Castro, I Got Your Back

A friend of mine recently achieved top-secret government clearance as a part of the military and I was decidedly miffed. It was one of those deals in which agents overhaul your entire past, dig up childhood friends and hold interviews with your current contacts. âÄúWhy didnâÄôt they ask me?âÄù I teased. âÄúI am the gossip queen and I have all kinds of dirt on you!âÄù âÄúWell, I didnâÄôt know you that well before this summer,âÄù he said. âÄúAnd besides, I was trying to protect you. I mean, look at the kind of literature youâÄôre reading.âÄù He gestured to my array of books stacked in front of our study session. A quick review of the titles revealed, âÄúIn Defense of Socialism,âÄù âÄúSelected Speeches by Fidel Castro,âÄù and âÄúThe Che Guevara Reader.âÄù âÄúTheyâÄôre for my Cuban Revolution class,âÄù I replied, defensively. âÄúExactly,âÄù he said. âÄúYouâÄôd have a better shot if it was for your âÄòAnti-Cuban RevolutionâÄô class.âÄù âÄúWell, how do you know I wasnâÄôt going to burn them when the semesterâÄôs over?âÄù I challenged. âÄúUnlikely,âÄù he said. âÄúLetâÄôs face it, our friendship is dangerous.âÄù But is it really? WhatâÄôs the big deal about Cuba anyway? Does anyone even remember or do we just continue to spit out the slandering rhetoric that weâÄôve been spoon fed since birth? I am inclined to believe the latter. OK, so there was a time when Cuba was a viable threat to our nation, both in terms of its proximity and its Communist ideology in the dawn of the Cold War, but that was ages ago. IsnâÄôt it kind of childish to hold grudges? Let me put it to you this way: say you were in a long-term relationship with a guy for most of your college career and during that time, you two were inseparable. You invested an ample amount of money, time and energy into your coexistence in hopes that it would lead to marriage. Yet one day, he inexplicably turned and left you for some socialist slut. Naturally, you would be heartbroken for a long time; but forty years? I donâÄôt think so. Eventually, you would come to terms with the fact that he had a change of heart and you would move on. Perhaps you could even be friends. Maybe you would realize that the relationship hadnâÄôt been exactly perfect and that you were much more controlling and manipulative than you had thought. Everybody has been young and everybody has made mistakes. It doesnâÄôt make sense to make him, all of his friends and family, and the generations to come, pay for the unfortunate fallout âÄî especially if his family has already suffered numerous hardships, such as three consecutive hurricanes that ravaged their homeland. Sure, you could offer him aid money, but that would seem kind of cheap. If you continue to keep up the embargo and the international invective of calling him a terrorist, but slip him money on the side, thatâÄôs no apology âÄî thatâÄôs hypocrisy. YouâÄôre best friends with China and he sleeps with that socialist slut as well. Maybe you think itâÄôs wrong to reduce international foreign policy to a human anecdote, but I donâÄôt. At the end of the day, thatâÄôs what it all comes back to. WeâÄôre all humans. WeâÄôre capable of compassion just as much as weâÄôre inclined to make mistakes. For the sake of humanity, I hope an older, wiser âÄî dare I say darker-toned and skinnier âÄî elder will shed some fresh perspective on this petty and archaic relationship vendetta. Then I can go back to reading my books in peace. Ashley Dresser welcomes comments at [email protected]