Saturday, August 05, 2006

Cuba, democracy and communism

For me, Cuba = Fidel Castro. So, as the news of his temporary inability to continue got highlighted in the media, I was wondering, as most people probably are, what next ? I don't know.

If I listen to US Government spokesperson, Castro is just Saddam in a different country. He is evil, people are just waiting to get out, and so on. Sounds familiar. Just about the only thing missing is an American foreign secretary showing satellite photographs to UN Security Council.

If I listen to the Cuban (and friendly media), Castro is God in human form, a person who really cares about Cuban people, etc. Sounds very familiar too.

Obviously, both of them can't be right. Or can they ? I wish world was black and white that I can identify who is lying and who is not. I guess the truth lies somewhere well in between.

Here in India in the pre-1991 days, we had socialism of a sort. It had its bad points: though officially there was no political control, there was only one DD channel, and that telecast mostly crap and propaganda throughout the day; if you apply for a telephone, you need to wait for 3 years; if the phone goes dead, it might take a month or so, to get repaired; to buy a Bajaj scooter, there was a waiting queue of 5 years. On the other hand, if you were having the right job (bureaucrat, politician), you could get things easily and probably freely too, paid for by tax payer. So, everything was made artificially scarce to most, and available in hands of few. Result was inefficient Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and corruption.

But, we existed. We survived. We changed when we had to change. Now, we are ready to take on the world.

So, what is the beef with the US that it can't tolerate communism in Cuba. There is a dictum that "people get the government that they deserve". If Cubans are ok with it, then what is the harm ?

I just had a Market Research class and there we looked at the importance of objectivity when conducting a study. I think the US should not listen too seriously to the people who emigrated (escaped, ran away) - they are biased, and with an axe to grind. You cannot say you support the people of Cuba, and at the same time, impose sanctions, travel restrictions and business restrictions.

I perceive it to be the arrogance of US that it tries to sanctimoniously preach to other countries over democratic values, human rights, and respecting international opinions that it itself can't follow. Democracy must come bottom up, and I still believe that the miracle of the past century has been India becoming democratic and staying democratic. Imposing democracy when people are not willing to take responsibility for their own actions like in Iraq, Palestinian Authority, and other places will backfire. You cannot do that unless there is a popular support.
It is time for the US to get its priorities in order.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home