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posted 24 Jan 2015, 09:14 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 24 Jan 2015, 10:28 ]

Professor Selwyn Ryan
One Week before Christmas 2014, President Obama declared to the world that his administration was taking steps to normalize relationships with Cuba which had been disrupted for fifty years as a result of the Cold War.  

Stating that the Cold War policies had failed, Obama proposed the following initiatives that would  reestablish diplomatic relations;  more effectively empower the Cuban people by adjusting regulations; facilitate an expansion of travel to Cuba; authorize expanded sales and exports of certain goods and services from U.S. to Cuba; authorize American citizens to import additional goods from Cuba; initiate new efforts to increase Cubans’ access to communications and their ability to communicate more freely (www.whitehouse.gov).

When the President announced these changes, Cubans took to the streets in Havana and other parts of Cuba. For them Christmas had come early. However, not everyone took the news kindly. One of them was Professor Selwyn Ryan.

Writing his regular column in the Sunday Express (12/28/14), Ryan penned an essay entitled “Fidel in Retrospect.” Rather than analyze the policies and examine the implications for the Caribbean region, Ryan, instead, went out his way to thrash the Castro brothers. 

By so doing one would think that Ryan was a Cuban exile living in Miami. From my observation of these folks, this is how they talk. They trash everything about Cuba since the Revolution of 1959.  But Ryan knows better, so we should think. But his essay exposes his ignorance. His essay makes no mention that the Cuban people staged a revolution in the 20th century that challenged U.S hegemony in the region. Moreover, he never discusses the role Cuba played in Latin America and the Caribbean despite facing a blockade that severely wrecked its economy.

Furthermore, the learned professor failed to articulate Cuba’s role in Africa, especially its role in bringing down the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Additionally, he failed to highlight the achievements the Cuban people made in medicine, education, sports, and culture.

Rather than celebrate with the Cuban people. Ryan played the “Grinch” and sought to steal their joy. In playing this role, he chose to quote Eric Williams to justify his reasons for thrashing Fidel and Raul.  

However, it was the same Eric Williams in 1959 who declared, “…Castro’s revolution brings one step nearer the old dream of Caribbean Confederation and also the goal of the ownership of the West Indies by the West Indian people themselves” (Vanguard 1/3/1970).

Even though we know that Williams capitulated during the Cold War, he recognized the significance of the Cuban revolution and celebrated the Cuban people by writing From Columbus to Castro. Ryan, on the other hand, is not pleased with the good news and sides with the reactionary Cubans who fled the revolution.