down in Iraq and Afghanistan, obsessed with Iran's rise as a regional
power (a direct result of the wars in the aforementioned countries),
the US State Department has woken up to the fact that South America
is in turmoil.
Their last major intervention in the region was a crude attempt
to topple the democratically elected government in Venezuela.
This was in 2002, a year before the adventure in Iraq. Since then
a wave of Bolivarian unity has swept the continent, successful
in Bolivia and Ecuador, creating ripples in Peru and Paraguay
and, above all, breaking the long isolation of Cuba. It is this
that is causing the panic in Miami.
island that has defied imperial intervention, bullying and blockade
for almost half-a-century remains an imperial obsession. Washington
has been waiting for Fidel to die so that they could try and bribe
senior military and police officials (and no doubt some well-chosen
party apparatchiks) to defect. Bush's speech of October 24 is
a sign of panic. They were so convinced that mega-bucks would
do the trick that they had not done too much in recent years.
we are told, without any sense of irony, that Raul Castro is unacceptable
because he is Fidel's brother. This is not the transition that
Washington had in mind. It's a bit rich coming from W, given his
own family connections, not to mention the fact that if Mrs Clinton
is nominated and wins, two families will have been in power for
over two decades. And dynastic politics is now so deep-grained
in official culture that it is being happily mimicked in tiny
circles (the editorial chair of the neo-con mag Commentary has
been smoothly handed over from father to son Podhoretz).
has worried the Bush brothers and their clientele in Florida
is the fact that Raul Castro has inaugurated a debate on
the island encouraging an open debate on its future.
has worried the Bush brothers and their clientele in Florida is
the fact that Raul Castro has inaugurated a debate on the island
encouraging an open debate on its future. This is not popular
with apparatchiks, but is undoubtedly having an impact.
is not only deeply unpopular but has crippled creative thought
on the island. The new opening has brought all the old contradictions
to the fore. Cuban film-makers are publicly challenging the bureaucrats.
Pavel Giroud, a well-known director, explains how the censorship
works here just like it does everywhere, except that because it's
Cuba, it's closely scrutinized. It isn't a national monopoly.
Every television network and publication in the world has its
guidelines for broadcasting or editing, and whatever does not
fit the requirements gets left out. HBO in the States refused
to broadcast Oliver Stone's documentary about Fidel Castro, because
it didn't take the focus that the network wanted. So they insisted
on another interview with Fidel. In other words, what Stone wanted
to say about his interviewee didn't matter - what mattered was
what the network wanted to show.
I prefer that a work of mine not be broadcast, rather than be
told to change my shots or remove footage. Nor am I interested
in hearing their explanations. The mere fact of being silenced
is so serious that the reason why pales in comparison, because
it will never be a good enough reason for the person who is silenced...
Banality and lack of creativity are favored everywhere.
while a tiny layer of the Cuban elite will be tempted by
the dollars, most Cubans would prefer a different model.
They will not wish to see an end to their health and education
systems, but they do want more economic and political diversity,
even though the model of the Big Neighbour under whose shadow
they live does not exactly offer that choice.
on any music video channel in the world, and you'll see that for
every artistically worthwhile video, you have to put up with several
others. the same buttocks writhing around the machista reggaeton
star, the same seductive gestures by the "in" singers, the same
slow-moving shots of love scenes at sunset, the same sheen on
the biceps, the same sensual moves, the same phony little smiles.
I think we in Cuba are definitely not the principal producers
happens in politics - there is opportunism on both sides, by the
makers and by the broadcasters. The broadcasters know that a video
full of praise for the system won't make any trouble for them,
and the creators know perfectly well that they will get on television
much faster if they write a song, produce a video or film, or
paint a picture in praise of a political figure."
Cuban system needs to be reformed is widely accepted in the country.
I have been told often that the decision 'forced on us by the
embargo' to follow the old Soviet model was 'not beneficial.'
The choice now is Washington or Caracas.
And while a tiny layer of the Cuban elite will be tempted by the
dollars, most Cubans would prefer a different model. They will
not wish to see an end to their health and education systems,
but they do want more economic and political diversity, even though
the model of the Big Neighbour under whose shadow they live does
not exactly offer that choice.
Tariq Ali's new book, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Axis Of Hope,
is published by Verso. He also wrote Rough Music: Blair,
Bombs, Baghdad, Terror, London (Verso); Street Fighting
Years (new edition) and, with David Barsamian,Speaking of
Empires & Resistance. He can be reached at [email protected]
here to order Tariq Ali books.
Other articles by Tariq Ali:
New Clashes In Islamabad
Adieu, Blair, Aideu
The Khyber Impasse
The War Is Already Lost
Venezuela And The Bolivarian Dream
A Bavarian Provocation
A Protracted Colonial War
On The Death Of Pramoedya Ananta Toer
Iraq's Destiny Still Rests Between God, Blood And Oil
A Despised Leader Suffers His First Loss
Pakistan Will Never Forget This Horror
The Logic Of Colonial Rule
A Viler Barbarism
The Price Of Occupation
The New Ultra-Imperialism Of The World
"They Think God Runs The IMF"
Imperial Delusions: "Domocracy Promotion" And Resistance
The New Model Of Imperialism: Saddam On Parade
The Importance Of Hugo Chavez: Why He Crushed The Oligarchs
Getting Away With Murder
The War Is Not Going Well For Bush