Time for my ritualistic defence of Cuba;
1) Cuba may not be a real democracy. But it is not a dictatorship, because it doesn't have a dictator. China had Mao, Russia had Stalin, Iraq has Saddam, but the leadership in Cuba is collective rather than one-man. They don't ahve purges of government leaders as they ahd in China, Russia, etc.
2) The government of Cuba is overtwhelmingly supported by the people. They have the option of truning in spoiled ballots in the elections to express dissatisfaction, and some do. But the fact that most don't illustrates taht Cubans like their government.
3) Cuba has a measure of participatory democracy in that people's input is tken into account in making decisions.
4)Cuba's free speech record has markedly improved in recent years, revisionist communsim is now legal over there.
5) Cuba has never had death squads, genocide, etc. unliek otehr Latin American countries.
6) On the question of libertarianism, did you knoa that Cuba has no laws agaisnt homosexuality, whereas many American states do?
7) Castro has killed an absolute MAXIMUM of 12,000 people in 40 years, while his right-wing predecessor killed 20,000 in seven years.
: Nikhil you made a post earlier that we could argue as to what degree of socialist Cuba was but the existence of the dictatorship was the reason why.
: Well I disagree (you had to see this comming, right?), Cuba for the region, I hear a lot of dictators roam about latin america or the third world in general, is a benevolent example of dictatorship but dictatorship none the less and therefore not a good thing.
: In Cuba many movements for democracy, participatory, radical decentralist and representative are supressed and they arent just anarchists but regular socialists aswell.
: The west has got this fixation with "actually existing socialism" and as a result assigns almost holy status to regimes like Cuba, which arent as nasty as China. It's something that everyone should shake off either adopting critical support in it's place (IE I support your collectivism but why do you have so many political prisoners, a standing army, religious sanctions etc.) or simply condemn it.
: There is no end result "Socialism" just as there is no end result "Capitalism" otherwise Gee etc. wouldnt exist, the movement the supporters and the people ideologically motivated into behaving in a selfless manner are everything. For instance I hear the Sandinistas still exist as a political force and are considered a threat by the CIA etc. to the extent that it's one of the nations on the US "fly in troops immediately" list like Mexico where they flew in troops without hesitation to crush a peseant uprising (pity they couldnt muster the same courage to deal with a real opponent like Milosovich).
: I might add that while I think this I'm not a totally abstract moralist or anything, just as institutional change assists capitalism (EG smash Unions meassures, the abolition of exchange rates, the containment of inflation through unemployment) there can be changes made that assist socialism but dont ever expect a decent health service, roads, public transport and ethical and accountable state (even a disarmed state) to recreate "Man". If your a real scrounge selfish person under capitalism I think you'd behave the same way under a generous socialist system.