Thursday, August 30, 2007

Change in Cuba. Or not.

The seemingly never-ending but always entertaining debate in the US media on whether anything has (or will) change in Cuba now Fidel Castro is near death continues.

This time, it’s an article in The Christian Science Monitor, under the headline, "Prisoner releases under Raul Castro raise hope for Cuba".

And sure enough, a raft of American-based analysts and Cubanologists are quoted at length about the recent release of a couple of political prisoners by the Castro regime - and what it means.

Their views range across the spectrum, as you would expect.

At one end, we have Prof. Jaime Suchlicki, head of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami, who says there is no evidence of any real let-up in the repressive nature of the Castro regime.

Anyone opposed to the Communist Party continues to be harassed and terrorised.

At the other end is our old friend Wayne Smith, from the Centre for International Policy in Washington and a one-time head of the US Interest Section in Havana.

Mr Smith is of the view that the recent release of some political prisoners is a welcomed trend of things to come under the slightly younger Castro, although whatever happens, he says, will be happening “very, very slowly”.

You will not be surprised to hear that he blames the slowness of these changes on the US.

"The Bush administration's nasty noises are part of the reason for things moving slowly," Mr Smith told the paper, adding that more political prisoners would be released if only something “positive” came out of the US.

Read the article here.


Blogger Henry Gomez said...

You know what would make the US look really bad. If Raul Castro released all the political prisoners unconditionally, liberalized the economy, made opposition parties legal, put the media in private hands and called for for free elections. I'm quite sure the US government's current policy toward Cuba could not last too long under those circumstances.

12:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I take it that deciding to observe elementary human rights "very, very slowly" is OK, then? How progressive. How liberal. How perfectly reasonable. Yes, indeed, Castro II is the man for the job. So was Castro I, of course, but he's a bit indisposed just now.

If Ian Smith had promised to end apartheid in South Africa "very, very slowly," I trust Mr. Smith would have been equally tolerant, understanding and sympathetic. Otherwise, that would make Mr. Smith a contemptible hypocrite, and one can hardly imagine such a thing. I'm sure he's just a selfless humanitarian, just like all those upright writers and intellectuals who once sang the praises of Stalin. Such lovely people.

6:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my comment above, "Mr. Smith" refers to Wayne Smith, not Ian, in case that wasn't clear.

12:28 am  

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