While my old friend Allen was super pleased to have a mostly-negative series of sound-bites posted here (is that really all the honorable judge said, or did Jonah take snippets?) what occurred to me was
1)the paraphrasing of an old saying I learned from the Union for Democratic Communications: “There are always at least two sides to every story and two stories to every side”, and
2) no matter how honest, motivated and even well-read you are, it is impossible to get a really thorough idea of what is going on in a country during a few weeks as a visitor. You really do have to live there, for a long time, get to know a lot of people, and question everything any one person tells you, before you reach your conclusions. (For those who don’t know me, I’ve been going back and forth since 1968; lived, worked and raised two children there for 20 years, and just got back from my most recent yearly trip a few days ago).
Everything Jonah posted taken from his interview with the judge is true. And so is its opposite.
I know lots of old people who are as disillusioned as he would have you believe all the young people are. And lots of young people who, despite the hardships and challenges, are still enthusiastic believers in what the revolution stands for, and hope that their generation can achieve it. (The person who spent three eager hours interviewing me about the Occupy movement is in his 20s; the editor who sent him and is still a firm believer is in her 40s. If you want to get an idea where the revolution is heading, don’t focus on the 70 and 80 year olds — look at their children and grandchildren. There are few places more exciting than CENESEX — I wish Allen could overcome his 50-year old prejudices enough to visit it and get a better sense of the complexity of this place. Allen, there really are things you would love there. I’m not so sure about Jonah. But for those who read and listen to The Rag, it’s a great place to visit with an open mind, especially if you get out of Havana and visit communities in the countryside.