Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gameboys, cashmere and chocolate for freedom

Oh, this is interesting.

While Iraqi civilians and Iraqi and American soldiers are learning about the imposition of 'freedom' the hard way ('stuff happens' as Rummy used to say), the Guardian reports that anti-socialist Cuban exiles have found a much, much more relaxing way to promote free minds (and free markets) in their homeland.

And they're doing so at American taxpayers' expense, no less.

A congressional audit has found 'questionable expenditure' on the part of dissident groups supported by the US government.

There may be nothing new about government funds being wasted by flaky dissident groups (particularly given the track record of the groups that the US government supports...), but what I find even better than the expenses themselves are their vehement justification by the leaders of the groups in question:
The Miami-based Acción Democrática Cubana spent money on a chainsaw, Nintendo Game Boys and Sony PlayStations, mountain bikes, leather coats and Godiva chocolates, which the group says were all sent to Cuba. “These people are going hungry. They never get any chocolate there,” Juan Carlos Acosta, the group’s executive director, told the Miami Herald.**

He also defended the purchase of a chainsaw he said he needed to cut a tree that had blocked access to his office in a hurricane, and said that the leather jackets and cashmere sweaters were bought in a sale. “They [the auditors] think it’s not cold there,” Mr Acosta said. “At $30 [£16] it’s a bargain because cashmere is expensive. They were asking for sweaters.”
That is good reasoning (and, yes, cashmere is expensive), but it gets even better:
“I’ll defend that until I die,” Mr Hernandez Trujillo said of his decision to spend part of his group’s allocation on boxes of computer games. “That’s part of our job, to show the people in Cuba what they could attain if they were not under that system.”
'Until I die'? That's a strong claim, Mr. Trujillo...are you sure?

However, I suppose demonstrating to oppressed Cubans that gringo capitalism not only includes the luxury of a minimum wage of $5.15 an hour but also comes equipped with a BFG9000, is, erm, priceless. That, after all, is what democracy is all about.

Alongside...hooray!....the free market.

So enjoy those government funds, OK?

La lucha continua!

As The Wife can't help but remark: 'Let them eat brioche!'

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