Thursday, February 3, 2011

How Cuba is (and is not) like Egypt (IV) - Web Roundup

The Cuban blogosphere has exploded with talk of Havana and Cairo, Cuba and Egypt, with everyone reading the tea leaves and opining as to "why doesn't it happen in Cuba."

What follows are links to a number of stories each of which has a slightly different take on that very question:

How Cuba is (and is not) like Egypt.
"Why doesn’t something like this happen in Cuba? Given that our government has been in power longer and the economic collapse has become an inseparable part of our daily lives? What prevents us from taking the path of civic protest? Of exerting peaceful pressure from the streets? Egypt has shaken our docility and the courage of others has forced us to face our own apathy, in this nation where time is measured in “Revolutionary” commemorations of long-past events, tucked in the yellowing folders of the bureaucrats.

"The theory of brave peoples versus cowardly peoples is simplistic. There is no gene for rebellion and one can’t predict when discontent will reach its boiling point. Since 1959 speculation on this long and narrow island has been fueled by Tarot cards, Ouija boards, rhyming quatrains, fortunetellers, babalaos and prophets. Faced with the omens of a future that never comes, millions of Cubans have summarized civic activity in one morose verb: To wait.
"They cherish the illusion of a quick fix, of going to bed one night in a country without human rights and waking up the next morning in democratic Cuba. When waiting continues to be prolonged far beyond the expected time, many choose to conjugate the verb “to emigrate” or, alternately, opt for the brief and laconic syllables of “to remain silent.” But to throw themselves into the streets? No. Because the dark asphalt of the avenues belongs to whom? Since we were children we’ve been told the answer: To the Revolutionaries, to Fidel Castro, to the Communist Party. They would have us believe that to protest in public against the layoffs of a million workers, the high cost of living, or to demand the resignation of a cabinet, are actions possible only outside our borders. They have claimed the streets, our streets.

"...even though Cairo is very far away, there are too many similarities between Cubans and the faces we saw on the March of One Million. Many of us feel that those who chant against Mubarak on the other side of the screen are calling out to us, making us ashamed of our inertia."

1 comment:

  1. The grievances in Cuba are similar to those in the Maghreb region: rampant corruption, vast unemployment, repression, generalised poverty, etc; so why they do protest and we don’t? It is simply shameful.
    But I believe, since a change down there has been long overdue, the question is neither WHY nor IF, but WHEN will the shit hit the fan.
    I’m a pessimistic -a cynical one might add, but as the old saying goes, “Church ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings”.