Stopping a moment for station identification
- The CubaNews list has had a gratifying increase in readership in recent
weeks, some of which is probably connected to Fidel Castro's illness so
it's probably a very good time to remind readers of these messages about
the goals and purposes of this list. It's been in operation since late
August 2000 and we've sent out well over fifty thousand news items from,
about or related to Cuba. The pace will only continue now that Fidel's
illness and its consequences are evoking so much public discussion and
debate about Cuba and U.S. policy toward Cuba. on the front page of the
CubaNews list's website, the following statements appear, which give an
indication of some of the editorial selections made, and my opinions as
editor of the list. From time to time it's useful to recall these again.
PURPOSE: To bring to the attention of people concerned with Cuba a
wide range of news and information about the island, the Cuban
community abroad, Cuba's international relations, and related topics.
The list provides many resources to assist you in learning about
Cuba, its politics and society. The primary language of this list is
English, though some Spanish material is sent from time to time.
PARTICIPATION: Your participation is welcome. This is primarily an
information service for people who support Cuba's right to
self-determination. The first step needed to secure Cuba's
sovereignty is an end to Washington's blockade against the island and
to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba, both
economically and politically. Such discussions as we have are usually
conducted with these goals in mind.
MODERATION: This is a moderated list. The moderators decide who can
subscribe and post. However, anyone concerned about U.S. policy
toward Cuba, such as activists against the blockade, is welcome.
This list can be high-volume at times, so be aware of the option to
receive a daily digest, or a more selective list. For details on
that, please write to: CubaNewsemail@example.com
LEAD MODERATOR: This list is moderated by Walter Lippmann, a Cuba
solidarity activist based in Los Angeles, California. You can learn
about his views on Cuba through the writings at his website:
Personally, I do not belong to any political party. My father and his
parents lived in Cuba from 1939 to 1942. As German Jewish refugees from
Hitler's holocaust, they weren't able to enter the United States until
they received visas to do that. They waited here in Cuba for those
three years while the United States government strictly enforced an
extremely restrictive quote on Jewish immigration to the United States.
Those who've seen the movie VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED, which portrayed life
on the St. Louis, the ship which wasn't allowed to enter the U.S. or
Cuba in 1939, have an idea of how lucky I am that my father was able
to come and live here with his parents. As soon as they were able to
get to the United States, where I was both conceived and born, they
did so. My interest in Cuba life and history has been informed by the
family history with which it is linked.
The CubaNews list is conceived and operated primarily as a service to
people who follow Cuban life, culture, politics and its extention into
the international dispora of Cubans. There was one before the Cuban
Revolution, and another since then. I have always believed that the
Cuban Revolution was and remains a good thing in that it finally got
the island its independence. At the same time, while Cuba's revolution
provided many good things for its people, among them free health care,
free education, extremely low-cost housing and so on, a high price has
been paid to retain these things. Washington's blockade of the island,
that is, its attempt to starve and bludgeon the country and its people
into overthrowing the revolutionary government, has failed, as can now
be clearly seen in light of Fidel Castro's illness. Yet Cuban society,
with its many positive accomplishments, also has many problems and
contradictions as well. These are things which Cubans need to be able
to solve on their own.
So long as the United States government continues to try to force
U.S.-style politics, and other U.S-style social, economic and cultural
policies on Cuba, such as by retaining a military base here on the
island against the will of its government and people, and so long as
Washington refuses to normalize relations with this country, as it
has more-or-less done with China and Vietnam, it will be substantially
harder for Cubans to deal with and resolve the problems which this
country continues to have. Cuba is and remains a model of what can be
done to confront a situation of extreme adversity. But Cuba is not a
model of what a just society should look like when considered in a
generalized manner. I firmly believe that each country has a right to
its own destiny, and that includes Cuba. The CubaNews list is a tool
for those who are interested in following the Cuban story, and trying
to better understand it.
This is why the CubaNews list has always posted materials from a wide
range of sources: from the Cuban government, to the U.S. government.
the Cuban media and the Miami media, the left and alternative media,
and many others, whenever they seem of interest. Just because an item
is posted to the CubaNews list doesn't mean that anyone either endorses
or doesn't endorse it. It's all there for the readers information and
it is my hope readers will find it informative and helpful.
It's been my choice and privilege to be the main contributor to this
list from the very beginning. You can take a look back at the very
first messages here and get a sense of how far things have moved:
Written contributions from others are welcomed and encouraged so do
not feel shy if you have a question or suggestions to help make this
service even better.
My hope and goal with CubaNews is that its readers will do whatever
they can to help Cubans to solve their own problems in Cuba as they,
the Cuban people see fit. Because CubaNews is a moderated list, such
discussions as are held here are mainly designed to clarify and to
deepen out understanding of the process which is going on here in
this country. As a foreigner who is fortunate to be able to visit
and work here, I try to keep this understanding clear at all times.
I'll be returning to Los Angeles in a couple of weeks, from which
vantage point I'll continue with this work. It's been a remarkable
time here. Fidel's illness really hasn't changed anything in Cuba in
terms of the way Cubans live their daily lives. I've looked around
and have continued walking around here a lot. Those who think that
the "Castro regime" as they like to refer to it has come to an end,
are welcome to that thought. However, it's been replaced by, well,
the "Castro regime", if that's how they want to refer to it. Cuba
has been changing since January 1, 1959, when the Revolution first
came to power. It will continue to do so.
NOTE: The CubaNews list began on August 26, 2000, not long after
the successful rescue of Elian Gonzalez and his return to his home
and family here in Cuba. Our seventh year should be even more
interesting. I welcome all readers to work with is to deepen out
understanding, and thereby to strenghen our solidarity.
August 16, 2006