By Stuart Buchanan
Well, I haven’t started doing anything to this blog yet, so I thought I might just write a little something to justify its existence on the web. We are supposed to be discussing current affairs and things like that, and how they would possibly affect us here in little ol’ Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Well, I’m not sure I can do that, but the recent news about Fidel Castro’s resignation has spurred me into saying a few words about the Commandante.
As a journalism student, I’ve had all those damn lectures (who’d have thought – being a student actually means attending lectures) about how the world’s media is controlled by the West etc etc *yawn*, and yes, we all know that thank you very much. Which is why the coverage of Castro is something worth thinking about. He has been the olive-green uniformed thorn in the side of the Americans for over fifty years, which is pretty damn impressive. The CIA and others has tried to assassinate him several times in the past, but has survived every one. He has quite successfully run a country which has had an embargo against it for four decades, blocking the possibility of trade from the only superpower and the richest country (…*puts on Jeremy Clarkson accent…*) in the world. The Americans have tried to undermine him so many times since he first came to power, but they don’t want you to know that. They are, however, quite happy to let everyone know he is retiring.
So what? (Journ students will know this is a blog as I have not provided the So What section earlier). Well, I don’t think most people will care too much about Castro’s retirement, or what the future of Cuba may bring. The thing is, Cuba is not like any other country (here comes Clarkson again) in the world. It is not a Communist country like China is, and it’s not a Communist country like Russia was. It is unlike any other South American country, even those trying to role out similar socialist values. So read up on Cuba – if you dodge western news coverage and look for books you will find that Cuba is a unique, interesting and successful country which has managed to outlive Soviet Russia and still not give in the western liberal democratic system. It has its own system, and it’s own values, and perhaps we could learn something from that system.
Castro was the man who said “Up Yours!” to America louder than anyone else, and for longer than anyone else, and in my books, that makes him worth remembering.