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Cuba liberalizes, Turkey what?

Raul Castro, new leader of Cuba, is moving rapidly to liberalize some aspects of life. Like letting Cubans buy cell phones, computers, and DVD players, and use hotels and rental cars previous reserved for foreign tourists, Cuban newlyweds, and "workers selected for high productivity and revolutionary zeal". Now, I've spoken up for Cuba's record in health care and education, and I probably will again, because money's not worth much if you're dead. OTOH -- man, what? Second class economic citizens in one's own country? I know, this is probably standard Communist practice and I haven't had to think about it for a while. But really, what kind of logic gets people to a setup like that? Well, avoiding "cultural contamination" with foreign ideas or people, I guess. I keep thinking of the Marxist phrase about "internal contradictions of the system", though.

Whether Cubans can afford any of the above on their $17/month [sic] wages is another matter, but at least they'll have the right to buy and go.

Elsewhere, Turkey's supreme court is considering whether the ruling party is unconstitutional for being too Islamic. The *ruling* party... it occurs to me that Turkey is like a secular Iran, constitutionally, with the military taking the role of the Supreme Leader.

Oh, and I tried resetting my late sleep, and ended up waking up when I'm used to going to bed, and being stuck awake since. Thus my icon. I am grumpy.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
rfmcdpei
Mar. 31st, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
Now, I've spoken up for Cuba's record in health care and education, and I probably will again, because money's not worth much if you're dead.

The Cuban revolution's achievements don't strike me as especially significant since pre-revolutionary Cuba was up there with Argentina and Uruguay and comparable with much of western Europe insofar as GDP per capita, and health and education statistics were concerned. The redistribution might have been socially necessary, but it was mishandled in such a way as to wipe out Cuba's lead relative to the world

[I]t occurs to me that Turkey is like a secular Iran, constitutionally, with the military taking the role of the Supreme Leader.

Toynbee thought that Iran and Turkey shared the same Persian/Turkic background in differing proportions, and the Pahlavi shahs tried to imitate Ataturk's modernization programs but failed in the face of relatively greater opposition. Hopefully Iran will look like Turkey, a satiated and approximately post-revolutionary republic, if nothing else happen.
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