Friday, July 07, 2006

A Modest Proposal

Since I first posted about the Cuban-Australian author Luis Garcia's new book Child of the Revolution, I've been fortunate enough to strike up an ongoing email conversation (and dare I say, a friendship) with him. The time zone in Sydney is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Time. So, when I'm home surfing the net after work, he's at work at his "day job" which is being a partner at in important Australian Public Relations firm. This internet is a marvelous thing!

Anyway I got an email from Luis tonight, about a recent event he was featured at to promote the book. Apparently the event was held at a bookstore near the University of Sydney and is a gathering place for leftist types. But Luis reports that he wasn't subjected to any hostility, to the contrary "...the questions were all very sensible."

But he also said "I got just two questions that were mildly pro-Castro (yes, one was about the "great" Cuban health care system)."

This has been one of the topics of our ongoing discussion: the "yeah buts" that castro defenders always spout when their maximum leader is attacked for his abuses.

I began to reflect on what I might say if I were asked those type of questions (and all of us Cuban-American Pundits, hehe, get aked these things all the time). I think I came up with a response that is pretty good. Feel free to use it next time one of these crunchy sandalista types talks to you about how great healthcare in Cuba is. It goes something like this:

Assuming that Cuban healthcare system is as great as advertised, which it's NOT but that's another matter, but assuming it is the best healthcare in the world, and assuming that in Cuba you could get a top-notch, free education would you be willing to give up ALL of your civil liberties in exchange?

Think about it, one might say that you'd be the most healthy, well educated slave in the world. But in the end you would still be a slave. You would be healthy enough to live but be living in a country that people are literally dying to get out of. A country where the suicide rate is unbelievably high. You'd be able to read but only what someone else has approved for you. You'd be educated but deprived of any opportunity to reap the financial benefits of that education.

Does that sound like a fair exchange OR would you rather take the American (Australian, British, or fill in the blank) health and educational system, warts and all, along with the liberties and freedoms which we take for granted but 11 million "healthy and educated" Cubans dream of?

The answer, of course, is obvious. Nobody in their right mind would accept that. If they are crazy enough to, well there's daily flights to Havana available. There's always North Korea and Vietnam too.

Read more about Luis Garcia and Child of the Revolution here, here, here, here and here.

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