It is far from being paradise …

– some thoughts on what is called populist success story.

Yes, it is far from being paradise …

… even if 可欣 wrote the other day

In my impression, Cuba is the place of beautiful scene and people. It’s a good choice … . Although my impression is only come from the movies. But I believe the beautiful sea and sunshine will be very helpful for good mood.

And indeed

 

…, yes, I enjoyed my stays there. And the small and large things: mainly people, chatting with them about their life – the ordinary and extraordinary. Language …, well a challenge as I do not speak Spanish, they do not speak … – well, they speak Spanish. Trying, Italianising the Spanish, Spanishising the Italian … The small and the large: the view across the ocean, walking along the Malecón, early in the morning, remembering the history of resting the USA – which in one way or another was a bit my personal history, and the monumental waves, sometimes reaching high, pushing the water across the dual-carriage way of the promenade. …

But on the occasion of my visits I did not only enjoy the scenery, the most exciting, vivid culture, the openness of the French ambassador, opening with the artists a mural on the walls of the embassy and … well, I experienced the difficulties, some but by no means all caused by the embargo, saw the poverty but also the pride, the commitment and hope of so many people whom I joined for the celebrations of the first of May – yes, some had not been too excited about getting up at three or four in the morning, and still they turned up, most if them committed.

Not paradise – this was also the topic of the very open, and very … confrontative debates for which I had been invited at the Centro de Investigaciones de Política International, and also the other year at the Instituto Superior de Relaciones Internacionales “Raúl Roa García”

Anyway, there is something we may think about, ca. one week after the elections in one of my ex-home countries which got the criminal B, back onto the main stage, and one day after the elections in Cuba. Admittedly there had been some banal hitches before the elections, not denied by the Cuba’s National Electoral Commission (NEC).

But there is another thing: the elections, the electoral process can well be taken as an anti-populist warrantor. Again, no paradise … but have a look, here in comparison of the system in Cuba and the USA.

The decisive aspect – as the little study states – is that

Cuba has different mechanisms to ensure popular participation both as electors and candidates.

Important is not only the high level of representation in Cuba, and the fact that it is truly a bottom-up process but also that it is very much about a discursive process not parties standing against each other but candidates developing on the local level together with the people their common programme. Well, there may be a bit of Jesuit-Franciscan element: elections understood as part of the camminare insieme, part of the work-walking together. Doesn’t such approach take much of the soil on which populism grows away: the soil of competing for power to govern the people, allowing to establish a solid ground, on which the people stand together?

– In this light many of the evaluations that had been published last week – looking at

Fear, Loathing And Poverty: Italy After The 2018 Elections

or asking the EU

When Will They Ever Learn?

and observing

Italy’s Ides of March

– have highlighted some relevant socio-economic issues, however they failed to acknowledge that democracy is not about serving the people but about the people saying and doing.

See in this context as well earlier, general reflections on populism and as well here.

And here more recent news on Cuba.

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Annunci

not the US alone

While the devastation in the US makes the world-news, it is easily overlooked that Imra meant as ravage also for others. But before, another note is worth to be made: While Trump prefers continuing bis aggressive course, others are there to help and

Texas Governor Accepts Aid from Mexico for Hurricane Victims

Now to Cuba – it is interesting also as it shows that the embargo does not even respect humanitarian needs.

Mensaje de Raúl Castro al combativo pueblo de Cuba

Mensaje íntegro del General de Ejército Raúl Castro Ruz, Presidente de los Consejos de Estado y de Ministros de Cuba, sobre la etapa recuperativa en el país tras el paso del huracán Irma.

Llamamiento a nuestro combativo pueblo

El huracán Irma, con su fuerza destructora, arremetió contra nuestra Isla por más de 72 horas, desde la mañana del 8 de septiembre hasta la tarde de este domingo. Con vientos que sobrepasaron en ocasiones los 250 kilómetros por hora, recorrió el norte del país desde Baracoa, castigada también por otro fenómeno de este tipo hace casi un año, hasta las inmediaciones de Cárdenas.

Sin embargo, por la inmensidad de su tamaño prácticamente ningún territorio se libró de sus efectos.

Calificado por los expertos como el mayor huracán formado en el Atlántico, este fenómeno meteorológico causó severos daños al país, los cuales, justamente por su envergadura, aún no se han podido cuantificar. Una mirada preliminar evidencia afectaciones en la vivienda, el sistema electroenergético y la agricultura.

Además golpeó algunos de nuestros principales destinos turísticos, sin embargo las afectaciones serán recupe­radas antes del inicio de la temporada alta. Contamos para ello con los recursos humanos y materiales requeridos, por constituir una de las principales fuentes de ingreso de la economía nacional.

Han sido días duros para nuestro pueblo, que en solo pocas horas ha visto como lo construido con esfuerzo es golpeado por un devastador huracán. Las imágenes de las últimas horas son elocuentes, como también lo es el espíritu de resistencia y victoria de nuestro pueblo que renace con cada adversidad.

En estas difíciles circunstancias ha primado la unidad de los cubanos, la solidaridad entre los vecinos, la disciplina ante las orientaciones emitidas por el Estado Mayor Nacional de la Defensa Civil y los Consejos de Defensa a todos los niveles, la profesionalidad de los especialistas del Instituto de Meteorología, la inmediatez de nuestros medios de comunicación y sus periodistas, el apoyo de las organizaciones de masas, así como la cohesión de los órganos de dirección del Consejo de Defensa Nacional. Mención especial para todas nuestras mujeres, incluyendo las dirigentes del Partido y el Gobierno, que con aplomo y madurez dirigieron y enfrentaron la dura situación.

Las jornadas que se avecinan serán de mucho trabajo, donde volverá a quedar demostrada la fortaleza de los cubanos y la confianza indestructible en su Revolución. No es tiempo para lamentarnos, sino para volver a construir lo que los vientos del huracán Irma intentaron desaparecer.

Con organización, disciplina y la integración de todas nuestras estructuras, saldremos adelante como lo hemos hecho en ocasiones anteriores. Nadie se llame a engaño, la tarea que tenemos por delante es inmensa, pero con un pueblo como el nuestro ganaremos la batalla más importante: la recuperación.

En este momento crucial, la Central de Trabajadores de Cuba y la Asociación Nacional de Agricultores Pequeños, junto a las demás organizaciones de masas, deberán redoblar sus esfuerzos para borrar lo más pronto posible las secuelas de este destructivo evento.

Un principio se mantiene inamovible: la Revolución no dejará a nadie desamparado y desde ya se toman medidas para que ninguna familia cubana quede abandonada a su suerte.

Como ha sido costumbre cada vez que un fenómeno meteorológico nos golpea, son muchas las muestras de solidaridad recibidas desde todas partes del mundo. Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno, organizaciones políticas y amigos de los movimientos de solidaridad han expresado la voluntad de ayudarnos, lo que agradecemos en nombre de los más de once millones de cubanas y cubanos.

Enfrentemos la recuperación con el ejemplo del Comandante en Jefe de la Revolución Cubana, Fidel Castro Ruz, quien con su permanente fe en la victoria y férrea voluntad nos enseñó que no existen imposibles. En estas difíciles horas, su legado nos hace fuerte y nos une.

Raúl Castro Ruz

La Habana, 10 de septiembre de 2017

Days of sadness …

But not only – looking forward from here, should also make us looking back

A movie theatre with a marquee reading “Thanks Fidel” as the late Fidel Castro’s ashes are driven through the country in a caravan, in Santa Clara, Cuba

reminding us what is important, essential:

“I think the rest of the world can learn from the way the system is designed in Cuba,” said WHO regional adviser Sonja Caffe.

As Cuba mourns its epochal, revolutionary former leader Fidel Castro, on World AIDS Day 2016, the country still stands in the top ranks for working to combat the disease — owed greatly in part to Fidel’s socialized system of universal healthcare. …

….

And in times where the rest of there world moves the other way …- this will be maintained … that is what Isabelle replied to me from Havana the other day:

… Be sure the country will  keep his legacy. Is an incommensurable lost. My gratitude for your condolence. …

 

old …

, it only means that the legacy we have to carry on is even larger, and the new threats against the country from the old enemy have to been fought thoroughly …

Fallece Fidel Castro, líder de la Revolución Cubana, a los 90 años

***

Cuban Revolutionary Fidel Castro Dies at 90

It fills me with great sadness and I wish the country well on the way to keep his legacy. And I see it as great challenge for all of us who are on the side of humanity and humane progress.

Realities and perspectives of the progressive and leftist processes in Latin America

In the context of the XIII Conference of Latin American Studies “Realities and perspectives of the progressive and leftist processes in Latin America”, taking place from today until the 21st of October 2016 in Havana, Cuba, an article I read recently, comes to my mind.

It is about the US Blockade on Cuba being ‘Genocidal’ and the fact that it also violates international law and the human rights of Cubans – so the statement of The National Union of Cuban Jurists.
My small contribution to this debate is concerned with reflections on
Reactivating Existing Traditions for Progress
Indeed, the question of today is very much about finding a specific independence of opening economies – counteracting the American strive for another occupation of foreign terrain.
Then, approaching crisis analysis in a more complex way, we detect as one of the fundamental issues the frequent trend of reviving traditional forms of economy and society. This can be seen as matter of the grand narratives of historical development (the renaissance may be seen as one of the most pronounced ‘steps’) but also as matter of the narratives of the medium range.
Currently this pattern should be closely observed, encouraging us to make use out of the current developmental stage and crisis by way of analysing the contradictions of the mode of production. What is usually termed as industry 4.0, fourth industrial revolution and also uberisation and emergence of the big-data-society is surely a double-edged sword. In any case, this ambiguity means not least the emergence of potentials for new spaces of societal practice that allow the creatively-productive integration of economy and social activities on the one hand and the development of individuals in their communities and societal development on the other hand.
Referring to the French Theory of Regulation and the Theory of Social Quality, the contribution will suggest some perspectives for global development, where actually countries from the global periphery can develop an avant-garde position. At the centre, we the following topics will be looked at:
* Politics of New Technologies
* Precarity or a new work-life balances
* Wealth – Redistribution versus New Production
* Local and Global – Development in one country or many different worlds
* Small is Powerful – Potentials for small countries and niche economies.
Matters, narratives of the grand narratives of historical development, the narratives of the medium range and the present moment, merging at times.

“Interesting times” we may say …

“Interesting times” we may say …

… and we may say that “probably every generation, every era was in its own terms an interesting time” …

but in any case we, at least not all of us can dance it away:

“Frankly speaking I am a bit afraid”

“Ich weiss nicht, wie es weither geht”

“Ho paura!”

Yes, every generation …

****

It may appear to be about details – and these are forgotten, overlooked details – and they are details by way of being

the concrete … [being] concrete because it is the concentration of many determinations, hence unity of the diverse.

As such they are part of the long history of imperialism, colonialism ….

Today it is for instance visible in the fact that the 6 richest countries of the world host only 9 % of all refugees.

Old colonialism went fro a kind of crusades, violently occupying foreign territory; the new colonialism presenting itself as “humane” by closing borders; like the old fascism, gasifying people in concentration camps, compared with its modern form of gasifying populations as we learn from the FT-Brussels briefing, Duncan Robinson stating on the 20th of July:

A conspiracy that started in a “cosy hotel” in Brussels ended in the EU’s biggest cartel fine, after the European Commission handed five truck makers a €2.9bn bill. Senior managers from Iveco, DAF, Volvo/Renault, Daimler and MAN fixed prices and delayed the introduction of emissions-reducing technology. MAN’s decision to blow the whistle was the best financial decision the German group has made in years: it dodged a €1.2bn bill as a result.

Back to the obvious colonialisation in its new dress. Indeed, as the OXFAM-media briefing contends

This crisis is far too big for any one country to solve alone. To save and protect lives, governments worldwide must act together and responsibly. In a couple of months the United Nations and US President Obama are holding back-to-back summits in New York to address this unprecedented situation. These summits are opportunities for rich countries to commit to offering refuge to far more refugees than almost all have done to date, and for all countries to improve the way people forced to flee are treated, and provide them with a dignified future.

Thinking about this, we surely have to go beyond the sole “distribution of surplus”, moving as close as possible to production. And though Imagining a New Bretton Woods, is still not much more than a Modest Proposal, it may be one of the first steps towards radicalisaiton …

Furthermore, and importantly mind: … the concrete is part of the solidarity against this system of global exploitation – the weak showing their strength by “giving more than they have themselves”

Community Doctors: A look inside Cuba’s medical scholarship program

****

The idea of inner colonialisation is usually seen in close connection with Rosa Luxemburg – it is, in a nutshell, the idea of the permanent and ongoing “primitive” or “original accumulation” as we know it from instance from Smith and Marx.

And we may think about it by recalling the occupation of the Americas by the White Settlers – the harsh reality that stood behind the kitschy and euphemistic images of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, presented by Karl May – and looking today at their conservative successors – peacefully dumb (sorry for ads – the clip itself is German/English); and aggressively taking over power (sorry for ads – the clip itself is German/English)

****

“Frankly speaking I am a bit afraid”

“Ich weiss nicht, wie es weither geht”

“Ho paura!”

– And there are enough who have good reasons to be afraid – for instance Erdal. Or Thuli Madonsela

And there still is something we, in the jobs of teachers and researchers have to do, resisting the permanent and ongoing inner colonialisation: We cannot take the fear away, but we have to teach about the conditions under which fear develops, searching together for ways to change this reality …

… living trustfulness as matter of accepting the other and supporting confidence – as condition for being active, for resisting

… as matter of Dreaming of a Butterfly becoming possible and true, rising against eagles and vultures …

… this way we may be searching and finding together with others – colleagues and students valuable people, truly acknowledging the value of people.