Our Readers' Opinions
September 24, 2004
Letter writer knows very little about Cuba

Editor: The writer of the letter captioned “SVG And USA Are Democracies Not Cuba” (17/09/04) intentionally or unintentionally took half of the definition of democracy and proceeded to refer to it as inappropriate.
What appears to be inappropriate, though, is the writer’s understanding. In his attempt to define democracy, he confuses the process with the organism that administers or oversees the same. {{more}}His presentation of the so-called features of democracy, which he claims are lacking in Cuba, indicates that he knows very little about Cuba. If given a piece of paper one inch x one inch to write what he knows about Cuba, when he is finished there will still be space for a love letter.
The propagation of subversive activities cannot be permitted under the guise of freedom of the press and freedom of personal expression. While the Cuban government does not go around encouraging people to worship, no one is prevented from doing so. I have been to church in Cuba.
What I find most ridiculous is his attempt to establish some sort of political congruency between SVG and USA, which do not constitute a political twin. Both are horses of different political colours; defend your beloved USA and leave SVG alone.
The writer needs to find out whose pay list the incarcerated writers and poets in Cuba are on. The CIA does not pay anyone to write short stories or poems. Our writer should also pay some attention to the number of persons in his beloved USA who have been and continue to be convicted because they can not afford proper legal representation and are served by incompetent state-provided lawyers. There are reports of some of these lawyers falling asleep in court while their clients’ trials go on.
The rights of “enemy combatants” to appear before the court were not given to them as a gift. It was their relatives who had to hire legal counsel, who had to struggle to obtain it, and there is a financial cost attached to obtaining this right. Is it the writer’s opinion that those who seek to access it must pay for democracy?
One cannot have a situation where one branch of government -the judiciary – is democratic and the executive branch is undemocratic. If the head of the fish is bad then the entire fish is bad.
It is interesting that the writer referred to the electoral process as loud, messy and contentious; yet claims that this is healthy. It reminds me of the “catastrophic success” that his president (George W) spoke of recently. Is his analytic ability a reflection of his leaders? I would like to know where is the economic justice for the poor ENRON workers who lost their life savings.
The attempt to pour scorn on the provision of free health to the people is pathetic and reminds me of a statement made recently by a multimillionaire Venezuelan lady who said that all President Chavez is providing for the poor are bread and concrete blocks.
I would like the writer to tell us how many children a family in the USA can educate with US $17,000 per annum when the cost of attending a good university is about US $30,000 per annum. What type of housing can be provided from US $17,000 per annum?
How much medical care can be paid for from the same amount?
If an immigrant worker at 62 years of age is treated so well, how come so many American seniors have to journey to Canada to buy cheaper prescription drugs? If the legal threshold of poverty was established for the reason stated by the writer, then it is logical to believe that it is artificially reduced to ensure that the minimum number of people receive the benefits. The true threshold may therefore be higher than US $17,000. This means that there may be more Americans living in poverty than is stated.
In the last elections in Cuba in 1997/98, a total of 98 per cent of the electorate voted in 14,533 constituencies. There was one candidate per constituency, elected based on his/her integrity and track record.
In Cuba the depth of the candidate’s pocket is not the determining factor. Neither does it depend on access to millions of dollars from any special interest. It does not need the hypocrisy of any “swift boat veterans”. In order for the candidate to go forward to represent the constituency in Cuba, he/she must obtain the support of at least 50 per cent of the registered electorate. On the other hand, in a lot of western countries, it is common for less than 50 per cent of the electorates to go to the polls. In these countries only about three per cent of the electorates take part in candidate selections compared to 97 per cent in Cuba.
It was not in Cuba that an election was stolen four years ago. There are no hanging chads in Havana.
Viva Cuba!
Dr. Franklyn James

N.B. The correction to the letter “Cuba is a Democracy” was never printed. (In the world, 500 children below the age of 5 years die each hour because of deprivation.)