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

From: Nicola Taylor (19518173@STUDENT.MURDOCH.EDU.AU)
Date: Wed May 21 2003 - 01:01:51 EDT

> At 09:52 21/05/2003 +1000, Nicky wrote:
> >If the Cuban government can indeed rely on
> >widespread popular support, and if the opposition is small and unpopular,
> >why the "necessity" to resort to violent suppression of all internal
> >dissent?
> Nicky, a simple question: where is your evidence that the Cuban government
> has resorted to 'violent suppression of all internal dissent'?

Frankly, Mike, the 'evidence' is that arrests, long prison sentences and
executions (after summary trial, without appeal) have taken place in Cuba.
This in itself is a worry, as you yourself realise, but even more worrying
is the fact that Castro (in the second paragraph of his justification
speech) refuses to take responsibility for this reversal of a previous (more
progressive) policy.  Moreover, his use of the term
'counter-revolutionaries' in his speech is nowhere defined: it could now and
in the future include ANYONE opposed to the regime (including 'certain
Marxists', as one contributor to this debate has already implied).

As for the people actually imprisoned and executed this time.  The onus
rests on the regime to justify its current actions - the arrests and the
executions - and I for one do not agree that it has done so, or can do so.

For example, you seem to think that it is of no consequence that many
independent journalists were given heavy sentences.  Are they spies? On the
evidence available, I suggest to you that there is no way to know, for sure,
the truth of the matter (I am not a lawyer so, yes, I
here rely on the assessment of Amnesty International).  For one thing, the
trials were far from models of legal process. But let's assume that I am
wrong and that ALL of these cuban writers really did spy for the US, it
would not bode well for Cuba (one would have to ask why so many writers,
have decided to defect).  If they are not spies then they have been unfairly
accused (as
both Amnesty International and the International Federation of Journalists
believe).  You can read the IFJ press release which includes the names and
media organisations to which these journalists belong at:
( you can also write and ask the IFJ for more information about the work of
the individuals concerning 'social issues' in Cuba and various organizations

On the question of evidence, more generally, I agree with Simon: even if the
trials of political opponents are models of due legal process (as were the
Soviet show trials), the POLICY of suppressing political opinion in this way
and the JUSTIFICATION for doing so would be (must be) open to question.
Hence, political and moral issues can never be separated in such debates.
Ultimately it hinges on the question of whether governments (in times of
external threat) should be supported 'whatever' they do.  From the
perspective of libertarian communism, I think the answer must be No. This
answer does NOT preclude critical support for Cuba.


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