The Cuban situation and Latin American politicsEvery so often I will post something here that I have written for another venue and is written in the context of that venue, but that I feel is pertinant to current affairs and deserves an even wider readership because of its relevance to the present local, State, national, or World situation. Today I am posting a piece I originally wrote on Where I Stand yesterday about Latin American Politics and the situation in Cuba because I think the discussion that it is already provoking and can further provoke is timely considering the present situation in Cuba.
Nick has a pretty good post on Castro, Cuba, and Latin American politics. Being a Norteamericano by birth, I do think it is much more difficult for me to comprehend the Latin political mentality than someone like Nick who was born in Cuba. I wouldn't presume to tell somebody who is from Latin America that I know more than they do about the Cuban or Latin mind. This does not mean, however, that I do not have an informed opinion, so I hope Nick doesn't mind my using his words as a springboard for my own here.
Latin America is rather friendly to leftists.
That is the understatement of the last hundred years. Hell, even some priests have been in on the leftist non-conspiracy to take over all of Latin America and have gained the censure of the Vatican as a result. I have come to believe that the reason Latin America is so friendly to to the Left, however, is because in many Latin American countries, the Right is not a part of bipartisan or multi-partisan democracy, but tends to trend toward dictatorship and to oppress its opposition. Since the Right (Bautista in Cuba, for example) tends to bend toward dictatorship, the knee-jerk reaction is to have a Left that moves in the same direction on the opposite end of the political spectrum. During the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union took advantage of this phenomenon, with the Soviets proping up Leftists oppressive dictators, and the Americans propping up Rightist ones. With a few notable exceptions, many countries in Latin America have trouble keeping a democratic government in place because they have never really known one.
I want to see Fidel dead more than most, but I cringe when I think of the "transition" period. Cubans in Cuba are afraid that Cubans in America will overrun the place. This is a sentiment that has been furthered by the fact that Cubans in America have every intention to go in and overrun the place.
There is likely a great deal of truth in this, but where can the line be drawn? There were and are, in fact, many Cuban families in the U.S. that were run out by the Castro/Communist regime there. When that regime is finally gone, would it be right to tell them "well, you can't go home now?" Its a legitimate fear, though. The trouble is going to be how to deal with the situation. I doubt there is an easy answer.
1. Fidel's death will bring instability to Cuba.
2. Instability will disperse power and break the tenuous hold of "the party".
3. Cubans in America are wealthy, powerful, motivated, and have been walking in the desert for 40+ years waiting for the 90 mile causeway to open up.
Is number two necessarily a bad thing? Seems to me that you can't have a real free government unless the hold of the Party is broken. When the instability does come to Cuba, someone will come along and fill the vaccuum. The great question will be who will that be and is it someone who will want to be a dictator or be a beacon of freedom?