Sunday, 7 October 2012
Democracy, shamocracy, who cares so long as we have a vote?
As the Venezueleans go to the polls today to re-elect President Hugo Chavez, Cuba's daily Granma newspaper carries huge coverage of the election campaign and includes a graphical guide (pictured) to show how the Venezuelans vote in what Jimmy Carter has called the best electoral system he has witnessed.
Two things stand out here: the first is that despite the charges that Chavez is a dicator, Venezuela IS a liberal democracy by any of the standards set by the so-called 'West'. The second is that while Cuba falls short of that benchmark because it does not have a multi-party system, it is patently obvious that its government has absolutely no fear about that fact since it openly explains and extols the virtues of such a system in its national newspaper. That Cubans understand democracy and voting systems and know what others have and might actually in fact NOT WANT such a system themselves is a possiblity that few in Washington can comprehend - just as they can't imagine how machinations using new media and ICT to try and provoke a 'Cuban' spring like that in Arab countries might not work, as my collegaue Phil Peters deflty pointed out in his blog on Friday.