Re: (OPE-L) Re: dreams and nightmares

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Tue May 20 2003 - 13:14:23 EDT

>I wrote in an earlier post:
>Almost everyone I met in Cuba seems to genuinely admire Fidel - even a
>reactionary, racist taxi driver who drove us from the airport the first
>night.  "Fidel loves Cuba," he said, "he has done a lot for Cuba."
>To which Riccardo replied:
>>  may I say to Fred that
>>  what the racist taxi driver told him could have been told to him by
>>  almost all of Italians who were not in jail in Italy 1935?)
>Riccardo, are you really comparing Castro to Mussolini?
>Did Mussolini eliminate illiteracy in Italy, and provide free quality
>education for all, including higher education for those who want it?
>Did Mussolini provide free quality health care for all?
>Did Mussolini equalize incomes and significantly improve the living
>standards and life's prospects of the lower classes?
>Did Mussolini give everyone their own apartment (no rent has to be paid)?
>Did Mussolini overthrow a hated dictator, who was a puppet of foreign
>The Cuban people know this history well, and they know and deeply
>appreciate what Castro has led them to achieve.

Well yes.

But this raises a problem for me. The resort to apparently
ununusually long and cruel punishment has been justified in part by
the imminent threat of a US invasion. But would even Bush attempt to
oust a leader with substantial support?

Is an invasion of Cuba imminent? No matter how much brother Jeb may pine
for an invasion, big brother seems to have has hands tied in Iraq.
Castro has to remain popular enough   and the Cuban people well armed
enough that the current US  administration would not dare to invade
Cuba (unlike Saddam, Castro has not tortured and murdered tens and
tens of thousands of people without trial!). Yes there seems to be
growing problems with income inequality, if  not outright dollar
apartheid; the tourist economy seems to lack all real development
potential (what is a dependent country to do in the world economy?);
but the gains in education, health care and agriculture (I would like
to know more of the work of Richard Levins and John Vandermeer here)
seem substantial enough that it's hard even to imagine substantial
Cuban support to oust Castro for a "Gomer Pyle" (akaGarner), Bremer
or Chalabi-like figure.

I and many others did not think the US would have great trouble
ousting the fascist Saddam who truly seemed to have the narrowest
base of support;  this administration no matter how deluded by its
own piled-on propaganda must know their forces would confront grave
difficulties in Cuba. Of course as Patrick Cockburn has reported  the
Bush administration actually believed Kanan Makiya that the mass of
Iraqis would rally behind US occupation forces. Yet  Rumsfeld, etc
has to fear--with good reason--a Bay of the Pigs redux. Especially
after the failure of the coup attempts in Venezuela.

I could be very wrong about this--maybe Jeb  has already been given a
special office in the Pentagon to organize the invasion, and the
Cuban government is very weak as a result of the embargo and the
deterioration in the world economy over which it has no control.

Yours, Rakesh

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