Modifications to a Cuba Political Map

Erasmo Calzadilla 

I’m going to exercise my neurons a little by modifying the map of the Cuban political environment that Haroldo Dilla proposed in a Havana Times article.   I’m making a few changes so that it better reflects my points of view and interests.

I would like for it to accommodate as much as possible by locating the political positions of the rulers of the island; but not with them being a point of reference (like on Haroldo’s map).

From my point of view, the key word that identifies the left (at least one of them) is “participation,” not passive but active, in creating their own living conditions and we can break down participation into its economic and political components.

Like Dilla I divided the plane into four quadrants with a pair of perpendicular axes: one for “political participation” and the other for “economic participation.”

In the region that in mathematics we would call the third quadrant (the bottom left, where economic and political participation are simultaneously reduced owing to the presence of monopolies or prohibitive laws), here we find totalitarian regimes: North Korea, fascist states, neoliberal governments, and the Cuban model – until just yesterday.  Almost no one wants to live under one of these regimes except for those who benefit directly from the circumstances and certain people in a state of temporary insanity.

To the side of this, in the fourth quadrant (the bottom right), I locate the zone of political freedoms but not economic ones.  I believe that the welfare state is accommodated here: the monopolies do their jobs, they earn money, and this doesn’t run counter to a high level of civic participation, not as long as the power of the economic consortia isn’t threatened.

A large group of Cubans would love to live under such regimes.  When they’re able to visit or reside in a nation with these characteristics, they feel free because they can express themselves, meet, criticize, etc., and with a much wider margin than what they could on the island.

In the second quadrant (top left) lies the kingdom of economic freedoms but not political ones.  This can arise when very closed systems are presented with financial problems and, in order to solve those, they allow certain freedoms in the area of private businesses.  This relates well, in my view, to what’s happening in Cuba at the moment.

To many Cubans this is enough for them to feel good as enterprising people who aspire to an opportunity to prosper based on their own initiative.  They don’t mind (at least at the beginning) being obedient or paying high taxes.

The first quadrant (the top right) is an aspiration, the ideal.  All those who seriously want emancipation, all those who cannot tolerate a boot on their neck, that aspire to freedom in both senses, because one is truly impossible without the other.  This does not represent the sprouts of freedom that grow at the feet of the powerful, nor is it about living at the expense of others.

This has been no more than a very simple exercise, a modification to Dilla’s political map to attempt something that could not be done previously due to the characteristics of his graphic.  Here I tried to locate Cuba’s current ruling elites, who are said to be on the left.


Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

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4 thoughts on “Modifications to a Cuba Political Map

  • I’m glad that at least the “neoliberal governments” as you put are “totalitarian states”. Because they are – (neo)liberal capitalism successfully tricks the people by telling them that the “throne” is always empty, while the economic power is the one telling the rules.

  • Erasmo if you use sketch please consider to put the left on the left side and add the right to the right side in the top left corner, than you can adjust tha blue and the red dot excactly in the center, it makes more sense and is neutral to look at it. Western style economic have its problems, not everything is gold as it seems to be, yours Hans

  • Erasmo, Actually the red dot should not be that high as in the diagram. The cuban economical system is still very monopolistic and very much control by the elite. If one will think the zero value on the y axis should correspond to a balance 50/50 money between the money produced by the state owned enterprises and 50 percent of the income produced by the private enterprises. I seriously doubt they have gone over that line in fact they just inch a little bit to the top of the position they were before. They still have so many restrictions to private enterprising that it will be impossible to cross that line.

  • Hmmm! Your diagram seems to exist in an Euclidian flat-land; but what if such a universe was really a speherical one, like Lobachevskian geometry? Then the lines of libertarianism and anarchism would intersect. The likelihood of this ever coming to pass, however, is the same as the likelihood of koo-koo cloud-land coming to exist! Still, “be careful for what you wish–it just may come into existence,” but may result in unexpected–and disasterous–consequences!

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