AUG 13, 09 | 3:31 PM
In recent days, I have been closely monitoring the Cuban Toilet-Paper Shortage, a crisis that has generated some of the lamest jokes I’ve seen in all my foreign-affairs experience.
Let me indicate the seriousness of the situation by summarizing a few of the more alarming facts:
The Cuban Toilet-Paper Shortage actually exists. Really. It was not made up by Orly Taitz. It was announced by the actual Cuban government. Even though the Cuban government is Communist, which we here in America have been taught is the lyingest form of government imaginable, possibly even worse than ours, you can be certain that no country would admit to an insufficiency of this nature unless it were extremely true.
An official of something Reuters describes as “state conglomerate Cimex” made the following statement, which was broadcast on state-run Radio Rebeide: “The corporation has taken all the steps so that at the end of the year there will be an important importation of toilet paper.”
The Reuters dispatch didn’t say if there were media present or any question period so I don’t know whether anyone raised a hand and asked, “Excuse me, senor comrade, but what course of action is the citizenry supposed to take in the meantime?”
Red as the official may be, my heart goes out to him. I can’t help picturing the look on his face when his superior walks into his office and says, “Ramon, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. You‘re the one who has to make the announcement. Incidentally, I’d suggest avoiding the use of graphic aids on this one.”
For some reason I’m at a loss to understand, the media find this crisis funny. Here are just a few examples of the rampant media insensitivity:
NBCMiami.com: Holy Crap! Cuba Is Almost Out of Toilet Paper
USA Today’s ondeadline.com: Deep doo-doo: Cuba Short of Toilet Paper
Blackbook magazine: “Cuba is having a small issue with tissue.”
Moderate Voice: Toilet-Paper Shortage May Clog Cuban Lifestyle
Let me give you a simple truth: If you had no toilet paper, you would not find it funny. You would find it tragic. You think our town hall meetings on health-care reform are raucous? They would be clambakes compared to the toilet-paper hearings.
Yet there is an upside. I believe that this calamity playing out only 90 miles from our shores presents the perfect opportunity for the United States to win back the affection of the Cuban people. For close to half a century, we’ve been sulking like a parent who didn’t get a birthday card over Cuba having adopted our least favorite form of government. We keep hoping that any second Fidel will drop dead and the Cubans will see the light.
Imagine the eternal gratitude if one day the suffering multitudes heard the roar of mighty engines, looked up and saw the sky filled with millions of tons of lovely, ultra-soft, super-absorbent, single and double-ply American toilet paper wafting gently down upon their stricken little island: Charmin. Cottonelle. Angel Soft. Marcal. Quilted Northern. Soft ‘N Gentle.
It would be a beautiful, beautiful thing.
President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton: This is the moment to act. Launch the Havana Airlift immediately. The Cuba will never forget the day we saved its ass.
More, as well as less, of Lewis Grossberger's writing can be found at True/Slant.
Thanks to cuba.blogspot.com, the best source of fresh news on CUBA's reality