OpEdNews Op Eds

Reparations: How Cuba Became "the Envy of the Third World" (Sunday Homily)

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 2 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 2   Must Read 1   Interesting 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 11/3/13

Become a Fan
  (30 fans)
- Advertisement -

The pope's message represents a reiteration of Catholic Social Teaching, the "best kept secret of the Catholic Church." At its best, those teachings are anti-war, resistant to unfettered capitalism, pro-labor, and generally favorable to social justice.

But are the market restrictions required by such considerations practical? Would the provisions of the NIEO work? Or is the WTO correct in advocating free trade and trickle-down economics as the only practical course? (And is the Christian Right correct in its uncritical support of the WTO approach?)

To answer directly: we know that the NIEO works.

Let me tell you what I learned about that in Brazil and Cuba. Let's begin in Brazil.

Back in 1984 I attended a semester-long seminar on liberation theology. It was taught by Latin American scholars I had been reading for years. Enrique Dussel Sr., the great philosopher of liberation from Argentina played a prominent role in the seminar.

One day in the course of the seminar Dussel made a passing remark He referred to Cuba as "the envy of the 3rd World."

Even at my age (then 44), the phrase came as a shock. In the U.S., of course, we not used to hearing even a single laudatory word about Cuba's revolution or its leader, Fidel Castro.

However, years later, in 1997, when I made the first of my many trips to Cuba, Dussel's remark was confirmed -- by a Cuban who was no friend of the revolution. She observed that before the fall of the Soviet Union, the accompanying loss of 80% of Cuba's trading partners, the cynical intensification of the U.S. embargo, and the subsequent onset of Cuba's "Special Period" of hunger, poverty and emigration, Cubans had "lacked nothing."

- Advertisement -

That was because the Soviet Union had adopted towards Cuba what amounted to the provisions of the New International Economic Order (NIEO) in its relations to the island nation just 90 miles off our Florida coast. Russia had transferred money and technology to Cuba. It had indexed the prices of its finished commodities to Cuba's sugar.

And it worked. In fact it was the success of the Soviet program that had to be countered by U.S. embargoes, blockades, and trade policies. Otherwise Cuba's success would become apparent to the rest of the Third World and Cuba's "good example" would possibly incite similar revolutions among those former colonies.

In the light of that success story, in the light of the words of Pope Francis, and above all in the light of the example of Zacchaeus, those who would follow Jesus seem called to repudiate Christianity's over-all practical support of free market capitalism and the type of globalization favored by developed nations over the last thirty-five years.

Isn't it ironic that Cuba and Russia, our country's designated enemies for all those years -- communists and atheists at that (!)-- end up demonstrating how to respond to the gospel call to restorative justice?

- Advertisement -

Next Page  1  |  2


Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Recently retired, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 36 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program.Mike blogs (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Sunday Homily: Pope Francis to Women: The Next Pope Should Be One of You!

"Cloud Atlas": A Film for the Ages (But perhaps not for ours)

The Case for and Intimate Relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene

What You Don't Know About Cuba Tells You About YOUR Future

Sunday Homily: Pope Francis' New Song -- Seven Things You May Have Missed in 'The Joy of the Gospel'

Muhammad as Liberationist Prophet (Pt. 2 of 4 on Islam as Liberation Theology)


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 12 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Last week the United States again (and virtually a... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Nov 3, 2013 at 8:12:09 AM
 But sir, ...  I say it isn't ironic tha... by Ad Du on Sunday, Nov 3, 2013 at 4:16:44 PM
 Oh, and speaking about economic performance:... by Ad Du on Sunday, Nov 3, 2013 at 4:36:11 PM
One of the beautiful things about Great Religious ... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Nov 3, 2013 at 8:49:06 PM
Thanks for reading the homily, Ad Du. I appreciate... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Nov 3, 2013 at 8:39:19 PM
One of many stories about President Kennedy is tha... by Charles Roll on Sunday, Nov 3, 2013 at 10:53:05 PM
Indeed, Charles. Preconceptions and political comm... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Monday, Nov 4, 2013 at 12:41:37 AM
(Continuing from preceding comment)There was a hum... by Charles Roll on Sunday, Nov 3, 2013 at 11:00:26 PM
(Epilogue, continued from preceding comment.)The V... by Charles Roll on Sunday, Nov 3, 2013 at 11:10:12 PM
Dear Charles, Thanks so much for those thoughts. T... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Monday, Nov 4, 2013 at 12:33:47 AM
Thank you for filling me in on the history! This k... by Charles Roll on Monday, Nov 4, 2013 at 11:47:02 AM
Yes. I agree. What's that they say about pictures ... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2013 at 1:29:55 AM