[Marxism] [Fwd: Cuban Media, Response from Dangl and Howard]

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Apr 1 06:53:20 MST 2004

This is a reply from Benjamin Dangl and April Howard, who co-authored a 
critique of Cuban media on Counterpunch that I critiqued on Marxmail a 
week or so ago. They mention the Gehry Art Center at Bard below. I 
should add that the building had a cost overrun of $45 million, 
conceivably more than the operating budget of the entire college during 
the four years I was there, even after factoring in inflation! An 
article on Gehry's fading allure that mentions this and other fiascos 
can be read at:


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Cuban Media, Response from Dangl and Howard
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 20:46:39 -0800 (PST)
From: Ben Dangl <theupsidedownworld at yahoo.com>
To: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>

Hello Louis Proyect,

Thank you for your thoughtful criticism of our article on Cuba.  We are
both current, (April) and previous (Ben) Bard students.  Ali is a good
friend of ours, we spent a lot of time with him here at Bard on various
activist projects and organizing.  We also remember reading a great
article by you against the Frank Gehry building at Bard and who was
paying for it.  We were doing our part here by building a Student's
Performing Arts Center, which was low maintenance, open to the public
and cost a total of $50 instead of 62 milion.

While we agree with your argument that the US Government has done its
utmost to undermine Cuba in every possible way, we still feel that Cuban
media simplifies and generalizes the news it portrays beyond the needs
of government security.  A five minute visit to the Granma website is a
fairly self explanatory argument: http://www.granma.cu/ingles/

In many ways, Cuban media portrays the US in a realistic way.  The US is
an empire which has posed a very real threat to countries in Latin
America for decades, most recently in Haiti and Venezuela. Although our
intentions were not to undermine the strength and conviction of the
Cuban Revolution and the impressive changes implemented by that system,
we do not feel that any government should be immmune to criticism.  We
are disturbed by the ways in which the left has tended to hold up Cuba
as a paragon of virtue and defend all of its governments repressive
actions as completely necessary and justifiable.

In our second trip to Cuba, it never ceased to amazed us how much better
off the average Cuban was compared to the average Nicaraguan or
Bolivian.  But Cubans exchange some rights and privileges for others.
They are guaranteed the right to eat, have a job, education and
dependable health care, but they are not guaranteed other basic civil
liberties, similar to the ones currently under attack in the US.
In niether place is the restriction of civil liberties a positive or
constructive aspect of life.  Perhaps a comparison of Cuba and the
United States would be ridiculous in any case, but during our trip, we
found that, oddly enough, Cubans were comparing their country almost
exclusively with the United States.

Maybe you would like to take a look at another article we wrote on
public opinion in Cuba, we look forward to hearing any feedback on that
article as well:

We hear the Bard administration is planning to build a dorm between
Manor and Robbins dorms, with a lap pool and a computer center...any
under reported information that could "pre-empt" this project would be
highly appreciated!

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on our work.  We look
forward to hearing back from you.

Take care,
Benjamin Dangl and April Howard


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