Friday, January 07, 2011

Quote of the day: Cuba

Fifty years after the break in relations, while Cuba is still ruled by a male, white, militaristic, totalitarian gerontocracy, Barack Obama is the president of the United States and Hillary Clinton the secretary of state. Which of my two countries is the revolutionary one?

--Roberto González Echevarria in the New York Times.  He left Cuba as a teenager and is now a professor at Yale.  It's been 50 years since President Eisenhower broke diplomatic relations just before leaving office.

11 comments:

Anonymous,  12:05 PM  

You can think whatever you want about the Cuban regime, but the number of color people in key posts is way higher than in the US, just look at the councils of State and Ministers. Trying to portray Cuba as a "white" dictatorship leads nowhere.

Mike 12:42 PM  

And I would respond that 43% of the members of the Cuban Parliament are women whereas 16% of the US House and 17% of the US Senate are comprised of women officials.

That obviously doesn't tell the entire story, but we can all pick out statistics to support our desired conclusions.

Greg Weeks 1:55 PM  

Who cares about statistics? The question here is about who is allowed to be the leader of a country, and what that says about revolution.

Mike 2:18 PM  

Jeez, you made me go read the piece. It's a better quote when reading the entire article.

I particularly "like" the fear parargaph - "The one change that they have not dared to make, however, is to remove fear from Cuban life, because it is the glue that holds together their government...."

Let's hope that Cuba doesn't have to wait one hundred fifty more years for a person of color or a woman to occupy the presidency.

leftside 6:49 PM  

Only a fool would equate a certain race and sex with "revolutionary." If Raul Castro stepped down tomorrow and the Council of State elected a black women to be President, would that mean that Cuba had finally become "revolutionary?" Let's get real. Cuba's leader found in a revolution, which makes him a revolutionary. Obama sought to avoid revolution at every turn, and instead places his faith in the American system.

And Greg, if you wish to talk about "who is allowed to lead the country," do you think a true revolutionary would be allowed to ever lead America?

Greg Weeks 7:27 PM  

A black man democratically replacing a crazed white man as president in a country still struggling with racism is indeed far more revolutionary than a personalistic dictatorship led by old men (of any color). Ask Fidel and Raul what person (of any color) is allowed to replace them by free and fair election.

Anonymous,  5:06 AM  

A number or statistic is not the issue. It is hard top be a revolutionary when you are unable to speak your mind, dissent, organize and rally like-minded folks. So, while US is hardly a country known for revolutionary political activity, it is at least permitted. In Cuba, it is impossible.

Lefty says only a fool would equate race and sex with revolutionary. What the hell does that mean? One of the principal pillars of legitimacy for the 1959 revolution was its supposed liberation of blacks and women. The Castro bros. have bragged about about their non-racial, non-sexist revolution for 50 years. Now, when you actually measure its successes it seems quite a bit less successful than its aims.

Randy Paul 11:59 PM  

The key word here is dictatorship.

The fact that Brazil, for example, has the largest population of African origin outside of Africa, but has yet to elect an Afro-Brazilian president, while the US has is as irrelevant as the fact that Brazil has elected its first woman president, while the US has yet.

The key point is that both Brazil and the US have had changes in leadership. Only a fool - or a rank lickspittle propagandist - would consider a government with the same leadership for fifty years to be "revolutionary."

Russell Bither-Terry 3:45 PM  

Calling Obama and Clinton revolutionaries is one of the silliest things I've heard in some time.

I prefer to discuss Cuban politics in person or not at all.

leftside 6:54 PM  

Greg, I guess we have vastly diffferent definitions of the term "revolutionary." You see the election of a black man who has not done a thing for black or poor people a revolutionary act. I think that is laughable. A revolutionary is someone who took part in a Revolution that totally changed society away from benefitting the rich to one that benefitted the poor (or someone who at least wants to do such a thing).

And Randy, changing of leadership through money dominated elections can be called a lot of things, but revolutionary really is not one of them. On the other hand, revolutionary governments have always been characterized by being led by people who took part in the Revolution. You may not like it and it may not fit the naive, idealistic notions of democracy we adhere to in the US, but it is most definately a characteristic of revolutions.

Randy Paul 10:22 PM  

I repeat: there is nothing revolutionary about the same person running a nation for fifty years; no more so than there is anything revolutionary about the PRI in Mexico simply because the use the word "revolutionary" in their name - for 81 years.

Matt, you are a propagandist. I see zero reason to take seriously anything you write.

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