Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Nicaraguan Cuba

I was reminded of the naivete of Cubans when reading the following excerpt from Rushdie's The Jaguar Smile, which has as its subject matter the author's time in Sandinistan Nicaragua:
Later, one of the interpreters asked me a breathtaking question: 'What's a labour camp?'

'What's a labour camp?' I echoed, disbelievingly.

'Oh, I can see what you're trying to say it is,' she said. 'Something like a concentration camp. But are you really saying they have such things in the Soviet Union?'

'Um,' I stumbled, 'well, yes.'

'But how can it be?' she asked in obvious distress. 'The USSR is so helpful to third world countries. How can it be doing things like this?'

There is a kind of innocence abroad in Nicaragua. One of the problems with the romance of the word 'revolution' is that it can carry with it a sort of blanket approval of all self-professed revolutionary movement. Donaldo Altamirano told me how deeply he felt in solidarity with the Provisional IRA.

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