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News Link • Cuba

The civil society ploy

By Saul Landau and Nelson P. Valdés
Can the United States export democracy to another country, the way it exports Coca Cola? Apparently the government, particularly, USAID, and the mass media – think so. But, some tricky issues emerge because we – the USA – the 'city on the hill" represent "exceptionalism."

The United States, our teachers tell us, was God's special gift to the world. God blesses America. Yet, as the exception, we ironically attempt to export the very qualities that make us exceptional? Or maybe our policy elite just want other countries to behave like junior partners of the GRAND OL' EXCEPTION?

Moreover American "exceptionalism" has unfolded from the 17th Century when "the chosen People" landed at "The City on a Hill" (Boston, Massachusetts) and others came to "the promised land" (Virginia) and brought slaves from Africa to farm their lands.

The American "Dream" has also evolved into a land of foreclosures and evictions in the best democracy that money can buy. And banks provide credit cards that have helped shopping become our universal spiritual value.

When nations disobey U.S. rules, as Cuba began to do in January 1959, following its revolution, Washington administers rebukes and punishment. In October 1960, President Eisenhower invoked Cold War rhetoric to disguise his real motives. He castigated disobedient Cuba by imposing an embargo. Kennedy formalized that cut off U.S. economic relations with the island during the Missile Crisis two years later.

By the late 1990s, however, the Soviet Union and Cold War had vanished and Washington found new "reasons" for maintaining its hostile Cuba policy: a newer version of counterrevolution emerged under the name of ‘democracy promotion’ or the THIRD WAVE of democratization, a bizarre academic misnomer that those university professors aspiring to government offices articulate and for which they receive grants. By the 1990s, the aspirants to power and status around government and media had jumped onto the federally-funded gravy train called ""building a civil society in Cuba."


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