Bad Subjects, Cuba and the drug trade


posted to on February 26, 2004


I suppose some of you might be familiar with an Internet publication called Bad Subjects that has been around for years. It is put out by postmodernist professors who like to pretend that they are revolutionaries.


I check up on it every once in a while to see what trends are fashionable in academia. Recent issues have been devoted to "Privacy and Voyeurism" and "Panic", themes which allow the cultural theory hot-air balloons to reach maximum altitude.


When I saw that the last issue was titled "Marx and Theory", I expected the worst. I was not to be disappointed. Bad Subjects editor Frederick Luis Aldama has an article titled "Cuba Libre: Capitalism, Communism, and the Worker". (


To call it toxic would give decent substances such as arsenic and PCB's a bad name.


Aldama has exactly the background one might expect for an idiotic slander of the Cuban revolution. This University of Colorado professor specializing in postcolonial literature (what else) has written articles such as "Reracing the Black Athlete's Body in Dennis Rodman's Bad As I Wanna Be" and "Homographic Translational Poetics: The Outlawed Subject's Resistance and Dependence on the Heterosexist Codification of Nation and Body", exactly the sort of preparation one needs to pontificate on Cuban society.


There are so many howling falsehoods in Aldama's article that I wouldn't know where to begin. There is one thing in particular that caught my eye. Aldama writes:


"The U.S. economic embargo allows enough dollars to pass into a few chosen pockets and to fatten Castro's bureaucratic cow -- $800 million a year, officially, generated through a skyrocketing drug trade and a booming tourist and sex industry. Spanish, Italian, German, Canadian, and U.S. Americans arrive with wallets bulging to play fandango with their exotic ethnic-object specimens, while cocaine stops over on its way from Bolivia and Colombia to the U.S."


I try to keep track of slanders against the Cuban government, but this business about "cocaine stops" was a new one on me. The last time I heard such a thing was 20 years or so ago when some Cuban military officers got involved in the drug trade. Of course, when they were put on trial and executed, the liberals in the USA protested police state measures. Damned if you do; damned if you don't.


But have such charges surfaced recently? With all of the hysteria about FARC narco-guerrillas, you'd think that at least one damning article in Lexis-Nexis with the words "Cuba", "cocaine" and "Colombia" over the past two years would turn up. I could only find references such as "Lula may challenge U.S. on trade, Cuba policy, drug-fighting efforts"; nothing about Cuba being a way-station for drugs on their way to the USA from Bolivia or Colombia. Maybe Aldama found such an article in Rupert Murdoch's NY Post, famed for such headlines as "Headless Body Found In Topless Bar". Unfortunately, the NY Post is not indexed in Lexis-Nexis.


I did find this. According to the 1/18/2004 Hartford Courant (Connecticut), Cuba has come under intense scrutiny from the Homeland Security Agency, to the extent that Marazul Tours spokesman Bob Guild has complained that "Homeland Security and the Department of Foreign Assets Control officers are interrogating -- or interviewing, depending on your point of view -- everyone both on the way out and on return."


However, the snoops have turned up next to nothing. It is true that two hundred eighty-three alcohol and tobacco violations were uncovered, but as far as I know we are not involved in a war on rum or cigars. Homeland Security spokeswoman Christiana Halsey told the Courant that forty-two narcotics seizures were made. Uh-oh, looks like Aldama has something. But Halsey said that neither heroin nor cocaine were involved, only prescription drugs.


Bad Subjects? Well, there is BS going on here, but a different kind.