Castro finally succumbed to time, having dodged dozens of assassination attempts, an abortive invasion, a blockade, a missile crisis, and decades of animosity on the part of a colossus next door that remained overtly hostile for the whole of his tenure in the president’s chair and for all of his brother’s tenure, thus far, mild rearranging of relations of the past year notwithstanding. Dictator, yes, and a man who manufactured a bouquet of political prisoners along with other controversies, but also a man responsible for a régime that lifted his country out of the morass of inequality, ignorance and poverty that was bequeathed him by the Batista junta that preceded him and which has been the lot of, for instance, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Haiti, all of which have evolved under the tender tutelage of he Washington consensus. The jubilation in the streets of Miami’s Little Havana shows the depths of bitterness felt by those dispossessed by the revolution, and that from a coterie that profited handsomely from the privilege that kept so many Cubans in poverty. It infuriates many that Castro delivered Cuba into the Soviet Bloc, but was it not the refusal of the US to back any meaningful change that forced the Cuban revolutionaries to seek economic aid elsewhere?
One has to wonder what might have become of Cuba had there been some accommodation on the part of the US administration,, but Eisenhower and Dulles would seem unlikely candidates for cozying up to anything that looked like social progress, especially given the tense nature of relations between the US and the USSR, along with the rabid Red Scare tactics of official Washington and the general my-country-right-or-wrong attitude of the general populace.
One of the real ironies emerging from the aftermath of Castro’s death is the heat JT is taking for not condemning the man outright, when, in fact, Trudeau The Lesser is striving furiously to establish his credibility as a Free Trader and Privatizer, meaning that any dealings with a post-revolutionary Cuba would likely mirror our tarnished and tawdry dealings with Haiti, but you won’t get to read about that unless you search out the work of Yves Engler and others who’ve made it a point to document how nasty we’ve been to our Caribbean neighbours.
Oh, and here’s a little ditty that comes to mind whenever I find myself contemplating the dawn of the Trump era:
The above picture depicts a vote in Moldova to elect a president with two candidates in play, one favouring the EU as an alignment the other wanting to take the country back deeper into the Russian sphere of influence. My understanding is that here, as in Bulgaria, pro-Russian candidates have come out ahead in the voting. It could be that the Russophiles have better campaign machines, and it’s reported that the pro-EU parties are considered to be “cleaner”, i.e., less corrupt. It matters little as these seem somewhat like the familiar choice that gets presented to voters in so many jurisdictions where neither of the options is likely to yield a particularly beneficent result.
There is also the question of the information available on which to make a decision, with neither country having a particularly sparklingly clean reputation for press freedom or integrity. This flows from the lack of integrity of the background organizations, the EU and Russia: it seems a choice between one oligarchy and another under either of which small countries tend to get broken to the wheel of some sort of deep exploitation. It seems clear, in the aftermath of the US election, that many people voted against one or the other of the candidates, often with the sense that neither would be able to bring about an improvement of conditions for most of the broader part of society. Our own election of a year ago seems increasingly to have been fought mostly on a platform of smoke and mirrors, giving us a bit of a gong-show parliament in which the opposition criticizes the government for implementing the same policies that they followed for a decade, and the government plows ahead with the same destructive energy that they promised to alter with their real changes. There have been similar outcomes in Britain, and it looks as though the unSocialists in France are likely to go down in flames for having continued the Sarkozyst line of neoliberal pandering to large international business, to be replaced with some amalgam of rightist plunderers under the banner of Les Répubicains or some such thing.
There are some valiant efforts to relocalize as much of the peoples’ business, but a lot of this is being thwarted by meddling from senior levels of government who work to ensure that there is as little local economic autonomy as possible, leaving the initiatives under way as mostly debate clubs.
What happens when all and sundry find that the options are all being co-opted?
A brief post scriptum to congratulate Steve Darling on his exit from Global BC and subsequent joining of Jas Johal in the parade of press people enlisting in the Christy Clark crime syndicate. Perhaps Steve should read Laila’s List before enlisting, as we can never be too sure that those who read the news actually know what that news is, or what it means.
Just a note to say that, despite the outpourings of respect for those who fought in wars, the markets are open today as usual.
Comment from one of the wise:
I am a very privileged man. My son is the fourth generation of my family who has not fought in a war. I have family members though who have sacrificed lives, and or, their soul and families to war. For them, I remember and hold respect for them, not the politicians who created the situation they had to risk their lives to change. Please educate your child to make them aware of other people’s ways and differences and teach them to respect the lives of everything on this blue planet. Through love, respect, knowledge, acceptance of others, and equality we can make wars history. Lest We Forget.
From the lyrics bin (listen below, loud music alert)
Yes business as usual
And there’s people for sale
They’ll buy and they’ll sell you
They’ll fight tooth and nail
Cause business is business
There’s always the cry
You’re all caught up
In a network of lies