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Help: US and Cuba

Roger in Sheffield 30 Jul 00 - 09:10 AM
kendall 30 Jul 00 - 09:20 AM
Greg F. 30 Jul 00 - 09:40 AM
canoer 30 Jul 00 - 09:53 AM
InOBU 30 Jul 00 - 09:55 AM
Lena 30 Jul 00 - 10:08 AM
Little Hawk 30 Jul 00 - 10:31 AM
Roger in Sheffield 30 Jul 00 - 10:54 AM
Alice 30 Jul 00 - 10:55 AM
kendall 30 Jul 00 - 11:19 AM
Greg F. 30 Jul 00 - 11:26 AM
Roger in Sheffield 30 Jul 00 - 11:51 AM
catspaw49 30 Jul 00 - 03:43 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 30 Jul 00 - 04:53 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 30 Jul 00 - 04:57 PM
GUEST 30 Jul 00 - 05:25 PM
Greg F. 30 Jul 00 - 05:54 PM
GUEST,The Yank 30 Jul 00 - 07:48 PM
GUEST 30 Jul 00 - 08:46 PM
kendall 30 Jul 00 - 09:53 PM
DougR 30 Jul 00 - 10:52 PM
GUEST,Barry Finn 30 Jul 00 - 11:21 PM
InOBU 31 Jul 00 - 07:44 AM
kendall 31 Jul 00 - 08:06 AM
Little Hawk 31 Jul 00 - 09:56 AM
Mrrzy 31 Jul 00 - 09:58 AM
DougR 31 Jul 00 - 05:58 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 31 Jul 00 - 06:20 PM
DougR 31 Jul 00 - 08:38 PM
Rick Fielding 31 Jul 00 - 09:16 PM
DougR 31 Jul 00 - 10:01 PM
catspaw49 31 Jul 00 - 10:10 PM
Little Hawk 01 Aug 00 - 12:21 AM
thosp 01 Aug 00 - 12:42 AM
Little Hawk 01 Aug 00 - 12:58 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 01 Aug 00 - 05:33 AM
Lena 01 Aug 00 - 06:15 AM
InOBU 01 Aug 00 - 06:43 AM
GUEST,The Yank 01 Aug 00 - 08:26 AM
InOBU 01 Aug 00 - 11:28 AM
Kim C 01 Aug 00 - 11:46 AM
DougR 01 Aug 00 - 04:38 PM
InOBU 01 Aug 00 - 04:51 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 01 Aug 00 - 06:27 PM
DougR 01 Aug 00 - 07:05 PM
InOBU 01 Aug 00 - 07:34 PM
DougR 01 Aug 00 - 07:38 PM
Little Hawk 01 Aug 00 - 09:42 PM
DougR 02 Aug 00 - 02:24 AM
Art Thieme 02 Aug 00 - 11:54 AM
Greg F. 02 Aug 00 - 12:48 PM
kendall 02 Aug 00 - 12:51 PM
DougR 02 Aug 00 - 01:32 PM
canoer 02 Aug 00 - 02:10 PM
Little Hawk 02 Aug 00 - 02:42 PM
MAG (inactive) 02 Aug 00 - 02:54 PM
Little Hawk 02 Aug 00 - 07:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Aug 00 - 09:33 PM
DougR 03 Aug 00 - 01:56 AM
InOBU 03 Aug 00 - 07:26 AM
InOBU 03 Aug 00 - 07:28 AM
canoer 03 Aug 00 - 09:37 AM
Little Hawk 03 Aug 00 - 11:37 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Aug 00 - 12:53 PM
DougR 03 Aug 00 - 02:19 PM
Little Hawk 03 Aug 00 - 02:26 PM
canoer 03 Aug 00 - 03:20 PM
MAG (inactive) 03 Aug 00 - 03:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Aug 00 - 05:33 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 03 Aug 00 - 05:44 PM
DougR 04 Aug 00 - 12:00 PM
canoer 04 Aug 00 - 01:34 PM
Roger in Sheffield 04 Aug 00 - 02:02 PM
DougR 04 Aug 00 - 02:40 PM
DougR 04 Aug 00 - 03:04 PM
canoer 04 Aug 00 - 03:21 PM
Roger in Sheffield 04 Aug 00 - 04:44 PM
DougR 04 Aug 00 - 04:53 PM
thosp 04 Aug 00 - 05:00 PM
DougR 04 Aug 00 - 05:04 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 04 Aug 00 - 05:10 PM
Little Hawk 04 Aug 00 - 05:32 PM
thosp 04 Aug 00 - 05:53 PM
DougR 04 Aug 00 - 06:25 PM
Little Hawk 04 Aug 00 - 06:30 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 04 Aug 00 - 06:55 PM
thosp 04 Aug 00 - 07:06 PM
thosp 04 Aug 00 - 07:10 PM
DougR 04 Aug 00 - 07:51 PM
thosp 04 Aug 00 - 08:05 PM
DougR 04 Aug 00 - 10:52 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 05 Aug 00 - 08:00 AM
Little Hawk 05 Aug 00 - 08:25 AM
Roger in Sheffield 05 Aug 00 - 09:37 AM
InOBU 05 Aug 00 - 09:40 AM
DougR 05 Aug 00 - 01:00 PM
Alice 05 Aug 00 - 01:10 PM
DougR 05 Aug 00 - 03:21 PM
Little Hawk 05 Aug 00 - 04:57 PM
Lonesome EJ 05 Aug 00 - 05:18 PM
InOBU 05 Aug 00 - 05:53 PM
Lonesome EJ 05 Aug 00 - 06:01 PM
Lonesome EJ 05 Aug 00 - 07:05 PM
Alice 05 Aug 00 - 07:09 PM
catspaw49 05 Aug 00 - 07:52 PM
DougR 05 Aug 00 - 07:57 PM
Greg F. 05 Aug 00 - 10:02 PM
Greg F. 05 Aug 00 - 10:12 PM
DougR 05 Aug 00 - 10:46 PM
Lonesome EJ 05 Aug 00 - 11:31 PM
Little Hawk 06 Aug 00 - 12:36 AM
InOBU 06 Aug 00 - 12:36 AM
Greg F. 06 Aug 00 - 08:32 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 06 Aug 00 - 05:07 PM
Lonesome EJ 06 Aug 00 - 05:38 PM
InOBU 06 Aug 00 - 06:40 PM
Greg F. 06 Aug 00 - 07:17 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 06 Aug 00 - 08:42 PM
DougR 06 Aug 00 - 08:46 PM
GUEST,The Yank 06 Aug 00 - 09:10 PM
InOBU 06 Aug 00 - 09:23 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 06 Aug 00 - 10:01 PM
Lonesome EJ 06 Aug 00 - 10:38 PM
DougR 06 Aug 00 - 10:57 PM
Little Hawk 07 Aug 00 - 01:18 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 07 Aug 00 - 12:03 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 07 Aug 00 - 12:30 PM
Lonesome EJ 07 Aug 00 - 02:29 PM
Little Hawk 07 Aug 00 - 03:13 PM
Lonesome EJ 07 Aug 00 - 03:19 PM
Lonesome EJ 07 Aug 00 - 03:29 PM
Lonesome EJ 07 Aug 00 - 03:39 PM
InOBU 07 Aug 00 - 04:39 PM
Little Hawk 07 Aug 00 - 04:49 PM
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Subject: US and Cuba
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 09:10 AM

This is a serious question. Why are there still sanctions?
It seems like elsewhere in the world there is dialogue and commitment to resolving conflict so why has the US got a blind spot as far as Cuba is concerned?
just wanted to know.....

Roger


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: kendall
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 09:20 AM

I'd also like to know. We "suck up" to those repressive leaders in China, why not Cuba? Sanctions dont work, apparently, most Cubans are happy with Castro (except those who were living high on the hog under Battista). I was in Cuba in 1956. It was a cesspool of corruption with the Mafia running every immoral activity you could name. It's time to wise up.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Greg F.
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 09:40 AM

Easy one. The politicians (particularly conservative Repubs: "Godless Communism, you know!, but Dems. as well) suck up to the Cuban Exile community for the sake of a few votes. Notwithstanding the exhile community are the descendants of and heirs to the folks running the cesspool, above.

Thus are the interests of the U.S. (which, by the way, in crass coonservative Republican sell-the-workers-out-to the Corporations style, could make a fortune trading with Cuba) subverted to garner votes & win elections. Q.E.D.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: canoer
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 09:53 AM

The sanctions are both a punishment for Cuba's trying to take an independence from the forces of international capital; and also a steady pressure to force Cuba to go the route of China, Russia, East Germany, et. al., and re-open to capital investment in the way capital wants to invest.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 09:55 AM

Well, as I said in a post a little while ago, this land of liberty will not suffer a successful socialist state in this hemisphere, espcially, as in Chile, if it is the result of popular election. We, (not living in a police state, of cource) will assasinate leaders of any nation which gets in the way of our propaganda.
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Lena
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 10:08 AM

Can I quickly ask if all the money that it's being made from selling albums after Wenders'Buena Vista Social Club is ending up in sanctions to US?!Arghhhh!! I think it's also partly because it's a bit of a forgotten place.Not much of public opinion's pressure there.But do you think that,if sanctions were away,Cuba would have capital to manage and actually get out of Communism and get a western tourist mecca more than ever?! Or is it really that US can't let go a nation being visibly happy of communism?!(I mean,US did every sort of thing to Italy for decades to put down Communism.For what I've seen,it's a personal allergy they have..). Ops,I was meant to be quick.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 10:31 AM

Well, this is a very timely subject. I'm Canadian, and I just spent a week in Cuba, the happiest and most wonderful week of my entire life thus far. If the American population knew the Cubans as I do, a million people would march on Washington and demand an end to the US embargo, and shut the damn place (Washington) down until said embargo was lifted. Cuba is a very fine country. They provide free medical treatment on a completely equal basis to all members of the population, and it's good quality medical treatment. They provide free education right to the end of university to anyone who can get the marks and show the ability. They have virtually eliminated illiteracy. I have been in other Lztin American countries, where I saw horrific poverty, homelessness, corruption and desperation. In Cuba I saw no homelessness, no begging, and less police on the street than I see in Canada. I saw a people who are deeply proud of their sovereignty and their struggle for freedom. Batista was a vicious dictator who killed 20,000 people by torture and execution during the Cuban revolution, while the USA supplied him with money, guns, tanks, and helicopters. Batista's best friends were the American mafia, and the big American corporations who owned just about everything in Cuba while the Cuban people lived in misery and abject poverty. Castro beat them with nothing but rifles and machine guns against tanks and helicopters. After Batista fled the country, Castro's revolutionary government put the worst of his henchmen on trial and executed 74 of them, notorious killers and torturers who were responsible for the death of thousands. For this Castro was branded a "barbarian" by the US press. He threw out the Mafia, threw out the casinos, nationalized the vast holdings of the American corporations and gave the land back to the people who lived on it. For this his country was embargoed by the US which doesn't appreciate social justice when it gets in the way of making a buck. The Cubans have achieved a miracle in Latin America, and they should be supported in every way by free-thinking people everywhere. Viva la revolucion!

Little Hawk (George Coventry)


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 10:54 AM

Cuba was on my mind as the other day I was trying to fax Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz with regards to the Death Penalty which has recently been applied to a wider range of crimes

Roger


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Alice
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 10:55 AM

There was another PBS story about Cuba aired in the days shortly after the Buena Vista Social Club. P.O.V.: Our House in Havana Silvia Morini returns with her son on a trip to Cuba. She revisits where she lived in Havana, and, as you can read at the link I provided, she changes her mind about the embargo after she returns home. The end of the film shows her back in the US on the phone to Jesse Helms office, as she began a crusade to convince congress to lift the embargo. I posted my experiences with Cuban refugee children living with my family when we had the Elian thread. This is more complicated than rich against poor, because not all the people who left Cuba when Castro took over were rich. None of the families I knew who were refugees were rich. The history isn't that black/white. But, It's true, that just as in Saigon, the US mafia had plenty of business going on in Havana. Getting the corruption of the casinos, prostitution, drugs, etc., out of Cuba was good. Castro wasn't/isn't all a good guy, though. He is just as fanatically opposed to the US as the Miami old guard Cubans are fanatically opposed to him. The younger generations are not as solidified in that fanaticism. Hopefully, that is what will help to end the embargo, as well as the outspoken efforts of people like Silvia Morini.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: kendall
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 11:19 AM

Well said Hawk, and right on the money. You listening Doug R?


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Greg F.
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 11:26 AM

You may want to fax Governor George Pataki of New York State about reinstituting the death penalty, too, Roger- also Gov. "Smirky George" Bush about the number of executions in Texas.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 11:51 AM

Sorry I meant to explain that normally it usually a US state governor on the end of my faxes for all the good it does
Virginia??
Most things I have heard about Cuba are good so I was surprised to find the Death penalty in use there

To get back to my original question though. It seems that everyone who visits Cuba and talks about the place says it is wonderful and a terrible shame that is deteriorating all the time through sanctions
So if now Libya and China are talking with the US why has Cuba been left out in the cold??


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: catspaw49
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 03:43 PM

Lots of informed and knowledgable opinions here. I think its quite simple. Old habits die hard and the Cuban contingent here can be quite significant and a real political pothole. Second, Cuba is 90 miles away.

Don't expect any action for at least another generation.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 04:53 PM

Maybe you've already faxed the governor of New Hanpshire then Roger? She recently over-ruled her own legislature, when it voted to abolish the death penalty.

Then what about sanctions against Iraq? I heard a former US Attorney General (from the Johnson era - Preston?) two or three years ago put a very persuasive case against. The one-time and estimable Algerian leader Abba(?) Ben Bella was on the same platform.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 04:57 PM

My God,only 90 miles from the Commies, Spaw? Maybe there's some high-factor protective cream you can get.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 05:25 PM

Yep, Kendall, I'm here. Greg F: I hate to rain on your parade because evidently, in your mind, the Republicans (and particularly the Cooonservative Republicans) must be responsible for just about every unpopular act the U.S. government takes. Surely you don't have to be reminded that the embargo of Cuba was instigated by John F. Kennedy, who was, I feel a fairly conservative fellow but certainly not a Republican. There have been many Democrat administrations since the embargo was imposed. I don't recall any of them leading the charge to do away with the embargo. Personally, I don't think the embargo is accomplishing what the Kennedy Administration, or any other administration since that time, hoped that it would. It was hoped that the Cuban people would overthrow the Castro regime. That hasn't happend, and only the people of Cuba are being hurt by the embargo. I'm reasonably confident that Castro doesn't miss a meal and probably dines pretty well. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Greg F.
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 05:54 PM

Well, DougR (if you really ARE DougR!:-) )

Difference is you're talking about THEN, and I'm talking about NOW.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: GUEST,The Yank
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 07:48 PM

I'm reasonably confident that Castro doesn't miss a meal and probably dines pretty well.
DougR


Expect Bush has pretty good health insurance, too, while he vetoed it for poor Texas children.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 08:46 PM

Greg F: perhaps I missed it, but I haven't noticed President Clinton or anyone else in the current administration leading the charge to end the boycott. If I did, enlighen me. :>)

I don't know about the health insurance thing in Texas. Busch's record has been so distorted by the press I don't know what to believe. I do know that the Governor of Texas, regardless of which party is in the governor's seat, has little power. I'd be inclined, without knowing more, that it was the Texas legislature one should point the finger at when legislation we are interested in fails to be passed. As I say, though, I'm not familiar with what you are talking about, GUEST, The Yank, so Im shooting from the hip (so to speak). And yes, I am the real DougR. I'm sure Kendall can attest to it. Got to recharge my Cookie to get my name back. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: kendall
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 09:53 PM

The business of America is business. Cal Coolidge. (Republican)


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 10:52 PM

So? Good old Cal Coolidge certainly had a right to an opinon, like anybody else, yes? Geeze, what is wrong with business? If it were not for business, there would be an awfully large number of unemployed folks? Or perhaps folks shouldn't be employed! Perhaps it is the role of government to take care of everybody from cradle to grave! I don't think so. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: GUEST,Barry Finn
Date: 30 Jul 00 - 11:21 PM

Nothing wrong with business, when you have one, mind it & don't mind everyone elses. What was it that Tom Swift said about our own gardens. 90 mph, we don't travel very fast or very far. Barry


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 07:44 AM

Doug!
If it were not for buisiness there would be a lot of people unemployed!!!???? Right you are, but it is not just buisness, it is HOW YOU CONDUCT your buisiness. For example, the buiness practices of the US has resulted in a lot of work or Korean underpaid steal workers, and if you think that is a really good thing, ask around in Pensulvania. Or, take a look at the scars on my feet, where korean steal clamps frailed while I was making drums, and sent clamps through my feet. Instead of the bright hard steal I was used to in American made clamps, the failed Korean clams were dull grey inside and full of tiny airholes. Woke me up considerable. I look for the American made as well as the Union lable, and unfortuanlately that often means buying second hand tools these days. Now, I don't want you to think I am an isolationist, but our brother Brendy can tell you how hard it is to organise a Union in a land whose work force has work because they are cheeper than a unionised workforce. When they get organised, the US corp gets moving, to where it is fast and cheep and poorly made. I'd trade a bit more expence then blood seeping up through my shoes anyday. On a funny note, I got launched head over heals into a corner closet, the door closed, and my wife, hearing the comotion came running... it took her quite a while to find me and let me out of the closit. If it didn't hurt so much, I'd have laughed. I guess I was paying the price for the crime of bringing more Bodhrans into the world.
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: kendall
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 08:06 AM

What Cal inplied, and what I infered is, that business is the ONLY business of America. Of course business creates work, Government doesn't, but, what pisses me off is all these businesses (thanks to Reaganomics) are going to Mexico to get their products made for a fraction of the cost they would pay here. Now, if the price of that mower with the Briggs & Stratton engine was to drop and reflect the drop in the cost of producing that mower, fine. But guess what? the price did not decline..it went up! Who benefits? the stock holders and owners of such businesses. All they care about is their bottom line, to hell with the working man. No country can survive for long without a manufacturing base, and, we are sending our foundation to Mexico with the help of our elected leaders. It's sad that so many of us cant see what is happening. My best friend just bought a new Hyundai because it was cheaper than a Ford, but he will cry like a baby about feeding the unemployed. And, whats worse is HE IS A DEMOCRAT!! That should warm the cockles of your republican heart!!


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 09:56 AM

A society is essentially a very large extended family, and its leaders are akin to parents of that family, with the responsibilities commensurate to parenthood. A parent who stuffs one child so full of goodies that he is bursting, while leaving 3 other children starving is not a good parent. A parent who clothes 2 siblings in fine silks while leaving 10 others in rags is not a good parent. The whole human race in fact is a very large extended family, and the analogy applies overall, but we have no responsible leadership at present on this planet. What we see is a situation where a very small part of humanity (the middle and upper classes in the developed world) is consuming the lion's share of the world's resources in a truly criminal (if largely unaware) fashion, while many other people live lives of poverty under ruthless dictatorships, while huge capitalist corporations use those poor people as slave labour and the traditional job base of the North American middle class is steadily eroded away. The corporations will not pay you a decent wage to make a part when they can get some desperate Mexican to do it for a few pennies. Thus it is in the interest of the large capitalist players to maintain gross social inequities on this planet, as it greatly increases their profits. Likewise, it is in the interest of Communist dictators to maintain their gross forms of injustice for slightly different, but really quite similar reasons...the capitalist is greedy for money and power...the Communist is greedy for the same, but dresses it up in a different set of rhetoric. It is highly misleading for either capitalists or communists to claim a monopoly on virtue...both systems are filled with iniquity and hypocrisy. The best system we can presently conceive of is one that allows both socialism and capitalism to flourish, while securing the basic rights of people EVERYWHERE (not just in one class or in one country), and on an essentially egalitarian basis, with the opportunity for further advancement from that basic egalitarian level for anyone who shows the initiative to advance himself. In other words, we need an international Bill of Rights. Its tenets: 1. the right to a free education (including university level...you have to do the work and get the marks required to receive the benefit) 2. Freedom from poverty...EVERYONE, regardless of origin is guaranteed a certain basic level of material existence, sufficient to live a normal decent life with enough food, shelter, etc. (and you can advance well beyond that through your own efforts and application) 3. Freedom from violence and fear (by individuals or by governments) 4. Freedom of speech and of conscience 5. Freedom of religion (or not religion) 6. Freedom of sexual orientation 7. Equality of race, creed, gender, religion, and lifestyle choice in whatever way 8. Freedom to partake of the "drug" of your choice, but NOT to market it to others, and NOT to commit antisocial acts with or without its influence 9. THE RIGHT TO A JOB...EVERYONE IS GUARANTEED EMPLOYMENT if he wants it, and if he shows up on time and does the work adequately...if not, he loses said job and reverts back to the most basic form of social protection, nothing more than that (obviously, those with jobs would be in a position to greatly improve their lives and this would be a strong incentive) 10. EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK IN EVERY PART OF THIS PLANET!!! So, an assembly line worker in China or Korea or Mexico would earn the same in REAL money as a similar worker in Pennsylvania. This would end the exploitation of 3rd World people by vicious governments and multinational corporations, and it would restore the traditional job base of middle class people in North America at the same time. 11. Freedom to travel (if the 3rd world was not impoverished, this would present no further problems) 12. Freedom of assembly

I think that about covers it. Does anyone have something to add?

Now, this presupposes a genuinely united and organized world society...in other words, a mature family on this planet. It also implies a world monetary system, a world justice system, and a form of world government. This would in no way threaten the uniqueness of cultures, but in fact could secure their protection. It also implies a world military and policing structure (which, by the way, would probably need about 1 percent as many weapons as are presently being hoarded by the desperados we call nation-states these days.

Will it happen? Yes, eventually, unless we obliterate ourselves in a nuclear war or some such human folly. The whole tendency of human development throughout recorded history has been toward larger and larger cooperative groupings, from family unit to tribe to tribal confederacies to city states to nation states, which is where we are now. The era of the aggressively expanding nation state reached its logical end with the exploding of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We now must build a world society.

You may object that in a system such as I am proposing some people would not work or contribute, but just live off the fat of the land. Yes, some would do that. Fine. Some are doing that right now, in case you didn't notice, and some always will find a way to do that.

What we would gain from such a system is...an end to poverty and social desperation...an end to the drug trade...an end to almost all crime (because crime is born out of inequity and social desperation)...an end to the gross inequalities that abound on this planet...and an end to war.

The enormous gains in overall prosperity that would accrue from this would pay for a few lazy people 50 times over.

A healthy society allows both socialism and capitalism to flourish side by side. Socialism secures those areas where capitalism either cannot or WILL NOT do the job (because there's no profit in it). Capitalism provides a fertile field for individual initiative and creativity to flourish in a unique way...but it must be regulated with care so as not to commit abuses against humanity or nature in its search for profit.

Some areas which usually require a measure of socialism...education systems, police forces, public utilities, mass transportation systems, armed forces, government institutions, communications systems, public medical care systems, courts and justice systems...these are areas where not money, but moral conscience must call the shots.

Capitalism can take care of everything else pretty well, as it presently does...and can offer some interesting input into some of the above areas as well, depending.

I'm not saying it's easy. Nothing valuable is achieved easily. But we can do, we must do it, and we will when this phony war between the left and the right finally ends on this planet.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Mrrzy
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 09:58 AM

US (pum pumm pum pum pum pum...) and THEM (pum pumm pum pum pum pum...) And after all, we're only Ordinary men...


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 05:58 PM

That's a tall order, Little Hawk. You've obviously given a lot of thought to the subject. I find little to disagree with, but what you describe, I believe, is called utopia and I doubt that will be achieved. Certainly not in my lifetime. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 06:20 PM

Just to get this straight DougR, if the sanctions against Cuba had some chance of working, that would make them OK, right? Wrong.

Nice one Little Hawk. I'd sign up to most of that, in an ideal world, except maybe freedom to travel. I'm not totally innocent in this, but if we all start travelling as freely as better off Yanks do already, that's going to warm up the world so fast we'll be praying for a nuclear winter. So freedom to travel is like parental choice for schools - a recipe for more winners, more losers.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 08:38 PM

Fionn: if it got rid of Castro, you bet! Iff Little Hawk is correct in his reportage, however, it doesn't appear the sanctions are depriving Cuba very much. According to his post, everything is hunky dory in Cuba. I don't believe, however, that I advocated continuing the anctions anyway. :>)

DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 09:16 PM

There have always been some humourous aspects to the embargo as well though. I've never smoked a cigar in my life and wouldn't know a good one from a bad one, but an acquaintance of mine is a serious afficianado. He manages several bands and travels regularly to the States, where he "does" meetings with industry heavies. He's been supplying them with Cuban cigars for years now. I asked him once if any of his business contacts ever felt "unpatriotic" for puffing away on the illegal stogies. He just laughed and said "rich guys smoke Cuban! End of story". He said that the big "inside" joke was that Bill Clinton was more afraid of the "common people" finding out where that famous cigar "had come from", than "where it had been"!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 10:01 PM

That's a great story, Rick. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: catspaw49
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 10:10 PM

I hear KISS is releasing an acoustic album of broadside ballads.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 12:21 AM

Hi Folks, hello to Doug R., here are some interesting facts about Cuba, garnered on my recent trip. The Cubans are divided in their opinions on their government. The older people, who remember what it was like under Batista, deeply value what the revolution has given them...land, jobs, equality, education, medical care, and national sovereignty (under Batista Cuba was officially sovereign, but ACTUALLY just a branch plant for the American Mafia, US corporations, and the US military.). The younger people, who don't remember the days of Batista, are divided. Some are proud of Cuban sovereignty. I asked one young woman what she liked most about Cuba, and she said "I like it that we are free." Others, however, are upset over the lack of freedom of speech (you are not allowed to publicly criticize the government or publish an article doing so). Privately, you can say what you want, and they do. Many people are perturbed over corruption in the government...the fact that the top leaders live a lifestyle that is considerably more luxurious than the common people. In so doing, they are failing the ideals of their own revolution. This is tempered somewhat by the fact that their public behaviour is far less astentatious in this respect than the leadership in other Latin American countries. The young Cubans are mostly unaware how good they've got it compared to conditions in Santo Domingo, Mexico, Guatemala, etc. I saw no homeless in Cuba, no beggars in the streets, no shantytowns. And I was not being sheperded around by government people during my stay. I also saw fewer cops than I do in Canada, which was quite surprising, and I saw no traffic accidents and not one traffic cop, which was astonishing. Here's another serious Cuban problem, however. Since the peso was allowed to float against the American dollar, it has lost value tremendously. As a result, old people's pensions (which used to be entirely adequate) are utterly inadequate now, and many old people are starving to death in their houses if they don't have younger relatives to help them out. This has led to a high suicide rate among seniors. The United Church is trying to help these old people as best it can. Cuban society is suffering now from a serious lack of money and manufactured goods, and this has stimulated a lively black market. The government looks the other way as long as the black market doesn't venture into restricted areas, like selling illegal drugs or Cuban cigars or a few other items. They realize it helps the economy, so they turn a blind eye for the most part. Everyone wants US dollars...the peso is not worth much anymore. It is true that Castro really hates the USA, and if you study the last 100 years of Cuban history you will soon see why he would...but it's a problem. He hates the US and the US government hates him. I am afraid that until Castro dies or retires this situation may not resolve itself...but my impression is that Castro would like to resolve it now, he just can't figure out how to. It's really a shame. The Cubans are a hugely likable population, full of national pride, and they do not deserve to be treated as an international pariah. I hope that some solution will be found soon. Like Americans, Cubans love their country deeply and want to improve it in any way they can. If you knew them, you would like them.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: thosp
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 12:42 AM

Little Hawk -- i can't believe you! --- how can you possibly condone anyone who would throw the mafia out of the country - try to put an end to prostitution -- build schools and hospitals -- and let Peons yes Peons get free medical care and an education -- it's positivly unCapitalistic ---- are you in your RIGHT mind? of course not --- you should seek help -- you could be contagious! ---- can you IMAGINE if that happened here ---- why it would put an end to our GOD given right to make a buck ---- you really should recant -- there are those who still believe in burning at the stake and crusifixtion and those types of things ---

peace (Y) thosp
ps i tell you this for your own good!


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 12:58 AM

I like your sense of sarcasm, thosp. Viva la revolucion!


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 05:33 AM

DougR, Just like Chile was better off without Allende I suppose. But how is Castro worse than the various savage dictatorships that your government has installed/propped up/supported and so loved to do business with over the years?

Have you ever been to Cuba? I ask because everyone I know who has been, has come away deeply convinced that the sanctions are wrong-headed American interference, and that much of what is bad about the regime is a direct consequence of those sanctions.

I find it hard on the evidence of this thread to believe that folk and blues are your tunes.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Lena
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 06:15 AM

Little Hawk,where are the boundaries of a world society?!Because small, village-like societies used to be so good.Little people is likely to be governed better and look after theirselves.They have more space to complain and be heard.It's far more creative.You Canadians might have an idea of the comfort of a reasonably small population/society.A bigger-scale society suffers of all the colossus-like complications.The first:it's slow to change.USA are an example of a huge scale society.How long has it been dealing with the same problems?!We tend to expand in bigger societies for safety.To avoid wars or petty battles on borders.To work corporately for our own individual economical advantage.It just means:many against one. A huge society is suffocating.People committing suicide in public,doing crazy things to go on television,are people soaked between people.People who grow up aware on billions of people like them,who don't know what to do to come up.There is no normal way to come up normally in a large society.This is true for Communism as well,who flattens every possible difference among individuals(Glad that my Red Commie old people are not reading this). Oh,and finally,what's freedom of thought nowdays?!You have that opinion because you come from that information.But who rules the media?!Who decides?!Sorry,we're just higly impressionable audience with no consequence outside the designed ones.And we don't design them ourselves,since in a large scale society the percentage of high seats is inversely proportional to the number of people.

If there was an impartial,superior parliament whatching over countries,how far could it go?!What can a philippine senator discern about rural problems in Norwee?!How effective could it be?! Do you think that the world rushing to "help" two races picking at each other in a small region of Yugoslavia,last year,for the sake of caring(so they said),was any good?! Then go and see what's left.The world caring about Albanians left thousands of serbs die this winter.Looks like they had to be punished.Big ones decide for little ones.And since we're not the same society all over the world,we have different values and different sense of justice and unjustice,how far can we interfere with each oter?!

And you made me wanna go to Cuba...


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 06:43 AM

I notice a trend here, thouse of us who have interactions with cuba, or those who have been, are not so sure Castro is the monster waiting to eat Ellio Gonzallas for lunch. Those who are the strongest voices against Cuba, haven't been.
La lucha continua - Little Hawk for President or Prime Minister, or both...
Spaw! Kiss???????????!!!!!!??????
All the best
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: GUEST,The Yank
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 08:26 AM

Es verdad, Larry-

and 90% of the rabid Florida exile community that U.S. politicians suck up to have never been to Cuba, either! And if folks think Batista was bad, check the situation under Machado before him!


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 11:28 AM

Buenos dias Yank!
Not to emagine emagine life in a Cuba run by the friends of Orlando Bosh?!
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Kim C
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 11:46 AM

Well, this is very interesting. Having been born in 1967 I missed a lot of the Cuba-related crises, and I will be the first to admit that my knowledge of American history stops in 1917 with the death of Buffalo Bill Cody. Anyway, as a relatively young person in the US today, not having been exposed to much anti-Cuban propaganda, I have often wondered myself why sanctions continue. Cuba very small, US very large. Cuba is no threat to us without the Soviets and I am not convinced that they ever were.

I do believe, however, that a lot of the things we are told about other countries who are supposedly our foes, are not true. I don't believe that the whole world hates us. If they did, they wouldn't all want to come here, now, would they? There are people in this world whose sole purpose is to stir up trouble, to divide and conquer, and they want us to think everyone hates us, blahblahblah, yaddayaddayadda.

With regard to Elian Gonzalez, was it that hard to believe that a man in Cuba could actually be happy living there? That someone in a communist country could actually be a good and loving parent?

Sanctions don't work, because they rarely affect the bigwigs. They affect the people who don't have anything to do with the conflict at hand, and the muckymucks don't care about them anyway. So I say, let's forget about being enemies with them. It's not serving any purpose.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 04:38 PM

Fionn: No. I have not been to Cuba. Travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens, the last time I checked, was not encouraged. I will say it one more time: I favor lifting the sanctions! Why shouldn't we have free trade with Cuba, everybody else does! If the Cuban regime is as benvolent as most posting here believe, however, why do so many Cubans but their asses to try to get to the U.S.? It can't solely be because of the sanctions. Why did Elian's mother lose her life and the risk the life of her small son to get to the U.S. from Cuba? She wanted a McDonald's hamburger, maybe? DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 04:51 PM

DougR:
You may note that when Morrison Visa's were offered the majority of the Irish workforce applied for them. People risk their lives to follow the world's resourses into the mouth of the pig, I mean into the United States because of the want we cause in other contries by consuming so much of what the world produces. Add to that, extream poverty caused by the US sanctions, and well - that explaines why Mrs. Gonzalas would try to come here takeing risks sailing 90 miles.
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 06:27 PM

Another thread, another great posting, Larry. *BG*


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 07:05 PM

Geeze, Fionn, you have strange taste :>) And Larry, you I assume, are American? And you refer to your country as "the mouth of the pig?" Wow! DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 07:34 PM

Hi DougR
Dual national... and yes, carry a US passport... How else do you refer to a nation that consumes over 70% of every reasorse the world produces - while screaming about illegal alians, and looking the other way when our goods are produced by children in Asia? If you are comfortable with that, don't refer to this as the mouth of the pig. Fine with me.
Thanks Fionn - Drop me an email and when it is out in a few days or weeks I will drop you our band's demo CD (recorded live, not studio stuff but pleasent...) and we will see if dougR is right about your taste ... in music, and DougR feel free to email me for a CD as well, the politics of the CD are current to the eighteenth century, so I don't think you'll be offended. };-0
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 07:38 PM

Thanks, Larry, I'd be delighted to receive and hear the CD. If your email address is listed at the Mudcat site, I'll eamil you. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 09:42 PM

By God, this has just been an amazing string...I think I'll save the whole thing and put it in a book. If I can figure out how to do that...I'm still a neophyte on this chat routine and on Mucat in general.

Doug R - there are a variety of reasons why people flee Cuba. I think the strongest one is that the ecomony there is very bad now, compared to the not too recent past...this because of the collapse of the Warsaw Pact combined with a 40-year-old US (and OAS) embargo, and the floating peso against the US dollar situation. People will go where they can get money and what they see as a more abundant lifestyle. The paradox is...and I am not kidding about this...I found people in Cuba who seemed to me to be happier and more open-hearted than we North Americans with all our money and possessions. There are hundreds of thousands of people in South and Central America who also risk all to get across the Mexican border into the USA. They will do anything to escape the poverty which is much worse in Mexico than it is in Cuba. Many have died in the attempt. Many others have become 3rd class citizens in American ghettos and experienced firsthand the dark side of the "American dream". There is also repression of some freedoms in Cuba (as there is throughout Latin America), so there are genuine political refugees of conscience. I will never claim that one side is totally without fault in this matter and the other totally wrong. What I will claim is that there is no justification for an embargo against Cuba, none whatsoever.

Kim C - Correct! Cuba never was any threat to the USA, because the basic intention of the Cubans was to establish their own sovereignty over their own country and economy. Cuba has made efforts to export its revolution...not surprisingly...because they have provided considerably more social justice than other Latin American regimes, and they know it. The one thing Cuba WAS a threat to was the profits of American business and American organized crime (the Mafia).

and Kim C - you are quite right that not everyone hates the USA. The Cubans themselves like Americans (as individuals) in general, and rather admire the USA in various respects, but they will not surrender their sovereignty, not to the USA or to anyone. In other words, they have mixed feelings on the subject.

the Yank - Yes! Machado was a monster. Batista started out as somewhat of a reformer, but became a monster as he abandoned democratic principles and succumbed to greed and megalomania. He personally darn near bankrupted the country by looting its treasury and indirectly caused the deaths of 20,000 civilians in 10 years by execution, torture, and other means. He ought to have been tried in the World Court. Or shot. I am not one for capital punishment, but in his case I would have considered it. On second thought, I say no...just make him pay back what he took and put him to work on a sugar farm for about 10 years, after which he might appreciate the needs of the common people.

Lena - your comments are fascinating, and merit a great deal of thought. I will see what I can do, and reply directly to you, rather than in this string.

Gracias, amigos, much food for thought.

Little Hawk (George Coventry)


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 02:24 AM

Little Hawk: The thread might make a good book, but I'm skeptical about it. Most good book have considerable conflict and there is little in this thread. Mine is the voice in the wilderness. Ninety-nine percent of the posters are in agreement. And on the embargo, I agree also, so where is the conflict.

I do question your statement that Cuba was never a threat to the US. Perhaps you have forgotten or are not aware of the missle crisis in about 1961, or are under the impression that the Russian made missles were being placed in Cuba to shoot down pigeons, but America's President didn't think so. I would certainly agree that Cuba is no longer a threat, however.

I live in Arizona so I am very aware of the people who die on our desert while trying to escape the poverty of Mexico to extablish themselves in the U. S. This illustrates why I tend to get a bit fiesty at times when I see postings by Americans bashing our country. I am aware of so many who would love to come here because it is a country where opportunity exits for a better life. And so many lose their lives trying to get here. These U. S. bashers should give thanks every day, that they, either by accident, or whatever, are priviledged to live here. Just my opinion, of course. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 11:54 AM

I used to have a book -- a great one I thought (from what I remember)-- Sartre On Cuba by Jean Paul Sartre. It was profound and made many of the points that Little Hawk has made. I do wish I still had it...

There was no way to excuse the reality that was Cuba before Castro. It was a profound example of what can and did go terribly wrong when the excesses of capitalism are allowed to run wild. The violent revolution that was Castro was simply necessary in order to clean the basin of the built up scum. But it has taken too long for the pendulum to swing back to a more centrist position. Sadly, the good aspects of socialism and of capitalism are often tossed out with the washwater. Alas, often the baby is drowned and lost too.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Greg F.
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 12:48 PM

Too true, Art.

Unfortunately the primary reason that the swing of the pendulum has been delayed is the phobic and totally irrational attitude adopted by the good ol' U. S. of A. for the last 30 years or so. Its been a disaster for "us" as well as "them".

Best, Greg


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: kendall
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 12:51 PM

Doug, the Russians didnt put missles in Cuba to shoot pidgeons. They put them there to counter the ones WE put on their border in Turkey. And, the story I heard was that Elians mother fled Cuba to join her lover in Florida.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 01:32 PM

Kendall: I guess the press out here didn't pick up that story about the reason Elian's mother left Cuba out here. News to me. As to the missles, you may well be right. However, I don't think anyone would have enjoyed having missles directed at the U. S. from only 90 miles away. I'm sure Russia didn't appreciate our missles pointing at them from Turkey either, but that was all just part of the Cold War. Everybody pointed everything at each other! My point was, however, that Little Hawk had stated that Cuba never presented a threat to the U.S. Regardless of how or why the missles got there, had they stayed, it would have presented a threat. Had they been used, the time it would have taken for them to arrive in the U.S. wouldn't have been long enough for President Kennedy (or Johnson) to send a "so sorry we put missles in Turkey" message to Moscow (or Cuba). DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: canoer
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 02:10 PM

The real threat to the U.S. was not the missiles, it was the example that a small country could defy the U.S. and its corporations and survive. It was an encouragement to small exploited countries everywhere. It was also an encouragement for the black liberation movement right here. That was the threat. It was not, by the way, a threat to the U.S., but only to the governemnt and the great fortunes which are used to having it their way and only their way. -- Larry C.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 02:42 PM

Right on, Larry C., that is the crux of the matter. Well said!

Doug R. - I understand your point about the missiles. I hadn't forgotten about it, I just didn't want to go on and on forever (I can hear some people laughing when I say that! I do go on and on when I get impassioned about something...).

Anyway, I'm not surprised the USA reacted badly to the deployment of those missiles. If I had been Castro I would not have allowed nuclear weapons to come in from Russia in the first place...it's too dangerous. A small country is much better off not to make itself a nuclear target. One thing about Castro though...the man is not afraid of anything...if you read some biographies of his life (both supportive and critical ones) that becomes very evident. In his first armed attack on the Batista regime he led a ragtag force of less than 200 amateurs against a military fortress with more than 1000 trained soldiers. That was the famous 26th of July attack, which is like Cuba's 4rth of July, and it had virtually no chance of succeeding. It was bloodily defeated, but Fidel lived to fight another day. He lost the battle, but won the war, because he won the hearts of his people.

I suspect that the Russians made a deal with him on the missiles...you get this much aid if we can station missiles in Cuba, and if we can't, too bad. In this way the Russians were enabled to have missiles right close to the USA which for them was to achieve some measure of parity, as the USA had plenty of missiles right close to their borders. It was all to Russia's advantage, not Cuba's. That's big power politics, and it's a pretty sad business, especially for the 3rd World. Kennedy was a guy who didn't back down either, so the stakes were high...too high for comfort. We can all be glad that cooler heads prevailed.

By the way, Kennedy tried repeatedly to have Castro assassinated by mafia hitmen, Cuban exiles, and CIA operatives...and it is QUITE possible that Castro retaliated by hiring his own mafia hitmen (and other individuals) to kill Kennedy. The mafia had strong reasons of their own to kill both Kennedy and Castro. I doubt, however, that we will ever know for sure about that one. All we can do is speculate.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 02:54 PM

Actually, Elain's mother "fled" Cuba WITH her lover, who also drowned. Don't get me started on a mother who would risk her 6 year old on the high seas.

Having spent 3 hellish years living in Miami, I am totally delighted that the Cuban community there has shown the rest ofthe country exactly what they are like.

MOST sincerely, MA


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 07:32 PM

Yes, indeed. I share your delight on that, MAG. It was about time.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 09:33 PM

Just to remind us why Cuba is maybe a particularly relevent place to talk about on the Mudcat, here is a site with links to some great Cuban music.

One thing that struck me during all that Elian TV coverage. Looking at the streets of Miami, and looking at the streets of Elian's home town back in Cuba, I thought how very much I wouldprefer to be bringing up a child in the Cuban town.

I'm sure there are lots of ways in which Cuba is a lot less than perfect. The same goes for most places, including the USA - but after the rough time Cuba has had from its big neighbour over the past 100 years or so, it's not really surprising. (I can't see that the same kind of excuses can be made for the richest country in the world, which ought to be the freest, happiest and fairest place in the world.)

It'd be easy enough to help Cuba to ease up its siege ecomomy, and turn into a more easygoing socialist/social democratic society. But that won't be allowed to happen, I predict, any more than it was allowed to happen in Russia. When Castro goes, the price for stopping sanctions and providing "aid" is going to be the imposition of mafia capitalism.

The priority isn't to help the Cuban people, any more than it was to help the Russian peiople. It is to make sure that there is is no alternative social/economic still extant on the planet.

In a few years time people in Cubva will talk about the not-so-bad old days, like they do today in Russia (where the not-so-bad old days were infinitely worse than they ever have been in Cuba).

In the meantime, listen to the music.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 01:56 AM

You know a freer country, McGrath of Harlow? And I can assure you, the marjority of the people in the U. S. are pretty satisfied. A minority of the population are not, and obviously, were you a U. S. citizen, which I gather you are not, you would be one of the unhappy ones I assume. I'm not rich, but I'm certainly happy. :>) DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 07:26 AM

To find over one million unhappy people, visit the US prisons. To find more, visit those who care that there are over a million US prisoners. How is it that the freest nation in the world, has the largest prison system in the history of humanity (inhumanity?)
Just asking...
All the best PS Not to speak for Kev, but he and I have seen a lot of missery at the hands of big nations, like England and the US, but I get the feeling, he like me, is pretty happy, Am I right? Angery and motivated by happy.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 07:28 AM

ps - that should read BUT happy
I can hear spaw already, so I will beat you to it, BUT not BUTT happy spaw... OK?


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: canoer
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 09:37 AM

Dear Doug R.,

I am glad that you are happy. I seriously wonder if the majority are! Many other terms come to mind: resigned, quiet desperation, pressured, Type A, poverty line, job insecurity, deadlines, dog-eat-dog, no time for the kids, peer pressure, get ahead, alcoholism ... you get my drift.

Why do you say that this country is freer than, say, any of the European industrialized countries? Or, until the U.S. squeezed it so hard, Cuba itself? I suppose it depends on definitions?

Cheers, Larry C.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 11:37 AM

I lived in the USA for 10 years, in New York State, between the ages of 10 and 20. As a Canadian in a foreign land I had an opportunity to make comparisons. The USA's claim to be the world's freest society and the world's most just society is nothing more than a grand illusion perpetrated by an avalanche of misleading propaganda and jingoism of the most extraordinary and offensive sort. This is plainly obvious to pretty well everyone who wasn't born an American. It's not obvious to Americans because their media doesn't tell them anything about the real alternatives which exist elsewhere.

Is the USA relatively free? Yes. Relatively democratic? Yes. So are a host of other places, such as Canada, most of Europe, Australia, and quite a few small countries here and there in other parts of the world. Most of these other places do not subject their public to quite the same degree of social brainwashing (illusions of complete cultural superiority and a right to police and dominate the rest of the world) as I experienced firsthand in the USA, via the media and the school system. My schoolmates were fooled by this crap. I wasn't. Virtually the entire German population was fooled by this sort of crap in the 30's and 40's, as you may recall...and see where it got them. Don't imagine that they didn't believe they were on the side of Truth, Freedom and Justice for All. They believed it. They were saving the world from Jews and Communists, so they said. Sound familiar?

There are a number of crucial and basic social services that are denied the American population (such as free universal medical coverage), yet are totally available in countries such as Canada, Sweden, or Cuba, to name just a few. To not provide free medical treatment to a population in this day and age is little short of barbaric, and it is very damaging to the social fabric of a country. If you can afford to build 10 times more atomic bombs than are needed to extinguish life on this planet, you can afford to provide free medical care!

Another thing that Cuba provides is free education right to the end of University. This should be done in all countries.

Where does democracy begin and where does it end? All countries have certain injustices and blind spots, all countries fall short of the mark in some way.

The "my country right or wrong" kind of thinking has caused millions and millions of people to die in totally unnecessary and insane wars. The USA is a good country in many ways, and yet it has many serious flaws and injustices. It is not the best country. There is no "best" country.

Just because the USA is better and freer than the hideous dictatorships that it funds and supports in the 3rd world, does not mean that the USA is heaven on Earth.

The USA can be a great place to live...or it can be hell. That depends on just where you are...and how much money you have in your pocket. Canada can be a great place to live (or it can be hell), and so can Cuba...either way.

I suggest everybody abandon this "Best" country philosophy. A little humility goes a long way.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 12:53 PM

"Being happy" and "being happy with how things are" are very differtent conditions - it's odd how language works. From my experience the happiest people are often those who feel most unhappy about the injustice they see ariund them.

Well, it's hardly a new thing - "Happy are you who hunger and thirst for justice" is how Jesus put it.

And there's a but about motes and beams in the eye as well...

I'm sure America is a good place for most of its people. It'd be a strange kind of country where that wasn't true, especially if it was the richest country on the planet. But being incredibly wealthy does give you a responsibility to make sure that members of your own family aren't living in squalor and poverty.

Freedom isn't just a matter of being able to0 do what you choose. It involves being free from all sorts of things.

Free from fear for a start - fear of hunger, fear of violence, fear of neglect and untreated-illness. That's just for a start.

If America really is the free-est country in the world in that sense - which is a sense that Franklin Roosevelt recognised, there is nothing anti-American in this -- it has been terribly misrepresented, especially by its own media. Who is making up all those stories on CNN for example ?


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 02:19 PM

Well folks, I'm not brilliant, but one thing I learned a long time ago:it is impossible to carry on a reasonable conversation if the two view points expressed are too far apart. This one is a hundred eighty degrees apart. Two totally opposing points of view, with the exception that we all seem to feel the Cuban embargo should be stopped. Additional comments from me will change no one's mind, and nothing I have read so far, changes mine. InOBU's comment about unhappy prisoners did it for me though. I wasn't aware prisoners were supposed to be happy. Also, in the U. S., the Constitution does not guarantee an education for everyone. Anyone who wants one is free to pursue one, and if they want it bad enough, they can get it. Neither is healthcare (other than Medicare) guaranteed to U. S. citizens and that comes as a result of Congressional action, not the Constitution. Those of you who live in countries where a complete eduction and complete healthcare is provided by the government, and you are happy with it, congratulations. Nothing, however, is free. Your taxes, or someone else's, are paying for the freebies.

Thanks for the conversation, though, it was stimulating. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 02:26 PM

Right on, McGrath. Until all are free from hunger, homelessness, fear, poverty and desperation...who is really free? Is the rich man free who must bar his doors and hide behind guarded walls?


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: canoer
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 03:20 PM

Little Hawk, Thanks for your reflections. Always good to hear from people who have "been around" and been exposed to diverse circumstances. --Larry C.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 03:29 PM

Miami was moving so fast toward gated communities vs. everyone else, it was scary. The crime was astronomical. Elian's mother's lover took people's money to get them drowned. The cuban mafioso moved lock stock and barrel to Miami which is a lot of why it is unlivable. (Remember Bebe Rebozo? Key Biscayne?) The road rage issue alone makes it scary. These are not opinions, but plain and simple facts.

But I too will get off my soapbox.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 05:33 PM

Whether it's in the Constitution or not in the Constitution is relevant, if you are trying to fight a case in law under that Constitution. But it doesn't say anything about whether it is a good thing or a not-so-good thing or a bad thing. A Constitution can never be the last word in deciding whether something is good or bad.

Freeedom of speech isn't a good thing because it's in any Constitution. A Constitution that doesn't include it is a bad Constitution. But in fact most countries with governments that attack freedom of speech in fact have bits in their Constitution guaranteeing such freedom.

A Constitution that guaranteed free health care for all would be a much better Constitution than one that doesn't, but you don't need it in a Constitution to bring it about. The important thing in any case is to do what is right.

Constitutions are just agreements between human beings, and when what human beings changes, it's time to think about changing the Constitution - as has been repeatedly done already in the USA, and will be done again, many times.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 05:44 PM

It seems that for the DougR's of this world, like the "loadsamoney" louts spawned in Thatcher's Britain, self-interest is the only yardstick. No wonder DougR is happy, then, wallowing in a lifestyle subsidised to the hilt by the blatant exploitation of third-world, southern-hemisphere countries in which people work damned hard for bugger-all. The same people who are treated like they had leprosy when - for the sake of their kids - they try to migrate to the affluent countries such as the one DougR was lucky enough to be born in, and to which his own folks presumably migrated.

I had hoped DougR would have the humility to see that he inherited his privileges, and in no sense earned them. But I guess he doesn't know the meaning of the word. I just wish he could have swapped places - and skins - at birth with some black kid born into poverty in the states, so we could have seen how long he stayed free in that wonderfully free country of his.

We already knew that he's never been to Cuba, From his suggestion that America is the most free place on earth, we now know that he's not been to Sweden, the Netherlands, and lots of other places.

At least in recent threads he's been shamed into harping on about his opposition to the sanctions. Trouble is, as he admitted earlier, he'd have thought they were fine if they'd ever looked like working. I'm amazed to find someone with this mentality in a folk-blues community.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 12:00 PM

Fionn: takes all kinds, I guess. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: canoer
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 01:34 PM

The wider the folk community the better, I say. -- L.C.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 02:02 PM

What - if anything - do the presidential candidates have to say about Cuba?

DougR I agree with Fionn on this one and I will quite happily pay more taxes for education and health care for all. If I thought only me and mine mattered I would head for the hills with a gun and not pay taxes at all.
Roger


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 02:40 PM

I read you Roger in Sheffield. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 03:04 PM

This is admittedly thread creep, but since several posting to this thread, and specifically Fionn, have questioned my interest in folk music because my views on some social issues, differ from theirs and I feel compelled to comment.

Pray explain to me, friend Fionn, friend Little Hawk, what opinions on social issues have to do with the following songs, which are among my favorites and I sing them all:

The Fox; The Riddle Song; Henry Martin; The Foggy, Foggy Dew; Hullabaloo Belay; The Turtle dove; Aunt Rhody; The Wee Copper o'Fife; The Blue Tail Fly; The Sow Took the Measles; Peter Gray; The Erie Canal; Sweet Betsy From Pike; The Ox-Driving Song; Poor Boy; The Cowboy's Lament; The Divil and the Farmer.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: canoer
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 03:21 PM

The Blue Tail Fly is a song about how the slave is happy his master's been killed. Half the rest are about the problems of the average worker and poor farmer trying to make a living. A sympathy with those folk and those conditions often has a reflection in political stances, generally left of center. But not, of course, exclusively.

Now this is too simple an answer, you are looking for something more subtle, right?

Cheers, Larry C.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 04:44 PM

DougR I think music should be inclusive and our views on other matters may differ. I like to hear all sides and views and welcome your input.

Roger


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 04:53 PM

Thanks Roger. It really is nice when folks can agree to disagree without going into the attack mode. I think that's the usual case here on the Mudcat, but not always, of course.

Canoer: I guess you own different lyrics to those songs than I do. Like I said earlier, takes all kinds, I guess. Cheers, DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: thosp
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 05:00 PM

roger in S i'd like to second that sentiment --- i hope we can all feel free to express our opinions and respect the rights of others to express differing ones ----- who was it ( thomas paine ? ) that said "i may not agree with what you say - but i will defend to the death your right to say it" ---

peace (Y) thosp
ps so DougR & Joe O
i will give thought to your outlooks and i hope you will consider mine


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 05:04 PM

I do, Thosp, I do. Thanks. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 05:10 PM

thosp, my money would be on Voltaire for that sentiment, and I guess he would have extended it to all of us. Thus when I meet someone whose values are selfish, I feel entitled to say so. Who was it said: "No-one should have a lot until everyone has enough"?


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 05:32 PM

Doug R.,

I also appreciate hearing your views, although they come from a different angle than mine. I know from long experience that virtually all people want to see a better world and a better society. This is as true of conservatives as it is of liberals. Conservatives have very high ideals regarding individual freedom and the taking of individual responsibility. This is good. Liberals have very high ideals regarding community responsibility toward all its members on a collective basis, and the protection of those members through cooperative efforts (taxes and governmental structures). This is also good. Without the application of both these sets of ideals in an effective synthesis, and in fairly equal measure, you cannot have a healthy society.

Everyone rushes to defend an ideal when they feel it is under attack, and this leads to some pretty strong (and critical) statements from one side or the other. We really need to compare our positive beliefs and concerns, and watch out for the tendency toward "contempt prior to investigation" which is the attitude the right and left generally have toward one another. Unfortunately, the political party system exacerbates these differences (quite deliberately) and drives people farther and farther apart, when we need to share our ideals. For this reason, I am disgusted with all the political parties, both in your country and mine, and I put little stock in what any of them have to say. They are a bunch of scoundrels, whose main desire is to maintain themselves in power...at our collective expense.

Anyway, you may feel like the odd man out here, but you have certainly stimulated a lot of interesting reactions, so it cannot be said to have been all in vain.

I will probably always be a leftist, but I comprehend the high ideals of many on the right. One's family nnd general background tend to form one's world view, and this is why it's very good to travel to where the world view is radically different. One usually finds that the people there have just as high ideals...but in their own particular way, according to their own background and experience.

The songs you listed sound a lot like what I used to hear on some Burl Ives albums that my parents had when I was a kid. I used to sing all of them back then. "The Divil and the Farmer" is a riot. "Erie Canal" is also very neat ("the cook she was a grand old gal, she had a ragged dress...we heisted her upon a pole as a signal of distress"). Very droll stuff. Do you remember one called "Hole In The Window" about a young suitor who gets attacked with a poker by his girlfriend's grandmother, while kissing said girlfriend through a hole in the window? I would love to get the lyrics to that one, as I haven't heard it in maybe 35 years now. If you've got them, please send them to my personal page. Or can I look them up somewhere on Mudcat?

Cheers,

Little Hawk


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: thosp
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 05:53 PM

hi Fionn -- i think i share your passion and perspective to a great degree ---- i felt dougR and Joe O's opinions were very different from (maybe) the general tone of this thread --- i'd like to exchange ideas -- have discussions - and go fishin (metaphore) with all here at Mudcat ----- I totally agree with "no one should have alot etc." -- somtimes people --don't express themselves fully - or as well as they'd like -- maybe in a soundbite someone may sound selfish and that's the same person donating a lot of their time helping the homeless etc. --- or a blind spot yous,mine and ours -- and maybe not -- if i knew everything - i wonder where i'd be --- so for the most part - i think we are all (at least here) trying to do the best with what we know --

peace (Y) thosp


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 06:25 PM

Little Hawk: yes, they are all Burl Ives songs and I do remember the one about the hole in the window. "That hole in the window, that nice little window, that cute little window, where grandmother dwelled."

I'll see if I can dig out the lyrics over the weekend and send them to you. Have you searched the database yet? It might be there. The first verse goes, I believe, "A bonnie wee lassie who's name it was Nell, lived in the house where her grandmother dwelled ..." DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 06:30 PM

Yeah, great! A gem of a song. I'll look on the database.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 06:55 PM

Joe O, thosp? That's not Joe Offer you're slandering?? I must have missed something - and I set out to read every word of this thread. I've even read all four volumes of the Little Hawk postings. (Only kidding Little Hawk - it was all good stuff.*BG*)


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: thosp
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 07:06 PM

sorry -- a bit of thread melding -- where both DougR & Joe O are posting --peace (Y) thosp


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: thosp
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 07:10 PM

sorry again -- click on peace (Y) thosp -- on above post to go to the other thread ------ i'm just very tired ----


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 07:51 PM

What's your point, thosp? DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: thosp
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 08:05 PM

Hi Doug -- the above was for Fionn -- Joe O has not posted to this thread -- so when i mentioned him here -- Fionn didn't know what i was talking about --- understandably so --- on the other thread you and Joe are in agreement -- in my tired mind i took that to this thread -- actually i should just get some sleep -- but i'm waiting on some e-mail that i need to do some time sensitive work -- i hope that answers your question?

peace (Y) thosp


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 04 Aug 00 - 10:52 PM

Thanks, Thosp. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 08:00 AM

All who have contributed to this thread, and I hope others too, might be interested to look at the results of a year-long study by a US committee, the American Association for World Health, into the effects of the embargo

Through this site, and reviews of A Developmental Analysis of Cuba's Health Care System since 1959 by Theodore H McDonald (Edwin Mellen Press) - can't afford the book itself, it's a hefty GBP69 - I have stumbled on some facts that took my breath away. If Doug R did not know them, I can't criticise him for that. I certainly did not before his posts prompted me to look further into this issue.

The first sentenceof the committee's substantial report says "the US embargo of Cuba has dramatically harmed the health and nutrition of large numbers of ordinary Cuban citizens." And the next sentence says: "...it is our expert medical opinion that the US embargo has caused a significant rise in suffering - and even deaths - in Cuba." OK, we might have guessed this much, and I don't think anyone in this thread has attempted to defend the policy. But useful to see it confirmed.

What really surprised me was that despite the sanctions, Cuba has the lowest mortality rate for under-fives in the world - and less than half the infant-mortality rate of Washington DC. In 1998, some 25,000 US Americans caught measles, of which 60 died. Cuba has eradicated measles, along with malaria, diphtheria and tuberculosis.

McDonald, in his book, concludes: "Cuba has actually delivered the goods as far as social policy is concerned...They have been spectacularly successful and astonishingly innovative in the two critically important public policy areas of education and health."

Not quite the hell on earth the Miami faction would have us believe..


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 08:25 AM

Yes, Cuba has actually delivered the goods. Astounding. Every other politician/general/megalomaniac/whatever who came to power in Cuba BEFORE Castro promised to deliver the goods (health care, land and jobs and education for the peasants, social justice). Not one of them kept those promises, although sometimes they tossed a few tiny crumbs to the populace, while selling out the island to foreign interests in either Spain or the USA.

ONLY Castro kept the promise. He ended illiteracy in every part of the island (in just 1 year!), provided schools to even the remotest peasant communities, provided free and excellent health care and education to everyone, and threw out the foreign moneyed interests that were robbing the country...that's not Communism...that's justice. He gave Cuba back to the Cubans. Rich Cubans didn't like it one bit, and most of them (and much of the middle class as well) left the island. They would love to come back, along with their mafia friends and their "lawyers, guns and money" (to quote Warren Zevon). I hope to God they never do.

It's the downside of Miami that is hell on earth, and the downside of Washington, L.A., Detroit, and whatever other big American city you could care to mention...you don't walk around in those neighborhoods after dark if you've got an iota of sense, now do you? Ever wonder why? Little or no social justice, and no pity either.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 09:37 AM

Thanks Fionn
RiS


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 09:40 AM

My dear friend DougR:
I am not surprised you are involved in folk music, as another said, there is not one point of view in the working class or our music, and in fact, there is very little class conciousness among we working class folk singers in the US in some communities. I read with interest your thoughts on the prisons and constitution. I don't agree that folks who don't agree can't have successful conversations. The posts on Ireland show it takes time to develop understanding, and we should not give up using our shared membership in the working class music community to further the understanding of the culture of the music and our international community.
Now as to happy prisoners or unhappy prisoners... When I was in law school a good friend and fellow progressive, was the ex-deputy commisoner of prisons in NY under Dave Dinkins. There were alot of our fellow students who were into the notion that prisons were full of bad people who had to be punnished. We who have worked with those people feel otherwise often, so we took an intire Cim Law clas to Rikers Island as a project of the Lawyers Guild. We hoped they would notice that 99 percent were minorities and 99.999999999 percent were members of a sub working class, and that they would understand that there is a conection between oportunity, skin tone, and punishment for crimes that send white folks of the upper classes to the Betty Ford center, not to Rikers. Unfortunately, most missed the point. The prisoners did not look like them, and although we recieved a warm welcome from the prisoners, the students found them frightning and did not understand. They were happy these people who were not like them were behind bars and safely put away.
I don't expect you to understand without personal experience, but tell me - if it is not class and opportunity, why do our prison populations look the way they do, is it eugenics? I don't think so, or the crime rate would be a constant, rather, it goes up and down with the degree the ecconomy gets good enough to accomodate even the people who are not loved by the majority community. No, I don't think we need punishment in the US, we need freedom and fairness.
Keep talking friends
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 01:00 PM

Larry, I certainly agree that it is possible for two people that have opposing views to carry on a reasonable conversation. That has been, prior to this thread, the experience I have had since joining the Mudcat over a year ago.

When one person with an opposing view believes himself "entitled" or "empowered" (by whom I have no idea) to criticize the other person for his point of view, however,it becomes a bit more difficult.

I cannot comment on the prisoner situation. I am sure that some people who are in our prisons should not be there, but I sincerely hope that it is a very small fraction of the prison population. The happiness or unhappiness of those who deserve to be there, however, does not concern me for one moment.

I am far more concerned about victim's rights than I am the rights of convicted criminals.

Best, DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Alice
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 01:10 PM

I had a dream this morning that I was dancing a tango with Castro in my mother's kitchen. No kidding.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 03:21 PM

Is he a pretty good dancer, Alice? Did you Tango? That's funny. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 04:57 PM

Wow, Alice, that is pretty cool. I suspect that Fidel is an excellent dancer. I met a lot of Cubans who were...dancing is much more popular down there, and romance is everywhere. Positively breathtaking, as far as I'm concerned.

Now I would like a dream where I am dancing with Winona Ryder. Can anyone help on this?


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 05:18 PM

Someone earlier in this thread mentioned the responsibility of the government to provide "free" health care. Since doctors, nurses, hospitals,and staffs expect to receive fees and wages for their services, I was just wondering how they would be paid in a "free" health care system. In my country, these professionals would be paid by the citizens of the nation in the form of taxes- the only people for whom this would truly constitute a free service would be those who are unwilling or unable to pay taxes. Now, I agree that any nation has a responsibility to provide for its indigent, but the fact that the citizenry shares the cost in providing these services should be kept in mind, and they should most certainly have a say in how and when these services are granted.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 05:53 PM

Alice! What would Frued have said about dancing with a guy who smokes cigars!!!!!!
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 06:01 PM

Another point re McGrath's statement that a nation's constitution should be changed to reflect changes in the people. We were blessed in this country to have had a defining document that was framed by some of the most gifted and visionary men the world has ever seen. They were able to construct a constitution that determined the function of our government, as well as defining the rights,freedoms and responsibilities of its people. This Constitution incorporated their view of Democracy, and was offered up in a world dominated by Monarchies. While outlining these basic rights and freedoms, these men were enlightened enough to leave room for interpretation within the Constitution's framework, so that succeeding generations might redefine them. In that spirit, I feel that the Amendments to the Constitution that followed were clarifications, not corrections.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 07:05 PM

Almost forgot about the actual subject of the thread!

The initial precedent for an objection to the Government of Cuba stems from the Monroe Doctrine. The doctrine came into being at a time when the United States represented a tremendous threat to the status quo in the world: it was a colony that had ejected its mother country,Great Britain,the premier super-power of its time. It was also an experiment in Democracy, the dangerous concept that stated that a people could govern themselves without the steady hand of a monarch. In the early 1800s, the outcome of this experiment was still very much in doubt, and the new country was wary of new military bases being established in the Caribbean in particular, and this activity was barred by the Monroe Doctrine, which declared the Caribbean to be within the strategic sphere of influence of the United States. On rare occasions, this doctrine was invoked throughout the following 200 years. When Russian nuclear missiles were discovered in Cuba, Keennedy invoked this doctrine again, and placed an embargo on Cuba to be enforced by the US Navy.

The other factors that precipitated the embargo, and aggravated the hostilities, were: Castro's professed intention for a "democratic" revolution, which he later sacrificed to a need for the firmer personal control of a dictatorship. The release at Mariel by Castro of thousands of convicted prisoners to find asylum in America. The continuing refusal of Castro to allow his people to travel freely between his country and the United States. My feeling is that, although the embargo was justified when levied by Kennedy, the time of immediate threat is long passed. Castro's regime will die with him, and in the interim, there is no reason to punish the Cuban people by denying them foods and medicines.

One last word to Fionn...on the Forum, we practice tolerance of contrary views, no matter how strongly we disagree with them. In my view you were way out of line to question Doug's credentials in terms of blues and folk music. Perhaps,because he was alone in his view and you felt you had widespread support, you felt he was fair game. Your comment was merely mean-spirited.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Alice
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 07:09 PM

InOBU, this dream had some quite interesting complexities and symbols. I was trying to remember the names of the refugee children who lived with us, and all I could remember was the last name, Arena-Peña (true). Then my mom interrupted our dancing and handed me an old fashioned bottle of milk, and I noticed something lumpy in it.. it was full of tadpoles swimming in the milk. Gross. ... that woke me up....


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: catspaw49
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 07:52 PM

Alice, don't mention this dream to anyone working professionally in the "Shrunken Head" dodge like shrinks or therapists or such.

Tadpoles in the milk huh? ....... Yeah, just keep this between us.....................

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 07:57 PM

Lonesome EJ, thanks for the refresher course in U. S. History. I had forgotten that the Monroe Doctrine was the impetus for invoking the blockade.

Thanks, too, for the words of defense.

Alice, that was quite a dream. Interesting that you remember parts of it so vividly. I pretty sure tadpoles in my milk would have awkened me too!

DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Greg F.
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 10:02 PM

The continuing refusal of Castro to allow his people to travel freely between his country and the United States.

Think you'd better take another refresher course; maybe start with Phil Och's "Ballad of William Worthy"?

The US still prohibits its citizens from travelling to Cuba, and not so many years back the list of countries us "free" Americans couldn't travel to was longer than your arm.

And the "Monroe Doctrine" (which was laughed at by the rest of the world when it was initially proposed as the empty bombast it was) has been most successfuly used by the US to justify the invasion and overthrow of the governments of various Central American and South American countries for the last 125 years or so. Not a precedent to take much pride in.

Best, Greg


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Greg F.
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 10:12 PM

sorry for all italics- typo only.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 10:46 PM

And all this time, Greg F., I thought you were just trying to emphasize your point! DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 05 Aug 00 - 11:31 PM

Greg, Phil Ochs wrote some great tunes, but I look elsewhere for history lessons. American citizens are prevented from traveling to areas where the government perceives they will be in danger. Cuban citizens are prevented from traveling.

The Monroe Doctrine was laughed at by the Monarchies of the world because the United States was considered too weak to enforce it, and its government was considered a temporary aberration. It was not until the United States had become a world power and the European Monarchies had been overthrown or reduced to figurehead status that the doctrine was taken seriously. Certainly, when Kennedy invoked the doctrine in 1962,neither Castro nor Krushchev was laughing.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 12:36 AM

Lonesome EJ,

You presented some great points about the origins of the USA and its constitution. The 13 colonies did indeed intiate a profoundly important and much-needed change in human awareness on this planet by challenging the right of monarchs to dominate populations, by casting off the heavy hand of the British Empire, and by forming a democratic system based on the will of the people. This foreshadowed the development of all republican forms of democratic government which followed in the rest of the world...first in France, then elsewhere. The USA can be justly proud of this...history has exonerated them.

At the same time it must be pointed out that the conduct of the US government toward Native Americans was utterly shameful in almost every case, unlike the British administration in Canada which treated the Indians in a far more just and even-handed manner. The result: hundreds of Indian wars were fought in the USA during the period from 1776 to 1885, and 1 Indian war was fought in Canada (the Northwest Rebellion of Metis and Indians led by Louis Riel) during the same period of time. Just one!

Although the British were still under a monarchy, they curiuosly enough ran a far less corrupt administration in terms of dealing with the frontier areas and the Native peoples. One has to wonder why?

The American constitution was the most socially progressive document of its era, and yet it utterly failed to protect the rights of blacks and Native Americans for a very long time. Something was rotten in "Denmark". Did the search for individual freedom somehow obscure the sense of collective moral responsibility that should be a corollary to individual freedom of choice? I believe so.

The dollar rules in America, and winning is the only thing that counts at the end of the day...rule of law and real justice be damned. Consider the O.J. Simpson trial as a recent example of this...hypocrisy of a very transparent and blatant sort...that fooled almost no one who was not blinded by race prejudice.

Now, to the fact that the public has to pay taxes to have a free medical plan. Well, of course!!! We also pay taxes to have a police force, an army/navy/air force, a transportation network, a school system, a government, a justice system (courts, etc.), a prison system, a telecommunications network, certain power and energy managing structures, a fiscal and monetary system, a national currency, and on and on.

All of the above are "socialist" endeavours, by definition, because they are paid for by public funds and administrated by public employees on behalf of the whole nation. That's socialism, and it's all utterly necessary in order to have a modern, decent, functioning society. This fact seems to have escaped the conservatives, to whom "socialism" is a dirty word. It's like calling "trees" a dirty word and wanting to cut them all down...it's that stupid.

I am entirely willing to pay taxes to have these vital services, even though their record may not be flawless. Whose record IS flawless? I would be willing to pay MORE taxes than I presently do in order not to have homeless people dying on the sidewalks of Toronto.

It is largely certain neo-conservative trends in the Ontario government in the last few years which have resulted in a record number of homeless (15,000 at the last estimate) on Toronto's streets.

Many of them are mental patients who have been turfed out of hospitals that have been closed due to TAX CUTS. Said tax cuts have mostly gone to the richest sectors in this society. It's a national disgrace. It has happened because of sheer greed on the part of people who already have considerably more money than they (or anybody) actually need, and they have no intention of sharing one penny of it with anyone else unless they are forced to by law. These are the same people who run the banks and big business (and all the mainstream political parties!!!) in Canada and the USA. They are rich beyond the common man's imagination, but they still want MORE. In a system like that, one's right to cast a vote becomes virtually meaningless, because WHO do the political parties really serve? Think about it.

The American constitution was a brilliant document, highly valuable and progressive. So too is the Cuban constitution. Both those constitutions have to some extent been subverted by people's blindness and self-serving nature. Both constitutions have been partially betrayed by the very people who swore to uphold them.

If you had been born a Canadian you would take for granted that medical treatment is publicly funded, and you would not mind paying taxes to pay the medical staff (unless maybe you were filthy rich...and damned selfish).

I'm not criticizing you personally in the above comments. I'm just explaining how it works in Canada...and Cuba...and Sweden...and many other countries. It's a basic democratic right to have free medical care, and its entirely worth the tax burden which that entails. To not do so is shortsighted and little short of criminal, maybe not in intention, but certainly in effect.

If you're homeless in Canada, by the way, you can't GET a health card, and you can't get treatment, except maybe in the emergency ward if you're dying. Nor are you in a position to effectively communicate with anyone by phone, or to travel, or to buy decent clothing, so you almost certainly can't get a job either...except as a prostitute, pimp, thief or drug dealer. Thus are the desperate relegated to the dung heap, even in Canada, where democracy is only a partial success, and is being eroded away year by year...in the name of tax cuts. And so, the homeless die on the street. The Cubans were astonished to hear this. They thought we were all rich. But it's even worse than that in the USA, where there is no universal health plan at all.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 12:36 AM

Hey Guys!
Where was the Monroe Doctrine during the Malvetas war. Seems to me England was what the Monroe Doctirne was all about!
Larry
PS I am off to sleep, I hope I don't have nightmares about any of this tadpole stuff... I am going to have a nice dream about drinking Havana Club and listening to Cuban jazz!


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Greg F.
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 08:32 AM

"American citizens are prevented from traveling to areas where the government perceives they will be in danger."

L.O.L.!!!   Joe McCarthy would have LOVED that one.

For the sake of this discussion, Ill assume you aren't old enough to remember the '50s & '60s. & if you don't want Phil's musical rendition of the Bill Worthy incident, its fully documented elsewhere.

Best, Greg


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 05:07 PM

Lonesome, the sanctions have deprived decent, ordinary people of food. Some of them have died in consequence. (Follow that link I gave to the US Committee on World Health report if you can face the details). Doug R said he'd have supported those sanctions if they'd looked like toppling Castro.

Cuba has delivered better survival rates for under-fives than anywhere in the states; better than anywhere in the world. Forget how it's brought to account. He's done this in a country that has been impoverished by American bullying.

What right has DougR or anyone else to support a policy aimed at toppling any nation regime, much less one with such a record of achievement in health and education (remember that illiteracy thread? haha) by inflicting misery and death on the civilian population?

When I signed up to Mudcat, no-one said anything about having to tolerate intolerance, and I for one don't intend to do so.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 05:38 PM

Little Hawk...my remarks about "free" health care were intended as a demonstration of the fact that the government, that huge shadowy entity, provides nothing for free. In America, most of us pay large premiums for health insurance that will cover 80% of our bill if we are ill. A major trauma that lands you in the hospital for 2 months may end up totalling 50 or 60 thousand dollars or more, and you may still be bankrupted by paying your share. Since insurance companies dictate treatment, almost all surgery in the US is out-patient surgery, in and out the same day. And so I admit that our health-care system here is pretty lousy. My wife is English, and they have so-called "free" health care there. But the downside is two-fold- tremendous tax burdens, including the outrageous VAT on everything you buy. Additionally, if you need surgery there, you get in line and wait, sometimes months. In both systems, one funded by insurance, the other "free", it seems to me the results are fairly unsatisfactory, and you end up paying one way or the other.

You say that Cuba's Constitution was a "brilliant" document. Did it provide for the basic freedom of speech? How could it be a brilliant document if it did not? And if it did why is that freedom denied? Did it provide for a government to be administered by a dictator? How could it be brilliant if it did? And if it did not, why are they stuck with one?

You make a good point about the American Constitution and slavery. "All men are created equal" it says and yet slavery continued. The reason it continued was a matter of practicality and compromise: the Southern colonies would never have agreed to enter the union if it hadn't. But the Constitution embodied our nobler aspirations, and for the country to defy these aspirations created a hypocrisy that it could not long endure. It took the bloodbath of the Civil War to resolve it.

I cannot defend the treatment of the Native American population. If one understands that, to the 19th century farmers of the Eastern Colonies, and to the millions of immigrants who came here from all over the world, America meant primarily Land, one can get an idea of why the West was seen as unused property, and get some understanding of what precipitated the conflicts. As far as Canada goes, I'm sure the enlightened British attitude toward Indians helped, but I'm also fairly certain that the lower population levels contributed to better relations there.

InOBU, you are right. The Monroe Doctrine primarily targeted British expansion in the Caribbean at the time it was introduced. I'm not familiar with the Malvetas War.

Greg..is there really any reason for us to argue the relative degree of freedom between the people of the USA and those of Cuba, when I'm quite sure we're both know the answer?


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 06:40 PM

Malvettas war I refer to was the war over the Faulklands, a decade ago, For those of you who know me know I can't spell in any language, so sorry for the butchering of the name Malvettas, but better than butchering the Monroe doctrine in that case.
Now lots of folks place the conquest of Native land in the US in the past, however, Native nations are being forced to ceede more and more soverignity each and every day.
As to freedom in Cuba or the US, freedom is relitive. A dear friend of mine who works as a civil rights lawyer here, needs to go to Cuba at least once a year to decompress, and she indeed, would love to live there, though she feels she must keep working here to mitagate the damage we do world wide and at home. But don't take my word for any of this. Go to the islands and hop a flight to Cuba. I promice you will have a great vaction and learn a thing or two possibly, or come home more sure of your beliefs. But I strongly doubt you will continue to see Cuba the way you do through State Deptarment colored glasses.
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Greg F.
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 07:17 PM

Didn't think we were arguing- just pointing out that the examles you chose to support your assertions were a bit-- unfortunate, shall we say?-- in illustrating the moral superiority of the US.

Best, Greg


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 08:42 PM

Larry, I've been meaning to do this myself for several years, and this thread has finally clinched it. That's where I'll be this time next year. I wouldn't be surprised if I find a country that many millions of deprived American citizens would consider better than their take on the USA.

On taxation, a large proportion of the British electorate, but sadly not a clear majority, think that the overall tax burden should be higher than it actually is. But Lonesome is right that VAT (which is a European Union requirement) is iniquitous. That's because it's a tax on spending, and as such it hits rich and poor equally. Taxes on income, obviously, are income-related. Thatcher's and succeeding governments have increasingly gone for indirect taxes like VAT, rather from income tax.It helps explain why the gap between rich and poor has widened faster in the UK in the past 20-odd years than in any developed country in the world except NZ. But the gap is still nowhere near as wide as in the US.

Uncle Sam can afford to tax lightly, whether directly or indirectly, because of the scale on which it exploits other countries' economies; its own natural resources, and its unchecked consumption of finite resources like fossil fuels, which is warming up the world for all of us.

In a way, it seems only fair that at least a few of the chickens that are coming home to roost from all of this are doing so in north America. At the economic level there are extreme social tensions arising from a wall between the haves and have-nots that even Governor Bush has had to acknowledge - to the extent that the USA squanders more of its population-resource in prisons than almost any country on earth. At the ecological level the Alaskan permafrost is getting nearer meltdown by the minute (which would have a knock-on effect across the whole continent); there are more and more twisters, and they are getting more fierce; and of course forest fires all over the place, as for instance right now in the western states. In fact Lonesome had one on his doorstep not long since.

Some of these catastrophes would have happened anyway, but if you look at US Government sites monitoring climate change, it is obvious there's a trend. It's obvious that the burning of aviation fuel and auto gazolene accelerates that trend, and it's obvious that US politicians know full well what's going on. But there are no votes in long-term strategy, only in Me, Now.

But the worst thing about democracy USA style, and for that matter UK-style, is the smug hypocrisy and self-deception. When anyone points out that it ain't working, someone just cites expediency and compromise. And that makes it all right. (But not all right in Cuba,of course.) Thus there is inordinate pride in a constitution that allows its citizens to accumulate the means of indiscriminate mass murder, but denies them basic freedoms like travelling to Cuba. Just a pity Senator McCarthy let a few Commie-lovers slip through the net, or we need never have been troubled with debates like this, and Cuba could have been nuked years ago.

inOBU/Larry, I think the name might be Malvinas? Whatever the name, it was a disgraceful adventure by Thatcher (aided by much logistical and intelligence support from the States). And I'm afraid it was not ten, but more than 18 years ago.*BG*


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 08:46 PM

Fionn: If one believes what you, Little Hawk, and others report regarding the ideal living conditions in Cuba, it would seem to me that the sanctions must not be making much of an impact anyway. You all describe life there as pretty good! As reported above, there are some living in Candada that would prefer to live in Cuba. Surely if things were so bad there, they wouldn't trade the good life in Canada for life in Cuba.

If Castro is as benevolent as he has been described in this Thread, why in the world would he allow children in his land to go without food? The U. S. is not the only source of food in the world. Actually, according to what I read on this Thread, things are pretty rosy down in Cuba.

I would point out also that I doubt that anyone empowered you to serve as arbiter of what is, and what is not to be tolerated on the Mudcat. Max is the enforcer at this website, and I would be very surprised were he to pull the plug on someone just because the poster had views different from his own. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: GUEST,The Yank
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 09:10 PM

Doug seems to be getting a bit tetchy, Fionn- perhaps because he realizes he's losing the debate? :-)


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 09:23 PM

Fionn
Right you are, Malvinas. Thanks for the reminder and corections. GregR Why do you think it is Castro keeping food off the plates? In fact, more people eat equitably today than under Batista. Yes, some trade happenes in spite of the threat the US made against any other soverign nation that trades with Cuba. The world, through a UN vote condemend they US for attempting to black mail the rest of the planit for no good reason. Let's face it there are a lot worse leaders than Castro, myself, I would vote for Fidel over George Bush, father or son.
. All the best
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 10:01 PM

No, no, no, no DougR, I'm not making any crazy claims about life in Cuba being a bed of roses - not yet anyway. I'll know more about that when I've been, but I'm fully expecting to find plenty of shortcomings.

First off, someone - maybe the Roger who started this thread - pointed out that the death penalty is still in play, and my own view is that the death penalty offends against humanity.

All I'm saying is that Cuba under Castro is not the unmitigated disaster that many Americans are led (and I mean led) to believe.

I've pointed to the evidence about infant health, and to me infant health is a pretty significant indicator. I have now read more about that book I mentioned, and it's obvious that Cuba has done some smart things in education too.

It's surely wrong to believe, just because it's had the label "Commie" stuck on it, that this is a worse regime than any other. In terms of basic rights it is demonstrably better than Saudi Arabia, for instance, with which the west loves to trade. It is demonstrably better than many other regimes that the USA has installed or supported. Surely this at least is beyond argument.

BTW I was not meaning to arbitrate on what is to be tolerated in this forum - just saying in response to Lonesome, with a self-evidently tongue-in-cheek phrase, that participation here is not conditional on tolerating intolerance. Not so far as I know, but it's Max's shout - you're right about that.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 10:38 PM

Let's face it there are a lot worse leaders than Castro, myself, I would vote for Fidel over George Bush, father or son. -InOBU

I'm no fan of the Bush Clan either, but my guess is that if you voted for Fidel, it would be the last vote you'd cast for a long time, if you go by his record so far.

Regarding the Malvinas, that was a territorial dispute between Great Britain and Argentina, and as I understand it, The Monroe Doctrine in its original form was an attempt to keep the newly emerging North and South American democracies from being conquered or re-conquered by the European Monarchies. Later, as the power of the United States increased, it was expanded to reflect America's growing sphere of influence in the Western Hemisphere. Teddy Roosevelt interpreted it as an authorization for the US to build the Panama Canal, and it was also invoked in many far less savory cases as an excuse for the US to meddle in Latin American affairs. I do think it was a legitimate invocation of the Monroe Doctrine when the embargo was applied to Cuba, since the Russian presence there created a real and immediate threat to the US mainland.

I've got a question for Fionn...if Cuba is as equitable and happy a place as you describe, why doesn't Fidel open his doors so that those who wish to leave this Caribbean Paradise may do so?

Mao improved health conditions in China, reduced the infant mortality rate, and did many things that improved the lot in life for the average Chinese peasant. He was still a Dictator,ruling through terror and the suppression of freedom. Even benevolent dictators are only benevolent when the mood suits them.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: DougR
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 10:57 PM

For some reason, I doubt, Lonesome E.J., that Fionn could vote for Bush or Gore. I may be wrong, but I suspect he is not qualified to vote in the U. S. Es so, Fionn?

I am not an enthusiastic fan of GWB eithter, but I think he is a better choice than the alternative. DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 01:18 AM

Gee...lots more good stuff to respond to. Where do I begin?

Doug R - you ask if the sanctions are working, since apparently things are hunky-dory in Cuba. Not so. The Cubans are desperately short of money, medicine, and many types of manufactured goods. They are somewhat short of food, but it's not too bad in that sense. This is due to the sanctions, not to any inherent wrongdoing on the part of the Cuban government, which has still managed to provide a better society than exists in most of Latin America, even despite those sanctions.

I am sorry to say that the sanctions are working. They are slowly de-stabilizing a society that has done wonders for its people since Batista's removal, and they may yet destroy the independence of Cuba and turn it back into a branch plant of American industry.

The Cuban constitution. Yes, it is a brilliant document, every bit as much as the US constitution. Yes, it does guarantee freedom of speech, and it does proscribe dictatorship. In the case of a dictatorship being established, the Cuban constitution enshrines the right of the populace to engage in armed rebellion against said dictatorship and overthrow it in order to restore the rights guaranteed in the constitution. It was this very constitutional statement that Fidel Castro used as moral and LEGAL authority for his 10 year armed revolt against Batista.

Surprised? Needless to say, the present Cuban government is violating the conditions of its own constitution in both of the above cases (free speech and no dictatorship)! So did the Batista government violate the Cuban constitution, and so did most of the other Cuban governments before Batista. The difference is, Castro gave the people land, jobs, health care, education, and economic national sovereignty, which Batista and the others did not. The USA was happy to support Batista, despite the fact that he was a vicious dictator who denied free speech. He didn't deny American business as usual. The USA cares not a fig whether a 3rd world country has free speech or not, as long as it is anti-communist and compliant with American business.

You are quite correct that Castro is a dictator. The Cubans are well aware of that too, and they don't like it, but he's better than dictators that the USA supports in numerous other countries not far from Cuba's shores. This fact is not lost on older Cubans who remember Batista.

The Cubans want free speech. They have always wanted it. So do people in many US allies and client states here and there, and they are not getting it.

Castro is not keeping food off anyone's plate. It is US sanctions that are doing that...not only in Cuba, but also in Iraq.

Constitutions are routinely violated by governments all over the place. Do not be surprised that it happens in Cuba. The way it is done is by people simply turning a blind eye to hyprocrisy, and refusing to even talk about it or recognize it...or permit others to talk about it. The brainwashing starts when you're a kid. In this way, the USA committed atrocities against blacks and Native Americans routinely for a very long time, despite saying "all men are created equal". The unspoken assumption, obviously, was simply that Indians and blacks were not men...in other words they were not human in the common sense of the word. This is how constitions are denied by seemingly rational human beings in a supposedly enlightened society.

Things are not all wonderful in Cuba. What is wonderful is the spirit, character, and awareness of the people...which, if you get to actually know them, is something to behold.

I would (and do) love to live in either Cuba or Canada. Each is a fine society in a number of ways. I would also be quite happy to live in the USA, although I see areas that need improvement. I see areas that need improvement in all present day societies, including Cuba and Canada.

We have all got to work together on this and build bridges, not burn them. Sanctions will only make misery.

Fidel doesn't open his doors for the same reason that many other poor countries don't. It would create a chaotic situation. 3rd worlders see our consumer goods and money and they want it now! Open the border with Mexico and see what happens. You would have chaos, and soon you would have race war, and maybe war between nations as well. Blood would be shed on a massive scale.

Last point. The Monroe Doctrine was a self-serving attempt to turn all of North and South America (with the possible exception of Canada) into a US dominated empire or financial protectorate, and the surrounding oceans into a US lake. It was an effort made on behalf of the USA, not on behalf of Latin Americans. Latin Americans are well aware of this. Everyone is well aware of it, except US citizens who have been taught something a bit different in their high school history classes.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 12:03 PM

Lonesome, for the most part Little Hawk has said it for me, in fact for good measure he's also said things I didn't know. (One proviso is that on the Monroe Doctrine I'm in no position to comment, and have read everyone's info about it with interest.)

Just to answer one or two specifics - first, as DougR has sussed, and some already knew, I can vote - and in turn am voted for (as a humble parish councillor) - only here in the Old Country. Second, Lonesome's direct question to me: "...if Cuba is as happy and equitable as you describe..." Well this looks like a case of thinking up some claim that's easy to knock down, then attributing it to me.*BG* In the immediately preceding post, I admitted that Cuba was "no bed of roses" and claimed only that it had a better human rights record than, say, Saudi Arabia. That leaves it well short of paradise. (Just realised that if Lonesome had been offline for a while, he would have posted before seeing mine.) I do believe though, that if an incoming president were to take on the Florida element and extend the hand of friendship to Havana, any such gesture would get a positive response. Then, without that crippling burden of sactions, there would be good reason to hope that Cuba could indeed be happy and equitable.

On the Bush/Gore choice, DougR, I see the problem. We'll have a similar no-win choice next year.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 12:30 PM

Sorry if I raised my voice - must have missed the "r" off a < br > .


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 02:29 PM

Let me begin by saying I just typed a long response to you guys, the computer malfunctioned, and I lost all of it. Yes, I used some rather colorful swearwords when that happened. As a result, I will address one point at a time.

Last point. The Monroe Doctrine was a self-serving attempt to turn all of North and South America (with the possible exception of Canada) into a US dominated empire or financial protectorate, and the surrounding oceans into a US lake. It was an effort made on behalf of the USA, not on behalf of Latin Americans. Latin Americans are well aware of this. Everyone is well aware of it, except US citizens who have been taught something a bit different in their high school history classes

Hawk, this is your interpretation of what the purpose of the doctrine was. When it was written in 11823, the United States was in no position to dominate any of its neighbors. The concept of democracy,however, was gaining popularity around the world, and particularly in South America. Spain was intent on foiling the democratic revolutionary movements, and the Monroe Doctrine was targeted at voicing a solidarity with these new independent states. At the time, there is little evidence that the US had designs on controlling the Western Hemisphere. Manifest Destiny was a concept that applied baasically to the territory currently occupied by the 48 continental states. True, Texas and California fell into the category of foreign land coveted and eventually annexed by the US, and there was talk of invading and taking Mexico, but this idea never gained popular or major political support.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 03:13 PM

Hi Lonesome...yes, your response is valid in many respects. The USA did have very democratic aspirations at that juncture in history (1776 to the early 1800's), and they were opposing old, very corrupt established monarchies...Spain being a truly hideous example of that. The American sympathy for liberation movements in Latin America was genuine and heartfelt.

I believe that later the Monroe Doctrine was perverted to become an excuse for American domination of the whole region. The robbery perpetrated on Mexico was just a case of the strong robbing the weak. The Mexicans have not forgotten the bombardment of Veracruz by Woodrow Wilson's navy either...a really despicable episode. Ask them.

In the Malvinas (Falkland Islands) war between England & Argentina more recently, the USA did an about face on the Monroe Doctrine and indirectly helped the British by providing refueling bases and aircraft as well as crucial military intelligence! The OAS (Organization of American States) was very upset about that. The reason was, the USA had stronger geopolitical reasons at that juncture for good relations with the Margaret Thatcher government than they did for the concerns of Latin America. They simply could not afford to see the British Navy suffer a grievous defeat at the hands of a notorious South American military dictatorship. So they temporarily washed their hands of the Monroe Doctrine. This was the same principle as temporarily ignoring a constitutional guarantee...in favour of pragmatism.

So I partially yield to your point above, and I partially don't. As usual the truth is neither all black nor all white.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 03:19 PM

Computer problems again forcing me, against my natural inclinations, to be brief...

I'll only say that my sense of the US Constitution is that it was not hypocritical in its declaration of "all me created equal". Instead I believe that Jefferson(himself a slave-owner),Franklin, Adams and others were consciously declaring that this was as it should be, despite the bigotry and hypocrisy of the time. We have spent two hundred years attempting to live up to these brilliant words.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 03:29 PM

RE: your statement that Mexico "opening its doors" would create a cataastophic situation. The analogy with Cuba is a bit off the mark. The principle problem with Mexican travel and relocation is not so much one of emigration restrictions by the Mexican Govt, as it is immigration quotas and restriction on entry by the US govt.

I cannot defend the US sanction of dictatorships, except to say that in the Cold War era, such tactics were adopted by both sides, in the belief that democracies were more susceptible to subterfuge and overthrow than dictatorships. Our support of Batista,Marcos, the Shah, and others of their ilk represent this approach, especially in area seen to be on the frontier of Russian expansion. In the post-USSR era, such alliances are unnecessary, and I blieve the US has adopted a much more pro-democracy ,anti-dictatorship stance now that we have the luxury to do so.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 03:39 PM

One more...

Following the embargo applied against Cuba in 1962 during the missile crisis, continued antagonism between Castro and the Kennedy/Johnson administrations inclined toward a "you go your way, we'll go ours" philosophy in trade. The embargo remained, and Castro was able to fall back almost entirely on the USSR and communist block for trade and needed supplies. The Cuban people did quite well with this support, and the American sanctions did not weigh heavily until the collapse of the USSR. At this point Castro found himself isolated, and many of the current deprivation began to take its toll. I don't think that US sanctions can be blamed for all of Cuba's miseries, and particularly for Castro's continued dictatorship, during the 1962-1988 time frame, since he had Russia to rely on.


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: InOBU
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 04:39 PM

A brief word on the Constitution
You may wish to read some of Derrek Bell's commentary on the Constitution. Many scholars believe that the limits of power on the federal government, was not as a buffer against tyrony, but rather, to keep the government to week to act against slavery, which was seen as the foundation of the southern ecconomy in spite of the fact that many slave owners, like Patrick Henry wrote about the torment they felt over the evils of slavery, of cource he was not nearly as tormented as his slaves, nor did he feel guilty enough to set his fellow men free.
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: US and Cuba
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 04:49 PM

Hi Lonesome,

Again you make good points. Yes, Castro's Cuba was in good shape until the Warsaw pact collapsed and Russian aid dried up. It is unfortunate that the Eisenhower administration did not respond more favorably to Castro's visit to Washington in the first year after his overthrow of Batista. Eisenhower refused to see Castro, but Vice President Nixon had a brief meeting with him. Had the USA chosen to take a friendly attitude toward Castro at that time, Cuba would never have become a client state of the USSR. What a tragedy.

Castro was most eager to have normal relations with the USA intially, but the rich interests that ran Cuba under Batista pulled strings to make sure that would never happen. So it goes. The Russians must have been absolutely delighted by that turn of affairs.

Your point about Mexico is reasonably valid. I think that as long as there is a gross difference in the material levels of life between North America and the 3rd World we are going to have much distress and instability in the world. We could VOLUNTARILY reduce our bloated lifestyle and share a bit more of the world's bounty, couldn't we? Who wants to be first? If we did so, we would greatly benefit the whole world and nature as well.

In my case, I have kept my lifestyle a lot simpler than the typical North American middle-class person, but I still live like a king compared to most Cubans or Mexicans. I think about it a lot. What goes around comes around, and our present system is way out of balance in this world.

Yes, there are times when supporting a dictatorship has its rationale...given other conditions around that situation. That's why I presently support the Cuban government...on the whole...although I certainly see that it could be improved upon...and I hope that it will be.

The US Constitution itself was not hypocritical...it was its practical application by the overall American society that became at times hypocritical.

Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams were indeed brilliant men, with extraordinary vision...and I respect that vision entirely.

My condolences on losing your entire document to the accursed machine...this has happened to me on a few occasions, and it is enough to get a person mailing vile Irish curses in incomprehensible languages to "virtual" (if I may use that term) strangers...like Spaw. (LOL)


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