I'm a liberal Cuban-American born and raised in Miami, Florida. Yes liberal Cuban-American liberals in Miami do exist! :D We are not all right wing zealots. Unfortunately our voices are silenced in much the same way as the liberal voice is silenced in America overall. The conservatives control the media.
I've been thinking about Thom’s conversation with Chris Hedges and a caller from two days ago who mentioned organic farming in Cuba. It got me thinking about the Cuban Revolution and what Americans can learn from it. There are obvious parallels between what happened in Cuba and the lead up to the Revolution to what is going on now in the USA. I’m hoping Thom would have an hour long discussion about the pros and cons of the Cuban Revolution. I’m hoping he can bring a guest on, that can explore the Cuban Revolution without painting either side in black and white terms.
To start off I’m against the embargo. It’s a failed policy that has only resulted in the Cuban people being hurt. Neither do I want the Cuban government overthrown. I want the Cuban people living in Cuba to decide their own fate. What I would like for Cuba is the same thing I want for the USA, a balance between capitalism/socialism and less authoritarianism.
Americans can learn from the Cuban people on how to evolve and survive based on limited resources. Organic farming as the caller pointed two days ago is something positive that came out of the negative impact of the embargo. However, following Latin American politics I disagree with the caller that the Castro brothers are providing a model for change in Latin America. I don’t see Latin American countries adopting a hard-line Marxist-Satanists centralized government approach. Outside of Hugo Chavez I don’t see private property being seized. As far as Chavez goes I don’t believe he’s being completely motivated by ideology, but rather as revenge for Bush attempting to overthrow him.
However, Thom’s assessment of the Cuban community in Miami, which he spoke about with the caller is still sadly based on stereotypes. I acknowledge the right wing element that exists in the Miami Cuban community, and the unfortunate role Cubans played in Watergate and the JFK assassination. However, radical actions conducted by a minority of people, should come to represent the majority. It’s the same as judging all Americans based on the actions of the Neo-Cons or Tea Party.
I believe it’s important to point out that not everyone who has left Cuba, has done so because they supported Batista or were wealthy. It’s been over 50 years since the Cuban Revolution; the majority of Cubans who have left the island at this point had no ties to wealth and privilege.
In addition not all the wealthy left the island or approved off Batista. I know this from my own from my own family’s experience. My grandfather came from a wealthy Cuban family. My grandmother came from an upper middle class Cuban family. They both lived in the well to do suburbs of Havana. My grandfather was educated in the USA. He saw the difference between living in a democracy and living under a dictatorship. As a result my grandparents along with my 2 year old father made the decision to leave Cuba in 1953 and live a modest middle class existence in the USA. They gave up give up all their wealth and privilege to live in a democracy. They became life long Democrats. Ironically my family members who were into wealth and social status stayed behind, living out the remainder of their lives under the Cuban Revolution.
I’m proud to have Cuban ancestry, but my emotional loyalty is with the USA. I travel in liberal and lefty circles in the USA, Latin America and Europe. I know the reasons that Fidel Castro is seen as a hero. He’s one of the few people in the past 50 years to defy the American power elite and get away with it. However, watching the American middle class being destroyed by the elites I have also come to understand the causes Cuban Revolution on an emotional level like I never did before.
I’m angry about what is going on in the USA. I’m angry at the banksters creating the financial meltdown and being bailed out. I’m angry that the Neo-Cons who engaged in war crimes are still free. I’m angry these thieves and thugs haven’t been held accountable. Lastly, I’m angry that the elites have managed to corrupt every level of our democracy, thus preventing necessary reforms to save our economy.
As much as the American Right Wing and Cuban Right Wing like to scream about communism and socialism, they are creating the very atmosphere where a Left Wing Revolution could materialize. I would like liberals and lefties in the USA to discuss the possibility of what that would look like.
As a liberal my preference is for non violence. I believe we should attempt a third party movement and have massive amounts of civil disobedience. However if those peaceful attempts fail at reforming our democracy, I can only conclude that the only way out this mess is through a violent uprising of some kind. That’s why, IMO, it is important to discuss the Cuban Revolution, to avoid some of the same pitfalls. The pitfalls I’m talking about is the authoritarian nature of the Cuban government. I also fear that same authoritarianism manifesting itself if god forbid the Right Wing were to over throw the government.
Again it’s too simplistic to paint all Cubans who left the island as the elites who supported Batista, those elites are a mere fraction of the millions who have left for various reasons over the past 50 years. Travelling in lefty circles I also realize that North/South Americans and Europeans have a tendency to dismiss the people who left as weak. I say the same thing to them as I do the people who support the embargo. Unless you're willing to live under those same conditions, and make those scarifies, it’s wrong to ask the Cuban people to do the same. I would also ask that the left wing be open minded enough to hear out the grievances of those who left and not dismiss it as mere propaganda.
I think it’s important for the Left to understand, that some of the right wing zealots that have resulted in the Miami Cuban community are not solely based on losing one’s wealth and privilege but, rather anger as a result of being mistreated or having their family members being mistreated by the Cuban government in some fashion.
How do we avoid those pitfalls in the future if there were to be a Left Wing Revolution in America? How do we make sure not to allow our anger at the establishment turn us into a movement of vengeance? How do we bring back a balance to our democracy, without hurting innocent people or creating long term enemies along the way? I would hate for my grandkids in 50 years to be writing about Right Wing Americans living in Canada trying to undermine the Second American Revolution.
I would also ask the Right Wing to be open minded enough to hear the causes of the Cuban Revolution in the first place, because they are supporting the same policies here in the USA.