We’ve had some inflamed discussions over Che, Cuba, and left-wing activities in Latin-Am in general. To me, it’s a matter of perspective; I’ve talked to people who readily admit they support a certain person or party simply b/c it benefits their group and they have absolutely no concern for other people and how they fare.
Others have elaborate explanations of why a certain person or party is or was or would be great for the whole country. Even here, even in my school, we see discrepancies in how individuals see this country – how they assess the current situation, where they place responsibility for the situation, what they think will solve problems and be best for the country. I chat with a very conservative teacher at my school and I just love to hear him present his perspective, it is so alien to me; it’s like he’s lived on a different planet all these years.
So to find a view on Cuba or on Che that represents a kind of middle ground just isn’t going to be possible, IMHO. It’s easy to caricaturize perspectives:
“oh, the rebels took our prize stallion and we lost the stud fees that allowed us to send our daughter to the best prep schools – that has to be the worst thing that’s ever happened to anyone”
“my biggest joy in life was to avenge my father and mother by raping and pillaging the wealthy”
If you are an average educated American, the Cuban health system looks like a nightmare but if you are a Cuban slum dweller, it may look pretty good in comparison to what was available before. The average American may be willing to risk his life in a war to keep his kids from having to depend on a health system like that of Cuba and a Cuban may risk his life in war to prevent a change in the system that gives his family basic health care that was lacking under the old regime.
Personally, I think the old Cuban expatriates are crazy – sorry, I know that offends people, but those guys have built a terrible political system in Florida. Fortunately, it is disappearing and reasonable people are taking over politics in the Cuban community. It would be great if the old refugees could go back to Cuba and recapture a little of what they lost….. but just a little. They could argue with their cousins who stayed behind or something. Meanwhile, young Cuban-Americans and anyone else could start developing Cuba but without the massive gap between the wealthy few and the impoverished majority, typical of so many Latin-Am countries.
Just look at our own country and how Americans account for the so-called ’underclass’ (even the term reflects ideological forces in the intellectual community). Obama is trying to thread his way among these competing voices – good luck.
This was occasioned by a post from a Listserv quoted in part below:
<<> If any listeros have opinions regarding Che the man or the movie,
>I’d like to hear them.
>Aspects of the film and of history that are still troubling to me
>include the following:
> * The role of the CIA in the policing of the world
> * The acceptance of Fulgencio Batasta’s corrupt regime
> * The controversy regarding the quality of life in Cuba under
>Fidel Castro’s government
>It’s good to see that it is becoming easier for Americans to visit
>Cuba. I plan on going there to soak up the art, politics, food,
>music, and beauty.
>I hope this topic doesn’t stray from the usual topics. It’s just
>something that’s been a vague question mark with me for over four