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Owen Jones Should Think Harder about Cuba and the UK


Owen Jones lists many of Cuba’s astonishing achievements in this piece

but then insists that “opponents of the embargo need to talk a lot more loudly about democracy in Cuba”.

He says that the “embargo is disappearing; so, too, must dictatorship”.

It is quite an exaggeration, at this point, to describe the embargo as “disappearing”.

As I explained here, despite Obama’s encouraging gesture, the embargo will only be eased – how much and for how long is very uncertain.

Additionally, Jones’ assumption that Cuba deserves the “dictatorship” label more than the UK is extremely dubious.

How does Jones think all those Cuban achievements came about in country that has been under fierce attack from a superpower?  Does he think an enlightened leadership just sat at their desks issuing decrees? Does it sound plausible that no open and honest feedback from the Cuban public was involved?

Avi Chomsky wrote in her detailed study of Cuba that “.…reading Cuban authors’ analyses of their own political system encourages U.S. audiences to acknowledge that Cuba’s political system cannot be described simply and statically, as it generally is in U.S. political discourse, as a ‘dictatorship.’ Cuban citizens nominate candidates and vote in secret ballot elections; they participate in mass organizations; they participate in neighborhood, workplace, and municipal assemblies where real problems Are discussed and debated, and decisions made.“

Cuba’s achievements are very strong evidence that her account is accurate.

Cuba’s system is certainly set up to prevent huge deviations from what the top leadership wants, but the same is true of the UK. The public cannot simply vote corporate dominance out of existence in any of the rich “democracies” that presume to lecture Cuba on political rights.

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