“I was chosen to defend, maintain and continue to perfect socialism, not to destroy it”

A bold message from Raul Castro in response to demands from the US that changes be made in Cuba before moves to ending the embargo can begin. Great to see that the determination of the Communist Party of Cuba to defend and improve upon the gains of the revolution remains as strong as ever.


11 Responses to ““I was chosen to defend, maintain and continue to perfect socialism, not to destroy it””

  1. Mack Says:

    Great to see that the determination of the Communist Party of Cuba to defend and improve upon the gains of the revolution remains as strong as ever.



    Cuba is a one party state. Raul Castro was chosen or at best rubber-stamped. How can they object to free elections and capitalist parties standing? If the people continue to vote for the Communist Party that is fine, but I can’t see how defending authoritarianism is great.

    Do you believe in Democracy?

  2. Garibaldy Says:

    Hi Mack,

    Interestingly, The Guardian report of this same story translated it as I was elected rather than I was chosen. I had nearly altered the translation to say “elected”, but decided to leave it.

    I do believe in democracy of course. And I would like to see conditions in Cuba develop where the process of liberalisation that has been going on for some time and accelerating of late accelerates still further. However, the democracy that I believe in is different to that motivating the US Act you refer to. Firstly, that Act itself is an attempt by the US to impose its will on other countries, and not just Cuba. A violation of democratic pricnciples in itself. Secondly, the democracy I believe in extends beyond the limits of democracy as it is practised in places like the US. Democracy, as I understand it, extends into the social and economic sphere. No country that has homeless people or where access to healthcare is dependent on wealth is democratic in my view. And thirdly, why does Cuba have the system it does? The Cuban people support the Revolution. But we might also discuss the presence of a US base there against the wishes of the Cuban people; US facilitation of terrorist attacks on Cuban for nearly 50 years; the fear of invasion; the track record of Cuba’s enemies in the region who have shed far more blood and violated democracy much more than the Cuban Revolution. Etc Etc.

    I want to see those conditions removed so changes can occur in Cuba that extend freedoms while preserving the gains of the Revolution, and extending them.

  3. Mack Says:

    Garibaldy –

    I think he was elected alright, but in a one-party state where the media are controlled by the ruling party. There are large numbers of Cubans who do not support the Communist party residing in the US, I would imagine they are within their democratic rights to petition their US representatives to take a particular line with Cuba. To be honest, I don’t know much about it (Cuba), or have particularly strong opinions about it. The US does have cordial relations with other one party states (even Communist Parties), so I accept their may be an element of hyprocisy in their stance but remember their large Cuban population and it wasn’t that long ago that Cuba hosted nuclear missiles pointed at them. I do care very much about democracy though, it’s one of our greatest achievements.

    Your broad definition of democracy obfuscates the issue somewhat. Those are worthy goals, but clearly Cuba is not a democracy – Ireland despite homeless is (and despite our homeslessness we do not have large numbers of desperados attempting to flee the island on makeshift boats). The EU, where we reside, also wishes to see Cuba transistion to a pluralist multi-party democracy. Mr. Castro also had a message for them too.

  4. Garibaldy Says:

    It’s not a perfect system Mack, as the Cubans acknowledge themselves. There is as you say a huge amount of hypocrisy here from the US in continuing to target Cuba unlike say Vietnam. Of course part of that is to do with the Vietnamese willingness to open up more to foreign investment and capitalism. Cuba on the other hand refuses to tow the line as much as the US would like, and is punished for it. Which might be fair enough, except the US then tries to impose its will on other countries too. The nuclear missles were moved to Cuba after the Bay of Pigs invasion, and removed after the missile crisis. The flip side of that argument applies too of course.

    Given Ireland’s history of mass emigration, the fact that for most of the last century the southern state could be seen to be a failing state, never mind the north, are you really going to raise that comparison? Irish emigrants mightn’t have fled – or indeed flee given the way things are going – on rubber tyres, but only because they didn’t have to.

    As for the EU. It contains governments that gave pensions to Nazi veterans, and seeks to impose its will on other countries too, albeit to a lesser extent than the US. And my broad definition of democracy I woul say doesn’t obfuscate anything. It instead highlights the hollowness of the system under which we live, where a vote once every five years is supposed to make exploitation, poverty and the economic oppression of the developing world ok.

  5. yourcousin Says:

    Are you suggesting that members of the Wehrmacht should not have received state pensions even though they were serving in the national army?

  6. Garibaldy Says:

    I have no objections to the Germans giving their own people pensions YC. I do object to other countries giving pensions to people who fought for the Nazis.

  7. yourcousin Says:

    Fighting for the Third Reich is okay if one is German, but say, ethnic Germans from the Sudatenland should not receive pensions because they were technically part of another country, although annexed by Hitler prior to the proper start of the war?

    I understand you were only making an offhand comment, but it really does defy logic.

  8. yourcousin Says:

    Oh, what about Poles fighting in the Russian army? Do they fall under the auspice of this argument of fighting for other countries? Or is this argument based soley upon the ideology that fighting for facism is simply beyond the pale?

  9. Garibaldy Says:

    I don’t think that states that suffered under the Nazis, who with their local collaborators, for example wiped out the local Jewish population should pay pensions to those local collaborators. I don’t think that is an outrageous position.

  10. yourcousin Says:

    You’re moving goal posts here. The “local collaborators” would not typically be “Nazi veterans”. And maybe at this point we should clarify what we mean as this may be the cause of our disagreement. I take “Nazi veteran” to mean someone who fought under the German military who may not have been a German national.

    I would agree on your point about say a local mayor who rounded up individuals for deportation and extermination. I remember in the Black Obelisk by Erique Remarch he talks about the very fact that a someone coming out of a concentration camp crippled for life would have a much more difficult time collecting a state pension than the man who put him there. And even if he did manage to get it, it would only be a fraction of said perpetrators pension.

    I suppose that is my point. Should Russian officials who deported the Chechen nation be given state pensions? So a Finnish soldier should be demonized because he fought against the Soviets after they had launched an attack on Finland?

    I want to reiterate that I’m not trying to make a mountain out of molehill as I broadly agree with you in what you’re saying, but the statement really does defy logic.

  11. Garibaldy Says:

    I don’t think that either the Russian or the Finn should be denied a pension. But I do think that people from other countries who fought for the Nazis should not get a pension from their native governments. If the German government wants to pay them a pension, that’s up to them. I can see how the original statement I made was badly worded. I hope this is clear.

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