Friday, April 20, 2007

Out of the woodwork

The recent visit to Havana by the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Miguel Angel Moratinos, appears to have started something of a debate in Europe about how best to deal with the Castro regime.

And much as expected, the Castro apologists are out in force.

The latest commentary comes from Stephen Wilkinson, who is described as “an academic and journalist specialising in Cuban culture, politics and economics”.

A regular visitor to the island since the mid 1980s, Mr Wilkinson has written an opinion feature for the left-leaning British daily The Guardian in which he calls on the government of Tony Blair to follow Madrid's example.

Referring to the Moratinos visit as a breakthrough, he says the time has come for Mr Blair’s administration to drop its existing lukewarm approach towards Cuba and proactively “engage” with those fun-loving Castro brothers.

“Instead of adding insult to the injury of its present policy, Britain really ought to be doing all it can to enhance its relations with Cuba, not the opposite,” he concludes.

After all, there is plenty of money to be made in Cuba by British firms ...

Of course, Mr Wilkinson is entitled to his opinion - and those regular trips to Havana.

But you may be surprised to hear that in his commentary he mentions the words “human rights” just once. And only in passing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt that all of Wilkinson's activities in Cuba during his various trips, especially those of a private and/or potentially compromising nature, are extensively and graphically documented by the government (as is the case with everybody like him who visits Cuba).

I venture to speculate that one day, when the state security archives are opened and their slimy contents exposed, it will become quite clear why a horrendous dictatorship had so many advocates who should have known better.

12:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily see anybody who is for dialouge as "advocates of Castro", instead they are just people with different visions of the world and people with different versions of history and of conflict resolution.

There is no conspiracy , just many academics have a different view of the world than 'commoners' and they have a natural bias toward 'the little guy' -- in this sense cuba is seen as country fighting us giant.

Academics also have a clear bias toward dialouge and relativity ...

So the "out of the woodwork", in my opinion, is not some conspiracy (to be exposed on the state security archives) - its just that some people have differing views of reality.. and biases toward or against capitalism.. this is a longstanding difference, which will not be solved anytime in our lifetimes..

Castro regime, while certainly horrendous and violator of human rights, will always be looked at differently by different people. It is not like Nazi Germany, although many of my fellow cuban american collegues think it is. I think this way basically from my interactions with cubans on la isla.

to my surprise, many ordinary cubans (in fact, especially the working class) endear Fidel and think its b/c of the revolution that they are 'educated'. They are brainwashed, i agree, but that's how many common cubans feel. How can we deny that?

6:24 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is always possible to have radically different views on practically any subject. It is possible, for instance, to believe or claim that the Jewish Holocaust did not happen or that it was greatly exaggerated. The fact that there are people today who take that view does not make it respectable or valid--but yes, it is possible to think that way, even though it does not change the truth.

The same applies to Cuba. What "intellectuals" or academics think or claim is their business (as well as their responsibility, sooner or later), but they have absolutely no authority to tell those who really know the Cuban reality from personal experience how that reality should be seen, interpreted or handled. They still presume to do so, of course, out of arrogance, ignorance and political bias, but that does not alter the truth (though it can distort and obscure it to those who do not know any better, or don't want to know).

Nobody, no matter how famous or exalted, has the right to pontificate about Cuba unless he or she has truly lived in the belly of the beast and has the scars to prove it. Not a Sartre, not some Hollywood celebrity, not Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and certainly not this Wilkinson person.

1:15 am  

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