Barbados! Fifty Years of Independence

Barbados Flag

Barbados is the Gem of the Caribbean Sea! Well that is what various people and a few songs say. This year, Barbados and Barbadians from all around the world have the opportunity to celebrate fifty years of Independence from physical colonial rule. I say physical because many of must be aware by now that Barbados, like any other West Indian, Caribbean, non-North American, developing or post-colonial State, is controlled by external forces, powers and economic circumstances apparently far beyond its reach. Put aside the futility that is seemingly our reality alright? It is time to celebrate!

We have sun, we have sea, we have, oh yes we have sand: lots of sand. Fifty years of Independence and all that comes with such a time. Fifty years of gloriously filthy politics where in an island number fewer than three hundred thousand people we pit one section against another in political parties. For what? Apparently instead of making our futures brighter together our time is better spent squabbling over a land much larger than few other island territories and smaller than many many many other territories (not just countries) in the world. One other thing! We have sex but hush hush we are too hypocritical to admit what tourism largely entails.

There is no need to worry and every reason to rejoice for Barbados is the land of Calyp … well no that is Trinidad and Tobago or at least they lay the strongest claim. Maybe we are the land of Reggae and Dub? Well no that is Jamaica. We cannot even claim Reggaeton. Leave that alone. It belongs to Latin America a la Jamaica of course. No, no, no. I am not trying to put Barbados down at all. Of course not. We are the land that invented rum but let us leave that alone. If I get into that now I may have no idea when I would stop. We have Spouge. A music, a beat, a language we all but abandoned as we did its pioneer and our fellow Barbadian Mr. Jackie Opel. Surely, we will hear a bit of Spouge now that we are celebrating the big Five Zero.

Five-Nought! Yes, for fifty years are but a speck in the eye of so many others humans have existed but let us celebrate being adults now. Let us also celebrate all of the people who put us in this position save those who do not or did not belong to your ideological camp, was or is not the skin colour you prefer or whose ideas were just oh so far out there that you consider that person a downright fool. Yes. Celebrate. 

Poverty abounds and surely women, hard-working and industrious as they are must be feeling the pressures more than ever now. In this matrifocal society women head most households (let us not fool ourselves by thinking otherwise) yet we have men beating women at so many turns. Of course we cannot blame women for this predicament. We must blame the absent fathers and everybody else not in the child’s life. Curse me, hate me even for saying this but who raises a child matters less than how that child is raised. Children need love more than homes with nuclear families. I have always found the term nuclear family quite amusing. Sounds to me like something will explode. You know what? Blame no one. Responsibility need not be taken at all. Let us burry our heads in our glorious independent sand and wish reality away, away, away. 

Listen, I am not bashing women. Not at all. Another term I find amusing is testicular fortitude. The testicles, balls, nuts, whatever you want to call them are so fragile that such a term should be an oxymoron. Vaginal fortitude is the strength worthy of such acclaim. It should be obvious why but apparently not since that foolish term about male genitalia is still in vogue. With all of the women ever born to claim Barbados as home and only one female national hero? Alright. Whatever you say.

Who are you by the way? Who are the people who decide what, where, why, with whom and how things happen? Fifty years of Independence and not only must we still have to struggle against external forces (that is is only natural since there greedy humans abound) we must also deal with home grown oppressors using the rule of law to bind us. We must also deal with their supports hiding in the bushes intellectually and otherwise masterbating to the thoughts and wishes of their appointed leaders. What a waste of a people and opportunity.

Let us end this on a good note. We, Barbadians, have accomplished much in these fifty years. We have accomplished so much we can forget everything that ever happened before Independence. We are a proud people. We will be the best. Pride and Industry are our watchwords.  Hollow words now. The words our “leaders” often feed us like rotten porridge. We are too accustomed to drinking hollow words. Hollow words are all we have and all we will ever have until we fill them with action.

Time For Change?

Close-up of a clock showing the words "Time For Change". Shallow depth of field.

From time-to-time we often hear there is a need for change in the country. Someone calls in on a radio programme. Another person in your neighbourhood, maybe a friend, makes a comment about how the politicians are ‘wicked’ or ‘corrupt’. You know how it goes. Election time comes and the politicians begin campaigning with promises of ‘change’. Yet, somehow, after all of these calls and decisions made in hope of change things, today, seem so much like the same. 

From election cycle to election cycle in countries around the world the calls of change are made. Outside of election time, committees and organization, local, regional and international, are created with the purpose of making some change in some place in this world. Where is the change? 

I will list some questions for you. You can take the time to think about them when you have a chance. I have some responses but I will keep them to myself at least for now. Here they are:

  1. If the world is supposed to be such a loving place why is there so much poverty?
  2. If certain doctrines, religious and legal, label us all as created equal then why are we making a world that is not?
  3. Why is it that that in many parts of the world people have the right to live in poverty but are barred by lay from ending their lives?
  4. Is there really a way to end poverty?
  5. Is political correctness the way to conduct public discourse? Maybe there is room for the not-so-nice-talk.
  6. Are safe spaces necessary?
  7. Why is it important to have Black people represented at awards shows?
  8. Is atheism the answer? One may ask the answer to what?
  9. Do we need governments?
  10. What would the world look like without money?

It seems as though we have a lot of the wrong change in this world. People doing little things with little effect. Pocket change maybe?

When Will People Take Control of Their Lives?

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In democratic societies, especially the liberal kinds, the electorate is often faced with the challenge of weeding out, from among those who offer themselves for public service, those who ‘know’ and those who think they ‘know’ but in reality do not. It is a peculiar case for any people to have to carry out such an action because it means we have to think. Each eligible person and even those under the age of voting, to a lesser extent, must peruse their minds about what they want to see become of their country, whose message resonates with how he or she feels and who is the person most likely to make this happen. Unfortunately, thinking or maybe I should say critical thinking is quite lacking among the general populace. Even those who think they think critically do not.

Ever so often, about every four to five years, the Caribbean people in particular are faced with a melancholy. They must elect without knowing the candidates. Arguably, aside from politicians in very authoritarian democracies and dictatorships, Caribbean politicians enjoy a large cushion of protection from scrutiny. I should say here that when I say Caribbean I really mean primarily those in the West Indies. Yes, that place which like most other post-colonial regions adapted the British West Minster System into ‘models’ to ‘suit’ the New World Environment.

When one really thinks about the whole situation, there is little surprise coming to mind as to why the people do not really know the policies of those they elected and those who want to be elected. The ‘models’ we have, we, as a collective, did not make. We trusted our pioneers and founding fathers to make certain decisions such as the construction of our Constitutions which dictate almost every facet of our living instead of taking a stake in the pie. Yes, one may argue that West Indian Constitutions are Acts of the British Parliament and not even our leaders of the time really had a say. Yes, we may also argue that the ‘we’ about which I speak really means our foreparents so today’s people are not to blame for what we experience presently. Surely, we know all of that to be erroneous.

We are the ones living today and every day we let pass without engaging the very nucleic forces of our society is another strike taken off of the ‘we’ of the past to be marked against the ‘we’ of today. The politicians need not go beyond a manifesto to debate because we have hardly ever challenged them to do it. Think about it. If it is that those who sell goods and services usually provide a certain quantity and quality commensurate with market they serve then would not it be reasonable to assume that our leaders (trade union leaders, parliamentary members, clergy, teachers, government administrators) would respond to our demands since we are the market and the only market to which they can ply their trade? Normally markets are held captive but geography and nationality hold our suppliers captive; making us their masters and them our servant-leaders. 

With this small argument in mind, hopefully you recognize that it is within your rights to demand from those you employ the deliverance of what you want. It is also your right to do and say nothing to affect this occurrence. However, if you neglect your duty, even though you may benefit from the actions of those who demand what they want, in the long-run you, mostly likely, will also be neglected. 

U.S. State Department Recommends Rescinding Cuba’s Designation As A State Sponsor of Terrorism

The following press release must be studied carefully by all; especially Caribbeans. Great import may be given to this moment in future times.

Press Statement

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

April 14, 2015

In December 2014, as a critical component of establishing a new direction for U.S.–Cuba relations, the President directed the State Department to launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism and provide a report to him within six months. Last week, the State Department submitted a report to the White House recommending, based on the facts and the statutory standard, that President Obama rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

This recommendation reflects the Department’s assessment that Cuba meets the criteria established by Congress for rescission. While the United States has had, and continues to have, significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these concerns and disagreements fall outside of the criteria for designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. This review focused on the narrow questions of whether Cuba provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six months, and whether Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future, consistent with the statutory standard for rescission.

Circumstances have changed since 1982, when Cuba was originally designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism because of its efforts to promote armed revolution by forces in Latin America. Our Hemisphere, and the world, look very different today than they did 33 years ago. Our determination, pursuant to the facts, including corroborative assurances received from the Government of Cuba and the statutory standard, is that the time has come to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

The Caribbean Reality

European-Imperialism

Drawing from the colonial period, which only functionally ended with the British West Indies’ labour unrest in the 1930s, the West Indian reality is today one of systemic un-freedom due to the maintenance of the plantation society which perpetuates a plantation-like socio-economic structure. To believe that the end of colonialism-proper means the end of authoritarian governments and anti-democratic mechanisms such as criminal libel laws to control the media would be a mistake. One must understand that the Caribbean in general, and the West Indies in particular, are substantially defined by colonialism. Consequently, the Caribbean may be seen as a post-slavery civilization with a mirroring politico-economic structure.

The influence of Euro-American foreign policy, facilitated through international aid, dictates the Caribbean development agenda; limiting the extent to which the region exercises its right to self-determination. This situation dates back to independence of the then colonies; being preceded by the implosion of the West Indies Federation in 1962. Though popular sentiment may resist Euro-American policies which, inherently carry with them the refashioning of the Caribbean way of life, there is a tradition of compromise with international powers to facilitate local development. This explains why, for example, even though in many Caribbean countries while corporal punishment is a popular statutory mechanism for disciplining school children, the UNICEF’s call for its end was not vehemently rebuffed as imperialism; but instead compromise was made by establishing ‘child-friendly’ non-‘flogging’ schools.

The Caribbean understands its dependent disposition relative to more developed economies and uses diplomacy to safeguard its future. This inherently means compromise at the expense of sovereignty. The Caribbean way of life, like Latin America, has a fixation on peace and investment in our greatest, and in the case of countries like Barbados, our only abundant natural resource; its people. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States’ (CELAC) declaration of our region as “a zone of peace”, and the exclusion of this hemisphere’s military and economic great powers, the USA and Canada, from its ranks at its establishment in 2011 are testimony to this fact. This concept of peace, created through mutual respect for culture and individual history guides the Caribbean, of which various Latin American and South American countries are geographically a part, in its quest for prosperity; however limited it may be. This exploration of the Euro-American Nexus’ relation to the Caribbean creates greater appreciation of the ensuing topic of Caribbean domestic policy.

Barbados proves the greatest case study for understanding Caribbean development philosophy and its inextricable link to education as evidenced by 14.27% (2009) of government expenditure allocated to that sector. Unlike Jamaica with an abundance of bauxite and Trinidad and Tobago controlling vast oil reserves, Barbados is without natural resources; circumstancing a people-centred society. Historically, Barbadian politics and economic initiatives were primarily constructed by the people’s needs. Consequently, profits derived were used for their benefit. With a size of 166 square miles and a population under 300 000, Barbados has over 70 and 20 primary and secondary schools respectively, leading to being among the top 5 literate countries at 100% in UNESCO world rankings.

Human development policy emphasis and the creation of the welfare state directly derived from colonialism and cannot be ignored. Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor designate of the University of The West Indies (UWI) and Chairman of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Committee On Reparatory Justice, in addressing the British Parliament in 2014 explains that Caribbean poverty is systemic because the British Parliament, “in 1833 determined that the 800,000 enslaved people in the Caribbean were worth, as chattel property, £47M [£3.892B Conservatively (2013)]” and in compensating slave owners for the loss of ‘property’, “provided the sum of £20M [1.656B (2013)] in grants”, while refusing compensation to freed Blacks. Compensation was denied and poverty institutionalized by way of British Emancipation Acts which gave Caribbean countries independence while holding that, “ ‘property’ cannot receive property compensation”.

Less than a century ago, Barbadian children attended school barefooted while pit-toilets and outdoor kitchens fuelled by firewood were commonplace. In fact, these conditions are but some of the reasons for the labour unrest earlier mentioned. This reality is only but a half-generation (25/2 years) removed from the general populace but various aspects are a mainstay in contemporary Caribbean life. Circumstances like mass child labour prompted Caribbean countries, to compromise with the economic (white planters) and political (black descendants of the enslaved as well as indentured servants) majorities in order to secure the universal right to education but it was Barbados that made it free up to tertiary level.

Contextualized by these maladies, one is dismayed by the Barbadian government’s decision in 2013 to limit the access to universal education. Until then Barbadians enjoyed, through heavy direct income taxation (20% to 35%) and indirect value-added taxation (17.5%) tax-payer subsidized education up to university level. The ruling party’s argument during the Fiscal Estimates Debate (2013) highlighted education as exponentially increasing government spending to uncontrollable levels; resulting in debt of student fees to UWI exceeding $100M BBD ($50M USD). In accordance with the ruling party’s solution students now pay tuition fees while the economic cost is tax-payer funded.

While this seems fair, understanding the Caribbean reality illustrated above, the payment of tuition fees is a barrier to social mobility for the average Caribbean person because Barbadians still pay heavy taxation rates in addition to this new barrier. What placed Barbados ahead of many Caribbean countries including the more historically powerful Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and what makes Barbados’ achievement the Eastern Caribbean countries such as St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis is the rapid transformation of the socio-economic status of individuals unilaterally facilitated by way of ‘free’ education. Though great strides have been made, the reality remains, that systemic generational poverty bars many from being able to pay the tuition fees. Notwithstanding the assurance of loans being available, the impact of high cost of living induced by heavy taxation makes the loan repayment simply impossible.

The generational revolution is under threat!

An Introduction to The Barbadian Ideal

Barbados Flag

The length of this article will constrain, to some extent, the efficacy with which my points are carried to your mind but I am sure you will be able to pick the sense and construct your own opinion in reply. For the sake of ourselves, in the memory of our ancestors and for the promise of tomorrow let us do a short but very needed preliminary inquiry into the nature of the Barbadian psyche. 

I love my people but I detest some of their ways at times; especially that knack for holding the tongue in periods when it should be unleashed. It is this  seemingly minor peeve that brings me to more widely question the extent to which we, though seemingly free in body, are, in reality, free in mind. I think, if only but for clarity in understanding what makes the Barbadian tick, we must ask questions like these.

We must ask. We must prod. We must debate. We must analyze and evaluate. It is only when we do these things that we can create for ourselves the lives that we truly want to live. I believe we have failed, if only because of time and circumstance, to undertake proper scrutiny of our lives. Consequently, the Barbadian in particular like many Caribbeans in general is wandering in a quandary mixed with sediments of self-denial, inferiority and superiority complexes, schizophrenia as well as economic, social, political, cultural and ultimately spiritual instability.

Firstly, we must distinguish the Barbadian from other Caribbeans; not for reasons of superiority or inferiority but simply because we, at this juncture, want to focus on the particular traits that make Barbadians, at an essential level, who they are. Unlike other Caribbeans who also have their own unique, inspiring and notable histories Barbadian history is universally one of development through consensus. There is a reason why, besides the Battle of Jamestown, few slave rebellions and the 1930s Riots, Barbados has been a sanctuary of peace throughout the centuries. This consensual state brings great admiration from regional and international leaders who laud The Idea of Barbados and challenge their people to create an idea of their own but is the Barbadian Ideal made in the Barbadian image? 

It is at this point that I want to challenge the extent to which Barbadians are aware of the Barbadian Ideal. It seems to me that this ideal is more of an external construct by those who see Barbados as a bastion of hope but for the Barbadian this ideal is but a series of painful compromises made over time to appease those who would wilfully destroy any chances of a happy life for our people. The Barbadian way of life at this point, instead of being characterized as a people charting a path of their own choosing, may be better described as a people given limited liberty by past masters to choose their own path within already prescribed parameters.

I cement this claim by noting that I believe (yes a belief and not a ‘fact’) most Barbadians dead and present, regardless of political and ideological affiliation, if they have or have not, are fundamentally unhappy with the way Barbados since gaining Independence from Britain has developed. The people may be appeased by the garnishes such as the standard of living and strength of the dollar but at a personal level they must feel as though their truest potential is untapped, restraint, retarded and eroding.The Barbadian wants more but knows that in order for more to be had a great fight may have to be made with short-term and even long-term consequences reminiscent of previous projects of outright self-determination even if more subtly created in this new age of global diplomacy. It is with this in mind that I charge that the unhappy Barbadians, unable to truly act in their own right, appease the spiritual, universally felt but hardly ever spoken disquiet with the platitudes given them by the very people who constrict their souls.

Barbados is truly a model for the Caribbean because this country’s history shows others how to navigate waters that they do not own but this ideal must end; for though it created a good way of life where the people may enjoy the modern things it also created a people fettered to the whims of others. I caution those, however, who will take my argument to mean that Barbadians are outright slaves and should be shunned. Barbados’ history shows the resilience of those who were enslaved and their ability, knowing their positions and dispositions of power,  to negotiate the harsh realities of life while creating their own space of living.

In short, I am grateful for the compromises which afford me this opportunity to want more but now I argue that the time for compromise is over because The More calls the soul to unchain itself from appeasement. My challenge to the Barbadian is to use the foundations laid by the sacrifices of personhood made in the past to construct a true Barbadiana.Though stagnant for so long, inherent in the Barbadian Ideal is a sense of action which must be re-kindled.What this means is that our tongues which were held in order to survive must be unleashed in order to prosper.  Let the feet walk, the arms swing, the lungs fill with air and the voices bellow. 

 

Protests In Haiti

On the eve of The 2010 Haiti Earthquake’s Anniversary Haiti is in another uproar. Haitian citizens can be found in the streets protesting what they see as injustice and a breach of their constitutional rights. For a protracted period of time President Martelly and his government have been in discussions with The Haitian Opposition in regards to the hosting of elections and the parameters.

In the streets can be found both Martelly and Opposition supporters charging each party they represent with the responsibility of the failure of the electoral process. The crowds are estimated to be 1 500 in number. The Police force can be seen using water canon to disperse crowds and fires are set and people chant their descent.

Today’s protest (one of many) showcases the need for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to be more involved in Haiti’s development. We believe that this is the time for the Caribbean Region to unify. Peace and Co-operation should be our major goals and we hope that at some point they are realized.

Demonstrators march through the streets during an anti-government protest in Port-au-Prince 201511103722699580_20

 

Haiti’s Independence

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On this day, we congratulate The Republic of Haiti on completing its 211th. year of Independence. This is a day of pride and celebration for all Caribbean people. Haiti stands as testimony of our spiritual will and ability move beyond boundaries placed before us.

Think about this. When much of The New World was in chains Haiti was free.

Indeed, the world should stand in awe of Haiti’s ability to withstand the global turmoil that ensued after it took its independence from France so many years ago. It is indeed fitting that every first day of every new year the world States must pause their own new-year celebrations to recognize the fortitude and ingenuity of our people. Haiti is a pillar of this world as it is the first country of our contemporary Western dominated world to enjoy universal adult suffrage.  Democracy, which is often touted as the cornerstone of today’s civilization, is indebted to you. The Caribbean and the world owe to you their gratitude.

Long live Haiti!

In celebration of Haiti’s Independence we give you the Preamble of Haiti’s Constitution.

PREAMBLE

The Haitian people proclaim this constitution in order to:

Ensure their inalienable and imprescriptible rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; in conformity with the Act of Independence of 1804 and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man of 1948.

Constitute a socially just, economically free, and politically independent Haitian nation.

Establish a strong and stable State, capable of protecting the country’s values, traditions, sovereignty, independence and national vision.

Implant democracy, which entails ideological pluralism and political rotation and affirm the inviolable rights of the Haitian people.

Strengthen national unity by eliminating all discrimination between the urban and rural populations, by accepting the community of languages and culture and by recognizing the right to progress, information, education, health, employment and leisure for all citizens.

Ensure the separation and the harmonious distribution of the powers of the State at the service of the fundamental interests and priorities of the Nation.

Set up a system of government based on fundamental liberties, and the respect for human rights, social peace, economic equity, concerted action and participation of all the people in major decisions affecting the life of a nation, through effective decentralization.

In Focus, “Tanya Brathwaite”

IN FOCUS is RealTalk.BB’s Question and Answer Interview Series produced by our Publisher and Editor-In Chief William Chandler focusing on the lives, philosophies, ideologies, passions and struggles of seemingly average but very driven Caribbean people. We encourage you to have a read, enjoy and share!

TanyaBrathwaite

 

  • What’s your story?

I was born and raised in Barbados, I attended St. Angela’s primary school and Queens College before moving to Venezuela at 14 where I lived for two years (and didn’t learn nearly enough Spanish. ) On returning to Barbados I attended the Ursuline Convent where I completed my CXCs. In 2011 received a scholarship to attend the United World College in Montezuma and complete the International Bachelorette program. There I was able to meet individuals from over 82 different countries, participate in many clubs, become a resident advisor, go on daring wilderness trips and even lead cultural show representing the Caribbean and Latin America. On completion of the program I received a scholarship to attend the University of Florida where I am currently pursuing a degree in Advertising. Here I have become a member of the Caribbean student association, joined a service fraternity, Epsilon Sigma Alpha, joined the Florida Women in Business organization and started a fashion and lifestyle blog.

  • What’s the most intriguing thing about you?

Honestly couldn’t say.

  • Describe who you are now.

I’m a spirited college students who’s trying to find her place not only on campus, but in my life in general. I’m conscious of my flaws and determined to work on them day by day. I’m extremely driven and excited for all the new experiences the next few years have for me. I love fashion, I love to party and I love service. I’m also a cat person who love to sew, crocket and read.

  • Are you the sort of person who always moves forward, stagnates or gives up when the going gets tough?

I would have to say I’m always moving forward. I’m constantly looking for new opportunities and experiences.

  • Up until recently you were living in Barbados. How was it?

Living in Barbados is as close as it gets to a fairytale for me. Going to school with the my childhood friends, family lunches on Sundays after church, liming on the beach whenever, partying as much as I could (because the drinking age isn’t 21) and in general never really having to worry about much.

  • What’s your passion? What drives you to do what you do?

I would have to say my passion is meeting you people and seeing new places.

  • How do you define success?

To me, success can only be measured by how happy you are. I think the things that will make me happiest in life will me having a big family and the ability to support them very well, being able to travel and know that in some way I’m constantly working to bring positive change to the world.

  • Do you have a wild side? Spill!

I enjoy partying but I think most college students do.

  • If you could change one thing about your past what would it be?

They’re all things that we look back and wish we could do differently but I’m honestly very happy with the person I am today and where I am with my life and it’s all my past triumphs and mistakes that have brought me to this place so I can’t say I would change anything

  • When you look back on all your life to date can you honestly say you are successful?

As far as my life goals go I would say I’m on track to be successful but for right now I’d say I’m a work in progress

  • Do you see yourself as a Caribbean person?

Always and forever!

  • What’s your life philosophy?

I guess it would have to be just to make the most of years I have

  • What do your family members think about your chosen career path?

They’re sceptical at best but very supportive.

  • What plans do you have for the future or are you keeping those a secret?

They are secrets!

  • Even if you have secret plans surely there must be something you can spill.

All I can say is Barbados better watch out.

  • Do you see yourself as a world changer or spare change?

World Changer.

  • Do you have any regrets?

Not appreciating my time at home enough and not staying in better contact with my friends.

  • What’s the most exciting thing you ever did?

I would have to say it was moving away from home for the first time when I was 14 to live in Caracas.

  • Describe yourself using five adjectives.

Determined, creative, fastidious, well-rounded, curious. 

  • Have you ever had a life changing experience?

Attending the United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico. The school is so much more than just a boarding cool, the 200 students from over 82 countries and all driven, amazing, socially conscious individuals who opened my eyes to so many new thing and at the end of the two years I had a whole new perspective on life.

  • Do you have a reason for living? What is it ?

To do as much good and have as much fun as I can in the time I’ve been given.

  • What do you want your future family / children to know about the person you are now?

That I’m working very hard to be the best possible me and I hope when they meet they’re proud of who I’ve become.

  • What’s your message to your country?

Try to appreciate how truly lovely our beautiful island is. 

  • What’s your message to the world?

I honestly don’t know, I guess just to appreciate the amazing life we’ve been given and try to make the most of it.

 

 Thank you for reading! Remember to share with your friends. If you want to contact Tanya trying sending her an email at:

tanyamariabrath@gmail.com

Proud Cuba Highlights America’s Shame

RealTalk.BB - Cuba - America

The recent announcement by President Barack Obama of The United States of America (USA) that there will be a concerted effort to establish congenial relations between his country and “nemesis” Cuba is welcomed news but it simultaneously highlights the historical reality that the world has failed Democracy. We welcome this new push towards geo-political democracy after years of uni-polar totalitarianism brought about by the neo-liberal agenda still afoot. The Republic of Cuba deserves to be able to freely exercise its right to choose its own developmental path unencumbered by any other entity; especially those who lack the various capacities to understand the metamorphosis which took place during the Cuban Revolution.

The North American Federal Republic only has itself to blame for Cuba becoming the antithesis of everything that is “Amurka”. Lest we forget that Cuba, like Puerto Rico, at one  point, developed a protectorate relationship with the USA after the Spanish-American War. In relation to Cuba, as a protectorate, arguably there was even more starvation, physical oppression, economic exploitation, political manipulation and despotism during the Cuba-USA agreement than when Cuba was a Spanish colony. It was as though Cuba had merely changed ownership from one Mother Country to another. These are the conditions which led Cuba to a revolution with a national ethos underpinning it.

We must let history speak truth to power and leave the media-driven demented drivelling demagoguery for the sheep’s grazing. Contrary to popular misbelief, Cuba’s revolution was neither communist nor socialist in origin. It was a child of the political and economic enslavement which occurred under the USA-backed totalitarian regime of Fulgencio Batista who, acting as the metropole’s puppet, ensured that American interests were served by enabling the extraction of wealth using Cuban labour, the total monopoly of Cuban utilities by American companies, the theft of Cuban land from its people and the brutal slaughter of Anti-American activists and political dissenters. Are these not reasons for revolution? These things should make people question the reality in which they live.

Americans and Caribbeans often speak about Communist Cuba disparagingly but Communist Cuba is a result of the USA’s illegal embargo of Cuba. Without anywhere in this Hemisphere, including the rest of the Caribbean Region, to turn it was only logical for Cuba to seek refuge in the arms of another geo-political super-power; The Soviet Union which was communist. Castro, like Lenin did in his time, found communism to be a cement more binding  than national pride and used it to establish Cuba as a geo-political juggernaut fighting off the wrath of the leviathan that was and still is the USA. Summarily, this embargo which sought to cripple Cuba, forced what one may argue was an unintended consequence to occur.

Yes! The United States of America, to a large extent by parasitism and embargo, created the Cuba we see today.

Cuba and Haiti, despite what certain media may tell you, are shining Caribbean Pillars of excellence in terms of philosophical and ideological fortitude. The Cuban and Haitian Revolutions bring true meaning to the word Independence which Caribbean politicians and “leaders” bandy about like a sex toy to romance the masses and rape the mind.  The Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) established the First country of the Modern world to implement universal adult suffrage. Yes, Haiti, before Britain which granted limited suffrage based on property right and sex, France on sex and the USA on property rights, sex and race, granted universal adult suffrage to all Haitians without restriction. For winning its right to self-determination Haiti by economic circumstance was coerced into paying France for its freedom and Cuba paid the USA by way of suffering for decades under an embargo which retarded its economic growth. Yet, in spite of these obstacles, these two countries exist today and are making strides in developing in their own image much to the chagrin of world geo-political powers.

Cuba like Haiti, is a world symbol of determination and humanity’s ability to persevere even in the worst of times. For The United States of America, Cuba is a staining  record of its immature geo-politics and perversion of Democracy. The USA’s record on global democracy stands so far as a “one-size fits all” approach which we must know by now is a childish view of the world. Let us pray that the world, including the USA, uses the remaining time humanity has in this temporal realm to create a truly inclusive world where we learn from and with each other in order to grow and improve ourselves. The normalization of relations between The United States of America and Cuba shows that the time is ripe, as it always was and will be, for  a conscious revolution toward universal peace.