Cuba e-news #278 - Responses to ZMag Article
I get more than thirty articles each day regarding Cuba. My agreement with
Cuba e-news subscribers is to limit my submissions to no more than one per
day. For those of you that want more news than I am publishing, you might
want to write to Global Exchange and get their weekly collection of
articles. Contact Caryn at:
If you wish to receive WAY more than that, let me know.
One of the things I like about e-newsletter readers is that they insist on
accuracy. On this point, my recent e-newsletter, containing an article by
Peter Bohmer in ZMag, created a bit of controversy (Cuba e-news #277 - Cuba
Today, a ZMag Perspective). I am including two responses that I received,
one from a reader in Canada and one from a reader in Cuba.
Cass in Canada asked ZMag:
Who is this Bohmer? In his article "Cuba Today" he has included Cuban
exile disinformation positioned as though he was paraphrasing Fidel
Castro's own words in his "Without Socialism" speech. I found and reread
"Without Socialism" to see if anything remotely similar was said. No.
He says Cubans without access to USDs are struggling to survive. There
are no such Cubans. The currency exchange, CADECA, has counters in all
major population centres and will buy or sell USDs for around 20 pesos to
I would not jump quite so quickly to the conclusion that peter has erred.
He is a leftist of about thirty years experience, a close and old
friend, currently IN CUBA and thusly for many months. He has extensive ties
there, and knowledge relevant to the situation.
He is unreachable at the moment, there, but teaches at evergreen univ
when in the us.
Michael Albert is sysop@....
Julián in Cuba makes these points:
Gary's Cuba e-news brings to us today an article from a good friend of
mine. He is living in Cuba at this moment, he is an old leftist and I
consider him a good friend of Cuba, even though there are some aspects in
his article that I don't agree with. I expect to talk with him about these
He says that in Cuba there is not a discussion of what socialism is, and I
ask you and him, "What is important today when the so-called 'real
socialism' has fallen: to discuss what socialism is, or to demonstrate that
socialism exists and that it is a real option?" I'm sure that what the
world needs is to see that there is an alternative to the system of
inequalities provided to us by neoliberal capitalism, and it is not so
important if it is called socialism or something else. And understand me,
that I'm convinced that the system we need is socialism, but that is not so
I don't agree with him about the asserted difference between the people
that have access to US dollars (USD). IN CUBA EVERYBODY HAS ACCESS TO USD
(Pardon the capital letters but it seems it is very difficult for people to
understand this). In Cuba everybody can buy USD legally at a rate of around
20 pesos for 1 USD. The differences that have been introduced by the
economic reforms, which we were obliged to introduced in Cuba, are that
some people receive more income than others. This is not only because of
USD. It is because today people who have private properties, like the
peasants, can have bank accounts for millions of pesos, and normally they
only use Cuban pesos. This is the real problem, one that is very similar to
the problem of any other country in the world.
Why did we have to get to this point? Through trying to protect all that we
had achieved in a world where we awoke one day in the 90's to the collapse
of the Soviet Union; and through the efforts of the USA with laws like
Torricelli, Helms-Burton and others to destroy our social project.
Today we have resisted all this. We are recuperating against the isolation
of almost all the governments of the world, but only with the help of all
the people of the world. I'm sure that there will be time to solve all
these problems of differences among our people, principally because we have
a system and a government convinced of what we have to do. Be sure that we
are not only worried about the differences among Cubans, but also about the
differences in all the countries around the world. It is in our efforts to
do away with all these differences that we are sure that the sacrifices we
make today are valuable.
Hasta la Victoria Siempre