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Ask a stupid question…

8 April 2012

Recently,  various reactionary ideas have been spread on the media, presenting  some absurdity as a logical question. For example, every day some idiot wonders why Cuba has not been a “Arab spring”. points out that the Arab countries that recently saw people’s uprisings, were U.S. client states or doing business with the United States and, besides…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 April 2012 12:25 am

    Adding another besides (in full agreement to the abovementioned): I was in Cuba last December and two weeks ago, and there is also the issue of the country being virtually cut off from any kind of internet access. Besides, the use of cell phones is horrendously expensive while most people earn on average 20 dollars per month (even though the black market for many even sometimes even quadrupels their income). If the Arab Spring was partly a social media uprising (which many FB and Twitter enthousiasts so keenly advocate) it is simply impossible to get something started on the same scale.

    Besides, does anyone ever bother to ask the questions whether the Cubans would actually LIKE an Arab-like Spring to happen in their country? I did ask dozens of (mostly younger) Cubans if they did, and many of them weren´t very enthousiastic about the idea.

    I remember even a 21-year old former opposition blogger and devout anti-castrista saying that she felt very uneasy about the idea of an anti-castrrista revolution, because ´revolutions create a vacuum, it sort of leaves a society in the dark. And evil things are lurking in the dark.´

    I am by no means a fidelista, but I too have a difficult time believing that a Cuban Spring would bring much good. Don´t ask me for a well-defined alternative, I don´t have one. But a mass uprising overthrowing such a deeply rooted system overnight? I believe it was Karl Marx himself who once said in an essay about the Paris Commune that such revolutions are destined to fail horribly…

    • 9 April 2012 1:06 am

      Revolutions can’t be controlled, and seldom (if ever) follow the prescriptions laid out for them by whomever it is that kicks them off. I expect Cuba’s political climate will change over the next several years, with constitutional changes softening the “Marxist-Leninist” orientation of the State, and the PCC evolving into something like the pre-1990s Mexican PRI. Not that the PRI was so great, but it did prevent — or at least slow down — a return to the worst of the pre-Revolutionary economic and political abuses.

  2. 9 April 2012 2:37 am

    My best guess is that the regime will surprise many foreigners who expect it to fall when Fidel dies. There´s a group of younger party members ready to slowly take over positions in the PCC in the coming years, and they have been schooled by Raúl´s clique, which means they are more practical and less dogmatic (even though that in no way means they are less ideological).

    I don´t like the discourse that Cuba will go for a ´Chinese/Vietnamese model´, I think that analysis is far too simple and ignores the huge differences between China, Vietnam and Cuba on the one hand and the ideological differences between Cuban and Chinese communists, not to mention the fact that the dynamics of the region are vastly different. I think the PCC will be able to develop its own model of Cuban ´soft communism´, with more economic and social freedom, but with enduring state repression.

    Bottom line: I think the PCC is underestimated abroad, people look at it very singleminded, and many analysts just parrot eachother without any real sense of what´s going on. For example: the opposition gets a lot of airtime abroad, but very few people take them seriously or even like them in Cuba itself. I met a lot of opposition members who are tired and disillusioned.

    Bottom line: I don´t think we’ll see many major changes in Cuba in the next few years, changes will be gradual and tightly controlled by the regime.

  3. 9 April 2012 2:38 am

    Right, that rambled a little. Sorry ´bout that, it´s late :-P. Anyway, I think you get my point.

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