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Blog // Thoughts
August 5, 2006

Cuba And How To Sound Imperial

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud reading today’s New York Times report on Condalezza Rice’s address to the people of Cuba (In Broadcast to Cubans, Rice Tries to Calm Fear of Invasion). The fact that Rice even needs to make such an address, or that it is reported in those terms speaks volumes. It […]

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud reading today’s New York Times report on Condalezza Rice’s address to the people of Cuba (In Broadcast to Cubans, Rice Tries to Calm Fear of Invasion). The fact that Rice even needs to make such an address, or that it is reported in those terms speaks volumes. It is hard not to be cynical when faced with words like,

‚ÄúThe United States respects your aspirations as sovereign citizens,‚Äù Ms. Rice said. ‚ÄúAnd we will stand with you to secure your rights…

Ms Rice, was that “stand with,” or “stand over?”

It seems certain that the Castro-era of Cuban history will come to a close soon and without wanting to sound like an apologist for that “revolution,” I do really fear for the future of Cuba. In particular I fear it will become what it was in the pre-Castro era, a corrupt vassal state. Moreover, I fear Cuba will not be able to do what it needs and deserves; choose its own destiny.

Ms Rice’s comments reflect the persistent assumption that the US has a right to “help” Cuba develop its “democratic” structures (i.e., intervene), a throwback to the colonial-era of world politics and something that is hard to square with the claim of being non-imperial. My whole lifetime the US has been relentlessly tightening the screws on Cuba. What right does it have, now, after those years to impose or suggest anything about rights, freedom or democracy after so many years of saying, “you made the wrong choice?”

Put simply, if the US wants to stand “with” the people of Cuba it can lift the sanctions. The future of Cuba and its potential for good governance and avoiding unrest lies in a stronger economy and better trade. Of course, the sanctions will not be lifted till Fidel has left this earth, how does that serve the people of Cuba?

I’m not convinced when people claim the US is now an empire, in the sense that Rome was an empire; it isn’t. But, at certain points in the past 50 years it has come close to adopting that position, but always pulled back. I hope the US continues to resist the imperialist urges of its minority in favour of a more world-embracing outlook. The rhetoric and actions in the coming months with regard to Cuba will be the clearest example we have as to whether the US has, in fact, embarked on the road to empire, or not.

[tags] Cuba, Castro [/tags]

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Responses
John Lunt 16 years ago

And who cares about Cuba. The status quo is fine for now.

royd 16 years ago

Fernando,
my fear is that this is one of those times when the US is coming very close to adopting the position of “Empire” and that the forces to pull back are weaker than those pushing it forward…

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