Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Castro Quits

By Cernig

Fidel Casto has announced his resignation as president of Cuba and commander-in-chief of Cuba's military in a late-night letter to a Cuban state newspaper. That's a good thing to me, as it will be to all modern socialists - both democratic socialists and social democrats. (I'm the latter flavour, by the way.)

I've never been utterly sure of why Fidel Castro inspired such an overabundance of hate in America when other, rightwing, dictators attracted so little. To me, it's the dictatorship that's the problem, not the ideology used to excuse it. Obviously, the Spanish socialist government feels the same way, and is hoping for peaceful change.
Spain's governing Socialist Party on Tuesday described the resignation of Cuban leader Fidel Castro as "great news" if it led to a "democratic opening.""From Spain, we will work for that to happen," said Jose Blanco, organizational secretary of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist Party.

Trinidad Jimenez, secretary of state for Ibero-American affairs, said Castro's resignation might help acting president Raul Castro to carry out the reforms he has announced.
One of the ways in which Castro was useful to the American Right - as people like Chavez are now - is in enabling them to muddy the waters of American debate by pretending that modern socialism and dicatorial communism are identical - a meme that has widespread currency in the U.S. How often do you hear rightwingers complain about Tony Blair being a socialist, for instance? Yet the Labour Party which he was head of has always been avowedly a socialist party. Gordon Brown is the current party leader and British PM. How often does his socialism come up in US mainstream reporting? Reforms in Cuba would certainly help to head off that meme, but it won't dissolve it altogether. It's a deep-rooted factor in the American political debate even if it does belong to a bygone era as far as the rest of the world is concerned.

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