[Marxism] Raul Castro urges students to debate 'fearlessly'

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Dec 22 10:12:07 MST 2006

The political culture of Cuba, a blockaded country, is totally different
from what we're used to here on Marxmail. Cubans argue actively but
mostly among themselves, and certainly not in the form we're used to i
n such a forum as Marxmail. This article and the news about Raul's 
remarks are very encouraging, in my view.

Public discussion of Cuba's many problems isn't new (think of the big
five-hour speech Fidel gave in November 2005 in which he said that
imperialism couldn't defeat the Cuban Revolution, but Cubans could
wreck it themselves if they didn't confront the problems). But it is 
clear that since Raul's been in charge, there's been more discussion
of some of these problems in the Cuban media. That recent series of
articles on corruption in Juventud Rebelde is one example coming to
mind. I wouldn't be surprised to see more of this. Also, there have
been quite a few occasions when Raul could have placed himself in
front, or in the limelight, and he's chosen not to do that, but rather
to share the public arena with other members of the leadership.

Given that Cuba's a one-party state, engaging in lots of discussion 
and debate in a public way is not something Cubans have lots of
experience with. Indeed, precious little, to be quite direct about it.

Recently, as Marxmailistas know, Celia Hart published a commentary
on the Nicaraguan elections which included an explicit and public
disagreement with Fidel Castro. Yes, it was published on a website 
in Argentina, not Cuba, but she's not likely to receive any criticism of
rebuke in the Cuban media for her action. She explicitly stated that
she was writing as an individual and in any official capacity. 

CELIA HART: Pink Elections in Nicaragua

By contrast, when I was in the Socialist Workers Party of the USA,
an action like Celia Hart recently engaged in would have gotten me
expelled. Indeed, something much less than that DID result in my
being expelled. 

There's a blog at the Washington Post where it's possible to post some
comment. I noticed that they took out formatting and the separation
I had between paragraphs.

Walter Lippmann



The Cuban vice president called upon university students to
fearlessly engage in debate and analysis, and to put forth
differences of opinions, noting that timely discussions at the right
place and in the proper fashion always yield the best decisions.

Raul Castro, who is also minister of Defense, said that based on his
personal experience this is the best kind of attitude to foster. He
pointed out that building an armed forces is based on the principal
of having one person in command; "however, this does not mean that
there is no space for discussion. I always say discuss everything as
in-depth as possible and then bring me the discrepancies. That’s how
our decisions take shape, and I am talking about major decisions," he

With his customary cheerfulness, Raul reminisced about his childhood
and growing up with his brothers Fidel and Ramon. He joked about not
making a long speech as those made by his brother, Commander Fidel
Castro, adding that "Fidel is irreplaceable, unless we all replace
him together, each one in our place, carrying out our specific tasks.
Fidel’s substitute can only be the Communist Party of Cuba."


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