Monday, June 12, 2006

Fidel

We watched the film FIDEL the other night by filmmaker Estela Bravo. It was a very interesting, if overly-positive, glimpse into the situation between Cuba and the U.S. over the past 40+ years. I am now curious to learn more about the criticisms of Castro's political and social leadership to balance the film's praise, but it is still remarkable that one man has stood for so long as an opponent of capitalism, and managed to stay alive.
While Cuba is probably far from prosperous as the result of such a long blockade by the U.S., I am very interested to investigate exactly what they have managed to produce in such isolation, and whether or not Fidel is truly working in the best interests of the people. I would like to believe that he is. It seems that he has been utterly demonized by the U.S. and I'm wondering why socialism is so threatening?
I would like to learn more about their agricultural and educational efforts. In an NPR article, Castro insulted George Bush by saying that a Cuban ninth-grader could out-debate our American president. I don't doubt it.
According to an article by Warren Richey,
The Bush administration has developed a 400-page plan for how to confront the challenges of post-Castro Cuba. In August (2005), it appointed a Cuba "transition coordinator" at the State Department to carry out the plan. The post-Castro plan addresses everything from water quality to drafting a new constitution to how best to punish Castro's foreign allies.
http://www.globalpolicy.org

What right do we have to write the constitution for another sovereign nation?? It's fascinating how we push capitalism on the rest of the world in the euphemistic form of "freedom" and "democracy." We use words like "dictatorship," "communist," and "regime" to describe one man's vision for another way to live. I have to admit that I am ignorant of the situation, and that perhaps Castro's idealism has fallen short, perhaps he is more of an oppressor than a liberator of the Cuban people. Yet, I have a hard time believing this is the whole story about a man who has come to the aid of other such "Davids" fighting the encroaching capitalist "globalization."
What worries me most is that the American brand of globalization leaves no room for dissent. It turns any opponent into a monster, a "terrorist" or a possible harborer of terrorists.
According to Wayne Smith,

On April 27, 2005, the State Department released their annual report on State Sponsors of Terrorism. Once again, Cuba was included on the list without just cause.
http://ciponline.org

If the U.S. Government can construe Cuba as a hotbed of terrorist activity, upon Castro's death it will have the presumed support of the American people to take charge and insist on instituting it's own brand of "democracy" in the interest of the safety of American soil. The U.S. has also apparently accused Cuba recently of developing biological weapons--a fact which Castro has outrightly denied, welcoming any inspectors to come and see for themselves. It's sickening how masterful the U.S. is at painting its opponents as absolute monsters, playing on the deepest fears of Americans and relying on spin and untruth to create the conditions for "apparent" justification of it subsequent actions. Who will be the change-makers? Let's assume that a man like Fidel Castro has the best of intentions and the purest heart for making improvements in his country and in the living and working conditions of his people. What chance does such a someone have against such malicious and selfish slander?


No comments: