Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Elections in Peru, but what about Cuba?

Peru has elections in April and this site has material on this (although much of it is in Spanish). The rising candidate seems to be another populist military man and admirer of Hugo Chavez: Ollanta Humala. Recent elections mark a rejection of neo-liberalism. But in Cuba there have not been competitive elections for a very long time, but eventually perhaps sooner than many expect there will be elections in Cuba. It is possible to see why Cuba still attracts sympathy and support in Latin America as discussed in Castaneda’s Utopia Unarmed.
The extent of popular support in Cuba for the Communist Party must be questioned. The issue here is partially economic, but we could also point to the violations of human rights identified in this statement by Noam Chomsky and others, and this report by Human Rights Watch. More fundamental is the type of social control and surveillance described by one dissident:
"Those who don't live in Cuba find it difficult to understand that the system maintains its political control principally through self-repression. Every Cuban has a built-in policeman. This complex mechanism whereby one assumes the conscience of a hunted person has been developed and perfected for almost 40 years. To those who see it from afar, it is almost imperceptible....". I suggest that a reaction against this system of control will drive Cuban Communism's electoral defeat. Post-Soviet Russia experienced economic collapse, social disintegration and the large-scale articulation of the emergent capitalist mode of production with pre-capitalist modes such as slavery manifest in sexual trafficking. But they did not vote for the Communists. Here I draw on Stephen White's How Russia Votes, this book shows that in 1995 the one thing Russian voters were glad to see the back of from the Soviet era was the system of surveillance and social control and this was a major reason why the Communists lost. This is why Cuban communism will lose, then like other Latin American communists they will recast themselves as social democrats and win the election after that.


At 3:46 PM, Blogger John Murney said...

A brilliant observation!

At 3:47 PM, Blogger John Murney said...

With your permission, I would like to run this article on my blog - is that OK? I really think it is a great article.

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Geoff Robinson said...

Certainly you can run it. Here in Australia the main far left group are Cuba devotees unfortunately


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