Re: terror linked to freedom instead of poverty?

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Tue 16 Nov 2004 - 03:55:46 GMT

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    --- edace <> wrote:

    > > From: Scott Chase <>
    > >
    > > My recent hobby horse has been the history of the
    > > relationship between the US and Cuba. In the case
    > of
    > > Cuban exile extremism and the acts that could be
    > > construed as terrorism against Castro and other
    > > perceived enemies, I don't think that relative
    > > political freedom is a factor since the exile
    > > extremists live in the US and are as free as
    > anyone
    > > else in the US. They are also fairly affluent as a
    > > group, which would rule out the factor of poverty
    > and
    > > looming privation. I'm not sure how oppression
    > plays a
    > > role in the generation of the rabid anti-Castro
    > > mindset. Maybe some exiles are the product of past
    > > oppression in Cuba if they were imprisoned and/or
    > > exiled by Castro or fled after the revolution was
    > > hijacked by Castro. Some of them, if part of the
    > > Batista regime, may have been oppressors
    > themselves
    > > when the shoe was on the other foot. They might
    > also
    > > look at Castro as an oppressor responsible for
    > holding
    > > Cuba down for his own gains and feel an indirect
    > sense
    > > of oppression since they still have family members
    > and
    > > lost estates in Cuba.
    > The key factor here is narcissism. Cuba was the
    > last Latin American country
    > to overthrow Spanish rule. As other Latin American
    > countries threw off
    > their colonial masters, the former elites migrates
    > to countries where the
    > Spanish still ruled. By 1898 Cuba was brimming with
    > aristocrats from all
    > over the Americas. At this point, it looked as if
    > Cuba too was going down
    > the toilet to revolution and democracy. Lo and
    > behold, the US intervened in
    > the revolution just prior to its inevitable victory
    > and claimed Cuba as its
    > own. Thus the US became the new Spain. The
    > aristocrats toadied up to the
    > US just as they had to the Spanish. It would be
    > another 60 years before the
    > Cuban revolution would finally occur, and the
    > aristos headed north to
    > Florida (where they are currently influencing US
    > elections!)
    And not too long afterwards the USSR took the mantle from the US, which the US had taken from Spain. Though not a colonial master over Cuba, the USSR kept its economy afloat and when Soviet communism fell, the Cuban economy all but collapsed. Did the Soviet Union do much to pull Cuba away from its sugar based economy? Didn't Che himself feel a need for Cuba to diversify?

    Granted the US embargo has played a role in Cuba's woes, but Castro's strong role in central planning and keeping too much foreign influence from wrestling control over the island have been detrimental. It's like there's a double wall around Cuba. The inner wall is the Castro brothers regime and their ideological/economic stranglehold. The outer wall is that of the US embargo (especially as Helms-Burton has clamped down since 1996 during the post USSR collapse of Cuba's economy).

    You might want to concentrate on the outer wall and the detrimental effect that the US has had upon Cuba with its strict policies, but to be fair we might want to also consider the inner wall created by Castro and his regime. Dissent hits an ideological brick wall (or prison wall?). What's the good of widespread literacy if people can't think for themselves without worrying about the thought police.

    In some ways Cuba's plight under the Castro brothers parallels that of North Korea under the Kim dynasty. Both countries have stagnated beneath autocratic dictatorships practicing modified Soviet doctrines and are scared to death to let outside influences penetrate their ideological walls. Where North Korea has an abundance of portraits of Kim, Cuba has some Che icons to represent the revolutionary ideal. The biggest difference in that, unlike North Korea, Cuba no longer represents much of a threat to anybody but itself.
    > The aristos are people who feel they are entitled to
    > rule and to be rich whi
    > le others toil without hope in conditions of
    > near-starvation. Justice, to
    > them, means they remain in the upper class while the
    > lower class caters to
    > their needs. Injustice is when the lower class
    > gains a measure of equality
    > and prosperity. This is known as malignant
    > narcissism. The aristos are
    > vulnerable to memes that exploit their narcissistic
    > mania. This doesn't
    > mean they harbor "narcissistic memes" but simply
    > that memes ordinarily
    > considered irrational and absolutist are perceived
    > as perfectly reasonable
    > in the context of their clinical narcissism.
    I hope you're not characterizing the entire Cuban exile community this way ("clinical narcissism"?). Surely the first to leave after the revolution were not only Batista's cronies but the elites in general, the professionals who could do for themselves, which reminds me of the brain drain Ayn Rand depicted in
    _Atlas Shrugged_. Others were disillusioned revoluionaries who once saw promise in a post-Batista Cuba but then saw the way things were going once Castro assumed the reins of the revolution. Much later Cubans came on the Mariel boatlift and they were an assorted mix of politically oppressed, artisans, and some criminals, but not to the stereotyped extent one sees on _Scarface_.

    If it wasn't for some of the affluent exiles sending remittances back to family members in Cuba, the island's economy would be that much closer to collapse. It takes quasi-capitalist reforms to keep the island's economy and Castro afloat. The tourism industry is, in addition to remittances from the exiles (once called "worms" by the Fidelistas), one factor in greasing the economic machinery after the Soviet Union fell and Cuba lost a major source of trade.


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