Thursday, February 03, 2011

Egypt and Latin America

Silvia Viña at Global Voices Online links to a number of blog posts, including mine, that compare the situation in Egypt with Latin America.  Some, like Boz, ask whether a similar situation could occur in Latin America now.  I see that as unlikely in large part because it already happened.  The past riots in Caracas and the protests in Bolivia and Ecuador, among others, uprooted deeply entrenched and corrupt regimes and installed very different ones that currently enjoy more popular support.  Later in Venezuela, the opposition tried to launch such a movement itself, failed, and then gave up the mass protest strategy.  I think the main current comparison to be made is with Cuba, where like in Egypt you have a long-standing personalistic dictatorship.  However, Cuba is even more repressive than Egypt, so the massive movement of people simply wouldn't be allowed, and it is hard to imagine security forces simply standing around.

So at least in my opinion the historical analogies--while imperfect--are best equipped to shed some light on the different possible directions Egypt might go.  If there is a contagion effect of some sort, I am not sure where we would likely see it.

21 comments:

leftside 5:29 PM  

I think you are correct in saying that "its already happened" in much of Latin America. But the analysis inevitably turns bad when it comes to Cuba.

To conclude that Cuba has not had a counter-revolution because there is so much more repression is flat out wrong and exactly the ideologically blinded thinking that has resulted in 50 years of failed policy there. It ignores the real sources of legitimacy the Cuban Government has built up over the years.

Unlike Cuba, in Egypt, there are thousands of people in jail without charge. There are thousands in jail for political reasons. In Cuba, there are now only a handful of such cases, with the remainder being released in the coming weeks. In Egypt, torture and brutality by police is commonplace. In Cuba, these things do not happen. In Egypt, the government just let loose thugs to beat the crap out of people. In Cuba, the worst they do is let Party members verbally berate those taking the US line.

Also, in Egypt there are a million homeless people - a quarter of which are children. Health care is terrible for most and education is worthless (largest number of unemployed college graduates in the world). In Cuba, if you want a job, you can find one. Real desperation is not present in the lives of Cubans like it is Egyptians. When you have nothing to lose, it is easy to rebel. When you might lose your home, your farm, your health care and college education (as US "transition" documents call for, amongst other things), change is not such an appealing thing.

Slave Revolt,  10:14 PM  

Left side, don't confuse Greg with evidence, or compelling arguments where facts are presented.

Such an expectation would compromise Greg's role as an ideologist paid for and supported by the establishment.

Ideas that challenge the propaganda promoted by the ruling elites don't secure tenure.

For Greg to be honest, much less curious, would require a healthy ethics and balls/tenacity.

That he won't actually debate you on the Cuba issue should tell you something.

Just say'n bro.

Anonymous,  9:53 AM  

What kind of fools, in 2011, still pretend Cuba is not a dictatorship? What kind of fools, in 2011, are unaware there is brutality and repression in Cuba?

Slave Revolt,  11:26 AM  

The same type of fools that say people like you and Greg cover up for US imperialist terrorism,nnaked aggression, .unremitting human rights violations, torture, and clear disinformation campaigns waged against the citizenry of every country.

If you don't renounce the crimes regularly, you are complicit to some degree.

The US has supported terrorism against Cuba. The US oligarchy can count on bought-off intellectuals and stooges to keep squaking about 'dictatorship'--just don't pull back the curtain at Guantanamo and denounce the on-going torture of citizens in the countries that the empire attacks and that decide to repel the invaders/terrorism.

That you people can't see through the blatant propaganda and disinformation, the squalid and cynical hypocrisy, simply points up that you, at some level, have decided to become complicit with the campaigns of terror and oppression.

Sure, you are afraid to see what is right in front of your face, but the facts remain, they are documented--all that is left is the system of denial and disinformation that allows you to engage in honest discussion and debate.

It is established that most people that venture to opine on issues of substance within the network of empire are whores--what has to be determined is the price you are willing to accept, and the costs you are willing to pay for your sorid, diseased services.

Check your weapons, stoke the fire, light the torches, ride mother fuckers.

You are living in times of slave revolt!

Anonymous,  11:39 AM  

Actually, most of Latin America is growing up and fools like you are a silly sideshow.

Vicente Duque 2:18 PM  

Thanks for excellent Analysis on Horrible Past of Latin America and comparisons to the present Predicament and Pains in Egypt

I would be very happy someday if Analysts of Latin America discuss this concept

"Access to Justice"

Of course this "Access to Justice" does not exist at all in Egypt. And Latin American Nations are lagging in this important matter.

However I do not want to spread pessimism .... For Latinos : Be as that widow in the Gospel that tired a corrupt judge until he made Justice.

I see some progress in Latin America in "Justice".

I have great sympathies for Arab Nations and Egypt. But despotism and dictatorship do not foster "Justice", they are their worst enemies.

Without "Justice" there is no Democracy and Economic Progress is almost impossible.

Vicente Duque

leftside 6:51 PM  

What kind of fools, in 2011, still pretend Cuba is not a dictatorship? What kind of fools, in 2011, are unaware there is brutality and repression in Cuba?

Anon, I will spare everyone another diatribe about why Cuba is, in many ways, more democratic than the US. Suffice to say there is the small matter of those with money being allowed to buy the system here and the fact that the majority of people actually vote in Cuba, compared to our dismal showings. Nevermind that in Cuba the people actually pick the candidates, when in the US it is the funders and party elite.

As far as brutality and torture go, I'd ask that you submit one documented case of such actions by the Cuban authorities. If you can point me to one instance of sanctioned State brutality or torture in the last 20 years I'll gladly admit you are right. Meanwhile in my city of LA, in recent weeks police have recently shot and killed a mentally disabled person, a teenager running away and someone who did not respond to their warnings because he did not speak spanish like they thought (he spoke a guatemalen indigenous language). We also, of course, subcontracted our torture out to barbarians like Mubarek.

Anonymous,  8:34 PM  

I will spare everyone another diatribe about why Cuba is, in many ways, more democratic than the US.

Wow, talk about ignorance!

leftside 9:43 PM  

BTW, my original point on the Cuban Government's real legitimacy (versus the bankruptcy of Egypt) is not some lefty notion. It is shared by most serious Cuba experts - most prominently recently by Julia Sweig.

That does not mean Cuba is a panacea. In many ways, the US has more freedom and democracy. But this idea that Cuba is held together through brute force and repression is quite out of date.

Anonymous,  9:51 AM  

"But this idea that Cuba is held together through brute force and repression is quite out of date".

Hmm... try to explain it for instance to G. Farinas or Yoani Sánchez.

Anonymous,  4:40 PM  

But this idea that Cuba is held together through brute force and repression is quite out of date.

You really have no clue, do you?

I can (somewhat) understand those that supported Stalin, way back when information was hard to get. But in 2011 how uninformed do you have to be to not know that Cuba is a repressive dictatorship?

leftside 1:41 AM  

Hmm... try to explain it for instance to G. Farinas or Yoani Sánchez.

Yoani has never been arrested and has managed to have the ability to blog, tweet and write pieces for the huffington post all day. Doesn't seem like your poster boy for repression.

Farinas was in prison for assaulting a woman co-worker and turned into a dissident in prison. He has been free to spread his word to the world's press since being released.

These two "dissidents" you mention make my point. The amount of publicity they have gotten in the US press far exceeds anything any Egyptian dissidents ever received. This despite their remaining free when thousands of Egyptians are in jail.

Repression is a serious word so please understand it. You are not repressed if you are breaking a just law. If Cuba chooses to have laws that target people who work with the US on regime change operations, that is their perogative. We don't let people work with Iranian or Cuban agents. Unlike the US, Cuba actually has been attacked (by the US and our proxies) in the name of democracy hundreds of different times, causing thousands of deaths and billions in lost revenue.

Anonymous,  2:22 AM  

The problem is that it is not Cubans who choose "...to have laws that target people who work with the US on regime change operations, that is their perogative" - but the totalitarian regime of Castro and communist party.

And your whole point about Sanchez and Farinas is REALLY not convincing at all. I'm not going to explain why Cuba is a totalitarian regime cause it's obvious.

Existing of some other regimes (sometimes more brute) doesn't change at all the fact that Cuba IS a country where opponents of the ruling party ARE persecuted and repressed.

Justin Delacour 12:52 PM  

Some, like Boz, ask whether a similar situation could occur in Latin America now.

This is a very good indicator that Boz is a rather poor analyst. The situation in Egypt is so totally different than that in Latin America as to render any such suggestion preposterous.

Boz has a tendency to confuse his political desires with actual analysis.

Anonymous,  12:02 AM  

Ahh, the eternal student shows up to criticize others! The expert in the region that did not even know that Argentina lies about it's inflation numbers!

Justin Delacour 6:38 AM  

The expert in the region that did not even know that Argentina lies about it's inflation numbers!

Actually, I never said a word about whether or not Argentina lies about its inflation numbers. What I said is that you hadn't provided any real evidence as to what its actual inflation rate was.

leftside 12:45 PM  

BTW, Yoani Sanchez's blog has apparently been unblocked on the island. It had been blocked fropm Cuban view since 2008. Her blog was the primary evidence of Cuba's internet censorship.

Anonymous,  7:37 PM  

Nobody who knows about Latin America would ask such a question. It betrays ignorance.

There is a common thread among all the crazy leftists, all questioning reality with the goal of obscuring the truth. Who could still doubt that Cuba is a repressive dictatorship? Who could be so ignorant as to claim that Cuba is more democratic than the US? Who could claim to be a student of Latin America and not know that Argentina lies about inflation?

leftside 2:03 PM  

Who could be so ignorant as to claim that Cuba is more democratic than the US?

Anonomous, for third time in this threat you have miquoted people for your own ends. I never said Cuba is more democratic than the US. I said Cuba is "in many ways" more democratic than the US. I think anyone would agree that the money in our system corrupts and that our low participation is a stain. Comparing the two systems is like apples and organges. It depends whether you value justice or individual freedom as your core value.

Anonymous,  10:52 PM  

Anyone who claims that Cuba, in a ANY way, is more democratic than the US basically knows nothing about either nation. What kind of person, in 2011, still denies that Cuba is a repressive dictatorship?

Anonymous,  12:26 PM  

Post-Revolutions in Northern Africa and the Middle East: Fostering a Successful Democratic Transition
by Stanley Lucas* http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8669211-postrevolutions-in-the-middle-east-fostering-a-successful-democratic-transition-by-stanley-lucas

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