Klaus Hart Brasilientexte

Aktuelle Berichte aus Brasilien – Politik, Kultur und Naturschutz

“ A Visit to Havana“ – Frei Betto, Brasiliens wichtigster Befreiungstheologe. „Fidel is in very good health.“

Havana at this time of year is bathed in a mild climate.  The heat is eased by the fresh breeze which blows from the blue waters behind the Malecón. Humidity recedes, although the population keeps an eye on the weather: October and November are hurricane months. Last year they destroyed almost 20% of the GNP which is today calculated at US$ 50 billion.freibettogut.jpghttp://www.hart-brasilientexte.de/2008/09/04/befreiungstheologe-frei-betto-widerspricht-lula-und-uno-soziale-ungleichheit-in-brasilien-nahm-unter-lula-nicht-ab-sondern-zu/http://www.hart-brasilientexte.de/2009/08/31/renommierte-brasilianische-menschenrechtsaktivisten-fotoserie/
There are no signs that disaster will strike this year. However it is impossible to foresee the vengeful reactions of Gaia, cruelly raped by our ambition for profit and our solemn disregard for our mother environment.
My visit to Cuba during the last week in October had no work agenda. I went at the invitation of a dear friend, Jose Alberto de Camargo who, to celebrate his birthday, chose the city re enchanted by the literature of Lezama Lima, Alejo Carpentier and Nicolas Guillén.

The committee (heart committee) included journalists Chico Pinheiro, Ricardo Kotscho and his wife Mara. We stayed at the 80 year old Hotel Nacional and on arrival drank daiquiris at La Floridita where Hemingway used to imbibe. We visited the beach house where he died and where he wrote ”The Old Man and the Sea as well as the Hotel Ambos Mundos, where he lived for six years and wrote ”For Whom the Bell Tolls.

We enjoyed Caribbean cuisine at El Templete on the docks and at El Oriente, where Saramago and Garcia Marquez used to go. Together with mojitos (cocktails made from rum) and the perfumed aroma of Cohiba cigars whose factory we visited, we had meaningful conversations with anonymous citizens and with authorities in the country such as Ricardo Alarcón, the president of the National Assembly, Eusebio Leal the city™s historian (and responsible for the restoration of the colonial sector of Havana), Homero Acosta, secretary of the State Council (where ministers and the country™s leaders meet), Armando Hart, of the Marti Study Centre, Abel Prieto, minister for Culture and Caridad Diego, responsible for the Religious Affairs Cabinet (which deals with the relations between the State and confessional denominations).

I stayed on an extra day in order to meet President Raul Castro with whom I had lunch on Saturday 24th and Fidel who welcomed me at his home for dinner that evening.

Cuba is pregnant with itself. After 50 years of Revolution, it is time to analyse mistakes and impasses. The past is surveyed so as to view the future better. In 2010 the 9th congress of the Communist Party will submit the country to the verification of its contradictions and to the elaboration of new strategies, especially concerning the economy and ethical emulation.

Anyone who supposes that Cuba is reverting back to capitalism is mistaken. Even if openings towards market economy were to multiply due to globalisation and to the unipolar homogenised world because of neo liberalism, the Island is not interested in the private accumulation of wealth to the detriment of the majority of the population. Central America is the mirror in which Cuba does not want to see itself: there the rate of violence today is the highest in the world with 23 murders per year for every 100,000 inhabitants. In Brazil the rate is 31 per 100,000 and in Cuba it is 5.8. Suffice to say that in Rio de Janeiro the police killed 1330 people in 2007. In 2006 347 people were killed by the police in the whole of the USA.

Cubans are aware that the country™s failings cannot all be attributed to the criminal blockade imposed by the White House more than 40 years ago (and now in the process of being relaxed by the Obama administration).

Cold war measures which have been maintained for a long time have started to be questioned as is the State™s paternalistic character which assures 11 million inhabitants free basic foodstuffs as well as quality health and education.

Thanks to this the quality of life in Cuba, where illiteracy has been eradicated, figures in 51st place amongst 182 countries in the UN Human Development Index for 2009. Brazil won 75th place. There is no plan to alter the right to universal and free health and education. However the reduction of subsidies to food should coincide with the increase in salaries and farm productivity in order to diminish the importation of food for consumption by 80%.

A short term solution is being sought for the duplication in the currency: the CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso) acquired by tourists (which avoids a black market and the loss of exchange currency) and the peso used by Cubans. Tourism, next to nickel exports, is one of the main sources of taxes in Cuba which, though 64 times smaller in size than Brazil, receives 2.5 million tourists a year, half the number of those who visit our country yearly.

All of Latin America today is opposed to the blockade and supports the re-integration of Cuba into continental institutions. The most relevant political question in international relations is the urgent freeing of the five Cuban prisoners held in the USA since 1998 condemned to extremely high prison terms and accused “ believe it or not! “ of avoiding acts of terrorism. The five managed to abort 170 attempted attacks against Cuba by Miami™s Cuban community.

Fernando Morais with whom we dined in Havana has promised to launch a book in 2010 in which he describes the bizarre account of the lawsuit moved by the North American justice system against the five Cubans.

PS: To whoever may be interested: Fidel is in very good health and enjoys an excellent sense of humour.

ABOUT THE AUTORHe is a Brazilian Dominican with an international reputation as a liberation theologian.Within Brazil he is equally famous as a writer, with over 52 books to his name.  In 1985 he won Brazil™s most important literary prize, the Jabuti, and was elected Intellectual of the Year by the members of the Brazilian Writers™ Union.Frei Betto has always been active in Brazilian social movements, and has been an adviser to the Church™s ministry to workers in Sáo Paulo™s industrial belt, to the Church base communities, and to the Landless Rural Workers™ Movement (MST).In 2003-2004, he was Special Adviser to President Lula and Coordinator of Social Mobilisation for the Brazilian Government™s Zero Hunger programme.Rio de Janeiro hat annähernd so viele Bewohner wie Kuba, jedoch andere Sozialindikatoren: http://www.hart-brasilientexte.de/2009/10/17/krieg-auf-dem-morro-dos-macacos-von-rio-de-janeiro-youtube-anklicken-bope-im-einsatz/











Dieser Beitrag wurde am Freitag, 13. November 2009 um 20:51 Uhr veröffentlicht und wurde unter der Kategorie Kultur, Politik abgelegt. Du kannst die Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag durch den RSS-Feed verfolgen.

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