Tuesday, October 16, 2012

We Will See Progress, When?

My attention was drawn to a well-made short documentary using video evidence that New York City police have used the same adversarial-macho behavior as gangsters and hostile hotheads when exercising their much-criticized Stop-and-Frisk tactic of civilian control. Still I couldn't ignore The New York Times' positive titled headline, Cuba Dropping Its Much-Reviled Exit Visa Requirement, that reflects yesterday's essay's hope North Korea can positively restructure their economic culture.

Raúl and Fidel Castro
Reporter Damien Cave wrote - In a country of limits, it is the restriction that many Cubans hate the most: the exit visa that the government requires for travel abroad and can be onerous to get, trapping many Cubans looking to leave even for just a few days. But now that bureaucratic barrier is on its way out. The Cuban government announced Tuesday that it would terminate the exit visa requirement as of Jan. 13, letting many Cubans depart for vacations, or forever, with only a passport and a visa from the country where they plan to go.

Let's hope.

The Times continued - The new policy, promised by President Raúl Castro last year, and finally announced in the Communist Party newspaper, linked in my previous Cuban essay. The Times states this -  represents the latest significant step by the Cuban government to answer demands for change from Cubans, while also maintaining a significant measure of control. Cubans can be denied the right to leave for reasons of “defense and national security,” according to the new law, suggesting that dissidents will face the same restrictions as always.

In other words, the tactic is speculated to be calculated to turn everyone into happy campers. 

But -  Cuba's doctors, scientists, military officers and other professionals, who have also long faced tight restrictions on travel, may be ineligible as well because the new policy includes a major caveat allowing the government to limit departures to “preserve the human capital created by the Revolution in the face of the theft of talent applied by the powerful.”

So Cuba's doctors still won't profit on one of the best national investments Cuba ever made. Of course once a medical industrial complex is established to further properly siphon the doctor's wealth, then maybe. Like Korea, it seems the entrenched elite is waiting to be bribed. While the doctors must represent the façade of the country's opposition to anti-capitalist exploitation. 

According to The Times - the new law gives Cubans leeway to stay abroad longer, letting them remain outside the country for two years before losing their rights to property, citizenship and benefits like health care. Increased from the current policy's 11 months.

Under government private property restrictions, nder a court system by and for an entrenched elite, basically.

The Times cites that - Analysts say the government is encouraging more Cubans to travel so that they can go earn money elsewhere and return, injecting capital into the island’s moribund economy. 

Then - Whether that creates a temporary, or permanent, mass exodus, Cubans and experts say, will be determined by how many people have the means and passports to leave, and which countries welcome them. 

Or how welcoming Cuba is to be back in. Remember what Stalin did to his fighters for the Motherland? Destroyed the tainted by foreign influence. No doubt Cuba would paint the picture differently. But they have yet to show a real desire to grow beyond an arbitrary system of tyrants who no doubt smile as sweetly as Stalin himself could. 

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin
Of course The Times can quote Robert Pastor, professor of International Relations at American University“The decision to lift the exit visa is a significant one for several reasons, although like most of the new reforms, it depends a great deal on how it is implemented. Nonetheless, by removing a state barrier to leave, this reform could lead to a large outflow, many of whom will eventually want to come to the United States, or it could begin to allow a circular flow of people that could enhance the economic opening of the island.”

Then The Times cites that economic progress has fallen well short of citizens gaining economic power. - Moreover, they are hardly tycoons who are independent of the government’s traditional power hubs of the military and the Communist Party.

One step forward, two back, yet. 

As The Times reports -  Especially in Havana, many Cubans have remained skeptical about President Castro’s commitment to change, noting frequently that celebrated new laws, allowing property sales and entrepreneurship, for example, were later larded with restrictions and taxes that so far have ensured only minority participation. 

The Times weaves apropos metaphors and quotes Havanans saying, "We'll see." While - There was no line of unusual proportions at the passport office in Havana, and many Cubans correctly noted that they still faced many hurdles to a legal departure. “It’s all very good,” said Laydis, 30, an Havana bank employee. “But which interesting country is going to give me a visa?”

Mars? So far the only remotely near locale that just requires billions of dollars (of influence) for anyone to visit.

As The Times points out further from the previous quotes' colleague, Maricel, 44, who is eligible for a Spanish passport because her grandparents were from Spain. “Sure, I can go but where am I going to get the money?” After all, the new law says nothing about reducing the fees for all the paperwork needed for a departure, which can cost hundreds of dollars.

Which is the crux of the dilemma. Bank employees apparently clueless that industriousness can solve anything. Work isn't just something delegated by fat cats behind desks. It's what freed the world's entrepreneurs to create a seemingly magic land inside personal computers. It's what everyone will have the potential to do for themselves once the great firewalls of control are torn down by, or for, the world's bureaucrats both private and government

So, as The Times reports - American officials said they were still studying the new policy to determine what the impact might be. Plus explaining - why America? 

And finally, The Times concludes - Other experts said that leaving Cuba, even without the exit visa requirement, could become more difficult than expected. Ted Henken, a Latin American Studies professor at Baruch College, part of the City University of New Yorksaid, “There’s an old saying among migration scholars who studied the Soviet bloc. ‘When the Soviets finally lowered the iron curtain, the West responded not with open arms but by quickly constructing a steel ring around their countries.’ It’s easy to condemn Cuba for its policies against the free flow of people, but when Cuba removes its own restrictions, will we redouble our own?”

So there. A world without borders is not what security is? What would John Lennon think? Possibly, let my people go?

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