Is Cuba a Democracy? An American View

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Arnold August is a Montreal-based journalist, lecturer, and author of books such as Democracy in Cuba and the 1997–98 Elections (Editorial José Martí, Havana, 1999) and his most recent publication Cuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion. The latter deals with Cuba and its neighbors: the United States, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. His new blog was designed to encourage debate on the content of this book. The following is an excerpt of his first post (with links to the full post and to a review by David Grantham published in the International Journal of Cuban Studies).

A book review was published in the International Journal of Cuban Studies (International Institute for the Study of Cuba), written by David Grantham of the United States. Grantham, after six years as a Commissioned Officer and Special Agent with the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations, accepted a full-time appointment from the Department of History, PhD Program, at Texas Christian University. He is now an Adjunct Instructor and PhD Candidate in Modern Latin American History with supporting fields in Modern Middle East History and Modern U.S. Diplomacy at Texas Christian University. Given Grantham’s background in the United States Air Force, widely considered to say the least as a “conservative” institution as part of the U.S. official apparatus, what was his evaluation of the book? Did it help in further opening his eyes to democracy and the political process in Cuba?

At this time, in October 2014, the debate on normalizing U.S.–Cuba relations is erupting in American public opinion once again, perhaps more forcefully and widespread than ever since the 1959 Revolution.

As a public explanation for the U.S. vote, the government typically cites, as it did again in 2013, American “democratic ideals” as a measuring rod and the need for “political freedoms in Cuba.” In my view, the main issue here is the right of Cuba as a sovereign, independent nation to determine its own political and economic system and overall destiny. The U.S. has no right to dictate to Cuba the type of system that it should adopt.

However, let us debate the issue of what the nature of the Cuban political process is in reality and its own approach to democracy. An interesting basis for this discussion is the book review by the former Special Agent with the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations, David Grantham.

For the full post and book review, visit http://democracycuba.com/Blog/cuba-democracy-american-view-2/

Photo from http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/exiles-america-soften-stance-cuba-ties-n44121

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