Cuba, sí y no

I thought I was going to have to keep this private, just between you and me. I know that posting it in a blog, i.e. on the internet, makes it available to practically the whole world, but that's just a theoretical possibility. In fact, only a few people drop by, and fewer of those linger long enough to read, so since you've got this far, I'm confident that I'm talking to somebody serious. Here's the story: I'm fed up with Fidel, but I don't want to come anywhere close to the crowds who are usually calling for his downfall.

I love the Cuban revolution, or at least, what I understand it to be, and its potential. A commitment to universal health care and education, narrowing income disparities, standing up to the US and those institutions -- IMF and World Bank, especially -- that have ruined other economies in the continent, those are really good things. But 44 years exceeds anybody's notion of term limits, don't you agree? And there are serious failures in the system, materially (the housing crisis, for example) as well as politically. Maybe socialism is possible on one island, but it is not possible without free speech and press. That's not a moral position, but a pragmatic one. To survive, a socialist country in a capitalist world must find the best choices of people and policies, with scarce resources, and that can only happen through lively debate. Good people, people who can and are trying to contribute to that revolution, are being excluded from such debate, silenced or driven into exile. I know these things, and I know some of those people -- friends of mine still on the island -- but with the reckless missile-throwers in Washington, encouraging even an opening in free discourse on the island gets seized upon as a license for war, and such a war will destroy all the good things and a lot of good people in Cuba.

But I see this as a sign of hope: a project called Memory, Truth and Justice. Especially, I wish Osvaldo Payá success, because if peaceful reform fails, the rigid system in Cuba will become so rigid and so fragile that it will simply crack, and all the good things will be lost.