socialism and starvation - China and Cuba

HANLY at BrandonU.CA HANLY at BrandonU.CA
Fri Apr 19 20:53:16 MDT 1996

  Recently Chris B wrote:
Will anyone face the following tough question *now*: probably everyone
on this l'st condemns the blockade of Cuba, but the question still
remains, is the Cuban Communist Party at fault for any decisions
that are contributing to loss of life now during the famine.

We have had a few whiffs of evidence. Are we just going to keep quiet
out of solidarity, which many might do, and I would wish to do too.
But these are exactly the circumstances in which ten years later
leftists hear reports that thousands of  people died of famine in Cuba,
and others chime in smugly and say of course this was caused by

Do we really and conscientiously know whether  there are
significant excess deaths in Cuba *at present* despite the heroic
work of the Cuban health services. What are their stats? Are they
now secret on mortality figures? And after condemning the US government,
is there still a responsibility on the Cuban Communist Party
to have made some sort of compromises, hopefully not of principle,
to avoid those deaths from famine, directly or indirectly, as
often occurs in famine.

COMMENT: Why one would bother answering Carnell is beyond me. This person has
not even given one decent reference to any libertarian work let alone
references for his diatribes. He is not even a reverse Adolfo.
If Carnell would care to read ANARCHY STATE, and UTOPIA he would realize that
Nozick is not against taxation per se but taxation beyond a certain minimum.
For defence and courts taxation is quite acceptable. If he further studied
Nozick he would realize that he is now not a libertarian but a kind of
communitarian musing abstrusely about his Jewish roots (THE EXAMINED LIFE).
  Chris B. claims that we have had a few whiffs of evidence of famine in
Cuba. Perhaps some reference as to the source of this little stinker could
be produced. What on earth the health services have to do with preventing
starvation is beyond me. These services certainly are having difficulties but
that is because there is a shortage of hard currency to buy equipment and
medicine. However, it is probably still far better than what remains of the
Russian system. I am not sure why there should be famine in Cuba at the
present time. Certainly the economy is badly hurt by the collapse of the
Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. THere is a problem with farm machinery and
gas but the government has resorted to animal power. In fact there was an
article recently in CANADIAN DIMENSION that writes of the greening of the
Cuban revolution. The Cuban planners have been forced to practice an energy
efficient and green agriculture because they cannot afford the expensive inputs
of large scale farming with huge machinery and extensive use of fertilizer etc.
But nowhere have I seen that these difficulties are causing starvation among
the Cubans. Those who do not work in the tourist sector are poor and there
are shortages but that is a far cry from starving. In fact I recall there
was posting somewhere some time ago
(Pen-L I'm not sure) that compared average daily caloric intake with some
(Guatemala? ) central american country and Cuba was far superior.
  CHeers, Ken Hanly

   By the way Chris, wake up, there is no US blockade of CUBA, in fact Canadian
trade with CUba is booming. Some western farmers have been helping with
the cattle industry and shipping stock among other things. You must be thinking
of the CUBAN DEMOCRACY BILL otherwise known as US IMPERIALISM BILL. It does not
blockade Cuba but punishes subsidiaries of US companies in other countries that
trade with Cuba and also gives rights to sue people who do business with
expropriated US companies if they should be so stupid as to enter the USA.
Even good old Chile has condemned the bill, so you don't have to be on
MARXISM-L to complain about that. Canada and Mexico are charging the US with
breaking the terms of NAFTA. Even any good libertarian  would condemn
the CUBA DEMOCRACY BILL. It may also be contrary to GATT. However, it
is good for the US gusano vote and that is what matters.

  Cheers, Ken Hanly

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