Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nicolette Bethel on the Cuban Revolution

Bahamian anthropologist Nicolette Bethel makes some astute observations on the significance of the Cuban Revolution:

"In many ways the Cuban revolution parallels Haiti’s, which succeeded 155 years earlier, and the success of each revolution depended as much in many ways on the reactions of the countries beyond as it did on the will of the people within the nation. Haiti’s revolution ended in abject poverty and long-term chaos for that nation — not because of some inherent flaw in the idea of freedom for slaves and descendants of Africa, but because of the intolerable demands placed on the nation by the slave-owning countries around it. Cuba’s is sliding into poverty, but despite the best efforts of the Cuban exiles in Miami, and despite the fondest wishes of those who believe Communism is an unworkable system, chaos has not yet begun."

"I am not a communist. However, I am fundamentally an admirer of Castro’s Cuba because Castro achieved what the rest of this region, with all its variable riches, cannot even imagine achieving: a sense of self in a post-colonial world, a justifiable sense of pride in that self, and an understanding of the place of oneself in history — all of which are rare in the post-slave societies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries."

Read the rest of the article here.

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