Why "Autumn" Revolution Won't Spread to Cuba

Things occasionally relax a little between Cuba and the United States, but man does the news mostly just repeat its self. President Obama just upped the embargo for at least another year and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson seems to be having no luck in his efforts to free an American citizen imprisoned in Cuba for supposed spying.

Salon has (republished from Global Post) a good general look at why the hopeful-to-some signs of revolt in the Middle East may not spread to everyone's favorite Communist hold-out. 

The big problems, besides an overabundance of Castros? Not enough rabble-rousing technology, and lingering paranoia about the U.S.:  

[A]ctivists are once more testing Raul Castro's tolerance for public protest -- and whether the tactics used by tweeting insurgents in the Middle East could spread anti-government sentiment here.

One disadvantage often cited by Cuban activists is that they operate at a significant technology deficit. The island is one of the least-connected countries in the world, and though many young people have mobile phones, most lack access to Facebook, Twitter and video-sharing sites because of internet restrictions and scarce bandwidth.

Anti-Castro activists on the island are also viewed suspiciously or with outright hostility by many Cubans, even those who have lost faith in Cuba's socialist model. State media broadcasts frequently show them meeting with U.S. diplomatic officials, depicting them as "counterrevolutionaries," "mercenaries" and "opportunists" who are out to make a buck or get political asylum abroad.

Whole thing here. The author, Nick Miroff had an interesting National Public Radio piece on Sept. 2 about Havana women who hitchhike instead of talking the crappy bus system.

Nick Gillespie on Cuba and the other key ingredient in revolution, rock and roll and Michael Moynihan on the continued difficulties faced by dissident Cuban punk band Porno Para Ricardo.

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  • ||

    You can now fly to Cuba directly from Tampa. I think I'll pass for now, but that's a change.

  • ||

    You mean you don't want to get a look back in time at all that old crap before crass commercialism gives Cubans stuff that actually works?

    But, but, OLD cars, and the FIFTIES, man!

  • ||

    Strangely, watching people live under the heal of oppression for my amusement. . .doesn't amuse me.

  • ||

    Talk like that will cost your monocle and tophat, you know.

  • ||

    Well, I did mean other people's heels (not heals--oops).

  • A Serious Man||

    Yeah, most Cubans today didn't do anything to deserve communism. That's like gloating over the lives of the North Koreans or Chinese.

  • ||

    I cannot tell you how offended I get when the celebrity Marxist du jour goes down there and comes back all aglow at their backward, poor culture. Like those people want to be oppressed and downtrodden, driving around in 1950s-era cars, with Soviet-produced engines that barely work with constant attention.

  • ||

    I think Tony Bourdain is the only person I've seen that's gone down there with a fair review of the situation.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The US embargo gives Castro a huge scapegoat for all of Cuba's economic failings.

  • ||

    Far beyond the actual damage done, but yes. It would be much worse if everyone else joined in.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Oh totally. Back when I was a Cuba hawk I was all, "but every other country in the world trades with them." But now I'm like, "this is an anachronistic restriction on Americans, not on Cuba."

    Like all US foreign policy, it's not about them, it's about us.

  • A Serious Man||

    I seriously think we're just waiting for Castro to die. The trade embargo with Cuba is probably the only US foreign policy motivated purely by spite.

  • ||

    The trade embargo with Cuba is probably the only US foreign policy motivated purely by spite.

    I think its motivated mostly by the importance of the Cuban-American voting block in a certain swing state, by this point.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Even that isn't the slam-dunk it used to be.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Spite, perhaps... but the Castros know, deep in their dank-assed evil souls, that if they let their people loose from the boots on their necks, we'd drop the trade embargo immediately.

  • ||

    Yes, it's always been ridiculous that private citizens have been restricted in their movements to and dealings with Cuba.

    The only reason we don't lift the embargo now are certain votes in Florida. That's it.

  • BakedPenguin||

    It's funny that they can even use this as propaganda. If we were trading with them, wouldn't we be exploiting them? That's what capitalists do, right?

  • sevo||

    "The US embargo gives Castro a huge scapegoat for all of Cuba's economic failings."
    And most people who use it as such despise trade.
    Lefty, day one: "The embargo is killing Cubans!"
    Lefty, day two: "Global trade is killing everybody!"
    Pick one; you don't get both.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    The day when Cubans finally get to elect a real, freedom-loving government, is the day people will weep... not for joy, though.

    People like, say, Thomas Friedman, for instance.

  • A Serious Man||

    Sadly, Castro's legacy will live on in Latin American socialists like Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales.

  • ||

    Why would people want to protest in the country with the"best medical care in the world?"

    We're the ones that should be protesting with our third world lucre for life medical system.

    Fucking ingrates.

  • ||

    I have heard several people gush about how they want to get down there and see the "real" Cuba, before it gets wrecked.

    I have thus far resisted the temptation to deck any of them.

  • ||

    It's really quite evil.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    I would love to see Cuba, as I would love to see North Korea.

    Not as much as I would love to see them "wrecked."

  • BakedPenguin||

    Steigy, you know about the Vice TV NK travel videos, right?

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Unless you're secretly my cousin, my other cousin, or my friend Rob, you're the fourth person to tell me to watch those. I guess I'd better.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Oh, my only connection to Pittsburgh is my friend Kerri. But for anyone with an interest in North Korea, they're must-see TV.

  • ||

    I have been to Cuba 3 times. It is quite easy through Mexico and very interesting. Long lines for some things, ridiculous cheap prices for certain things, people begging for SOAP(?) in the streets.

    Almost everyone I talkied to wanted to LEAVE. (I am an anthropologist)

  • Gojira||

    Part of the problem is that they see "just trying to make a buck" as some kind of nasty thing.

    To be fair, we did prop up a dictator there, before he was replaced with an even worse dictator. And even in America, the supposed bastion of capitalism, just being out to "make a quick buck" off of somebody is seen as somehow seedy.

    We've got to shake the mentality that only being out to make money is somehow filthy.

  • sevo||

    "We've got to shake the mentality that only being out to make money is somehow filthy."
    You'd think everybody is a monetarist.
    For most (Cuban) people, 'making a buck' means being able to buy something to eat for dinner.

  • Gojira||

    I agree, I was just referencing the last paragraph of the article where it states that

    Anti-Castro activists on the island are also viewed suspiciously or with outright hostility by many Cubans, even those who have lost faith in Cuba's socialist model. State media broadcasts frequently show them... [as]..."opportunists" who are out to make a buck...
  • ||

    Given Cuba's resources and potential for major, major tourism and related development, a little capitalist "exploitation" is exactly what they need. A liberal, free-market Cuba would be a seriously wealthy nation.

  • Gojira||

    Tell me about it. I've already told my wife that the fucking day that regime falls, we're on a plane for Cuba with real-estate speculation on the agenda.

  • ||

    I'm from Tampa and have a number of Cuban friends.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I've had the same convo with my wife, too. We should start a REIT, with funds from Reason commenters.

  • BakedPenguin||

    In 1950, Japan had a GDP of $1,873 and Cuba had a GDP of about $2,000. (Yeah, it's Wikipedia, but the chart is sourced to the Dutch economist Maddison (sp?)).

    Admittedly, the incomes were very unequally distributed, but then, they are today as well.

  • DJF||

    A big reason why there is not going to be a “Autumn” revolution is because for decades the most anti-Castro types simply paddled 90 miles across the ocean and went to the USA and its hard to do a revolution when you are not even in the country

  • Old Mexican||

    The island is one of the least-connected countries in the world[...]


    It also has a very low carbon footprint, alongside North Korea... So that should tell you, in a nutshell, just what the AGW zealots really have in store for everybody else.

    But I digress... Fuck you, Che! You flaccid, yellow piece of shit.

  • BakedPenguin||

    You flaccid, yellow piece of shit.

    I think he's pretty much just gray, now. Here's to Fidel and Raul joining him soon.

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