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

From: Nicola Taylor (19518173@STUDENT.MURDOCH.EDU.AU)
Date: Thu May 22 2003 - 21:47:24 EDT

Hi Paul (and Fred),

> perhaps you could sketch for us the " process of democratic reforms" you
> consider necessary in Cuba, why you consider them necessary and what the
> actual result for Cuba would be the  "widespread internal and
> support for immediate democratic reforms" which you suggest would result.

As I've indicated, the 'immediate' democratic reform that I would like to
see is some guarantee of freedom of expression.  I consider this necessary
because I don't see how it is possible for Cubans to have any real say in
their own future without it (freedom of expression is freedom to disagree,
freedom to debate the way things are currently done, and freedom to come up
with alternatives).  We have heard from Fred and others what they believe
Cubans want, and they may be right.  But, as someone has already pointed
out, how do we know?  Moreover, I consider that freedom of expression and
freedom from harassment by the ruling party IS one of the aspirations of
working people, and is everywhere recognised as such by liberation
movements.  I may be wrong and most Cubans may be willing to defer
democracy, but again, how do we know?  The point is that it is not for us,
who do enjoy freedoms of expression and association, to decide the
importance of such freedoms for people who do not have them.

Practical first steps would be a return to the moratorium on the death
penalty (so that we can be sure political dissenters, and others, are not
executed after summary trials!), an amnesty for the short list of 'Prisoners
of Conscience', a return to due legal process in criminal trials, and a
guarantee of press freedoms for Cuba's small but diverse independent press
organisations.  I fail to see how any of these reforms would pose an
immediate danger to Cuba; on the contrary I think they would strengthen the
case for defending Cuba and make it easier for other countries to support
Cuba morally, economically and politically.

The most important internal result for Cuba would be to open up the
possibility for political discussion and debate on what path to follow
towards social change; this seems (at least to me) vital to the long-term
survival of Cuba.  Why?  Because social change will come to Cuba whether you
or I like it or not.  The question is whether that change will be imposed
from without (imposed by the US), or come from above (imposed by the State,
as in the past), or whether Cubans should at least be given a chance to
decide for themselves what sort of democracy THEY want.


> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Nicola Taylor" <19518173@STUDENT.MURDOCH.EDU.AU>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 12:52 AM
> Subject: Re: (OPE-L) Re: dreams and nightmares
> > Thank you Rakesh for the voice of reason!
> >
> > > [Jerry] So I don't think that the possibility of a US overt or
> heightened
> > > covert war against Cuba should be taken lightly.
> >
> > Of course not, and nobody is taking it lightly.  But surely the point
> > by Rakesh is correct, and should be given much more emphasis in such
> > discussions (in place of vague speculation - and hysteria - about US
> > invasions):
> >
> > > [Rakesh] I and many others did not think the US would have great
> > > 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.
> >
> > Right, it is a key point.  If the Cuban government can indeed rely on
> > widespread popular support, and if the opposition is small and
> > why the "necessity" to resort to violent suppression of all internal
> > dissent?  There seems to me a fundamental contradiction in the calls for
> > internal repression by comrades who in the same breath remind us that
> > Cuban people are, in general, grateful to Castro for all that he has
> > for them.  If Cubans are so grateful that they would defend their
> > government, and if Castro believed this, then he would have little to
> > from setting in motion a process of democratic reforms. Indeed, there is
> > very good chance that Cuba could win widespread internal and
> > support for immediate democratic reforms.  Such support, especially from
> > Canada and the European Union, would increase (not decrease) the
> > to US invasion.  Castro's justification for the current crackdown is
> > lacking in any such perception.  Reading it, I felt I was being lectured
> by
> > a man caught in a time warp of socialist 'rhetoric' who has entirely
> > touch not only with the people of Cuba but also with reality.  More than
> > that, I felt he had fallen straight into the trap of American
> > and responded, in fact, exactly as the US hoped (and intended) he would.
> >
> > To reach such a conclusion does not imply pacifism, and it does not
> > unwillingness to defend the Cuban people against US agression.  Rather,
> > is a conclusion that is reached (as all of us putting this view have
> at
> > pains to point out) on political and moral grounds.
> >
> > Nicky
> >

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat May 24 2003 - 00:00:01 EDT