Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Race Between Cuba and the United States

Most news and comment involving Cuba and the United States focuses on a fifty-year old standoff.  As with anything that's that old, it's bound to sooner or later become old hat.

A lengthy document posted this morning on CubaNews ( by a group of revolutionary Cubans (in Cuba), confirms what I'd intuited about Raul Castro's presidency and the relatively timid steps he has taken to loosen state control. This collective documents is a plea and a plan to steer Cuba toward "a more democratic and participatory socialism", as the next and necessary step in the revolution.

The document takes an uncompromising look at the revolution's failures, acknowledging the role played by the American blockade in creating popular dissatisfaction. But couched in language that makes unequivocal the drafters'deference to Marx, Marti and the 26th of July movement founded by Fidel and Raul Castro, this initiative has the legitimacy that has been lacking in previous efforts to modify the Cuban political landscape.

Coming in the midst of the most far-reaching economic and financial crisis the world has known since the great depression of 1929, and on the eve of a momentous American presidential election, in which the candidate favored to win is accused of socialism, this manifesto throws down the gauntlet: which country, Cuba or the United States, will make the transition to democratic socialism, putting "human beings, not the state, at the center of the national life", first.

For Cubans, it's "not the state", for Americans, it's "not the military-industrial-governmental imperium".

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