A choir of hardliners – the same cinco gatos really: Ileana, Mauricio, Elliott Abrams, Zen Master Frank Calzon, and the “brainy” one over at Babalu - are getting their granny-panties in a bunch over the U.S. granting a visa to Vilma Rodriguez Castro so she could travel to New York City for her boyfriend’s art exhibition.
Honestly, who gives a crap? Is little Vilmita a murderous thug? Did she take your property? Is it her fault that her grandpa and uncle are ruthless, communist dictators? Are we going to deny her a visa just because Raul and Fidel denied them to Cubans for 50 years? And wouldn’t that make us no better than them?
I’m all in favor of Vilmita visiting New York City. Let her enjoy a Broadway show, pose for a picture with the Naked Cowboy, take stroll through Central Park, pay $15 for a pack a cigarrettes, and dance the night away in Williamsburg. Hopefully she’ll pick up a thing or two while livin’ it up in the Land of the Free and go back with a message for her viejo, “Oye puro, esto que tu tienes aqui es una mierda. O lo arreglas o me mudo pa’ la Yuma.” Maybe the trip to will inspire her to take up politics and advocate for reforms in her own country.
But even if she’s a clueless, self-absorbed brat who just wanted to get drunk with the cast of Girls, so what?
Hardliners, if you’re disgusted that members of the Cuban ruling class can party in NYC while millions of others suffer back home, then criticize the regime leadership and the system they’ve put in place. Criticize the American embargo that has only succeeded in keeping them in power. Denying a young girl the right to visit the United States simply because of the family she was born into achieves absolutely squat. Unless you have proof that she’s here to finance terrorist activities, you are only embarrassing yourselves. Vilmita probably grew up hearing that Cuban exiles are bunch of unhinged lunatics, and congratulations, you just confirmed it for her. Pick your battles, people.
***UPDATE: Or don’t pick them at all! Still smarting after two weeks of exit poll-induced heartburn, the Mauricio Claver-Carone desperation derby rolls on. Now he’s using the recent Rodiles beating at the hands of Cuban officials to attack the State Department for allowing Vilma into the U.S.. His argument: allowing Vilma into the U.S. serves to “demoralize young pro-democracy leaders” (someone please connect those dots for me because I get dizzy trying). His agenda: stay relevant (and employed) by grasping at any dubious straw within reach to lobby for tighter sanctions against the regime, even if it means exploiting the suffering of dissidents in the island. Shameless.