Trading with the Enemy

I saw her in the city center
With a thermos full of coffee
Making the local brew
On a street called Salvador Allende
I gave her a peso and took a sip
And sat beneath a palm tree
It’s so easy to be a criminal
When you’re trading with the enemy

I sat down on a park bench
Beside a statue of John Lennon
And as I watch the children dancing
It’s so easy to imagine
A world without borders
Here, so close to Miami
As I smoke a Cigarro Popular
Once more trading with the enemy

Biking down a country road
Only one of many others
The people call me companero
And greet me as their brother
One man has a basket full of mangoes
And I’m sure Jesse would agree
With each bite I undermine my country
By trading with the enemy

Watch the oxen pull the carriage
And the organic farms abound
All the fertilizer’s gone
But there are other ways to feed the ground
Inspiring the world
With the strength of creativity
See the past and future come together
Trading with the enemy

At night the salsa’s blaring
The finest guava juice is flowing
Black, brown and white
So many healthy faces glowing
To experience this society
The danger’s plain to see
I might learn something important
By trading with the enemy

And I just want to tell you
That the enemy’s so lovely
Such a proud and beautiful people
From the mountains to the sea
From the clinics to the schoolyards
Che Guevarra to Marti
We have only our chains to lose
From trading with the enemy

Sheet music to this song may be found in Songbook Vol I (1997-2004).

“Trading With the Enemy” appears on the 2001 CD, Living In These Times.

Cuba is a beautiful place.  Also long one of the more prosperous and most egalitarian society in Latin America, with some of the most enlightened (though perhaps not completely perfect all the time) leadership.  The US embargo is an outrage.  The idea that the US leadership has any moral ground to stand on here is completely, patently ridiculous.  Of course the morality is just for public consumption — the real deal is the rich people were upset because the poor took some of what was rightfully theirs, and therefore the poor should be punished for this for decades, lest anybody else in the world get the same idea.

I had a lovely couple of weeks bicycling around Cuba with a couple of friends from Germany circa 2000.