"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Repressive democracy please


Dear Dav

Thank you for your email concerning an RTE report on comments by the US Government.

The statement you mention relates to a direct quote from President Bush. What he said was quoted accurately. An interference in the text using quotation marks would have amounted to a one-sided interpretation of his comment or raised a doubt over the purity of democracy had in mind.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Good

Dear Mr. Good,

Thank you for responding. I apologise, it was unreasonable for me to suggest you could raise doubt over the purity of what President Bush professes he has in mind.

Perhaps it is the blanket media spotlight given to Mr. Bush's every word, his promises of democracy and his incessant demonising of 'unpopular regimes', notably in South America, but for me at least it has become infuriating to hear of another 'backward' nation earmarked for democracy promotion. For me too, Afghanistan and Iraq are ample proof that the type of democracy Mr. Bush has in mind may be less than pure.

I appreciate that you did not allow his description of Cuba's governance as 'repressive control' to pass without quotation marks. Thanks for your time.


RTE reports US intentions for Cuba when Castro dies. But while some quotes are too controversial to report as fact, others are taken for granted. The US intends to bring +democracy+ to a 'repressed' country. Where's the evidence?

Dear Mr. Good, (RTE News Editor)

Why is it that the word 'democracy' is not contained within quotation marks in this exert from the RTE World News page?

"US President George W Bush has said an $80 million plan to promote a transition to democracy in Cuba demonstrates that the US is committed to actively helping Cuba to move away from 'repressive control' to freedom." [1]

There are certainly different types and degrees of democracy (as well as 'repressive control') supported by the US, and indeed the West. Therefore there is absolutely no reason to believe their intentions with regards to Cuba are anything but self serving.

"The Cubans are utterly irresponsible and have no idea what good government is. Under our supervision and with firm and honest care for the future, the people of Cuba may become a useful ace."[2]

Yours sincerely,

1. http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/0711/cuba.html

2. http://www.eiu.edu/~historia/2003/cuba.htm
[Secretary of State John Quincy Adams in 1823 in a letter to the Spanish Ambassador ('Robert F. Smith, What Happened in Cuba? A Documentary History' pp 27-28)]

Quote courtesy of David T over at Persistence of Vision

The essay it is referenced in also contains some interested thoughts on US intervention in Cuba.