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    Looting continues..., 2003-04-23 14:16:05 | Main | israeli lobby 'talking points'..., 2003-04-25 16:56:59

    the logic of petitioning:

    I didn't want to comment on Leo Casey's letter indicting Castro's recent repression, my disinterest in signing it, or get into a dumb argument. But I signed this one, so dumb argument it is. The distinctions are worth pointing out.

    The Casey letter:

    1. Refers to Cuban progress in education and health care as "claims". Perhaps I'm unaware of some bureaucratic nonsense that might call into question UN Human Development statistics, but relatively speaking Cuba seems to have far more than a mere "claim" to progress in these areas.
    2. Briefly mentions opposition to the US embargo on Cuba but says nothing about past US adventures against Cuba; about overarching US policy - the one thing most US citizens that might sign such a letter would have any influence upon; or about what those signing such a statement desire from their own government with respect to the abuses of some other government. I'm afraid I disagree with more than just the embargo.
    3. Instead of leading the connection between Castro's present repression of Cubans and the US government's past and continuing repression of Cubans takes a cheap shot by comparing a minor third world tinpot dictator to Stalin. I personally don't see the mass imprisonment of potheads as terribly different than the mass imprisonment of non-violent democracy activists, and don't get me started on prison conditions or juveniles either. Bringing Moscow into it from my perspective as a US citizen is nothing but dumb segue. If I lived in Russia I'd be revolted by Moscow's support for Castro, as it is I'm revolted enough by what might as well be US support for Castro, in so far as the policy is counter-productive.
    4. Seems to suggest that there's some inherent value in a "government of the left" by virtue of its merely being "of the left", a sentiment I'm highly allergic to.

    Because it's irrelevant anyway it wouldn't hurt to sign it, I suppose. I think the letter from the "other democratic left" (whatever, I won't get started) addresses these concerns. I also would note that it's more productive to write to foreign officials politely, which should preclude directly comparing them to one of the most barbaric and monstrous regimes in human history. It also, I would think, be helpful to make some effort to address grievances that remain unaddressed between my country and theirs, at least if there's any desire for present concerns to be taken seriously.

    update, 2/26/03: I have a surprisingly difficult time disagreeing with the WS position on this; the fact that the three recent executions in Cuba were the first such in three years draws a clear line in the sand, being as we're a world leader in capital punishment (praise Allah for George Ryan's moritorium in Illinois, it was Just and Good). I'm not surpised by the involvement of the AFL-CIO, on the other hand. It's a question of where do we get off?

:: posted by buermann @ 2003-04-24 02:22:30 CST | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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