Saturday, March 22, 2008

"The Cuban Art Revolution"

An article was published today in the Weekend Edition of the Wall Street Journal on the rise of the Cuban art scene internationally. Many of the paintings were very impressive, especially the scenic paintings of Tomas Sanchez. In the article, the looming chance of change in Cuban-American relations were discussed and the reporter claimed that much of this is dependent on the positions of the presidential candidates:

Market watchers expect American demand for Cuban art to surge if travel or trade restrictions are loosened through diplomatic talks between Cuba's new president, Raul Castro, and the next U.S. president. The likelihood of that scenario could depend on who is elected to the U.S. presidency in November. Last month at a debate, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama said that if elected, he would meet Mr. Castro "without preconditions," though he would first seek "preparations," including progress in Cuba on human rights. Sen. Hillary Clinton said at the debate that she would push for reform in Cuba but only meet with Mr. Castro if there were evidence of changes there. Republican Sen. John McCain has consistently said that he wouldn't hold diplomatic talks with Mr. Castro.

Of those positions, the one I lean towards is that of Hillary Clinton. There is a great deal of culture in Cuba, with great music, art, literature and food, all of which I would someday like to be exposed to. We shouldn't drop everything and embrace Raul Castro, but I think we should try to push for change and be willing to talk, with a good dose of skepticism to keep us grounded. If we were able to ally ourselves with dissidents in Cuba (which there must be a few in the government that would feel more free to open their mouths if they knew America would help keep them free of persecution), it could help bring about neoliberal change in the country. Change in Cuba would be a great move towards pushing back the wave of neocommunism in countries like Venezuela and Bolivia.

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