The emerging civil war in Libya is not far from what might happen in Cuba if the full opposition made itself visible and demanded that the Castro brothers surrender or leave. The assaults we have grown accustomed to seeing on Cuban non violent protesters could quickly metamorphose into threats of "hunting foes down in their homes" with "no mercy" and urging Cuban mobs to fight them "to the last drop of blood". Castro's old slogan was of course "socialism or death".
Understandably, Castro's opponents have very little interest in a civil war. Like the Libyan rebel opposition they would be unable to defend themselves against air attacks, tanks, grenades, and an assortment of weapons in the hands of the tyrannical regime's mercenaries. A tyranny's opponents have to be very careful not to start one of these things unless there is a clear path to victory that will not result in something that is worse than what exists at the moment.
But the uprising in Libya, as in much of the Arab world, appears to have been spontaneous. They were not planning on a civil war. It appears as if they figured they could get Gaddafi to step down with a relentless show of resolve and solidarity, just as the Egyptians had just done with Mubarak.
Gaddafi of course - like his good tyrant friend, Fidel Castro - had been closely watching events in Tunisia and Egypt and preparing his response should a challenge come his way. He observed what did not work and did not take any chances: civilian unarmed foes must be mercilessly exterminated. Thus, he "reasoned". Thus, it is quite comprehensible that President Obama reacted immediately and that NATO determined to stop the genocide the Libyan madman was publicly contemplating. But now we have civil war. So what are the options:
The first option is to abandon the Libyan civilian rebels and allow the genocide. That is obviously not acceptable.
The second option is to continue the bombing indefinitely. That will not prevent the massacre of some but will save the lives of even more. Yet, it probably won't end the civil war.
A third option is to train and arm the defenseless civilians for war but that means a possibly protracted civil war. Think El Salvador.
Then there is the option of attempting to negotiate peace but how long will that take and what happens in the meantime?
Finally, there is the option of splitting the country in half and protecting its dividing line with NATO troops until the new Lybyan nation can protect itself. That's what I have proposed be done in Cuba without any blood shed. But perhaps the solution is not so simple. Perhaps, I suppose, the Castros and Gaddafis of the world think it's easier to just be a tyrant. Whether they can get away with that will depend on the opposition and its allies.
Dividing Libya up (proportionately to the population on each side and resources) would establish a great precedent for Castro and Cuba, and for other peoples seeking freedom from dictatorships in the future, and their allies.MARCH 26, 2011, 4:18 P.M. UPDATE
For Libya there is the immediate and considerable benefit of stopping deaths on both sides. Negotiations to reunite the country can then begin without anyone's life being threatened and anyone being governed without their consent. The same would apply if this were to be implemented in Cuba.
The benefit of this solution for the United States and NATO is that there is a clear and ethical exit path from the conflict. There should no longer be a genocidal threat and their role should quickly diminish as soon as the division is set up and Libyan civilians are trained to defend it.MARCH 27, 8:14 P.M. UPDATE
This blog post is being censored by Google Blogger as I have explained here
. Followers of this blog or feed subscribers may nevertheless have read it and thus this update is primarily intended for them.
First I want to more clearly restate a couple of the options I had written:
Second Option - restated:
I wrote: "The second option is to continue the bombing indefinitely..." That is not really an option. The purpose of the bombing is (or should be) to protect the lives of civilians opposing Gaddhafi given his threat to hunt them down mercilessly. While Gaddhafi threatens and hunts down civilians, if he can be deterred through air raids, they should continue. They should stop immediately if he demonstrates that he will no longer be the aggresor. People will die of course. But many more will die if no one stops Gaddhafi. Think Nazi Germany.Fourth Option - restated:
I wrote: "Then there is the option of attempting to negotiate peace but how long will that take and what happens in the meantime?" Peace negotiations should begin as soon as Gaddhafi is willing to sit down and talk. But if while negotiating he continues being the aggressor then it is morally obligatory to continue defending the civilians. The best way to end the fighting and killing in such a case is to begin splitting the country up as described in the fifth option. Of course, if Gaddhafi stops being the agressor, hostilities should cease and negotiations should begin immediately.
Fifth Option - restated:
I wrote: "Finally, there is the option of splitting the country in half ..." Well, not in half. Ideally, each faction should have access to land, water and resources proportionate in quantity to the portion of the population that consents to be governed by it. Once the country is split and rebel civilians are trained to defend their portion the killing will cease. Both sides can then negotiate whatever they want, including the reunification of the country.
* * *Pope Benedict XVI
issued a call
today for diplomatic talks to end the conflict. The Pope of course knows that the protests were not originally violent and that everything changed when Gaddhafi (spurred by Fidel Castro's and Hugo Chavez's support) began threatening and attacking civilians. There are about 40 thousand Catholics
, mostly Italians, in predominantly Sunni Muslim (97%)Libya.
The Roman Catholic bishop of Tripoli issued a call for a cease to hostilities on March 22
. This led to a strong criticism
of the Vatican's "silence" by a renowned Italian Catholic writer, Sandro Magister.
As Catholics, we all want a cease to hostilities. The Pope and the Bishop of Tripoli urge negotiations. But what is to be done about Gaddhafi's attacks on civilians, they have not explained.
MARCH 28, 2011 UPDATE
In this video
President Obama tells Americans why had Gaddhafi had to be, and had been, stopped.
President Obama Explains Libya Initiative
Photo from Associated Press video on You Tube
MARCH 29, 2011, 1:52 P.M. UPDATE
After over three days of invisibility
, one is finally able to find the post you are now reading, "Libya and Cuba: Simple Solutions Perhaps", on Google's search engine. This is outrageous and I hope that mine is the only case.
But why was it unblocked now?MARCH 29, 2011, 10:12 P.M. UPDATE
I just checked. This post has been blocked again. You can no longer find it by its title. One can find my next post
referring to this one, by its title. But why not this one?
There is evidence
that Google gives low rankings to news of Cubans being oppressed by the Castro tyranny. But this post is not even ranked. Not buried in Google search page one hundred and nine. It is simply blocked. Censored. By Google.
I realize that Google is not obligated to publish anyone or anything. But it controls 84.77% of Internet traffic
MARCH 31, 2011, 9:52 A.M.
This post can now be found again by its title. But how does one trust Google after all of this?APRIL 10, 2011 UPDATE
It is being reported that African leaders friendly to Gadhafi announced that he has accepted their cease-fire proposal. Not surprisingly, Cuba's 52 year dictatorship is also asking for a ceasefire in Libya. This is very good news except for the fact that Gadhafi's forces continue pounding the civilian rebels. Indeed, just today The Huffington Post reported
"In the embattled city of Misrata, the lone rebel outpost in the west of the country, residents said shelling continued Sunday, killing one and wounding two others seriously.
"'We woke up at 7 a.m. from the tank fire,' said a doctor working at the local hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
"Libya's third-largest city has been pounded without cease for more than a month by Gadhafi's heavy weapons, but the rebels have managed to hold out."
In addition, the Huffington Post also tells us that Gadhafi did not keep earlier cease fire promises.
"Gadhafi has ignored the cease-fire he announced after international airstrikes were authorized last month, and he rejects demands from the rebels, the U.S. and its European allies that he relinquish power immediately."
So what are the civilian rebels to do? Armed rebellion and foreign intervention only came about after Gaddhafi threatened to exterminate them. Yes, of course, a cessation of hostilities is the best thing that could happen, the earlier the better.
But the stronger force, that is, Gaddhafi and his armed forces, should immediately stop firing and retreat from all threatening positions. Negotiations with the (hopefully elected) civilian leadership should then immediately begin. If there is a will for peace it will be found. May Our Lord grant the Libyans that grace.APRIL 11, 2011 UPDATE
The civilian rebels have reportedly
rejected the ceasefire given that Gaddhafi´s forces have kept firing.
"Rebels in the Libyan city of Misrata scorned reports Muammar Gaddafi had agreed to a ceasefire on Monday after his forces fired rockets on the city and fought intense house-to-house battles."
If Gaddhafi wants his ceasefire offer to be taken seriously he should order his forces to stop and retreat to non threatening positions.
The rebels are however demanding that Gaddhafi must leave. They no longer sound like civilians on the verge of being exterminated but rather, arrogant and triumphalist. They must resist these temptations and place human life (children!) first. They must understand that their enemy also has supporters with a right to life in Libya. APRIL 12, 2011 UPDATE
Given its publicly declared willingness to commit genocide, no one could argue that respect for its citizens is a high priority for the Gaddhafi dictatorship. A woman allegedly raped by fifteen men at the start of protests has now accused a government minister of being the ringleader. Apparently as a result of that, she is reportedly being accused of naming the rapists. She recounts
how after two days of rapes she was finally able to escape from her assailants with the help of another woman who was not resisting the rapes and was therefore not tied. The Washington Post
"Naked and hysterical, she said she jumped out of a window and threatened the African guards at the gate with a metal rod.
"'I could see fear in their faces when they looked at me — my hair was wild, I was naked and screaming,' she said.
"Once they opened the gates to the street, she ran for her life.
"'I ran down the side of the house screaming and crying and the ('rapists’) car was chasing me,' she remembers. 'Neighbors started to come out to look and they protected me.'
"Women in the neighborhood brought her clothes and paid for her taxi.
"'They asked if I wanted to go to the police station, but I didn’t go because that’s not where I would find justice,' she said."