Cuba, the Great Divide and Neutrality     

“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crises” -Dante

By Carlyle MacDuff

Photo: Margarita Fresco Crespo

HAVANA TIMES – It is easy to detect those who openly express in Havana Times either support for or opposition to the Castro communist dictatorship. They demonstrate the great divide between beliefs in freedom and repression.

The open supporters are disciples of 19th century Marxism/Leninism and in particular the Castro brothers Stalinist based interpretation of it, upon which the Constitution, control and policies of the Communist Party of Cuba are based.

Recently changing the words communist and communism to socialist and socialism and describing their regime as “democratic socialist” is merely a ploy to mislead the ignorant by inferring that communism in Cuba has changed.

The supporters still believe that the wishes and desires of the individual should be subjugated or eradicated in favor of treating society as a whole without individual distinction by creating a ‘mass’ or proletariat. In support of that system they talk of the need for a one-party state with the means of production and distribution controlled by the state.

History demonstrates that pursuit of such purpose creates dictatorship as the (frequently self-appointed) leader has total control and power over the mass. Conformity is imposed involuntarily. Elections are held, but only with vetted candidates all of whom support the communist party. No other political party being permitted by either the former or “new” Constitution. Citizens are thus denied any choice.

Those who oppose the communist dictatorship support societies which permit or indeed encourage individual development. They accept that this creates a society in which some progress more than others but where opportunity is open to all. They also expect and accept that a developed democratic society provides social safety nets, although opinion about the size of the mesh and the level at which such safety nets should be established varies.

Photo: Margarita Fresco Crespo

The system which they support of free rather than state-controlled enterprise is described as capitalism. Because individual opinions vary, a spread of political viewpoints and political parties develops – a multi-party system with open election based upon one vote per adult person.

There is however a third group, those who pose as self-defined neutral free thinkers supposedly able to find and accept the good and bad of each of the above systems claiming to present a “balanced” viewpoint, but who are consistently careful to condemn capitalism while finding excuse for any or indeed all, excesses within the communist system.

Such people have historically been described as “fellow travelers”, in that they seek opportunity to reduce criticisms of communism while supporting criticism of capitalism, and by so doing travel on a parallel path of fellowship to the Marxist/Leninist group while blatantly denying supporting it.

The arguments of fellow-travelers include pointing out to critics of the Cuban communist regime that things are even worse elsewhere, but carefully avoiding recognizing that they are also much better elsewhere particularly in capitalist countries.

They tread the well-worn path of the lowest common denominator. They are constant in their criticisms of the free democratic world and in particular the USA which apparently can do no good but to which countless millions living under communist/socialist regimes, seek to immigrate.

Whereas the fellow travelers harp continually upon US military involvement in other countries, they choose to never mention similar military involvement by the Cuban regime also in many other countries, or of the history of the USSR and the Soviet Empire which imprisoned thirteen countries for decades following the Second World War, denying them democracy until the USSR imploded to the relief of hundreds of millions who subsequently when then given choice, without exception, chose multi-party democracy.

Few would claim that multi-party democracy with capitalism is perfect, but its history demonstrates much greater success and higher average standards of living than any alternative. But fellow travelers would deny Cubans such opportunity, finding endless excuses for the excesses, evident incompetence and repression of the Castro communist regime.

Photo: Margarita Fresco Crespo

Therein lies the danger posed by the fellow-travelers, for they will claim that they are merely expressing reason and balance when finding cause to praise the actions of the regime. They will not condemn dictatorship when it is by the so-called socialist (actually communist) “left” but will openly condemn it when it is by the so-called “fascist right”.

They criticize the anti-communists as only seeing the political world as “good or bad” demonstrating their view that not everything (if anything) in communist dictatorship is bad nor should it be described as such. Such views ought to be compared with those supporters of democratic multi-party systems who openly condemn dictatorship of either kind.

It is notable that the third group, that of the fellow travelers, do not seek that they themselves should be subjected to the repression of a one-party communist state, but invariably choose to live where they can enjoy the rights and privileges of democratic multi-party capitalist states demonstrated by the freedom of expression which they enjoy, but which by their tacit support for the Castro regime they would continue to deny Cubans. Their claims of balance, morality and neutrality are totally bogus and humbug distortion, perhaps most accurately described as hypocrisy?

10 thoughts on “Cuba, the Great Divide and Neutrality     

  • September 1, 2019 at 12:41 am

    As a somewhat belated comment upon Manuel’s response, that he is displaying an abysmal lack of historical knowledge in saying that prior to 170 years ago, “The King owned all the land and everybody else worked for him.” Where was that Manuel? The feudal system was practiced centuries earlier only is some countries – but possibly Manuel is descended from Serfs.

  • May 21, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Capitalism is about 170 years old. Before that it was the feudal system whereas The King owned all the land and everybody else worked for him. Given that the current world population is reaching 8 billion a more equitable system of distribution of the necessities that humans need in order to live a safe and sanitary life must be of the highest priority, if we all want to survive in a safe world environment.

  • May 15, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    You have a very neat way Nick of trying to put words into the mouths of others, hence attributing to me that “capitalism’s superiority as a provider of untold opportunities and riches.” That is a typical half-truth! Yes, it is correct that capitalism provides opportunities for the individual which communism denies, but the addition of “untold opportunities and riches” is from your pen, not mine.
    Yes, I do believe – and the difference between capitalist and those communist societies which have failed to adopt it, is supporting evidence, that capitalism is by far a preferential system to the repression and denial of opportunity for the individual that is inherent in communism as pursued in Cuba.

  • May 15, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Mr MacD, you are a wholehearted advocate of capitalism’s superiority as a provider of untold opportunities and riches. But you come up disturbingly neutral on capitalism’s other habit of being a provider of a gateway to fascism.
    I think everyone knows about the capitalist paradox:
    It’s great if you are top of the heap. But some of the consequences for those at the bottom are conveniently ignored by those who, for political expediency, choose to ignore them.
    Just look at the grave social problems of some of Cuba’s Capitalist neighbours (eg: homicide rates several hundred per cent higher than that of Cuba).
    I trust my own eyes and therefore know for a fact that the Cuban Government’s claims at having a superior system are not altogether accurate.
    But I have also seen enough of the uglier aspects of this world to doubt your claims of capitalism’s total and infinite superiority.
    As Dante said ‘I love to doubt as well as know’.

  • May 14, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    The story Masschaele Tom is whether or not one opposes the repression imposed on the people of Cuba by a totalitarian regime? It is not a question of whether “things are even worse elsewhere”.

  • May 14, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    In the article above, I wrote:

    “The arguments of fellow-travelers include pointing out to critics of the Cuban communist regime that things are even worse elsewhere, but carefully avoiding recognizing that things are also better elsewhere particularly in capitalist countries.”

    In comments following the article “US Warns Companies Doing Business with Venezuela and Cuba” in this same edition of Havana Times “Curt” writes:

    For your information Olgasintanales, there are many countries there are many countries in the world with much more repressive governments than Cuba that the US is on friendly terms with, Like the Philappiens (sic) with its extrajudicial killings. Saudi Arabia with its beheadings and China which has a higher prison rate than any other country in the world.”

    Curt’s comment is a classic illustration of use of the lowest common denominator in an endeavor to defend the Castro communist regime. But in his enthusiasm, he omits to say that China like Cuba has a communist regime, Whether one would describe the relationship between the US and China as “friendly” is somewhat debatable. Similarly it is debatable whether having ones head chopped off is worse than being shot.

    I leave others to judge whether my observation was correct.

  • May 14, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    The good vs evil theory is for those who psychologically cannot move on from their childhood years ofbeing schooled in middle eastern religions theory.
    I have nothing against such religions…
    But surely rational secularism should be gaining the upper hand by now ???

  • May 14, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    In reply to Cuba, The Great Divide , the political structures of the 20th
    Century are being modify in the Advent of the new technologies now available at the speed of light. Now a medical doctor in an African village- where the jungle is- can obtain meaningful information in how to treat his or her patients. And that is a minuscule example of what can be done in all fields of human known knowledge and beyond. Thanks for your attention.

  • May 14, 2019 at 5:41 am

    I prefere to be precise instead of talking general. Cuba in 1959 was on the same economic level of Guatemala and Dominican republic according to the statistics of professor Madison. It was a corrupt dictatorship supported by the US. Most of the country was owned by American companies.
    Nowadays, despite decades of US sanctions, Cubans have a higher living standard compared to Dominicans or Guatemalans. To compare Cuba with one of the richest countries in the world which dominates much of the world economy is unfair.
    That doesnt mean i support the Cuban regime, but probably i belong to those people who see that the story isnt about the good against the evil.

  • May 13, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Very good article Mr MacD.
    A thoroughly good read.
    I know you are aware of the worrying rise of the nativist, nationalistic far-right around the world.
    So let me add to your ‘3 groups’:
    ‘Group Number 4’: In the face of the disturbing rise of the far-right, the fourth group is made up of those who frequently deny the historical and current overlap between right wing capitalism and the far-right. These links reaped terrible consequences in the first half of the 20th Century and are a seriously threat once again.
    Are you in ‘Group Number 4’ Mr MacD ?
    Are you still in denial of the existence of this historic and current overlap despite all the conclusive evidence ??
    Or are you, when faced with being entirely unable to even acknowledge this overlap, going to take this as yet another opportunity to roll out your fave Ribbentrop/Molotov smokescreen ???

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