TimW and democracy in Cuba

Guillermo Cruces marx at cruces.fsoc.uba.ar
Sat Jul 8 23:45:32 MDT 1995

Tim: you have been in Cuba ten years ago.
Cuba is leaving now in something they call PERIODO ESPECIAL PARA TIEMPOS DE
PAZ. People have been trained during years to live and work without gas,
electricity, communications, food... in case the States invade them. They
adapted this for living in the very special conditions they have since 1989.
What would happen in the States if in only six months you receive 80% less of
fuel, have no electricity 10 hours a day, no more paper, no more TV, no more
meal, very little food ...? I bet Clinton, Newt&Company won't stand one

Tim W wrote:

>I was never an uncritical supporter of Castro.    I was impressed by the lack
>of deep poverty, the extensive health care system, as well as the spirit of
>the people in the Cuba I visited ten years ago.
I think it's that spirit that made Cuban revolution survive since 1989.

>But, unlike other left
>visitors, I did not ignore the stultifying uniformity of published material

I don't ignore the uniformity of published material, nor do Cubans: they know
they have been wrong in copying thet soviet's system where just the
"official" books where published... But there are not that kind of problems
now: Cuba has NO PAPER, so you don't have that uniformity of publications;
you just don't have any publications.
But I think that today you would have freedom to publish and criticize.
You won't see it in many publications, because they don't have many, but
you can see it and feel it, in the streets and in Universities.
It's difficult to see that you have been wrong in some aspects for 30 years
and change in a few days.

>in the place, the lack of consumer goods, and the deacy of central Havana.

The lack of consumer goods was a problem of the centralised/planned economics.
That is a problem when you are a poor country, too (have you been in Bolivia?).
If we want to build a socialist society, we have to think that people need
consumer goods. The lack of consumer goods was not just because Cuba IS a poor
country: it was an error of their economics, and as far as I know, they are
tryineg to fix it.
But if you realised ten years ago that there was a lack of consumer goods,
you just can't imagine how bad it is TODAY: I would say they don't have any.
There is just a little bit of soap, no clothes, no new cars, ... I think
that when they will get out of the PERIODO ESPECIAL (I hope they will),
they will re-think all the consumer goods question.
About the decay of Central Havana: you just can't imagine how sad it is know
to take a walk in Havana. But I think Cuban government prefers to waste money
in food rather than in fixing buildings.

>I have no problem in pointing out the strengths of Cuba but we need to
>differentiate ourselves from the one party structure.
Yes, but what would you suggest?

>I believe the left has
>a real future in this country,
I hope it has. I don't know if Castro and socialism can stand lots of time in
Cuba. But let me tell you that I'm sure that Cuban people, even if the
government changes, they will not accept any  neo-liberal policy (like people
in many south american countries and in the ex COMECON accepted).
A Cuban can't IMAGINE he won't have free school and university for his
children, he can't imagine he won't have public helath care, one liter of milk
a day for every child...(when you tell them about, for example, Argentina,
Mexico, Bolivia,  they just can't beleive it).
So probably the left (may be socialism) has a future in this country.

> but it still needs to shake itself lose from
>rationalizations for repressive and undemocratic regimes.
Yes, you are right.

>Let's face it: in
>time Cuba will also develop in a more market socialist direction
Yes, it's developping that way. Would anybody on the list mind explaining
to me what do you exactly mean by MARKET SOCIALISM, and any article to read
on that topic? (I can imagine what you mean, but I would like to know about
it a little more).

>Let's face it: in
>time Cuba will also develop in a more market socialist direction and,
>hopefully, also more democratic one.
That's the point: what do you mean when you say democracy?
If you are talking about US, UK, France or Argentinian democracy, you can
keep it.
I'm sure you are not talking like Torricelli. If you are talking about
freedom of publication, non-discriminate gays and lesbians... I'm with you.
But you don't suggest any possible political structure for Cuba: do you
think giving the Miami cuban-drug-dealer lobby is a good way to "develop
in a more democratic way"?
I'm sure Cuban democracy is not perfect, but I don't like US democracy at all.
And I think that many people in the world thinks that there are no elections
at all in Cuba. Like Compan~ero Nero wrote, in Cuba 95% of the population
voted in last elections, choosing their representatives to the Asamblea
Del Poder Popular; and you can't say there is no democracy just because there
is just one party (even if I agree that this is not the ideal): it is not
Fidel or the CP that choose the representatives, but PEOPLE in Asambleas.
It WASN'T just a soviet's or hitler's election: people really had the
chance to choose who would represent them.
I will post something more on Cuban political system and elections, because
I'm sure that Ted Turner won't tell the truth about what happens there.
And Tim: of course I don't like political prisonners. But you have to think
that many people that the Miami lobby call "political prisonners" are just
TERRORIST: what would you do in a socialist country when there are sabotages
and murders? Would you just let them go because they don't think the way you

Hasta la victoria siempre!

                                       Guillermo Cruces                                              Buenos Aires         º
                                       Marxism list mail:
                                    marx at cruces.fsoc.uba.ar

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