Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Good or Bad? (Part 1)

Back in February, I wrote about an article that appeared in Foreign Policy Magazine. The article [PDF] was a debate about Cuba and Fidel Castro, matching Carlos Alberto Montaner versus Ignacio Ramonet.

Ignacio Ramonet writes for Le Monde diplomatique, a monthly news magazine that covers international affairs, and Carlos Alberto Montaner is a world-syndicated columnist that covers international issues, with a focus on the Latin region.

In my February post, I wrote how this debate was "a stalemate between opposing views, reflecting how in general there are little attempts to bridge the political gap." I also mentioned how the opposing sides provided "no convincing argument" in my opinion. (Babalu blog obviously saw it very differently.) Looking at the article again, I see Ramonet's argument MORE convincing than Montaner's.

One main disagreement I have with Montaner (among others) is his description of how "[n]o one is more anxious to abandon egalitarian collectivism than the legion of engineers, doctors, technicians, and teachers forced to live without the slightest hope of betterment." Egalitarian collectivism? According to past polls and other sources about the attitudes of Cubans, there are many indications that the majority of Cubans still favor revolutionary principles (such as equality over freedom), especially the universal educational and health institutions that are highly criticized in Miami, especially by hard-liners. Montaner's confident belief that educated Cubans are "anxious to abandon" a construct that is viewed very favorably in Cuba, seems to be based more on desire than fact. On the other hand, Ramonet presents a more realistic view of what past research indicates.

Anyway, the big question that Foreign Policy Magazine asked in February (Was Fidel Castro Good for Cuba?) was a question incorporated in an international poll conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

In their report, released last July (full PDF report), concerning various attitudes in the developing world, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found time to incorporate two questions concerning Cuba and Fidel Castro while doing surveys in South America. The results come from surveys of about 800, over-18-year old adults each from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.

[Part 2]

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