Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pastors for Peace: 'No Permission to love its Neighbor'

A Granma piece on the relatively easy arrival of the (US based) Pastors for Peace 'Caravanistas' (delivering aid) to Cuba this year. I remember seeing the bus in Havana 3 years ago getting the thumbs up from Cubans walking down the street. Oddly, the US Customs officials let the caravan through with no problem this year, after making a big stand last year - holding aid for 10 months and fining religious people transporting humanitarian donations to our neighbor.

"WE have come at a time when there are new threats coming from the administration of George W. Bush, which indicate how much fear they have of Cuba’s achievements," said Rev. Lucius Walker, upon arriving in Havana at the head of the solidarity caravan.
Cuban Reverend Raúl Suárez, director of the Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center, affirmed that the caravanistas travel without permission from the U.S. Treasury Department, thus defying measures designed to block humanitarian aid to Cuba.

"This attitude," he explained, "follows what is clear to Walker and to many U.S. —as well as Cuban— Christians: the church does not need to ask permission to love its neighbor." (PL)

"This attitude," he explained, "follows what is clear to Walker and to many U.S. —as well as Cuban— Christians: the church does not need to ask permission to love its neighbor.


Blogger jsb said...

If the communist system is so great, and Cuba can trade with virtually any other country in the world, why would they need caravans of humanitarian relief? Perhaps, just maybe, the regime's economic system is at fault. If we were to lift the embargo, which at times I really wish we would (either a real embargo or no embargo), it still wouldn't lift Cuba out of the rubbish that Castro has left it in.

5:47 AM  
Blogger leftside said...

JScott, Cuba does not NEED this sole caravan from the US. The issue is why is a religious group helping one's neighbor illegal in America?

Cuba is no rubbish bin. If you travelled there and the region at all, you would immediately be struck by how 'together' Cuba is comparatively. The lack of slums, lack of garbage, how their cities (large and small) have first world amenities and how everyone is well dressed and fed, the lack of fear, that everyone has formal employment, that everyone is a fully developed human being...

Cuba's economy is growing at an amazing rate right now, the people are directly seeing the rewards of that. Their GDP rate is above our for the last 10 years. What basket case are you talking about?

Maybe the fact that we want to strangle and topple this system so bad tells you something about the threat we beleive it presents for our competing vision for Latin America? You can call Cuba a failure all you want but for the billions on earth without the basic social rights Cubans have, there is now question whom they view as a hero (that is why Cuba was selected to head the Movement of Aligned Naitons now, as well the Human Rights Commission). Ask a Jamaican, an Indian a Ghanian which model they prefer...

8:53 AM  
Blogger jsb said...

You'll see, when the curtain lifts and the standard of living in Cuba surpasses all of latin America.

By the way, can you spin the defection of 4000 cuban doctors for me? 4000...


Must be that model that's so revered in Cuba driving them out. Would you be better off if you lived in Cuba? Would they let you have the internet if you lived in Cuba? Would you have the purchasing power you have now in L.A.?

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Mousqueton said...

I hope you do not mind me bringing a breath of responsible Liberalism to tour blog.
You are right, Cuba is like a well kept zoo. People, like animals in a zoo, are well taken care off and none is allowed to leave or challenge the rules of the zoo. No one except for those who run the zoo.
Call me whatever you want but I will take chaos and anarquism any day before I agree to any curtailment of my natural right to think, act, move and say what I think.

4:00 PM  
Blogger leftside said...

JSB, your article that opaquely alludes to 4,000 doctors is nothing but Venezuelan right-wing propoganda. Do you think anyone would be able to keep that secret? Wouldn't the Western press eat that up? Do you think Cuba would continiue to bleed dozens of Doctors every day?

Welcome Mousqueton, but I must say I bristle at that term "responsible liberalism." It smacks of paternalism and tells me nothing substantive about one's ideas. Is it responsible to allow one's entire rural economy to be shattered by trade rules that benefit American behemoth corporate producers (like responsible Mexican leaders did - sending millions north)? Is it responsible to have health care available on paper but not to do anything to actually guarantee it to all, in the roughest barrios and most remote hamlets (like pre-Chavez rulers did)?

And you betry a common misunderstanding of the reality in Cuba. Cubans live remarkably free lives, most importantly the freedom to become their highest potential as human beings through education, culture, and provision of their basic needs. If you picture a cowed Cuban population scared to speak its mind to authority, whether that be police or their political representatives, I believe you are simply misinformed. Again, NO ONE is in jail solely for their speech, for their thoughts, for the actions - other than 'the 75' -for accepting money from foreign government agents to carry out their work.

Maybe it is my job as a city planner that make me value order and rules over chaos. But I do not so easily equate capitalism with freedom. We have no right to speech in our workplace or on private property, we have no right to housing, no right to health care, no right to higher education, no right to influence worlplace concerns, to influence neighborhood concerns, to value things that don't bring moneyary return, to achieve things that don't make economic sense, etc...

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Mousqueton said...

Appreciate the welcoming!

No I did not say that responsible means paternalism; you did. As a matter of fact I believe that responsible means the opposite; this is, that you treat people without condescendence, that you expect people to earn, with imagination, hard work and free will, whatever they aspire and/or ambition. Responsible also means encouraging intellectual dissent and the confrontation of ideas, tolerance and most importantly the fierce protection of the right of the people to make their voices heard.

A responsible, free and liberal society is certainly not an easy way of life but I believe it is worth living. It is much easier to live in a totalitarian society where paternalism, welfare and order based on subduing individuality are the tools of the trade.

No, I do not believe that entering into a trade agreement that leaves peasants without jobs is responsible unless the agreement creates more jobs in sectors that have better comparative advantages and measures are taken to help the peasants’ transition into other jobs. Further, I do not think the Fox government is a responsible liberal government.

No I do not think that providing free healthcare to the people is wrong as long as the system is self sustainable and/or adequately financed. When measures are set in place to guarantee a steady supply of health care professionals to handle the job, when provisions are taken to guarantee that all health care professionals meet minimum professional standards and further, when a long term plan is set up in place to guarantee that the system will endure the pass of time.
No, I do not believe that the governments before Chavez were responsible liberal governments either.

I do believe though that it is not only wrong but despicable when a politician acts as a “Patron” (Master) instead of a leader, when no effort whatsoever is made to encourage the rise of new, alternative and preferable young political leaders, when working for the betterment of the people is a chauvinistic exercise instead of a humble privilege, when the power of government is used to silence and/or constrain dissent and representation, when ideology is merged with individual personality and hence becomes a cult.

As for Cuba I guess that what you are trying to say is that animals in zoos are better off and therefore free to become better animals. Give me a break!

Do you have any respect and/or trust in the people? You are not a socialist, you are an existentialist. You seem to believe that some people are born with the right to rule while the rest should follow. That is not a new concept; it is called a monarchy, feudal and/or imperial government.

No, I do not equate capitalism with freedom though I must concede that there is no capitalism or free thought for that matter without freedom.

I will concede that things in Cuba are not as bad as they are portrayed by the conservative media and certainly by conservative extremists but do not fool yourself, there is no freedom and free thought in that nice little zoological experiment you call Cuba.

Every thinker from Aristotle on has speculated about the human condition and its effect on society. All of them, including Karl Marx, envisioned change as a social phenomenon. None of them dared to insinuate though that social progress would come about by the unilateral actions of an individual or government for the simple reason that you can not change society. Society changes itself through evolution which is fueled by free though and knowledge.

You should have more faith and certainly more respect for the people. Trust them more because they are worth that trust.

By the way, you seem to believe that people have the right to everything. The only thing missing in your list is the right to get laid.

2:11 PM  
Blogger jsb said...


It's more on the cuban doctors.

Oh, and here's an athlete defecting in PR:


7:38 AM  

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