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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Fidel Castro’s Revolution has outlived its welcome - opinion

Posted December 06, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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I want to start a thread asking what Havana Journal readers think about “La Revolucion”.

Cuba has launched an anti-corruption campaign against its own people using the young communists as rats and enforcers.

What do you see for the success or failure of this campaign?

Will it clean up the Cuban economy and strengthen La Revolucion or will there be public backlash and a new Revolucion?

Member Comments

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On December 06, 2005, Steven Mansour wrote:

Most of the readers of the site not being Cuban, the opinions and answers you’ll get to a one-sided question like “Fidel Castro’ Revolution has outlived its welcome” won’t be very informative, objective or unbiased.

Perhaps if you asked your question in a more clear way with less pointless rhetoric such as “using the young communists as rats and enforcers”, you’ll be able to stimulate some more productive and constructive discussion here in the comments.

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On December 07, 2005, publisher wrote:

Steven,

Thanks for the feedback. It’ funny that just days ago we we classified publicly by the Omaha World Herald as a “pro-Castro” web site and now I guess we are an anti-Castro website.

I do agree that we don’t have input from Cubans. That’ tough since logging onto the Havana Journal from Cuba is probably illegal in Cuba.

Anyway, I wanted to start a thread that would encourage people for voicing their opinion. Thank you for yours.

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On December 07, 2005, Steven Mansour wrote:

I didn’t label your site as anti-Castro, I just felt that the tone of this particular post seemed a little bit vindictive, all things considered.

That being said, I have read good articles from all sides of the political map on this website, and as someone who runs my own Cuban blog, I understand the inherent difficulties that come with trying to maintain an objective dialog with a topic as hot as Cuba and Cuban politics.

That being said, you guys do a pretty good job here, and that’ why I’m a regular reader. smile

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On December 07, 2005, glite wrote:

I always believe in comparative analysis versus outright condemnation of one system over another.

For as long as there has been a Cuba, there has been the Cuban-American debate. In 1959, an alternative style of democracy was implemented in Cuba. This alternate system, while not based on the “American Democracy” style, must not be dismissed as invalid.

To label the young Communists (presumably, they are CRD members) as “rats” and “enforcers” should be compared to how the Bush administration encouraged citizens to spy on their neighbors post 9/11; equally, the Red Scare of the ‘50s encouraged citizens to out Communist Sympathizers.

The significant difference between today, 2001 and the 50’... the Cubans are countering theft within the economic structure of socialist Cuba (stealing from the State). The Americans were battling ideological persecution based on fear of Soviet powers. Who is the more paranoid society? Arguably, tax evasion is stealing from the state… in the US, the IRS will imprison people for tax evasion. Does a sovereign Cuba have the right to protect its economy from theft? Does a sovereign Cuba have the right to ensure that all state revenues are set aside to feed, educate and medicate its population, rather than have rings of petty crooks be able to purchase luxuries?

My point here is that it is easy to demonize a system that is different than our own (I’m Canadian, and even though we recognize Castro and Cuba, we are still overly critical), we must recognize that American (or British) democracy is not the ultimate solution world wide.

This site is not anti-Castro, but I fear - as I become a more active participant and reader - that objectivity is being lost by extracting bits of news and exploiting it for semi-intellectual debate.

I’m not trying to be unreasonable - I love debate. But please, let us not discuss these important issues without an educated, balance approach instead of a knee-jerk reaction to articles usually written by biased “reporters”.

comments?

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On December 07, 2005, publisher wrote:

Thanks for the comment glite.

I certainly look pretty hard for “educated, balance approach” but facts are hard to come by from the Cuba and US side.

There is such a cloud of emotion, selfishness, misinformation, uneducated journalists and politicians that facts seem to be the last thing one gets to when searching for good information for the Havana Journal.

As far as the comparative analysis, I started a thread recently about the direction Cuba will take…towards a China model or a Soviet Union model. What I mean by that is that I think it is time for Fidel to sink or swim…not just tread water.

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On December 07, 2005, glite wrote:

But what about honour to ideology? Sink or swim… Cuba could follow the path of China, but the US will not talk to Castro. On the other hand, would a “Made in Cuba” sticker on every article of clothing, kitchenware or electronics be an ideal objective for Cuba? Maybe in the short term, but as we see in China, inflationary pressures will soon drive the economic advanages out of Cuba and into other cheap, underdeveloped countries.

There was a wonderful article recently on the news sites quoting a Walmart exec that stated, soon Americans will soon only be serving each other burgers. Ergo, there is no productivity in Americas future, only consumption.


People must realize that Castro is a figurehead. There is a young, dynamic and highly educated government running Cuba. These economists, strategists and beurocrats are not blindly following the direction of a “dictator”. Fidel dictates nothing but a vision of a just state that puts the interests of the people before that of the special interest or the corporation.

People must realize that Bush is a figurehead… fill in the blanks about that government.

I would like to know if the people who contribute to this site have seen Cuba, met with its peoples, spoken with its government, etc… I work and travel extensively in Cuba often. So much of the propganda coming out of the news sites is absolute bunk.

Maybe a bio section associated with every user could filter the ignorants versus those who seriously study the issues.

cheers,
g.

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On December 07, 2005, publisher wrote:

glite, “People must realize that Castro is a figurehead. There is a young, dynamic and highly educated government running Cuba. “

You are the first person ever to say that here. I, and most of our regular readers have been to, lived in or currently live in Cuba and no one has ever said that Castro is just a figurehead.

Are you just trying to stir the pot? Cuba is run Castro’ way by Castro. I titled this thread “Fidel Castro’ Revolution has outlived its welcome - opinion” because I don’t think Cuba has changed much for decades.

Castro and all the Cubans under him are masters of survival, possess super-human endurance and gold medalists at treading water.

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On December 07, 2005, glite wrote:

No, not trying to stir the pot. You seem surprised I would say that Fidel is a figurehead… I don’t think I saying anything out of the norm. Please do correct me if I am wrong.

Fidel is a visionary and a revolutionary, but he does not make the economic, day-to-day decisions on how Cuba is run. All government leaders surround themselves with expertise. Fidel is no different.

Is he influential? Of course. Do his ideas sometimes miss the reality of existence in 21st earth? Absolutely. But, Fidel seeks an alternate vision of Latin America. Look to ALBA and the relationship with Venezuela. Often, I watch Fidel and am dumbfounded by the things he says (as I do with Bush, Martin, Blair, Sharon, etc). What disturbs me is the absolute demonization of Fidel and Cuba when what happens in the US is leaps and bounds worse.

I do not think Fidel has outlived his welcome. I do think, however, that people should see that Cuba does not equal Fidel. He offers a vision of equality and social justice. Are there flaws in the implementation of that vision? Absolutely. But again, to compare to the “other”, I question the “American Dream”.

There are two items for thought.

1. What is the American Dream and who is living it?
2. What is true Socialism and who is living it?

I argue that the Cuban vision is more attainable than the American one. Productivity remains the obstacle for Cuba. Greed is the obstacle for the latter.

 

 

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On December 07, 2005, Steven Mansour wrote:

Hmmm… interesting thread going here. Although I don’t buy into the “Left-Wing / Right-Wing” trap that so many people fall into - human thought isn’t, after all, neatly divided into two diametrically opposed one-dimensional sides - most of the Cubans I’ve met (in Cuba) are very centrist, neither despising Castro nor adoring him.

The conversations I’ve had usually ended up somewhere along the lines of “Yeah, we’ve got x,y, and z, which is great, but why the hell can’t we do a, b, and c?” The Cuban state took on many aspects of a nanny state - some very good, and some awful. Free (quality!) health care, free education, free housing? Great! Can’t buy a car, have an internet connection at home, or travel freely? What the hell?

As for Fidel being a figurehead, I can’t comment on that. I don’t know enough about the internal workings of the PCC to comment on that, but I suspect he has a hand in most major, idealogical decisions.

He is of course demonized in the US media… American politicians, whether Republican or Democrat, need the support of that immensely powerful lobby in the swing state that is Florida - the cuban exile community. It’ ironic and depressing to think that if the arbitrary political boundaries in the United States had been drawn just a little bit differently, millions of Cubans would have better lives.

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On December 07, 2005, glite wrote:

“It’ ironic and depressing to think that if the arbitrary political boundaries in the United States had been drawn just a little bit differently, millions of Cubans would have better lives.”

I cannot agree with you more. Its unforntunate that the US has this “you must be like us” mentality. The Floridian lobby of the wealthy class which left Cuba in ‘59 and ‘60 are the voice of Cuban-American policy.

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On December 07, 2005, jamsjoyce wrote:

Are any of you interested in what is really happening in Cuba? Leave this blog, go, live and learn.
You will see the best and worst of what this world has to offer.
I lived there, am married to a Cuban woman, worked there, and am afraid to talk openly about Cuba on this site.

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On December 07, 2005, Cubana wrote:

Rob: re your statement that “we don’t have any input from Cubans” Raul Ravero recently made some comments on the situation in Cuba that may be relevant to the discussion:

Cuban poet and dissident Raul Rivero, exiled in Spain, said yesterday that Cuba deserves “a peaceful transition,” and called on the international community “not to let the political prisoners be forgotten.” Rivero was in Paris to receive the Guillermo Cano press freedom prize from Unesco. At the ceremony, Rivero said, “I think we can get away from Castroism through a political transition. the Cuban people have suffered so much that it does not deserve a bloodbath, but rather a peaceful transition.” Rivero was released from his Cuban prison in November 2004 for health reasons; he had been sentenced to twenty years in 2003 on charges of conspiring with the United States, attacking the independence of Cuba, and undercutting the principles of the Cuban revolution. At the same trial, 74 other dissidents and human rights activists were convicted, including thirty independent journalists. Rivero called on French society to continue struggling for their freedom “in a measured tone, without being strident, so that they will stop being just numbers and become individualized, so that they will be spoken of as persons with families who are losing their lives.” Said Rivero, “The current internal situation in Cuba is very comples, with the recent elimination of the few freedoms of mom-and-pop commerce, which has worsened the situation of the families and the food supply and has caused more anger. Cuba has a very theatrical situation, Supposedly it is the most anti-American country in the world, but it is the one with most fascination with the United States, where the people reject the left because they associate it with poverty and repression. There are only two ways out of Cuba, in an open boat risking your life or marrying a foreigner.”

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On December 07, 2005, I-taoist wrote:

It seems to me that no one can dispute that there have been some good social advances as a result of the revolution in Cuba.  But I ask: At what price? 

What you see now in Cuba is a system of complete control from a central authority that is inefficient, does not meet many of the basic needs of the population, is repressive and reactionary to the extreme and abides no dissent.  Add to this little or no hope for individual advancement, the feeling of being only a number in statistics that have little relevance to your life, and daily struggle for even enough food for your family—you begin to get the picture.

The reality vs. the ideals is the rub in Cuba.  That is the main reason to oppose current US policies that provide the scapegoat for Castroites.  Our embargo gives Cuban authorities a convenient excuse for all the failings of a central command economy. It is stupid and counterproductive.  To simply open all our markets for their easy purchase would knock out the props holding up the rusty creaky dinosaur that is the Cuban economy/state today.  It would slay the scapegoat and expose the system for what it is; an anachronism—a system incongruous to the present, utterly incapable of competition in the world economy.  Ever wonder why the Cuban peso has no value on international markets? 

Reason and faith is clouded by burning hatred and fear in the Cuban-American extremist mind.  To allow this small group to dictate foreign policy toward Cuba is absurd. One could argue that their past actions have only helped cement Castro and the communists in power.  They have been responsible for much of the support of Castro as he represents Cuban soverignity and self determination.  Removing the outside threat and giving voice to Cuba’ right to chart its own course is the sure way to help the transition after Castro’ demise.  Cuba is not our colony and we have no right to interfere in her internal affairs.  The whole world says so and they are right.   

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On December 11, 2005, Libertarian Debunker wrote:

In my 50 odd years of radical political life I have learned that it is usualy people living freely and confortably in western democracies who are the most ardent supporters of Communist regimes ...

Could it be that Communism is OK but only for the others ??