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Lets Talk About Cuba

  1. Jan 10, 2006 #1



    Here are some general sources on Cuba. Yes one of them is Anti-Castro (two if you automatically catagorize the CIA factbook as such but it seems rather impartial to me). I link the Net For Cuba site because it discusses the issues that people have with Cuba from the perspective of Cubans.
    Cuba and Castro et al have been mentioned a number of times here and at least some people seem to indicate that they believe Cuba is a rather successful socialist experiment. These same members don't seem to have much idea why certain people feel such a strong desire to leave Cuba that they risk their lives to immigrate illegally to the US on make shift rafts. Ofcourse no one here has made a case for why they would want to do so either.

    At least one member has stated that she will not accept any information from Net For Cuba since they are obviously anti-cuba and anti-castro. To this, if it is an issue, I would have to say that while they may be anti-castro they are not anti-cuba unless you would like to invoke Bush logic and say that any one who is anti-castro is anti-cuba. This ofcourse is Castro Logic as well:wink:. From browsing the website though I have not found them to be foaming at the mouth extremists. They appear to have legitimate grievences against the government regarding such things as Human Rights Violations, Suppression of the Freedom of Speech, Inequality, Suppression of Political Freedom, and the general tyranny that wont even allow them to leave the country. So if these people (the ones that are fleeing the country) are not to be believed then please explain to me why.

    Please share your sources on Cuba and any experiences you may have with Cuba. If you think that the allegations of suppression and abuse are inacurate please provide sources of information to support this.
    Lets also discuss the "success" of a country where it's citizens are purportedly abused, brainwashed, oppressed, and unable to even leave all owing directly to the actions and policies of the state.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2006 #2
    I don't think there's going to be any argument on the suppression of freedom of speech one. Kind of a moot point.
  4. Jan 10, 2006 #3
    Good idea, TSA - let's talk about Cuba... I don't have time right this moment to start an intelligent response to what you have posted; I logged on because there is another pressing issue I would like us to talk about and want to start a thread on. I'll return to this discussion later, though...:wink:
  5. Jan 11, 2006 #4
    Well, I found an interesting website.

    I'm going to look into this peter pan thing some more.
  6. Jan 11, 2006 #5
    Let's commence the discussion proper, then:
    Pardon me, TSA - I'd like to make a slight modification to what you write here: the Net for Cuba site discusses the issue from the perspective of some Cubans - to be accurate, it discusses the issue from Cubans who are no longer living in Cuba, who are now living in Florida, in fact. They do not know what daily life in Cuba is like right now. The view of Cubans living in Cuba is as follows:
    Let's talk numbers - how many 'refugees' are we talking about and, relatedly (to put it into perspective), what is the population of Cuba? From the CIA factbook, I see that the population of Cuba is numbered at approximately 11.3 million. I did a google search but can't seem to locate any figures of how many Cubans risk their lives annually to cross over to the 'paradise' of Florida.
    Touche, TSA. No, I'm not saying that because they are anti-Castro, they are anti-Cuba. I am saying that anyone that is for capitalism is anti-people, so it is my particular perspective that leads me to make the statement that people who want to bring unbridled naked capitalism to Cuba (which seems to me to be what these characters want to do) are anti-people and therefore ‘anti-Cuba’.
    Ok, perhaps some of their grievances may be legitimate (we need to discuss this in more depth, obviously). But some initial comments/observations regarding:
    * “Suppression of political freedom” ("If you're not with us, you're against us" - a quote from a world famous and the most powerful politician; quiz question: who said that?)
    * "Suppression of Freedom of Speech": *cough* excuse me: from a citizen whose country lives by the Patriot Act?
    * General tyranny: can't comment - this is too general. Perhaps I can point to the general tyranny of life in the USA if one cannot afford health insurance, if one does not have a job, if one cannot strike for better working conditions?
    The key word here is 'purportedly'. It seems to me one has to choose whom to believe: for every one ex-Cuban person who makes such claims, how many Cuban people do not? Note the results of the vote I mentioned above.

    And if we really want to discuss Cuba and the miserable living conditions there, we'd better also have a look at the role the US has played in the embargo against Cuba. This role stretches way beyond merely an economic embargo that has lasted 44 years [Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._embargo_against_Cuba] and which the US administration still insists on despite ‘overwhelming opposition’ from the ‘international community’ [Reference: http://www.g77.org/Speeches/110805.htm].

    Here, read the US administration’s attempts to sabotage the sharing of medical knowledge between medical workers:
    And here's some more information about how the US administration conspires to make Castro's country fail, to 'prove' that 'socialism can't work':
  7. Jan 11, 2006 #6
    TSA, your own source (Wikipedia), as well as other sources of information, points out the the last claim made above - "unable to even leave" - is false if you mean that Castro is preventing them from leaving:
    Note, it was the US government (the altruistic, pro-humanitarian and thus opposite to Castro, democratic, humane government) that stopped the flow of vessels. How intriguing...

    EDIT: More relevant information from Wiki on the above point (emphasis my own):
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2006
  8. Jan 11, 2006 #7
    An inaccuracy in Wiki:
    Not true!
    Hypocrisy, no?
  9. Jan 11, 2006 #8
    bill blum has written probably the definitive work on the cuban revolution, in killing hope:

    edit: here's some more, an article about cuban political prisoners... in the united states
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2006
  10. Jan 11, 2006 #9


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    A good article. Makes for an interesting read. When one sees what the CIA does one wonders do they not qualify as a terrorist organisation several orders of magnitude greater than any other on the planet?
  11. Jan 11, 2006 #10
    Cuba does have a rather high prison population (compared to Europe and Canada) with a rate of .297

    However this is rather small compared to the US rate of .686 (highest in the world)

    It seems a lot of countries that are more democratic than cuba have higher prison populations.
  12. Jan 11, 2006 #11
    I don't have much time at the moment so I will just hit a few of the comments made so far. First off I should probably say that I do not agree with everything the US does and I have not at all argued that I think the US's policies in regards to Cuba are "good" or any such thing.

    They are people who lived there and had a problem with the government. They are also the ones who support the individuals who want to leave, have left, and stay there trying to make a difference. The fact that they are not all there RIGHT NOW makes no difference. You've never even been to the US yet have no compunction about decrying the standard of living and state of freedom in the US to those people who actually live there.

    And Saddam Hussein was voted in by a 100% vote. "Votes" taken in countries where only one political party is legally allowed to exist I find a bit suspicious, sorry.

    I'll apologize here for the mistake. Cuba, in conjunction with the US, allows for a minimum of 20,000 immigrants per year on top of those who have relatives in the US already under the Special Cuban Migration Program. There is an increasing demand to have the figure of 20,000 raised and the US has not done so. I'm still looking for anything on immigration from Cuba in general(not just to the US). This still shows a desire by many to leave Cuba in any event.
    As for the number that leave by sea per year the number is approximately 2,000 and rising according to the wiki article.

    Ah... I see. So you don't think they are anti-Cuba but anti-people. So I guess we can safely say that they are against the US and the UK and any other place where there are people? They must hate themselves too unless they aren't people.
    Pro-Capitalism = Anti-People is a rather weak argument and one for one of the threads already in existence on the subject.

    Which is why I added it. I started this thread to give you and smurf and whom ever else the opportunity to show us that Cuba isn't as bad as people make it out to be.

    Very true you do have to be careful who and what you believe. You may also want to note the number of executions of persons who spoke out against the government in Cuba in the past and the persons IN Cuba who have voiced dissenting views and have been thrown in prison for it. "Ex Cubans" though they may be they are more importantly in a position to not worry about speaking their minds.
    If you look at the Net For Cuba site you will find a long list of independant journalists (along side a long list of ones in prison) and a list of humanitarian organizations (all illegal by the way) who try to carry the dessenting voice. There is also that list of Cuban political prisoners who were people IN Cuba protesting the government. So we see what happens to people who express their dessenting views in Cuba and why there aren't many who do.

    Is there an embargo with any other country aside from the US?
    I'm not here to argue US policies that I likely wouldn't agree with myself. The points I have been making so far are in regards to the oppression of the people in Cuba. I haven't touched on their economics and how well off these people are economically at all. If you want to say that Cuba only violates human rights because of the US then I don't think there is much point in carry on this discussion.

    Again I would like to point out that I have not held the US up as any sort of paragon of rightousness. Perhaps you feel making it seem so helps your argument but it really doesn't get us anywhere in our discussion.

    What hypocracy? Do you think that Wiki is somehow a shill for the US government or something? I may be an American but I'm not trying to say that America has never done anything wrong.
    I would also like to point out that there is a vast difference between the US's one exception (I am not supporting only pointing out it has only been one) versus Cuba never letting Red Cross into any one of it's two hundred some odd prisons.
    Again I would like to suggest that you not treat my points or sources as pro-america rehtoric that needs to be torn apart but actually discuss the issues. Saying "Well the US wont let the Red Cross into Gitmo" does nothing to further the discussion.

    I'll need to come back to this later.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2006
  13. Jan 11, 2006 #12
    Political rehtoric which is more or less meaningless.
    Here in the US (since you are bringing up the US president) we have more than one political party and none, as far as I know, are illegal. There's even a communist party here. There are plenty of political organizations that operate without having to be politically alligned with the current political party in office. The laws in place regarding such organizations having nothing to do with political affiliation and what party supports them but only with their activities as an organization. There are several that the president probably does not like and says things against but he has no power to illegalize or disband them just because they don't conform to his political ideology.

    You're joking I hope. Do you know how my life has changed at all since the PATRIOT Act went through? Not one iota. I have no fear what so ever that advertising a dissenting view point (some seem to think that I wouldn't but I do trust me) will land me in jail or any other such thing. When I turn on the radio I hear people discussing politics and saying what they think about the president and the republican party and even the conservatives still voice critical opinions of the admin. I can watch Bill Maher, or any other of the countless comedians, make fun of the president and the administration. Speakers and famous persons publicly condemn the admin regularly and even go so far as saying he hates black people or hates america or is a nazi. Cindy Sheehan camps out outside of the president's ranch and the White House and calls Bush a murderer.
    Do you see any reason why I should think there is any lack of freedom of speech here in this country? I live here and I don't see any reason.

    I have a job that provides health insurance and it's not a high level or high paying job either. The law states that most employers must provide health insurance for most employees. If I don't have a job I find a new one. I've never had trouble with that not even in places where people complain that there aren't enough jobs. Most of the sorts of people here who can't find jobs are probably the sort that would likely wind up in UMAP labour camps and treated like the scum of the earth if they lived in Cuba.
    People here in the US DO strike for better working conditions. CUBA on the other hand is a place where workers CAN'T strike for better working conditions. In the US there are labour unions which aren't tied directly to the party in office where in Cuba there is only one labour union and it is only allowed to exist because it is alligned with the party. Personally I'd think you would be very unhappy about the idea of a labour union only being allowed to exist because it is tied to a particular political party. Aside from that here in the US if you are not satisfied with your job you can find a new one and if your employer doesn't treat you properly and provide a safe working environment there are several government agencies and non-profit organizations that you can contact to report them. There are free clinics, some run by the government and others run by non-profit organizations, for people who are poor and you're even more likely to find even more help if you happen to be female or a minority.
  14. Jan 11, 2006 #13
    I live in Miami
    we have about a million cubans here
    with more coming every day

    the rafters are now largely a myth, today most come in speed boats
    run by smugglers paid huge sums by family members here
    sure there were rafters but thats not how most get in NOW
    that is in addition to the 20,00 legals every year

    Miami is now a third world city with lowest income and highest poverty rates in the USA for a major city
    pay rates are low and droping
    coruption is a local sport and dead people voting is recorded in court cases

    45 years of unrestricted imigration has been a disaster

    the Mariel boatlift allowed castro to empty his prisons and mential wards
    and dump his criminals and nuts on Miami in mass thats why it was STOPED
    but Miami's murder and crime rates toped the nation for many years after the Mariel boatlift as a direct result of it

    if that werenot bad enuff some of the semi-lawabideing ones are the worst rightwing fascist types who have terror bombed and killed people over minor political disputes
    even in cuba at it's worst they didnot kill people for speaking out
    in Miami they DO
    now castro is a commie rat but the Miami cubans are as bad or worse
    when it comes to free speach

    weather is nice here but pairadice it ain't
  15. Jan 11, 2006 #14
    I think that the shear numbers was the main problem. The Link I posted in an earlier post was to an immigration law site which states that only about 10% of those immigrants which came over in that exodus had criminal records or were mentaly ill. That is still a pretty decent chunk of them though.

    Yes they did.
  16. Jan 11, 2006 #15
    Thank you for this interesting information, ray. I have read some of the stuff you say here elsewhere, but it is good to have it confirmed by someone living there. Bill Blum's article on Cuba that fourier jr linked to previously on this thread discusses the ex-Cuban terrorist groups based in Miami:
  17. Jan 11, 2006 #16
    It seems so, Smurf - perhaps we need to put the word 'democratic' in inverted commas, then? Or maybe we'll just have to accept that 'democratic' is an ironic word, that it does not mean what we commonly hold it to mean.
  18. Jan 12, 2006 #17
    Just as I thought, TSA – I credit you with an independent mind and integrity, even though we argue about so many things in our discussions. But I must add, at this point, that it is impossible to evaluate Cuba without discussing successive US administrations’ policies towards it. Discussing US policies and actions in Cuba is central to understanding how Cuba came to be what it is today; I’m sure you’ll agree as our discussion proceeds. The thing is, Cuba’s ‘socialist experiment’ was bound to be affected by these policies and actions, and we have to take this complexity into account otherwise the whole discussion is pointless.
    I immigrated from another country years ago. I can remember what it was like then, but haven’t a clue what daily life is like there now. I also hesitate to make extrapolations from my past experiences because the world has changed so much since the 1990s. Also, while I lived there I had particular prejudices which I would still hold and which would still colour my view of that society. I think the people who leave Cuba have particular prejudices too (I’m just assuming here) and that these colour their views on life in Cuba. From what I have been reading, much has changed in Cuba ever since the collapse of the ‘eastern bloc’; things have had to change, otherwise Cuba could not have survived given the continuing US-stipulated embargo against the country.
    True, but I speak on behalf of a particular class of people living in the US, and I assume that the people writing what I read do live there and know what they are talking about. I have tried my best to find information about daily life in Cuba written by people actually living in Cuba (rather than ex-Cubans). This has turned out to be rather problematic: a lot of information is written in Spanish, a language I do not know (my bad, not the Cubans’). So it seems if I want to research this topic properly, I will have to teach myself Spanish (a long-term project).
    And yet, while by no stretch of the imagination was Saddam Hussein ‘loved’ by his people, it seems to me that many Cubans actually do admire and like their leader (but as I said, I cannot understand Spanish so the amount of information I have about this topic is limited). Here’s a thought: if Castro is so hated, how come all CIA and Miami-exile backed attempts to assassinate him have failed? The Bill Blum link points out that the reason the ‘Bay of Pigs’ attempt to overthrow Castro failed was that it depended on the people rising against him on mainland Cuba, and they didn’t: they fought for him. Just some musings…
    In context of world events: while the eastern bloc still existed, Cuba’s economy was supported. From the readings I have done, it seems that living conditions became infinitely more difficult after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its allies because of the ongoing economic blockade. It is no wonder that more Cuban people decided to leave; as ray_b points out, however, many of them didn’t actually find the ‘land of milk and honey’ they expected to in the US.
    But, also according to the Wiki article, rising “at a falling rate”.
    I concede that this is a weak argument. I already stated that this is based on my particular, subjective perspective, my understanding of what capitalism is. At least I admitted this:smile:
    Yes, and I was really happy to see you’d started the thread. I am pleased to have the opportunity to discuss this topic at length, and I am hoping that our discussions will reveal that Cuba under Castro, and its version (stunted as it is for obvious reasons) of ‘socialism’ is not as bad as some people make it out to be.
    No comment at this stage, TSA – I must research that site, much as I’m loath to. I’ll reserve this part of our discussion until I’ve looked at what they write more carefully, then.
    Yes, as a result of pressure from the US government.
    We have to discuss US policies, else we cannot understand Cuba. It’s not fair to exempt the US government from these discussions, TSA; I hope you’ll agree, else we may as well just stop talking now.
    True, TSA – I’m afraid I am not always able to eliminate the undertone of anger I feel when discussing US foreign policy. I should not let this emotional undertone cloud our discussions. I’ll try to be more dispassionate, ok?
    Oops, my mistake, TSA. I don’t think I communicated what I was trying to say too clearly there. I do not think that Wiki is a shill for the US government at all :tongue2: I linked to two different sources there and, in a spirit of indignation, pointed out that Wiki was actually wrong on this point. I said it very badly, though.
    As I mentioned earlier, I do not believe you are using pro-American rhetoric. I’m sorry if many of my comments have come across as if I believed this. I will try to reduce the undertones of indignation that creep in to my responses in future.
  19. Jan 12, 2006 #18
    a few more facts
    the major source of funding to cuba is miami cubans
    they hate castro but send massive amounts of cash to family members still on the island
    this cash has two effects it supports cuba and is a drain on the local econ
    esp when you add in all the other people from centrail and south america who are doing the same for family in their own countrys
    local one way drain of many billions has a disastereus effect on miami

    CIA and the worst nut rightwing cubans are a on going problem
    spin offs lead to the crack cocaine explosion in the 1980's
    CIA needed cash to fund the contras so they smuggled ton loads of cocaine and dumped the cocaine thru their local cuban buddys from the bay of pigs days
    it was funny to watch but the nation suffered as the price of cocaine
    droped from 50k to under 20k a key overnight and supplys became unlimited as suddenly every older cuban with bay of pigs / CIA connections began to try to sell the stuff
    suddenly a yuppie high price drug became cheap and every where
    btw this is not a legend I knew people [now dead] who fixed the CIA aircraft
    and complained about the white power all over the inside and its numbing effects

    in addition to the effects on the users, the local cop coruption, turf wars
    and other effects were very bad and long lasting
  20. Jan 12, 2006 #19


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    Wiki is not reliable in regard to Cuba. As shown on a previous thread some rightwing dorks were screwing around with the information on the site for fun.
  21. Jan 12, 2006 #20
    This is an interesting aspect of the CIA's operations as it shows the agency's utter callousness concerning human lives. I found a 1988 PBS documentary titled "Guns, Drugs & the CIA" which looks at the CIA's involvement in international drug trafficking. This is relevant to our discussion on Cuba because it shows that criminal nature of some members of the anti-Castro lobby:
    A full transcript of that program, or the online video of it, can be accessed here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/archive/gunsdrugscia.html
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