RE: [OPE] Latin America

Date: Sun Nov 30 2008 - 13:37:14 EST

> At least since Rousseau there is a concern for social harmony in democratic theory.
You can not have genuine "social harmony" so long as there is a class society.
There is a great deal of class division within Venezuela, of course. That is to
be expected in a society where a privileged minority of capitalists and
landowners control a huge amount of the wealth. They will scream about the
"lack of democracy" *no matter how democratic* the process
is in Venezuela. This is despite the fact that every credible international
observer has certified the elections there to be democratic - by which I mean,
in this context, fair and in accord with their constitution. When they belch
about "democratic rights", what they are really voicing is frustration that they
can no longer undemocratically and exclusively control the process of
Cuba is another story. They have already had a revolution. There are
disputes and disagreements among the people living on the Island - and,
in some ways, relative poverty - but there is at least as much real
"social harmony" there as exists in *any country in the world*. You
don't think so? You think there's more "social harmony" in Scandinavia?
I don't think so. No only are all of the Scandinavian countries class
societies but there are also other forms of stratification. For instance,
in Sweden and Norway there are huge social divides between
devout religious communities and other communities which - heaven
forbid! - consume alcoholic beverages. And, in one respect, Cuba is a
model: they, essentially, have eliminated racism! This is no small
accomplishment - especially in a country (like other countries in the
Caribbean) which had a long history of racial stratification which was a legacy
of slavery and colonialism. (In contrast, racism is alive and well in the
Cuban exile community in Miami). Rather, than there being a "dictatorship"
in Cuba, there is national sovereignty and self-determination. In *many*
ways, Cuba is the *most* democratic country in the hemisphere.
If you want to talk about political prisoners, talk about the political
prisoners in the US, such as the Cuban 5. If you want to talk about
democratic elections, talk about Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004.
If you want to talk about violence, talk about Sean Bell and 51 shots.
If you want to talk about state-sponsored terrorism, talk about the US
war against Iraq. If you want to talk about dictators in Latin
America, talk about Columbia and the Governor of Oaxaca. If
you want to talk about recent violations of national sovereignty, talk about
the actions of the Columbian government towards its neighbors and the
US towards Syria and Pakistan. If you want to talk about poverty
in Latin America, go to the poor communities in urban areas in
Brazil - and many other countries. But, if you want to talk about hope
for the future, talk to the poor in Venezuela. If you want to talk about how
bad Castro is, ask Elian Gonzalez. Etc. Etc.
Is Cuba a utopia? No. No one in Cuba ever claimed that it was.
Does Cuba have a dictatorship? Obviously not. Does that mean that
Cuban democracy can't improve? Of course not. There is no one in Cuba
from Raul Castro to a sugar cane worker in a rural area of the country
who would deny that. You will, though, NEVER improve the process in
Cuba by referring to a "dictatorship" there. The Cuban people KNOW
In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Sun Nov 30 13:39:17 2008

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