Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Sharecroppers

In school, studying the literature of the American South, sharecropping was a motif symbolizing the dismal economic conditions of the poor, usually black. Today, via Penultimos Dias, I ran into this report that the Cuban government has begun "giving" land to those who farm it. The verb used in Spanish is dar or give. Alas, when I read on, the state TV used the word prestar, or loan. In that word lies a world of difference.

And I thought to myself, isn't it rich that a practice that was considered oppressive in the United States should be touted as a reform or a good thing and in effect should be an improvement? How dismal the lot of Cuba: that having been sent back to the Victorian Era by the economics of the revolutionary cadre, the move toward the economic conditions of the American South in the 1920's is considered a sign of progress.

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