The Edmond Sun

Opinion

October 23, 2012

What has not happened is as telling as what has

OKLA. CITY — In the Sherlock Holmes story “Silver Blaze” the fictional detective advises his colleague Dr. Watson that sometimes the non happening of an event, such as when a dog does not bark when someone approaches a door is very significant. And that observation is on occasion applicable to world affairs as well. Recently, Venezualan President Hugo Chavez won re-election after a hard-fought campaign.  

Shortly after Chavez first took office he aligned his nation with Cuba, and has supplied that island nation with oil at reduced costs. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had been Cuba’s patron since the early 1960s, and supplied it with fuel from the oil fields in the Caucasuses, the Cuban economy foundered for a time until Venezuela agreed to to supply it with oil.

Chavez developed a warm personal relationship with Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and when Chavez travelled to that island nation earlier this year for cancer treatment pictures of Castro and Chavez together were widely distributed throughout both Cuba and Venezula. But when Chavez was re-elected, there were no reports of him receiving a congratulatory phone call from the 86-year-old Castro, and there have been reports that Castro may recently have become physically or mentally incapacitated as a result of a fatal illness

Several years ago, Fidel Castro officially gave up his position as Cuba’s president after suffering from an undisclosed ailment and his brother Raoul Castro  succeeded him. The younger Castro, who is 81, launched a series of reform to stimulate the moribund Cuban economy, and those measures included the right for citizens to own  their own homes and operate small businesses.  

Last week, Raoul Castro issued a new policy that could result in the communist system that  Fidel Castro  imposed on Cuba a half a century ago not long  surviving its founder. Like most communist nations, Cuba has historically restricted the right of its citizens to travel to other nations, and it was only those who were officially in favor with the Cuban government were permitted to travel abroad.

But  last week Raul Castro announced that beginning Jan. 14, 2013, Cubans will be free to travel to foreign nations  and can remain outside of Cuba for up to two years without losing their citizenship. Under American law, any Cuban citizen who arrives on dry land in the U.S. is entitled to lawful permanent resident status in the U.S.

In May of 1989 the Republic of Hungary removed the barbed wire that was situated on its border with Austria and declared its border with Austria to be open. Citizens of the communist nation of East Germany were prohibited from traveling to any country outside of the Soviet bloc of states in Eastern Europe, and Hungary was at that time an ally of the Soviet Union. Soon thousands of East German citizens were traveling to Hungary where they began to cross the border into Austria and then to West Germany. Under West German law, any resident of East Germany was entitled to immediate citizenship rights in West Germany. Several months later the Berlin Wall was opened and thousands of East Germans began to flee to West Germany. Their flight resulted in the collapse of the East German state and its  eventual unification with West Germany.

It is possible that a  somewhat similar event may occur as Cubans leave that island nation for the U.S. and other  states  where Cuban exiles live and have achieved prosperity.  And the Cubans who return to their homeland after living abroad may demand more freedom than the Castro government grants its citizens.

Yet many students of Cuba warn that the Castro government is capable of putting bureaucratic hurdles in place that will make it difficult for its citizens to leave. The government controlled media has indicated that it may restrict the issuance of exit visas to ensure “the capital of the revolution” is not lost, which could prohibit the departure of physicians and other professionals. And the U.S. culture and economy would be enriched by an influx of Cubans, and it is conceivable that in several years time  Cuban restaurants and Cuban artists will make their way to the Oklahoma City-Edmond area.

WILLIAM F. O’BRIEN is a retired Oklahoma City attorney.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • RedBlueAmerica: What should the U.S. do about illegal immigrant children?

    The crisis along the southern U.S. border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all.
    President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in borrowed money from taxpayers to cover the growing “care, feeding and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups” when our own veterans are not taken care of. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized the president’s plan, saying more money should go toward securing the border.

    July 17, 2014

  • VA scandal highlights the need to change Pentagon spending priorities

    The ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal raises an important question: When our veterans are being denied access to basic health care, why is the Pentagon squandering billions of dollars on programs that do not benefit our military forces? Is there a link in organization attitudes?

    July 16, 2014

  • For better politics, it’s time for some raging moderates

    Like more than 20 percent of my fellow Californians, I am now classified as a no-party-preference voter, registered to vote but with no affiliation to any of the state’s political parties.
    I am for lower taxes and for marriage equality. I am tough on crime and I am anti-abortion. I believe that a pathway to citizenship is a necessary part of immigration reform and that student test scores should be a critical component of teacher evaluations.

    July 15, 2014

  • Father on mission to stop gun violence

    Since his son died six weeks ago as collateral damage to a troubled young man’s wish for vengeance, Richard Martinez has been asked whom he holds responsible.
    “I’m responsible,” the California lawyer answers, referring to most Americans’ failure to push harder to change gun laws after earlier mass shootings. “All those kids died and none of us did anything.”

    July 14, 2014

Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
     View Results