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Unwitting Blanco gets rolled by Castro

Either Gov. Kathleen Blanco is having fun with us, or she’s absurdly politically naïve.

I think it’s got to be the second, or else she never would have been in the position to make us think it was the first. That’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from the moment she decided to take her quixotic trip to Cuba to pitch Louisiana products even as she neglected to go on business trips to other less-mysterious foreign locales with much larger potential contracts.

Let me count the ways in which Blanco showed a stunning ignorance about the trip (and why did she have to have some state legislators in tow with her – don’t they have a budget to balance back home?)

  • Surrogates have argued she needed to come along because otherwise the Louisiana sales offers might not be taken as seriously. Oh, really? Sellers show up on Cuba’s doorstep, and they turn them down without even listening just because they couldn’t drag a governor along? We’re seriously buying this argument?
  • She says she had no idea that Cuba’s leader, the Führer of the Caribbean Fidel Castro, would accost her. This only has been his style for years now, part of his campaign to embarrass the U.S. national government at every chance he can get. Where only weeks before the head of the U.S. Interests Section puts up a display critical of Castro’s jailing of 75 dissidents and Castro reciprocates by putting up a billboard comparing that to embarrassing hijinks at the expense of Iraqi prisoners of war, and she doesn’t expect something like this?
  • So where do they meet? In a former church that Castro forcibly turned into an arts center! Nothing like angering Cubans and Catholics back home in one fell swoop. (At least she made it to a Mass while there – conducted, of course, by a priest willing to spout a pro-Castro line).
  • And while there, even though she said she wouldn’t speak of political topics, she lets him go into his “efforts to get Cubans to switch from cooking with kerosene to using electricity.” Doesn’t she know that whole move is political, part of the move to crack down on private enterprise?
  • As the final insult, then Blanco refuses to meet with a famous, Nobel-nominated Cuban dissident at the request of her own government. So she’ll rap with Castro, but turns down her own government? (At least she bothered to drop by the Interests Section earlier in the week, as long as there were no inconvenient dissidents around.)

    Let’s be blunt, Castro rolled Blanco on this one. But the most amazing part is that Blanco implies she’s unaware of that fact. According to her press secretary Denise Bottcher, any suggestion to the contrary is a partisan distortion. "We did not go into it naïvely," Bottcher said. "There is an agenda by the Republican party." Talk about the blind writing press releases for the blind ….

    It’s just too much to believe that’s she’s pulling our leg on this, so I guess she’ll find out just how much she got used when her opponents ceaselessly remind her of this fact in the next election. That will be the long range impact of the trip, not any uncertain deals made during it.
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