The Critical Cuban Left

I just read this In Depth Cuba Piece at Boston Review, then sent in this comment:

We need global “garden variety” democratic socialism (including workers’ gardens) that provides for everyone’s basic needs–a difficult challenge, but the only humane goal for citizens of the world. Excellent scholarship went into this piece. However, I disagree with some of your assumptions, especially the non-critical assumption you seem to make that President Castro’s or anyone’s preference for moving to the corrupt undemocratic state capitalism of China and Vietnam would be an improvement (much less moving to market capitalism, which you do not seem to advocate). The current desperation of many non-party Cubans could be worse. For a very rough apples to apples comparison of how bad things could be, one only has to look to the poor of Hispaniola, who, in contrast to Cubans, have no social safety net, to see how “marvelous” free enterprise can be. Further, if Hispaniola were the subject of a U.S. embargo and lost its trading partners, as Cuba has been for generations and did when the Soviet Union collapsed, respectively, it would be in even worse shape. Cuba has managed to do quite well in terms of economic justice, sustainability, and agricultural productivity, all things considered, which you do not give enough credence to. Nonetheless, you provide a lot of good historical information and perspective. I particularly appreciate your discussion of the brave critical Cuban left. I wholeheartedly agree with your bottom line, which I would extend to the entire planet: “Perhaps the passing of the historic generation of revolutionary leaders during the next five to ten years will create a new political landscape where collective political solutions to public problems will reemerge with new force. But the critical left cannot wait until then to resist and to lay the groundwork for a future democratic and socialist movement on the island.”

In Solidarity,

Brother Francisco

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