[OPE] "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore, " he said.

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Mon Sep 13 2010 - 06:01:30 EDT

Oh, I am very aware of the points you mention, that is exactly why I
mentioned the sovereignity issue. A lot of the economic and social problems
of Cuba are a direct result of the blockade and the military situation. But
I don't want to get into apologetics either, I am not sitting on a moral
high horse, but just thinking practically about the possibilities and scope
for progressive change. It's like, what actually can you do in the situation
that makes a positive difference? There's a good international relations
thesis in that.

I am just saying that if they're interested in real change, then there's the
need to break with the practices of the past, and for both sides to be
willing to concede something. You can't deny what happened in the past, but
you don't have to be obsessed with it. It is not a matter of justifying the
paranoia as a logical response, but of acknowledging that the mistrust
exists, that people really do carry these suspicions, and that it is a real
problem that gets in the way of change for the better. I have been spied on
by the Americans myself, and I don't even live in the US, so I know what it
is like.

As long as the Cubans in Cuba feel threatened by the possibility of military
aggression or subversion from the US and other countries, they are going to
keep beefing up defenses, and the scope for a more relaxed, tolerant
political approach will be slight. Cuba cannot easily extend civil and
democratic rights in a more "pluralist" sense, if those opportunities only
going to be used to subvert the system they have. And that impacts also on
social and economic policy.

I could put it another way: any chance of a would-be multi-party democracy
would assume that the new parties would accept the CCP at the very least as
an equal legal and political partner (in point of fact there are already
various parties other than the CCP in Cuba, with limited rights; the CCP
however retains a hegemonic role). They would have to accept socialist
legality and the principle of sovereignity. Well, we're probably quite some
way from that right now. But it doesn't mean that trading relations and
foreign relations cannot be improved, that disinformation can be reduced,
and that you can't try gradually to build more trust.


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Received on Mon Sep 13 06:03:05 2010

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