans who get emotional benefits from the embargo. We were talking about the country being hurt.

I mean, I'm offended by our relationship with China and Saudi Arabia. Manufacturing workers whose jobs have gone to China are quite directly hurt. Is that enough to say those relationships "hurt the USA"?
   21. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4391354)
Yeah... there's no Americans who were born in Cuba or have family there that are harmed. Not real Americans at least. Pointlessly continuing policies harmful to the citizens of one of our closest neighbors, for half a century, seemingly out of spite... Yeah, that might make the rest of the world and especially the specific area right next to us think less of us but we already spend more on our military than the next dozen countries combined just so we don't have to care about what silly brownish people who think they should be considered real humans have to say about us. Zero harm indeed.

That too, although many of those Cubans have supported the embargo.

I agree with this 100%. That relationship is an embarrassment.

Do you want to get rid of the government or punish it? An embargo does the latter but not the former.
   22. jyjjy Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4391379)
I mean, I'm offended by our relationship with China and Saudi Arabia. Manufacturing workers whose jobs have gone to China are quite directly hurt. Is that enough to say those relationships "hurt the USA"?

More than enough to point out that it would be stupid to whip out phrases like "zero harm." Though your concern for the manufacturing jobs of a small subset of Americans over all the better reasons to be offended by the relationships you bring up says a lot to me. You should really stop using the US and the US economy interchangeably. Some people think other stuff matters as well, or even more.
   23. Tripon Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4391384)
They let the Soviets base nuclear missiles 150 miles from the US; that's the precipitating event.


Actually, the precipitating event would have been the U.S. placing nucleur missiles in Italy and Turkey, both area sites in range of the former U.S.S.R.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4391399)
More than enough to point out that it would be stupid to whip out phrases like "zero harm." Though your concern for the manufacturing jobs of a small subset of Americans over all the better reasons to be offended by the relationships you bring up says a lot to me. You should really stop using the US and the US economy interchangeably. Some people think other stuff matters as well, or even more.

Believe me, I'm far more offended by the Chinese persecution of religious minorities and the Saudi persecution of Christians, but as those people aren't Americans, it doesn't really fit in the "harm to the US" category.

Actually, the precipitating event would have been the U.S. placing nucleur missiles in Italy and Turkey, both area sites in range of the former U.S.S.R.

Correct, but we are talking vis-a-vis US-Cuba relations.

If you want to roll back the tape, the precipitating events for the Cold War would be Soviet repression in Eastern Europe, and massing of huge conventional forces in East Germany. The US missiles were there to deter the Red Army from invading W Germany.
   25. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4391438)
I don't think people care. The idea is to punish the country b/c the Castros run an evil regime.

I think the problem with this attitude is conflating the regime with the country. I suspect the general population is hurt by sanctions much more than the regime is. If that's the case, and the goal is to punish the regime for the way it treats its people, then sanctions would be a pretty good example of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.
   26. Swedish Chef Posted: March 19, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4391454)
Actually, the precipitating event would have been the U.S. placing nucleur missiles in Italy and Turkey, both area sites in range of the former U.S.S.R.

No doubt the precipitating event was Werner von Braun joining Verein für Raumschiffahrt while at university. Everything is kind of inevitable after that.
   27. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: March 19, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4391493)
Our main concern should be improving the lives of americans and the people who live in those countries, and engagement is a far better way to accomplish that objective.


Speaking as someone who spends a lot of time in Myanmar, and can tell you first hand the incredible change in a lot of people's lives since the U.S. stepped up engagement, yep.

Not even to mention Vietnam, where I was last week and which is about the most pro-american country you can find these days.
   28. Traderdave Posted: March 19, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4391572)
Normalize relations now. Recognize Cuba fully, exchange ambassadors, free up travel, offer naval/coast guard co-operation, completely free up trade and capital flow.

The Castro brothers won't last a year under that torrent. Hell, maybe not even a month.
   29. Squash Posted: March 19, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4391607)
If you want to roll back the tape, the precipitating events for the Cold War would be Soviet repression in Eastern Europe, and massing of huge conventional forces in East Germany. The US missiles were there to deter the Red Army from invading W Germany.

This sort of realizes the fallacy of the "who started it" argument. All of Europe has a long history of conquer-or-be-conquered, as well as of killing many of their own citizens who were of the wrong religion, political party, race, etc. It didn't start merely when technology increased to the point that we (the US) could get involved from 10,000 miles away. Stalin was a bad, bad dude in a long line of bad, bad European dudes. Yes we should have opposed him (very clearly), but the Soviet Union had just repelled an invasion from a foreign country trying to take it over - no doubt many within felt very justified in trying to pacify the outside aggressors through conquest.
   30. Matt Welch Posted: March 19, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4391612)
I wish we applied the same standards to China and Saudi Arabia.

I wish we applied our China standards to Cuba.

Not saying it's a good policy, but there is zero harm to the US.

As an American, I subjected myself to the possibility of imprisonment and heavy fines by the mere act of traveling to Cuba. I consider that direct (and utterly needless/counter-productive) harm to my freedom of movement.
   31. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 19, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4391639)
Every other country on the planet has been trading with Cuba for the past 50 years, yet Cuba isn't full of Tim Horton's and BMW dealerships.

It's amazing how so many liberals — who so often don't seem to believe the U.S. is special — somehow believe the U.S., and only the U.S., can bring freedom and prosperity to Cuba.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4391641)
Stalin was a bad, bad dude in a long line of bad, bad European dudes. Yes we should have opposed him (very clearly), but the Soviet Union had just repelled an invasion from a foreign country trying to take it over - no doubt many within felt very justified in trying to pacify the outside aggressors through conquest.

This is quite the understatement. Stalin was likely the biggest mass-murderer in history, who had fully collaborated aided the third biggest mass-murderer, up until Hitler stabbed him in the back.
   33. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 19, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4391647)
It's amazing how lefties who otherwise don't believe the U.S. is special somehow believe the U.S., and only the U.S., can bring freedom and prosperity to Cuba.

Proximity matters.

Well, I'm sure there's a good reason why Cuba is singled out.

See above.
   34. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 19, 2013 at 03:57 PM (#4391669)
Proximity matters.

How so? Cuba has been getting hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of visitors each year from neighboring countries like Mexico, the D.R., the Cayman Islands, et al., for years, but those tourists haven't brought democracy with them. (Hell, millions of Americans and Canadians have traveled to Cuba over the past decade, and they haven't brought democracy with them, either.)

Change will come to Cuba when Cuba wants change. The embargo — which has so many loopholes it's laughable to even call it an embargo — has almost nothing to do with the current state of affairs on the island.
   35. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 19, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4391680)
How so?

They are a hundred and fifty miles off shore. You really need it explained that countries that neighbor each other can influence each other? There's no examples you can think of? Pass.

Of course you have set the bar at 'freedom and prosperity' which, given Cuba's resources, will pretty much always be out of reach. At some point they will settle into the Dominica to Haiti spectrum of functioning. Normalizing relations would nudge them in that direction instead of keeping them in a time warp.
   36. Flynn Posted: March 19, 2013 at 04:16 PM (#4391688)
Stupid decades old policy driven by people with an assymetrical effect on US politics.


Who are, ironically, its biggest violators. Cuban exiles go back to Cuba all the time, send remittances to Cuba, buy goods and ship them to their families in Cuba.
   37. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 19, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4391700)
They are a hundred and fifty miles off shore. You really need it explained that countries that neighbor each other can influence each other? There's no examples you can think of? Pass.

Cuba is 90 miles from the U.S., 90 miles from Mexico, and 90 miles from Hispaniola. Even with the so-called embargo, Cuba has received millions of visitors from the U.S., but little has changed on the island when it comes to freedom and prosperity. This idea that if only the U.S. ends what's left of the embargo, that the Castros would respond by holding multiple-candidate elections and allowing U.S. businesses to go crazy on the island is pure fantasy.

Of course you have set the bar at 'freedom and prosperity' which, given Cuba's resources, will pretty much always be out of reach. At some point they will settle into the Dominica to Haiti spectrum of functioning. Normalizing relations would nudge them in that direction instead of keeping them in a time warp.

Cuba was the third- or fourth-wealthiest country in the hemisphere before the Castros took over. A country with ~2,000 miles of warm-weather coastline is a potential gold mine.

***
Who are, ironically, its biggest violators. Cuban exiles go back to Cuba all the time, send remittances to Cuba, buy goods and ship them to their families in Cuba.

No doubt. There's no shortage of irony in the fact that Cuban exiles almost single-handedly kept the Castros in power after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Take away the billions of dollars exiles pumped into the Cuban economy, and the Castros might not have survived the "special period" in the '90s.
   38. Bhaakon Posted: March 19, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4391729)
Yeah... there's no Americans who were born in Cuba or have family there that are harmed. Not real Americans at least. Pointlessly continuing policies harmful to the citizens of one of our closest neighbors, for half a century, seemingly out of spite... Yeah, that might make the rest of the world and especially the specific area right next to us think less of us but we already spend more on our military than the next dozen countries combined just so we don't have to care about what silly brownish people who think they should be considered real humans have to say about us. Zero harm indeed.


Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I was under the impression that the Cuba embargo has been extended beyond any possible usefulness precisely BECAUSE Cuban-Americans (as a group, I'm sure there are many individual dissenters) support it strongly and represent a large voting block in an important swing state. If Florida were firmly in either party's pocket, relations with Cuba probably would be similar to those with China or Vietnam.
   39. Sunday silence Posted: March 19, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4391807)
Punishment is the least important component of our criminal justice system


Really? I thought it was common sense. Or not giving into mob mentality? Or justice? Or was it fairness? Or letting bad people go free so innocent should not be imprisoned..?
   40. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 19, 2013 at 07:04 PM (#4391866)
There's no shortage of irony in the fact that Cuban exiles almost single-handedly kept the Castros in power after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Take away the billions of dollars exiles pumped into the Cuban economy, and the Castros might not have survived the "special period" in the '90s.
So all those laws passed to appease the South Florida anti-Castro peeps are good for what, exactly?
   41. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 19, 2013 at 07:34 PM (#4391886)
So all those laws passed to appease the South Florida anti-Castro peeps are good for what, exactly?

Which laws are those? The embargo has been on the books for generations, and with the exception of Helms-Burton in the '90s, almost all recent Cuba-related legislation and executive orders have served to weaken the embargo rather than strengthen it.

(I'm not arguing that the embargo should be strengthened or even maintained; I'm just pointing out that the effects of the embargo have been greatly exaggerated.)
   42. RollingWave Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:35 PM (#4392104)
Cuba's an interesting topic, there's all the talk abut how they were better than Japan and about the same as Italy pre revolution, but that's really because 1 of those place was bombed into oblivion and the other were ran by idiots .

A useful comparison to Cuba is really the Philippines . which was also doing quite well relatively speaking in the 50s-60s , but then declined compare to Taiwan / Japan / Korea/ Hong Kong.

The truth is, I see it as neither because "The Castros evil socialist policy killed the Cuban Economy" nor " The evil US sanction killed the Cuban Economy" . it's actually a much more mundane reason, it's simply that Cuban's economy at it's heart is still an Agricultural economy, just like the Philippines, and there is a limit to that.

The funny thing is, Cuba actually have a lot higher GDP per capita than the Philippines, and it's people are leaving the country in the millions to seek employment outside.

It's a funny thing because the two country tried the opposite spectrum of development, both ends up with similar problems still.

The Philippines is the anti-thesis of a socialist state, it has extreme income differential, it also has almost no welfare and no central planning to speak of, and it has also gone no where in the past 50 years.

The central issue with both country is a poor transition from a agricultural based economy, the problem in Cuba is that they went all Marxist and freed up the land, but tied a huge portion of the population to it, the country still employ more than 30-40% of their folks in agriculture or agriculture related industry / service sector.

The Phillippines is the other way around, here the government let landlords do whatever they want... and they oblige . but the problem here is that the large land owning familes eat up both human and land resource, which makes industrialization hard , and since industrialization in the Phillippines remain a work in process, you have millions of Filipinos seeking jobs all over the world, there are even plenty of a well educated College grads working as assembly line / construction worker / house maids abroad, which should give you an idea of the pay that's in the Philippines.
   43. RollingWave Posted: March 19, 2013 at 11:03 PM (#4392134)
To further this, the typical Chinese history rise and fall of dynasties can essentially be summed up by the changes in land distribution. the correlation out side of the Mongol invasion is almost completely unbreakable.

Stable and prosper period leads to land concentration at the hands of the political elite (or the landlords becoming the political elite.) which disenfranchise most of the population and create social unrest. which continue to magnify until the war breaks out and the dynasty crumble, usually with most of the elite families as well, which leads to redistribution of lands and a period of prosperity and stability after , and the cycles renew.

This describes a lot of modern 3rd world countries as well. the key for most of them to break out of the cycle almost always have to begin with breaking from the devious cycle of land concentration in the hands of the political elite, and unfortunately more often than not going all Maoist is the only way to get it done, of course then the state becomes the largest landlord, so you need one more step after that for the state to relinquish said lands, in some places it happens, in Cuba. not yet.

   44. Squash Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:47 AM (#4392198)
This is quite the understatement. Stalin was likely the biggest mass-murderer in history, who had fully collaborated aided the third biggest mass-murderer, up until Hitler stabbed him in the back.

Like I said, Stalin was very bad and worth opposing. The point is "He started it!!!" usually just unravels back to the point most convenient for the person saying it.

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