Cuba myths

Almost every major news agency is carrying the top story in the minds of capitalists: the possibility of capitalism returning to Cuba!

They cite, as their evidence, that Cuban stores have begun carrying items such as DVD players, electric motorbikes, pressure cookers, cell phones, etc., most of which are from China. Does this mark the beginning of the end for socialism?

The answer is a resounding no! Throughout the “special period,” the Cuban economy was in very precarious shape. Battered by a U.S. blockade and the Soviet collapse, the government struggled to provide basic necessities, let alone electric motorcycles. The Special Period, however, at least by measure of GDP growth, is over. In 2006, Cuba’s economy grew 12.5 percent, and in 2007, it grew 7.5 percent — tremendous rates.

As a result, the average Cuban’s buying power has increased. In response, the Cuban government has begun to stock stores with goods that would previously have been a bad investment. There was no law saying you’d be imprisoned for owning a microwave. There was simply no reason to stock stores with unaffordable goods.

Some are claiming that another departure from socialism begins in distributing unused state land to small farmers. Establishment of farms on unused state land in the form of workers’ cooperatives is a phenomenally socialist act! Workers’ control, anybody?

Socialism is by no means over in Cuba. If anything, these reforms showcase the speed and efficiency with which Cuba is solving its problems. Raul began his presidency promising to streamline things and that’s precisely what he’s doing.

Martin Droll Philadelphia PA


Musharraf, a leech of a dictator, a huge liability, must be immediately kicked out.

Dictators are surely a shameless bunch but Pakistani dictator Musharraf is made of some of the lowliest stuff. He and his collaborators have been soundly defeated, making it very clear that the people want to get rid of him, but he continues to cling to power.

It is amazing that Pakistan’s armed forces, despite the fact that he has brought a bad name to them, would still support him in his office that he has illegally occupied since October 1999. It is even more disgusting to see the behavior of Pakistani politicians who are busy politicking but are dillydallying in reinstating the pre-Nov. 3 judiciary and taking a stand to dislodge the dictator from his usurped position.

Political leaders must understand that they have been elected to bring a real change in the country and not to continue with their old games, corruption, forgiving and forgetting each other’s crimes and taking everybody on board — even the people and the groups involved in heinous offenses. The leaders must also understand that the people are not as ignorant today as they were some time back and that they don’t have an unbounded or limitless patience. They could soon rise against their inaction, disregard for the mandate, corruption and inability to provide good governance. They should fear the day.

Aziz Narejo Texas


The article on the Communist electoral victory in Cyprus (PWW 4/5-11) shed light on several important points. This historic victory is part of a worldwide trend of democratic victories for socialism which has taken place in Venezuela, India, South Africa, Nepal and Bolivia. The Communist Party of Cyprus is the only one that represents the interests of the workers, and that has any hope of bridging the centuries-old divide between Turk and Greek. On a side note we should also remember Cyprus’ sister party in Greece which played a historic role in battling fascism during World War II and the U.S.-military junta afterward. If the democratically elected government had been allowed to stay in power by Truman, the bitter civil war in Cyprus could have been avoided.

A Reader  Geneseo NY

‘Shock Doctrine’

For Americans who deeply care what is happening to our great nation, Naomi Klein’s new book “The Shock Doctrine, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” is surely a must-read.

As she so eloquently documents, we are experiencing the ultimate culmination of economist Milton Friedman’s capitalist dream.

Its success requires a severe disaster, either natural or man-made, to trigger mass hysteria and fear among the people, whereupon widespread government actions to “protect” them are accepted and welcomed.

Enter 9/11. Enter the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act and a host of others. Enter massive privatizations of new government agencies and new responsibilities, and masses of billions to fund them, many in no-bid, cost-plus contracts. Countless new security-oriented firms are founded, eager to mine the ready bonanza. In 2001, there were two such lobby firms working in Congress. By 2006, there were 543.

We know well where corporate America fits in this picture.

Where do you and I fit in?

Who profits, who loses?

How long can America survive?

Isn’t Friedman’s dream our nightmare?

Bud Deraps St. Louis MO

More on Tibet

Your editorial on Tibet (March 22-28), while making some valid points, is too one-sided. First: although the violence wrought by protesters is unacceptable, and has been condemned by the Dalai Lama, it appears that the Chinese repression has cost more lives than the protests themselves. The violence of protesters and government repression should not be equated, as your editorial appears to do. Second: while imperialism undoubtedly seeks to turn the Tibetan situation to its own advantage, the unrest in Tibet should not be attributed simply to imperialist machinations, as the editorial (and especially the headline) seem to imply. Tibetans have long-standing and legitimate grievances, apparently stemming from the Chinese government’s failure to follow genuinely Leninist principles on national self-determination. We must not make the same mistake in this situation that we made with the Soviet Union, where, in our eagerness to defend socialism, we overlooked and denied real and serious violations of Communist democratic principles. Legitimate criticism of Chinese government policies is not “China-bashing;” it is standing up for the principles and integrity of the Communist movement.

Henry Millstein Novato CA