Saturday, September 09, 2006

Dave's Part: Cuba and socialist democracy

Dave Osler's thoughts having just come back from Cuba,

Dave's Part: Cuba and socialist democracy: "Beyond a layer of older people who lived through the revolution in the late fifties, there are few strong supporters of the government. The younger a person is - and the darker the colour of their skin - the more likely they are to be hostile. Many of those at the sharp end of the multiple hardships would rather be living in Miami, and don’t think twice about saying that to a foreign journalist.

The thing is, Cuba is the last country with even a semi-credible claim to be somehow ‘socialist’. Few nowadays regard China as anything other than an extended neoliberal sweatshop with the chutzpah still to fly the red flag, or see North Korea as more than a famine-ridden hellhole suffering under a particularly ghastly hereditary quasi-monarchy.

Accordingly, many lefties in the developed world maintain a soft spot for the homeland of Fidel Castro. After all, the Cuban system wasn’t imposed by the Red Army, was it? It emerged from a genuine revolutionary process that grew over from nationalism to socialism."

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Perhaps the clearest reason for socialists not to go starry-eyed over the place is the massive social weight of the Cuban armed forces, so typical for Latin America. That is probably the real significance of Fidel’s Castro decision to hand over power to kid brother Raul. Power stays with the guys that dress up in olive green.

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