Friday, May 1, 2009

Vargas Llosa Changes His Mind

Something important just happened. Alvaro Vargas Llosa (left) changed his mind on the U.S. embargo towards Cuba!

No, I'm not being sarcastic. This could be big. You see, Vargas Llosa (son of the famous writer Mario Vargas Llosa) is a political columnist whose views are very similar to conservatives in Miami, including Cuban exiles.

He's optimistic about free markets reducing global poverty, writing in 2007 that "[t]he progress of the market economy that began to free the world of its shackles continues at an even faster pace today." [Reports, since 2005, in fact show that global inequality may be on the rise, and even at risk of growing because of the current global economic crisis. Ironically, Miami also happens to have one the highest levels of inequality in the United States.]

Vargas Llosa is also a big supporter of Cuba's internal dissidents, such as the Ladies in White and the famous Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez. And, he can't stand Ernest 'Che' Guevara.

Vargas Llosa is also a big critic of the new political leaders in South America, such as Pres. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Pres. Evo Morales of Bolivia. Yet, his harshest criticism is aimed at the people who elected these leaders. He calls them the "Idiots." According to Vargas Llosa, it is "[t]he 'Idiot' species [that] bore responsibility for Latin America’s underdevelopment."

Anyway, Alvaro Vargas Llosa, shares several views with conservatives in Miami, including Cuban exiles, and therefore his writings are published by the most conservative local newspapers in Miami, such as Diario Las Americas and Libre magazine (in the latter where his column appears rights before Armando Perez Roura's). And, the surprise is not only that Vargas Llosa now opposes the U.S. embargo towards Cuba, but that his recent column against the embargo was published by both Diario Las Americas and Libre magazine. The impact on readers could be significant.

In his column, Vargas Llosa argues:

"No democracy based on liberty should tell its citizens what country to visit or whom to trade with, regardless of the government under which they live. Even though the Castro brothers, Fidel and Raul, would obtain a political victory in the very short run, the embargo could no longer be justified... Ultimately, the argument against the sanctions is a moral one. It is not acceptable for a government to abolish individual choice in matters of trade and travel. The only acceptable form of economic embargo is when citizens, not governments, decide not do business with a dictatorship, be that of Burma, Zimbabwe or Cuba."

Vargas Llosa admits that he changed his mind on the embargo just recently, after years of being "conflicted" over it. In July of last year, Vargas Llosa publicly opposed the lifting of EU sanctions on Cuba because it had been historically demonstrated that "you do not pacify tigers by throwing them meat."

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