The other day I was watching the news on CNN and a clip on Fidel Castro, the ex-president of Cuba came on. The report was based on his resurgent health given his previously sickly disposition. If anything he was expected to be convalescing.
The ambiguity of the report was rather confounding- its deliverance seemed to somewhat project a feeling of lamentation or undesirability than what would be considered the natural or normal discourse- which would be joy or relief at the good fortunes of a fellow human being let alone the leader of a nation or just Fidel Castro for that matter. Morally speaking that is.
So what this country and/or its leadership mean? It is rather difficult to separate the two from a socio-political context. As Africans we can learn a whole lot from Cuba.
To begin with we have to learn, like Cuba, to find happiness within “the limits of our sacrifices.”
Take Rwanda as a case in point, here is a country that has been forced to deal with situations novel in nature. It literally had to re-invent the wheel to cope with the prevailing circumstances. Many of which was much to the chagrin of the international community.
Arguments abound as to whether Socialism/Castroism has been beneficial to the country or whether Castro and his brother, Raul are nothing more than benevolent dictators- if that indeed is a bad thing.
The citizens have had to bear the brunt of the embargo, political isolation in addition to several failed economical policies. Despite that however, many including myself view the country as a success story- in retrospect.
Irrespective of this glaring bias, I have attempted to make this writing useful by focusing on objective reality in light the dominant media’s control on our psyche.
For the most part we grew believing that Socialism was evil. Well guess what? So is free-market Capitalism.
There are many factors to be considered when rating a nation’s development and/or relative success. Quite coincidentally however, some of the more important ones cannot be measured in terms of GDP and GNP; it is here that Fidel’s Cuba shines.
Fundamentals such as national healthcare- an issue that has literally brought America to its knees, level of education is another; national pride and territorial sovereignty are yet others.
It is refreshing to have a thriving pocket of resistance to the political hegemony of globalization. Not so long ago, a fellow Rwandan scribe reminded us that not everything that makes life worth living can be put in print.
Indeed if happiness could be quantified, some of us might not be doing as bad after all.
This is what I am attempting to do- to highlight areas of life in which Cuba, a so called “Third-world” country has excelled, and perhaps where we Africans, (with our limitations) could seek inspiration.