The Benevolent Yanqui

I’m getting to this late, but there was a heartwarming story in the New York Times about the wonderful effect of the U.S. embargo on Cuba has had on the ecology of that country and the dangers of it ending:

Through accidents of geography and history, Cuba is a priceless ecological resource…

Cuba, by far the region’s largest island, sits at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Its mountains, forests, swamps, coasts and marine areas are rich in plants and animals, some seen nowhere else.

Cuba has not been free of development, including Soviet-style top-down agricultural and mining operations and, in recent years, an expansion of tourism. But it also has an abundance of landscapes that elsewhere in the region have been ripped up, paved over, poisoned or otherwise destroyed in the decades since the Cuban revolution, when development has been most intense. Once the embargo ends, the island could face a flood of investors from the United States and elsewhere, eager to exploit those landscapes…

See, all those U.S. administrations that maintained the embargo weren’t raving anti-Communist loonies, but sensitive Gaia-worshippers avant le lettre. But danger lurks!

[M]any scientists are… worried about what will become of it after Fidel Castro and his associates leave power and, as is widely anticipated, the American government relaxes or ends its trade embargo…

Oliver Houck, a professor of environmental law at Tulane University Law School, points out the dangers…

“[A]n invasion of U.S. consumerism, a U.S.-dominated future, could roll over it like a bulldozer” when the embargo ends.

Can’t win, can we? Embargo, bad. Ending embargo, bad. But environmental laws are being drafted for the onslaught of cud-chewing, baseball-cap-wearing, WalMart-shopping flyover sheeple. Will they work?

Mr. [Orlando] Rey [a Cuban lawyer and government functionary] said in the interview that Cubans must be encouraged to use their environmental laws. By “some kind of cultural habit,” he said, people in Cuba rarely turn to the courts to challenge decisions they dislike.

Maybe the cultural habit of getting tossed into prison for challenging the Castro regime?

Well, the formula seems to be (no tourism) + (no trade) = (ecological bliss). However, (no tourism) + (no trade) = (extreme poverty). Hmm, therefore does (ecological bliss) = (extreme poverty)? Better ask the former Vice President of these United States before he jets off to another lucrative engagement talking about the sins of his compatriots.

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