Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shameless Bilge.

Shameless Milne decides to apply his vast intellect and deep understanding of world affairs to Latin America. Joy.

I would have just commented at the Grauniad's site but as is traditional they are furiously censoring criticism of Milne but instead I'll do a partial fisking here.

On 9 October 1967, Che Guevara faced a shaking sergeant Mario Teran, ordered to murder him by the Bolivian president and CIA, and declared: "Shoot, coward, you're only going to kill a man." The climax of Stephen Soderbergh's two-part epic, Che, in real life this final act of heroic defiance marked the defeat of multiple attempts to spread the Cuban revolution to the rest of Latin America.
Actually his last words were "Don't shoot. I am Che Guevara. I am worth more to you alive than dead"

But 40 years later, the long-retired executioner, now a reviled old man
Reviled by whom? Certainly not the Bolivian peasants who were only too glad to help get rid of the T-Shirt salesman.
Teran was treated as part of a programme which has seen 1.4 million free eye operations carried out by Cuban doctors in 33 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. It is an emblem both of the humanity of Fidel Castro and Guevara's legacy, but also of the transformation of Latin America which has made such extraordinary co-operation possible.
You know if I wanted to highlight the "humanity of Fidel Castro" I'd keep quiet about his involvement in Africa.
The seeds of this Latin American rebirth were sown half a century ago in Cuba. But it is also more directly rooted in the region's disastrous experience of neoliberalism, first implemented by the bloody Pinochet regime in the 1970s
The Pinochet regime was bloody, although considerably less so than Castro's regime. Secondly if 'neoliberalism' is so disastrous how come Chile is so much wealthier than the rest of Latin America now? Back in the 1950s Cuba was richer than Chile so if you want to compare their current status we can see which philosophy works best.
Cuba, famous for first world health and education standards - with better infant mortality rates than the US - in an economically blockaded developing country.
Cuba's literacy rates and infant mortality figures were always very good long before the arrival of Castro. In fact before Castro Cuba's infant mortality figures were the 12th best in the world compared to around 30th best today. Does Shameless want to guess as to who established Cuba's education system?
Less well known is the country's success in diversifying its economy since the collapse of the Soviet Union
That's a nice euphemism for promoting child sex tourism.

I must admit I'm a little bit surprised that Seamus Milne is such a avid fan of 'Che'. What on earth can he see to admire in an over privileged and somewhat dim radical who used the poor as an excuse for promoting his extremist ideas....


TDK said...

Cuba's literacy rates and infant mortality figures were always very good

I seem to recall that after the fall of the Soviet Union we discovered that a closed society's health and literacy stats weren't quite as good as claimed.

Of course, I'm sure that Cuba, a country that imprisons journalists who upset the regime, can be relied upon to be the exception to that rule.

Ross said...

Cuba's stats might be inflated, but seeing as they have had a very high literacy rate since the end of the 19th century it doesn't sound implausible that it has remained high.

Mark said...

'That's a nice euphemism for promoting child sex tourism'.

Come on Ross- Cuba one of the few sex tourist destinations without a gender bias, appealing to men and women alike, unlike West Africa (women) or SE Asia (men). That should surely get it plaudits from Guardianistas!
However unlike parts of SE Asia, I doubt if it has any 'gay friendly' resorts, so its thumbs down on the homophobia front.

Ross said...

I'll have to take your word on that.