Off later this afternoon for a boat trip on the river Lagan for a trades unionist organised celebration of the Cuban revolution in 1959. The revolution is now 51 years old and the 26th July movement celebrates the 1953 campaign leading up to the overthrown of the Batista dictatorship, which began with Castro and others attacking the Mocanda barracks in Santiago de Cuba
While of course not saying that Cuba is perfect, it has abused the human rights of its citizens in the past and is still short of being a democracy - and therefore should be criticised - it has made some remarkable achievements nevertheless and has on the whole improved the welfare and lives of millions of Cubans. The fact that it's managed to survive in the face of concerted US pressure and the continuing blockage led by the US (though Obama has relaxed some of the worse excesses of the Helms-Burton act) is remarkable and something worthy of celebrating.
Not least of the reasons is the fact that Cuba had its 'peak oil' experience decades ago when the Soviet Union collapsed and had to adjust rapidly to a declining oil economy. The Power of Community film that's commonly shown and discussed in the Transition Town movement is about how Cuba responded to growing food when oil, chemicals, fertiliser, machinery etc (the oil-based elements of industrialised agriculture) gives an indication of the ingenuity and community-based solutions Cubans came up with. Cuba, warts and all, therefore has something to teach us...and then there's the fact that it has some of the best health care outcomes for its citizens that countries with much more wealth....and at the UN Haiti Donor Conference on March 31st, the government of Cuba made the offer to rebuild the entire Haitian National Health Service. What this translates into is that Cuba has made a commitment to Haiti greater than the entire G7 bloc...nuff said...
Hasta La Victoria Siempre !