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March 06, 2008

New TomDispatch

Greg Grandin is author of the excellent book Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism.


Fidel Castro, the First Superdelegate
By Greg Grandin

"Long ere the second centennial arrives," Walt Whitman predicted in 1871, "there will be some forty to fifty great States," among them Cuba. It was a common enough belief. From Thomas Jefferson onward, many Americans thought that, as Secretary of State James Blaine said in 1881, "Cuba must necessarily become American."

Based on its current population, if the island had become a U.S. state, it would hold about the same weight in deciding American presidential elections as does Ohio. History, of course, took a different turn; yet, over the last five decades, Cuba could still count one superdelegate.

Fidel Castro hasn't been seen in public since July 2006, when a near-fatal stomach illness forced him into semi-retirement. In the U.S., however, he remains a contender, at least in terms of the hold he has on the imagination of candidates running for the White House. Here's a short history of Castro's long run in U.S. presidential politics:

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at March 6, 2008 09:57 PM

Of course, if they had been exposed to the U.S. healthcare system for the last 135 years, their population would likely be a good deal smaller.

Posted by: mattw at March 6, 2008 11:35 PM

oh, Cuba will get with the program fairly soon. They already have a dollarized economy, and have de facto legalized prostitution as a way of getting some foreign exchange. And the Europeans are already negotiating to buy the country's infrastructure. Even Raul probably knows in his heart that when Cuba is far, far behind Vietnam, economically, socially, militarily, he'll come to his senses and call Goldman, McKinsey, and the rest of us. And we'll gladly help our little Cuban brothers : ) well, for hefty fees, that is.
I'll send you a postcard from yee old Havana.

Posted by: xyz at March 7, 2008 05:21 AM

Oh and what an island of (subhuman) losers. cuba figures in the American public's eye once every four years, and mostly just in southern Florida. Meanwhile, in Cuba, they obsess about the US. and unlike, say, Slovenia or Chile, rather than just accepting that trade, globalization, and that some countries are more powerful than others, and prospering and providing the citizens with good lives, Cubans live in miserable poverty, waving their little brown fists at America. Pathetic. I wil wish them a brighter future when they stop acting in self-defeating, and stupid, ways people like you jerk-offs admire : )

Posted by: xyz at March 7, 2008 06:16 AM

Every one of his posts is like a trip back to 1990: "There is no alternative", "The end of history", etc.

Posted by: SteveB at March 7, 2008 09:21 AM

well, the end of history thesis was a bit silly, but it's true by and large. Even Chavez in his heart knows he has to negotiate with the oil majors, and that he really is dependent on the US as a market for oil exports.

Posted by: xyz at March 7, 2008 12:19 PM