September 18, 2003
Habana Vieja, Cuba
Last night I picked up two books – History Will Absolve Me
– Fidel’s famous speech – and also a collection of essays by Jose
Martí. I got fairly far into History Will Absolve Me, but I put it down
for another book I just got this morning – Globalization and the Cuban
Revolution by Jose Bell Lara – which talks about Cuba’s chances of
surviving as a Socialist country in the 21st century. It’s an Editorial
Jose Marti publication and so it’s hopelessly biased, but still it
offers an interesting perspective.
I don’t blame Papa Hemmingway – I might become an addict of the mojito as well. There is definitely something about it much nicer than a gin or rum with tonic. I really think all it is is crushed lime, water, sugar, mint, and rum. Damn good though.
September 19, 2003
El Rapido 17 y 26
I’m starting to find my way around here in Habana. Most of this morning I spent reading Globalization and The Cuban Revolution at the University library hoping to find the American students, which I did not. But I did almost finish the book and Bell’s proposed opening up of the economy and focusing on the technology sector will only demand further abuses of human rights and intimidation of society to keep with revolutionary ideals. I think Frances Fukuyama was right – an ideological paradigm has been reached (liberalism, neoliberalism). The revolutions of Mexico, Cuba, Russia, China and all the others have failed or have been defeated by Neoliberalism however you choose to see it. [Progressive] change now will have to come from within the system. But what is important to realize is if all of the effort and productivity that has been dedicated to revolutions were instead dedicated to making a change through institutions of reform such as Oxfam, those changes would be accheived and a new vision of society accomplished. Bell has admitted that Cuba, still recovering from the [economic] shocks of the 90’s [after Soviet subsidies ended] cannot exist outside of the International Economic Order. If, however, it is determined to act on an international scale while remaining true to its revolutionary ideals, Cuba must be willing to shed its anti-capitalist rhetoric in order to cooperate with other states, sectors, and groups whom have been hurt by globalization. This could, though never would, include Prodestant farmers in Kansas, indigenous campesinos in Souther Mexico, drug makers in Brazil. A new revolution movement (though paradoxically working within the framework of liberalism) could potentially include University students and professors all over the world, NGO’s, the open source software community, Cuba, the United Nations, China, and active liberals all over the world. This group of diverse bodies has more than the resources necessary to exact impressive social change.
Oso: Man, you’re such a commie lover! I kid, I kid. Fidel is such a character. Had to be a law student huh. I must say that you’ve had some awesome life experiences. Have you ever thought about writing a book? I’d buy it!
I love Marti. God I love him, his poems make we weep.
I love Cubans much more than I love commies. I have written parts of three books, which I would like to publish when I am 83, the year before I die with my arms around two early 30-somethings. The first two are non-fiction: one on lying and the other on nostalgia. The third is a White Teeth-like novel about four young kids in California circa 2002, their parents, and trying to create identities based on a subculture in a society still obsessed with race and class.
I can’t claim to be an expert on anything poetic. But what Marti can do with both prose and in his hyper-eloquent essays is outta control.
Interesting post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think that another way of expressing your thought about change having to be within the system, is that social change should strive to be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary (I know, it sounds gimmicky). But it’s true. Revolution may become unavoidable if the social order becomes cruelly oppressive and sclerotic, but it is extremely costly in both economic and human terms and it can warp the national fabric. I think many of the countries in the developing world (such as Mexico and Brazil) can avoid costly revolutions and violence if the right policies are implemented.