Embracing terror

Spending time in Cuba, one quickly appreciates the depth of love and hate towards the US. Many people I’m meeting declare a great deal of warmth towards the American people and believe that successive governments are simply punishing Castro for purely ideological and economic reasons (they’re right, of course.) This latest news – milked for all its worth here in the less-than-subtle state media – doesn’t help:

A 79-year-old anti-Castro Cuban exile and former C.I.A. operative linked to the bombing of a Cuban airliner was released on bail yesterday and immediately returned to Miami to await trial on immigration fraud charges.

It’s interesting to note that the Bush adminitration regards Cuba as a state-sponsor of terror. This charge would be hilarious, if it weren’t so tragic. Luis Posada Carriles is nothing more than a terrorist, pure and simple. He will, of course, receive American protection for his activities. One’s man terrorist…

Otherwise, Havana is the kind of place that slowly creeps under one’s skin. Sure, the pollution and food aren’t exactly ideal, but the people – a fascinating mix of colours and races, all seemingly decked out in the brightest clothes imaginable – are welcoming (aside from the almost-daily negotiation of wily scammers.)

It’s not hard to feel here that many Cubans are anxiously waiting for the post-Castro era, unsure what their country will look like in five years time. As with so many struggling nations around the world, it all depends if the US decides to embrace a (possibly) fledging democracy, or subvert from within. The initial signs aren’t promising.