Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hooray for Fidel!

And, of course, Castro ran a dictatorship that has, since 1959, committed its fair share of crimes, repressions, denials of democratic rights etc.

I just love the "of course" and the "etc" at the end which suggests that the list does go on a bit, but that it's tiresome to dwell on such trifling details. We should rather focus on the important things

So let's hear it for universal literacy and decent standards of health care. Let's hear it for the Cubans who help defeat the South Africans and their allies in Angola and thereby prepared the end of apartheid. Let's hear it for the middle-aged Cuban construction workers who held off the US forces for a while on Grenada. Let's hear it for Elian Gonzalez. Let's hear it for 49 years of defiance in the face of the US blockade. Hasta la victoria siempre!

Yay! If the message is that in whole US/Cuba saga the US were hardly saints then fine, they weren't. But that doesn't mean we must cheer the other side. If two sides are in conflict, both may not be able to be right, but both can definitely be wrong and we're not compelled to choose sides. I actually think this is a lesson that lots of us could stand to learn. We settle really easily into an "us versus them" mentality in debates as with to many other things.

Every country has good points to go along with bad, but that doesn't mean we can simply list some of each then pick the side that we happen to like anyway. We need to maintain some bloody perspective! Communist Russia produced great chess players! Yay! Nazi Germany had cool roads! Yay!

Literacy is really great, but it usually correlates with other nice things, like having a job and being able to read stuff other than the collected works of Karl Marx and Che Guevara (this is unfair, but you get the point). It's also worth noting that Cuba isn't the only country in the world to have high literacy levels and "decent" (I also enjoyed that) health care.


Trevor Black said...

Good point ito not having to choose sides...

Israel vs. Palestine is another example

Catholics vs. Protestants in Ireland another.

What is interesting is that sometimes the fight becomes so entrenched that it ceases to be about finding a solution...

I read somewhere that in Ireland a plausible solution would be to mix schools. Currently there are Catholic and Protestant schools. In a country where the only thing that seperates people is religion... unless someone actually wears a T-Shirt with a slogan on it, kids who listen to the same music, watch the same shows and play the same sport are likely to get along with each other just fine.

As for US vs. Cuba, I guess people just feel compelled to point out some of the successes. An interesting world would have been one where the US had allowed Cuba to do its thing... Trade between a Communist and Capitalist Country? Also China is `Communist', it is interesting to see how because of the amount of US bonds the Chineese buy (among other things), the US don't seem to have the same policy with them as with Cuba.


stuart said...

I'm out of my depth here, but America's policy with regards to cuba is all about the cold war. those were crazy times.

I don't think different US policy would have made much difference, except to make Castro less popular, but it was still wrong.

Calling china communist really strips that word of any meaning (i did see the quotes). In the ruthless pursuit of profit, the Chinese are second to none from what I hear.

sid said...

I can not agree with you more. This whole stance that Bush had regarding terrorism, "You're either with us or against us" is total bs. You didn't have to pick a side. A war against Iraq did not have to be waged. Instead they could have just found the culprits and punished them instead of dropping bombs on innocent women and children.

Also I just googled the embargo imposed by the US on Cuba. According to wiki the US is the 7th exported to Cuba. How do you like that?

Oh the reason I googled the embargo was just to verify the reasons for it. Apparently it is supposed to bring democracy to all Cuban citizens. The embargo has ben imposed since 1962 and codified into law in 1992. Personally I'm opposed to it. I don't think it is achieving its aim AND it is simply causing more humanitarian and economic hardships.

Stuart said...

I'm against the embargo and the stuff about democracy is crap. I think its wrong, but it's also mostly symbolic. it doesn't make much difference, actually it probably helps cuba because its made russia and venezuala so keen to give them loads of cash.

Cuba is a small country that doesn't make anything and they sell all the stuff they make, the only way it would help is by saving petrol in shipping stuff. also they could use american human capital.