cone-free living

Sep 9, 2008 by

We are officially out of the cone. For now. Fuck that, we are out of the cone till next year, so sez me, and that’s final.

Until then, I’ll have my rain plain, thank you, with a side of light breeze, hold the pickles and the crazy-ass winds, and keep my surge on the side in a little paper cup.

I know the cone is imaginary, but I’m still damn glad to be the hell out of it.

The 2008 hurricane season has not been as nuts as 2005, but still, plenty nuts. Florida got hit 3 times by the same hurricane (Fay). New Orleans was threatened by a big one on the anniversary of thee big one. Haiti got hit by four different hurricanes. Cuba has had its worst storm season in decades.

Which brings up a couple of other important points that we Americans tend to not think about much.

Everyone in New Orleans is going on about how difficult the Gustav evacation was – and it was difficult, don’t get me wrong. But not much has been said about Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, which has gone through some absolute devastation in these last few weeks – the heartbreaking tragedy of which continues to unfold even as I type this. They need help. Badly. Just because they are used to living without basic comforts does not mean it’s ok to turn a blind eye to this. Because they are poor doesn’t make them less than human. Anyone with a few dollars to spare can potentially make a positive difference by throwing it this way:

Money is tight all over, for me too, but I sent what I was able. My contribution was puny, but if you add your own puny contribution, spread the word, inspire more puny contributions, after awhile it’s all not so puny. So send a few bucks. You’ll feel very good about it if you do, and you’ll hardly miss the money at all with only a tiny bit of passing time.

And regarding Cuba – why does our government insist on insulting these people? What have they really done to hurt us? After these storms, we offered them a ridiculously small amount of aid, and insisted that their own government not be allowed to distribute it, but instead that we be allowed to distribute it ourselves through a private firm. That is a flat out insult, and a heartless one to boot.

The Cuban government said thanks but not thanks (good for them!), but suggested that they would like to be able to purchase some of our produce with their own money to feed their own suffering people in the aftermath of these disasters, if we don’t mind suspending our stupid trade embargo for a few fucking minutes. This does not seem unreasonable to me.

And really, what the fuck are we hoping to accomplish with this half century old embargo anyway? Who are we punishing exactly, and to what end? It is complete insanity and it must end.

It is especially heinous for our American government to continue on with this trade embargo under the current circumstances, and in light of the fact that Cuba continues to honor a century-old treaty that allows us to use Guantanamo Bay as if it is American soil, and for sometimes questionable purposes at that.

Most Americans don’t even know why we have rights to Guantanamo Bay in the first place. If you don’t know, don’t be embarrassed because you are not alone, but here’s the basic story: It is part of a treaty agreement from the Spanish-American War. Yes, the one that ended in 1898. At the time, Cuba was grateful to America for helping it gain independence from Spain, and gave us rights to keep a military base at Guantanamo because they assumed we’d always be their friends and help protect them from the Spanish. In other words, the original intent is now completely obsolete. We are not their friends. They are not threatened by the Spanish.

If Cuba can be good enough to continue honoring that century old treaty (which is now clearly against their own best interest), perhaps we can be big enough to end this cruel and pointless trade embargo.

It’s time.

– Louis Maistros


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