http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/will-a-perfect-storm-be-needed-for-democracy-in-cuba/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Will a “Perfect Storm” be needed for democracy in Cuba?

Posted January 22, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Orlando Sentinel | John C. Bersia

Would a “perfect storm” help resolve the tedious Fidel Castro illness-and-succession saga gripping Cuba?

The question came up during a recent forum on the island’s future. Specialists suggested that—contrary to some hopes after the Cuban dictator first took ill—essentially no possibility presently exists for a post-Castro collapse. That is, unless a perfect storm develops.

Now, I have to admit that I would be very pleased if Castro would wither away and a freer Cuba would emerge. For too long, the island’s people have been denied self-determination and subjected to the whims of a crusty communist who refuses to accept that the “best” days of his movement and philosophy lie behind him.

But so many questions swirled around Castro’s health crisis at its onset that it was impossible to determine if he was actually indisposed. Perhaps, as some speculated, he had devised a scheme to evaluate how the transition might unfold. If it did not take place in a positive manner, Castro magically would return from behind the scenes and resume control.

To this day, Castro’s true status remains a frustrating secret. Some have him at death’s door. Others express optimism. As one example, a Spanish doctor who examined Castro in December declared that he did not have cancer, might recover and, in any event, was doing “fantastically well.”

I doubt it, having seen through the propaganda that communist systems have spewed over the years. In fact, Castro’s death could easily happen long before it is publicly announced.

The argument that Raul, Fidel’s brother and current ruler of Cuba, is capable of ushering in substantial change and has a firm grip on the reins also strikes me as off-base. The two men have walked in lock-step for nearly half a century. It is highly unlikely that Raul’s golden years will inspire him to replace his repressive toughness with a reformer’s visage, despite his much-discussed willingness to delegate authority and seek advice.

Oh, Raul probably will hold on for a few years or so. My guess, though, is that opposition criticism and boldness will mount—especially among young people, who regard the Castro brothers and their inner circle with no particular admiration.

And in the event of a perfect storm—the chance occurrence of several unrelated events that collectively deliver a far more significant impact than they would individually—I suspect that the Castro regime would crumble.

Consider this: A perfect storm starts sometime during the next several months with Fidel’s passing. Second, shortly thereafter, Raul dies; he is, after all, only slightly younger than his sibling and cannot defy nature. Third, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez departs from the scene, whether by popular pressure, an illness or an act of violence. The absence of Chavez, a staunch partner and benefactor of the Castro regime, staggers Cuba. Fourth, world prices for key Cuban commodities such as sugar drop precipitously, creating more dire circumstances.

Finally, an actual storm hits. Cuba, sitting squarely in the middle of hurricane alley, has no real defenses. I am not talking about 2005’s storms such as Dennis and Wilma, as damaging as they were. Rather, given today’s increasingly common freak weather—for example, the mega-storm that devastated Europe last week—a “hurricane of the century” almost surely looms over the horizon. Dwarfing Hurricane Katrina in size and packing category five-plus winds, it wallops Cuban agriculture, tourism and society.

Against such forces, unless Cubans opt to leave in droves, regime change will follow—without any assistance from the United States, I might add. Considering America’s commitments around the world, I cannot imagine any serious U.S. intervention impulses toward Cuba, no matter how vulnerable it appeared.

But I certainly can imagine and would welcome any version of a perfect storm for Cuba that would relegate the Castro era to history.

Foreign-affairs columnist John C. Bersia, who works part-time for the Sentinel, is the special assistant to the president for global perspectives at the University of Central Florida. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) .

Member Comments

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 22, 2007, publisher wrote:

Funny thing is I was just thinking about this idea this morning. So, when I saw this article come by, I read it very carefully.

I do think a Perfect Storm is needed to bring about Democracy in Cuba. What those factors are and how many there will be are a real toss up.

I think the factors have to be truly unrelated to each other in order to qualify as a Perfect Storm.

Here’s my thoughts for a Perfect Storm.

1. Democrats take US House and Senate. Check.

2. Fidel Castro dies. Wait.

3. Major hurricane hits Havana requiring international aid. Cuban government wants unconditional help and US sincerely wants to offer unconditional help. Wait.

4. First three force US and Cuban governments to do what is best for humanity and the greatest number of people allowing them to enjoy liberty, free elections and free markets. Cuba goes socialist and the US is okay with that.

So, maybe Summer or Fall of 2007?

Something like that?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 23, 2007, J. Perez wrote:

I must admit that I am baffled by these suggestions for a “Perfect Storm”, certainly those proposing these type of scenarios can’t have any love ones living in Cuba or the best interest of the Cuban people in mind.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 23, 2007, publisher wrote:

I don’t have any “loved ones” in Cuba but do have friends foreign and domestic. How is democracy not in the best interest of the Cuban people?

Sure, it will be a socialist system but a two party system is better than a one party system.

Can we agree on that?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 23, 2007, bernie wrote:

I believe for the past 6 years until the Nov, elections that a one party system was running the USA.  Allegience to a party does not mean allegience to ones country.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 23, 2007, J. Perez wrote:

I was not referring to the political nature of the scenario, rather the reference to a “major hurricane” and the destruction one would assume it would cause.
Of course more freedoms and changes that would address some of the dire economic conditions would be welcomed, not, however, at the expense of a “Katrina” for Cuba. Thanks but no thanks.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 23, 2007, publisher wrote:

You are absolutely right. I am certainly not wishing for a Katrina like disaster for Havana.

I just have a feeling that a Perfect Storm will consist of three unrelated events, not necessarily a natural disaster but that would not be related to Dems in Congress or Fidel Castro death.

What other factors are out there that could make up a Perfect Storm?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 23, 2007, MiamiCuban wrote:

Here’s a Perfect Storm:  Cuba finds billions of dollars of oil off its shores and the U.S., having made enemies out of the rest of the oil-producing nations, is forced to lift the embargo.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 23, 2007, Varsi Padayachee wrote:

Mr. Publisher, you seem all to ready to bash Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, and pretty soon you will wax venom agaist the likes of Bachelet, Correra, et al. who are to the “left of the US. Please take a look at our so-called democratic propositioned policies, “encouraged” around the World. With all these so-called US inspired policies, here are a few to chew on:
1) Mexicans cannot compete against the cheap flour imported from the US. Tortillas are now more expensive
2) Colombian farmers cannot sell their soy because of the cheap US imports
3) Vegetables, often rejected by the US supermarkets,  undercut the prices asked for by the Mexican farmers
4) US coffee houses sell Ethiopian coffee beans between $15-$20 per pound. Yet they pay the farmers close to ONE DOLLAR a pound. And the US Govt. at the behest of its corporate friends will not allow the Ethopian Farmers to register their brand in the US
5) Basmati Rice is a signature product from India. The Basmati Institute will give, yes GIVE NOT SELL, the plants to anyone interested in growing Basmati Rice. A US Texas based company had the gall to try to TRADEMARK BASMATI, fraudulently. If that does not epitomize our spirit of GOOD WILL towards mankind, then nothing will.
So, What is is you have in mind for Cuba? Ah! yes the perfect storm. Perhaps, the only storm out there is to mind our business and let SOVEREIGN NATIONS plot their own destiny!
I can see it all!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 23, 2007, J. Perez wrote:

MiamiCuban, that’s the nicest” perfect storm” I ever heard!!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 23, 2007, publisher wrote:

MiamiCuban - Nice one! That works for me.

Varsi -  I don’t have anything “in mind” for Cuba. I do agree that the US should respect Cuba’s sovereignty. I guess I should clarify the intended results of my “Perfect Storm” idea.

Freedom of Cubans to vote for their leaders, freedom to assemble, freedom of the press and freedom of Americans to trade with and travel to Cuba.

I don’t think many people would argue with that outcome?

Or, are you saying that Cuba should stay with Fidel’s Cuba forever? And don’t say things would be all fine if the Embargo never happened.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 23, 2007, viajero wrote:

I’m just surprised at how journalists like the one who wrote the article does not have any clue as to the history of Cuba.
First, everybody were betting on Cuba’s falling during the 90s. I believed that was the perfect storm that took by surprise many people. I challenged the journalist to find a country in human history who has been able to withstand the hardships imposed by US blockade( and it’s a blockade, not an embargo like some might want to call it) and the falling of Eastern Europe block.

In other note, i don’t think there will be any major change in the us policy regarding Cuba, at least as long as Bush is the president.

I’d like also a more open and democratic Cuba, but without the interference of any foreign government.

Perfect storm? Latin America will become one united region, respecting their differences but forming a block like the Asian countries, Cuba will be part of it and with their oil and talented workforce will become an increasingly important party to be reckon with.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 23, 2007, Cuban American wrote:

“Freedom of Cubans to vote for their leaders, freedom to assemble, freedom of the press and freedom of Americans to trade with and travel to Cuba.”

I think that this would be the ideal goal with which I hope everyone is leaning towards, however, I feel that some might see things differently.  Varsi, you continue to use big words and references to other nations to justify the reason as to why Cuba should remain as is.  However, I as well as many others (and I would hop you don’t disagree with this) feel that Cuba is a mess.  It’s lack of human rights and liberties is non existant at best.  In other words we have seen a 50 year gradual decline in that nation ( with the last 10-20 years seeing the grunt of that), and I don’t see things getting better without some type of political and economic reform.  That being said what exactly do you propose for Cuba?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 23, 2007, J. Perez wrote:

Viajero, I could not agree more, I believe the events you talk about do constitute a “Perfect storm” and I hope your predictions for the future of Latin America do come to pass, it is long overdue, the dream of Bolivar, Marti and dare we say Fidel?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, Varsi Padayachee wrote:

Mr. Publisher, from your writings and posturing, one would be hard pressed to think anything but your advocation for the US sticking its dis-jointed nose in Cuba’s affairs. As to the embargo, who is to know what today’s Cuba would be! Your suggestion that it would be as it is today, certainly shrills hollow, without any suggestion to support your theory. Sadly, while you do provide a perfect vehilce for people like myself to engage, your posture certainly strikes me as being anti-Castro. I am curious, though, as to why you dont suggest democracy taking effect in Burma, or Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia! Sadly, it is my contention, that our obsession with bringing down Fidel stems from 2 schools; The obsessive desire from the anti-Fidel forces in Miami to go back to their rather privileged life and secondly the our misplaced pride in not being able to shed the shackles of the embarrassment imposed by Fidel’s continued existance as Leader.
For the amount of effort failingly expended, perhaps we should consider a new proposition. Dialogue, what a novel concept!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

Varsi,

Thanks for your post.

I don’t think the US should be involved in Cuba politics but I think that the US and Cuba should work together to find common ground. By that I mean socialism for Cuba. I expect that to evolve from Fidel’s Cuba.

I am not necessarily anti-Castro but I am certainly not pro-Castro. I am a free market Republican (reluctantly). I have the same feelings towards George Bush. I am not anti-Bush but I am certainly not pro-Bush.

I don’t suggest democracy in other places because I don’t know the countries, don’t follow them and don’t have an interest in global politics.

As you can see by the amount of time I have spent with the Havana Journal, Cuba is my passion.

I am also looking to a free Cuba in the sense of a free market economy. I am confident that Cuban citizens would love to be entrepreneurs, skilled laborers etc that would like to own their own home and make a better life for their families.

Right now opportunities for a better life financially in Cuba is very limited.

Don’t get me wrong, human rights are more important that economic freedoms. I guess I would put freedom of the press behind those two.

So, if Raul wants to all political dissent, freedom to assemble, allow privatization and entrepreneurial ism and allow freedom of speech, I don’t have much problem with Raul running the show…for the near term.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, MiamiCuban wrote:

J. Perez:  Yes, I do dare say that Fidel’s dream is in line with that of Bolivar’s and Marti’s.  He, as well as Che, furthered that vision, but standing up to U.S. imperialism was (and still is) by far a greater challenge than in Marti’s and Bolivar’s time.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

“He, as well as Che, furthered that vision, but standing up to U.S. imperialism was (and still is) by far a greater challenge than in Marti’s and Bolivar’s time.”

Yes but he brought the Embargo on himself. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Also, did he have to keep his people in an island prison for 40+ years?

Castro used his people and the US for his own political career.

I don’t think too many people would dispute that.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, viajero wrote:

Dear Publisher

First of all, I don’t think Fidel keeps his people in an island prison. The other side of the coin is to protect your professionals that you have formed with so many efforts… I myself am one of the professionals who thanks to Cuban education system has been able to professionally succeed in other parts of the world.
However, I do agree that when it comes to immigration, I would have changed Cuban laws so that Cuban people could go out and see the outside world with their own eyes.
I can bet anything that a huge percentage of them will return to their homeland.
As for the “embargo”, you are telling us that because Cuba chose not to be USA backyard anymore, it is Fidel’s fault?
As for Fidel’s political career, what do you think every presidential candidate is so willing to campaign in Florida? and you know this very well, who put Bush in the presidential seat? the Cuban vote, so much for using Cuban people for their own political career.
Not to mention that sadly for US presidents, Fidel has been able to outsmart them all these years…

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, Varsi Padayachee wrote:

Mr. Publisher, The very free market policies you advocate are those very ones that saw the destruction of much of LatAm, the CARIBBEAN AND OTHER DEVOLOPING NATIONS. The premise behind the free market posture is to suck the blood out of the client countries, through the offices of such parasites as the World Bank, IMF, et al., and who are subservient to the will of the US. There is a great book out called Economic Terrorism. Read it, for it provides an understanding of what our Foreign Policy, really is.
Like you, I have made the cause of Cuba, LatAm and the Caribbean a particular educational focus., and find it rather disingenuous when you suggest that Fidel was responsible for the embargo. The US did the bidding of the corporate interests, who incidentally came to acquire their holdings not through free and fair commerce, but rather through generosity of Machado and Batista. A classic example is how the US oil companies have been dealt an extremely generous hand with regard to the oil rights in Iraq. Is that what you have in mind for Cuba? Free to serve US business interests.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

Varsi,

You’re right. We should all give up on capitalism and be communists so our beloved governments can take care of us.

Capitalism and free markets are not easy but are the best countries given time. I don’t see Russia and China closing their markets.

Yes, Fidel is responsible for the Embargo. He pointed nuclear missiles at the US. I agree that was a long time ago and the Embargo is a failure but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Fidel is responsible for it.

I think we will have to agree to disagree. You are more of a Socialist big government type and I am more of a Capitalist and smaller government type.

Anyway, I appreciate the dialog.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, Varsi Padayachee wrote:

Mr. Publisher,Sarcasm does not advance the joy of a good, intellectual conversation. Yes we can disagree, and for the sake of an open society we must. However, we should also bear in mind the the US policy towards Cuba has been an unmitigated disaster. For all the money spent, where are the success stories?
How was Fidel Responsible for the embargo? Ostensibly, he nationalized “US Owned” companies without compensation. Wow, it certainly, then, begs the question< “How did these US Corporations come to own these properties, and by what means? It certainly made Machado and Batista very rich men, notwithstanding Fidel’s foes in Miami!
Now no where in my musings do I advocate Socialism and Big Govt. I am for equitable sharing, and an honest functioning govt. However, for a free market Reoublican, you surprise me! What is it that we have in the US? A small Govt.? An open Govt? What happened to For the People and By the People?
Being in disagreement with ur Govts. policies does not equate to being against our Govt. It should only srengthen our Govt. because we dare to ask the right questions and call into question falsehoods by demanding accountability. Now that is not so bad, is it?
Mr. And Mrs. Average sharing in te Wall Street Boom? Correct me if I am wrong, not even the much vaunted trickle down theory comes into play.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, MiamiCuban wrote:

If Castro had “missles pointed at the U.S.”, it was only as a deterrant to a possible invasion.  In the end, the missles were withdrawn in exchange for a promise on the part of Kennedy that there would be no invasion.  The media did a good job of portraying Castro as a madman poised for attack, but there were reasons why things happened the way they did, and most people are either too ignorant or too lazy to research the facts.  I’m a pacifist…I believe in peace and diplomatic solutions, but I can also understand why Castro had to take certain positions.  I certainly don’t believe he did it because he wanted an embargo.

As for capitalism, it doesn’t appear to be working according to the natural laws of a “free market economy.”  Twenty years ago CEO’s made 20 times the average worker’s salary; today it’s up to 400 times.  Something has definitely gone awry.  I’m not a proponent of communism, but something along the lines of a socialist democracy seems to be what would work best for the world at large, especially when one considers an unpredictable future with respect to the effects of global warming .  Every day there is more poverty, while a handful of people continue to hoard everything for themselves.  If that’s the inevitable result of a free market economy, then it’s time we rethink our values.  No one becomes a billionnaire from the sweat of their brow, he’s stealing from the vast majority what rightfully belongs to everyone.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, Varsi Padayachee wrote:

And we have a classic example, our Delightful President Bush! How did he become so rich? Did anyone ask how his gradfather, Prescott Bush become such a weathy banker? And Charming “Big Time” Dick Chaney! Now that is a classic! They did it the old fasioned way..acquiring it. Georgie had a worthless oil company that was bought by Osama Bi Laden’s brother through his proxies in Texas. He then went onto buy a teeny share in the Texas Rangers, and by shher cronyism, forces Texas to evict people so that they could build dear Georgie anew baseball stadium. And as for Prescott Bush, well he certainly made the Nazis very wealthy. And onto Big time Dick..Anyone remember Haliburton!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

Two big differences between the US and Cuba.

1. In the US you can strive to be as rich as you want. In Cuba you cannot. If children are starving in the US or Canada, I have to say that’s the parents’ fault, not the government’s fault.

2. If you don’t like the US, you can leave tomorrow. If you live in Cuba and don’t like it, you can’t leave.

I am responsible for my pursuit of happiness and the less government that’s involved the better.

Freedom ALWAYS trumps oppression and communism.

That’s about all I have to say.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, MiamiCuban wrote:

And now the biggest HEIST in history is occurring…...billions of our tax dollars are being stolen before our very eyes and given to Halliburton and other corporations via no-bid contracts to “rebuild” the Iraq they’ve destroyed….all in the name of “free market capitalism.”  It’s astounding to me that 34% of Americans still approve of the Bush/Cheney cabal.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

Yeah, I’m not happy with that either.

We didn’t find weapons of mass destruction and got rid of Saddam yet the war still goes on?

I knew something was up when they named it Operation Freedom after telling us the reason we’re going in was to get WMD.

Anyway, I don’t want to get off topic.

This thread is about a Perfect Storm and how it might relate to changes in US policy towards Cuba and/or changes within Cuba itself.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, Varsi Padayachee wrote:

Mr. Publisher, There is no question of if..pchildren are starving in the US. It is an FACT> Secondly, you sound like many of the right wing talking heads who believe that the poor are poor because they want to be! Hey, wait a minute, Ron Reagan also said that there were no poor in the US. And by some mystical slight of hand the reverent Bush Admin changed the definition of poor. The poor and underfed are no longer poor, they are deficient in nutrition.  Truly Amazing!
Now, back to the thread. It is simple. Stop sucking up to the Miami Forces, give up on revenge and set a course to opening dialogue with Cuba. Did we not open talks with Vietnam, and most recently N. Korea?
This sanctimonious posturing should stop. By allowing free travel, people to people contact and the lifting of the embargo, we will find the climate in Cuba will slowly, but deliberately change. Even the so-called Island diddidents are against the US policy. The Miami Gang remind me of the Iraqi exiles who pushed for the invasion of Iraq. What ever happed to all of their vaunted intelligence? Nada!
Let us take a lesson from countries like South Africa, where true leaders like Mandela chose to forgive and reconcile, rather than destroy the country. So why cant we, the greates nation in the world, set on the path towards reconcilition, rather than vengence!
All the hot air, posturing, strutting and threats will not see a civilized process of transition in Cuba. Lets face it we in the US who are being beligerent. We are the ones demanding our sanctioned changed. We are the ones the are turning up the decibel level.
Cuba can be a great partner, in the Medical and Scientific field. Perhaps, it is time for US people power to effect a sensible policy towards Cuba. If we leave it to the Republicans in Miami, we will all still be writing this stuff well into our waning years.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

Varsi,

You said “Stop sucking up to the Miami Forces, give up on revenge and set a course to opening dialogue with Cuba. Did we not open talks with Vietnam, and most recently N. Korea?
AND
This sanctimonious posturing should stop. By allowing free travel, people to people contact and the lifting of the embargo, we will find the climate in Cuba will slowly, but deliberately change. “

I guess you don’t know me well enough. I do not support the old exiles or any of the Republican Congressmen in Florida. I live in Congressman William Delahunt’s district in Massachusetts and support his anti-Embargo efforts (even though he is a Democrat grin

I despise the Florida Congressmen and women who support the failed Plan A Embargo and I have been supporting the efforts for a dialog since I started the Havana Journal come four years in March.

So, I guess we disagree about capitalism vs socialism but we seem to agree that US policy towards Cuba needs to change.

Can we end on that note?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 25, 2007, Pete Chavez wrote:

Varsi:
Get some perspective.  I’ve been to India, SubSaharan Africa (9 countries in total), I’ve been to Thailand, The Phillipines, El Salvador, Columbia,
Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela.  In other words I have seen what poor really is.  Children here do not beg on the streets as I have seen in all those countries, they don’t get enlisted into rebel militias here and have a rifle with a bayonet put in their hands as they do in Africa, they don’t get hustled into discoteques to work the pedophile sex trade as they do in Thailand and The Philipines, they don’t wind up living in sewer systems and hooked on sniffing glue as they do in Columbia, they don’t contract life threatening parasites such as “Mal de Chagas” as in Ecuador, Bolivia and most of Latin America, they do not not mug you for your used tennis shoes here as I experienced in Venezuela and they certainly don’t go blind due to lack of Vitamin A as they do in fabulous India.  And in all those places access to clean drinking water means the difference between poor and not poor.  Poverty in the United States is not by any measure considered poverty anywhere else in the world.  Do we have a stagnant underclass? Yes.  The working disenfranchised? Yes.  People living on the margin of American society entrenched in deep struggles? Yes.  People in this country are educated just enough to know that if they can’t afford to have children then they should prevent pregnancy or have access to abortion.  They can also get on wellfare.  Not even in Cuba does anything come close to the kinds of miseries I have seen in these other places.  You must not live in or know the United States very well if you think that poor people have it so damn bad here.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 25, 2007, Varsi Padayachee wrote:

Mr. Pete Chavez, for one who professes to have travelled far and wide, your knowledge is certainly limited your your hotel room. You still dont know how to spell COLOMBIA>I too have travelled, lived and enjoyed the hospitality of my host countries. I have ben in the US for 30 years, lived in NY, Boston, PR, DC and Maryland. Oh! I am a citizen.
Now you should take the time to read and understand the laws on the books that govern the isses of abortion. You are absolutely correct. Comared to the US, the level of poverty in much of the developing world is beyond comprehension. However, we do see change. In “my fabulous India”, there are major health issues. However, from a historical perspective, Great Britain, raped India of its resources, and left a country bereft of any form of economy or infrastructure. BUT, given our resourcefulness and maddening desire for education, I India slowly but surely pulled itself up and records a 10.31% per annum growth. There is still much to be done, but they are getting there. Do you know that thre are more PHD’s and those with Masters Degres in India, than the entire population of the US. I am sure you also enjoy all the wonderful benefits of your modern computer technology. Thank fabulous India. You see the US tried to do it here. Wang Computers of Massachusetts is but a shell of its old self. IBM hadto sell of its computer hardware businees to a Chinese company. Bill Gates has asked the India needs to produce twice as many IT grads to meet the world demand. Oracle, Intel, Dell, AT&T, et al have tripled their investments there. You see we Indians dont complain. We just go out and get it done. We dont feel sorry for ourselves and wallow in self pity. We did it to the British, and we did it where ever we put down our roots. Yet we bear no hatred and grudges. We believe in passive and constructive engagement.
Take a page out of Gandhi’s book, Mr. Chavez. Spite, venom, bile and spew will only led you to a dead end.
Now to the more immediate issue, WELFARE. Is that your answer to a progressive society. Abortion ! So much for educating a popultion.
Now poverty, it is a falacy to compare the levels that exisist ine US with other developing countries. Have you been to the Apalachians, or Kentucky, or the Colonias in Texas, the India reservation in NM, S. Dakota? Imagine a woman living on a reservation in S. Dakota having to travel a 100 miles to visit her gynocologist? Imagine your Govt. cutting of funding for the only Nativ American Medical School? Yes Mr. Chavez, for the GREATET COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, some do have “so damn bad”.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 25, 2007, Pete Chavez wrote:

Mr. Varsi:
I don’t feel sorry for people that choose to illogically live 100 miles from the nearest healthcare facility, I do know the Apalachians (very well) and have some knowledge of the Colonias in Texas.  It’s all a WALK IN THE PARK, when just having access to clean water is the difference between life and death for children in most parts of the world.  That for me is what poverty really means and the outrage it appropriately illicits in me.  And it should be fought with the same vigor you bash the U.S. with.  You know for an Indian you really are quite unusual in that your points of view come from a place of victimhood followed by wrath.  I’ve personally known many East Indians.  I have never met an Indian that was not entreprenurial, well educated, can-do in attitude, giving, concerned with getting ahead, always on the move up, looking forward to possibilities and above all admitedly responsible for his or her own destiny.  I have also never known an Indian that feels the world owes them anything, until now!
And for someone who is obsessed with the spelling of Colombia your sure do have a tough time spelling everything else.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 25, 2007, publisher wrote:

Okay, I think I’ll jump in here. I appreciate everyone’s passion for discussion but I like to keep comments on topic.

So, let’s keep this discussion about what factors might constitute a “Perfect Storm” and what effects a “Perfect Storm” might have on Cuba and US Cuba relations.

If nothing else to add, let’s wait for the next interesting news story to comment on.

Thanks.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 26, 2007, Varsi Padayachee wrote:

With all due respect, Mr. Publisher, I am compelled to respond for Mr. Chavez’s sad and misplaced comments.
People living on the India reservations did not choose to live their. They were DUMPED there by the US Govt. Two rather salient points: There are Doctors out there who pledged to serve the poorest communities, upon graduation, as a condition of their Govt. Scholarships. Sadly, Most of them went back on their pledges and do not serve these communities. Given this scarccity of doctors, only a few dedicated ones are compelled to provide services to the unfortunate. Your heartless condemnation of the unfortunate certainly places, in better perspective the type of human you really are.
I come from rather an affluent background, and having beein raised in South Africa, we Indians had to use all our best resources to get ahead. You dont me, so do not presume that I look to the world for a hand out. I came to the US 30 years ago, and built my life on my own, with no hand outs. What about you?Just to set the record straight, I live in perhaps one of the most affluent areas of the Washington DC Metro area, on 5 acres, along the Potomac. And I acquired that all on my own. Sadly one gets to see moe of your heartless ilk, each day!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 26, 2007, publisher wrote:

Not sure what you mean by this

“Sadly one gets to see moe of your heartless ilk, each day!”

but I will let you get the last shot in even though I asked to stay on topic.

So, comments are now closed for this thread.