El Blog de Montaner - Page 353 of 358 - El Blog de Carlos Alberto Montaner

Bienvenido al Blog de Carlos Alberto Montaner

Carlos Alberto Montaner nació en La Habana, Cuba, en 1943. Reside en Madrid desde 1970. Ha sido profesor universitario en diversas instituciones de América Latina y Estados Unidos. Es escritor y periodista. Varias decenas de diarios de América Latina, España y Estados Unidos recogen desde hace más de treinta años su columna semanal.

14 February 2011 ~ 0 Comentarios

The other face of frustration

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

Many Egyptians want democracy. We don’t know how many, or to what they allude when they ask for democracy, but we assume that they refer – albeit vaguely – to free elections and a free press, a plural parliament, a multiparty system and the separation of powers. Those are the classic and basic attributes of a liberal democracy. Many Egyptians are tired of the monochrome government installed in Cairo since the days Col. Nasser staged a military coup in 1954.

Why do the Egyptians want democracy and freedoms? Some, probably not many, because they want to make their own decisions. They like to build their lives with acts they choose voluntarily. But another percentage, most likely in the majority, is dissatisfied with the material results of the world in which they live. They are tired of misery, poverty and the lack of opportunities.

In Egypt, when there is work, it is very poorly remunerated. The public systems of health and education are awful. Many people go hungry. The true function of the police is not to protect the citizens but to extort or intimidate them. The judiciary is Ali Baba’s cave in the service of the all-powerful. The State is a disaster patrolled by incompetent functionaries and thieves. That is no way to live, people say.

“Freedom, Sancho, is one of the most precious gifts given to man by the heavens,” Cervantes wrote, probably when he had lost his freedom and was in prison. The problem is that democracy and the enjoyment of freedoms, though appreciable bounties, not necessarily solve the problems of lack of productivity, poverty and lack of opportunities in Third-World countries. (If the Egyptians want to see countries that are democratic yet poor and abysmally governed, they should tour half of Latin America.)

At the other end of the example, in a nation like Singapore, where democracy is a joke and the lack of freedoms is almost total, society nevertheless seems to be satisfied with its government, because there are economic opportunities, the general prosperity is remarkable, the public institutions are efficient, and the officials behave honestly.

In less than half a century, that small country, which began as a hopeless disaster, has become one of the wealthiest, best educated, healthiest, most developed and modern countries in the world. Lamentably, there is no freedom but there is the certainty that legitimate individual effort generates positive material results.

In Egypt, they have the worst of both worlds. There are neither freedoms nor any hopes to improve. The “Egyptian revolution” was a political creature spawned in 1954 within the ideological coordinates of an authoritarian, pan-Arabist, militaristic and collectivistic nationalism – fortunately a secular one.

From its beginning, Nasserism (as it was then called) was very inefficient and corrupt. But it had an effective populist discourse, originally pro-Soviet and anti-Israeli, that – with time and the military defeats in Sadat’s rule and most markedly in Mubarak’s – evolved into a pro-American, anti-communist, “soft” dictatorship, prudently at peace with Israel. Its large productive apparatus was in the hands of those who held political power, the courtiers at their service, and the military chiefs who guarded the store and kept part of the income.

We are looking, therefore, at something more than a worn-out regime. We’re looking at a perverse political culture, at a way to conduct public and private affairs, at an unfair way to give stability to society (a widespread method in the Arab world) based on the collusion among the political and economic elites and the military officers who control the weapons and, for now, have a monopoly on violence.

Egypt is a classic example of what Douglass North, the Nobel laureate in economics, calls “limited-access societies.” In them, there is no meritocracy, people don’t rise to the top through talent and work or gain wealth through their efforts, the market and adherence to fair rules. None of that. Triumph is achieved by braiding a sinuous chain of personal relations and ceaselessly paginating complementary interests, to the detriment of the weakest and worst-related sectors.

If Egyptians ever attain democracy (something that remains to be seen), they will find out how difficult it is to create a just and prosperous society. It is likely that they’ll soon discover a new face of frustration.

07 February 2011 ~ 0 Comentarios

La solución está en otra parte

Por Carlos Alberto Montaner
(FIRMAS PRESS) Casi nadie tiene duda en Estados Unidos sobre la naturaleza de la crisis financiera del sistema. Sin subir drásticamente los impuestos no hay forma de hacerle frente, simultáneamente, a los gastos del sistema público de salud (Medicare), a las obligaciones del fondo de jubilaciones (Social Security) y a la factura astronómica del Ministerio de Defensa. ” Por otra parte, es obvio que un aumento sustancial de los impuestos reducirá la capacidad productiva del país, creará más burocracia y dispendio y acabará generando un problema ” mayor que el que se pretendía solucionar. (more…)

04 February 2011 ~ 4 Comentarios

La lógica torcida del policía cibernético

Esta nota termina con un link. Vale la pena verlo. Se trata de un joven oficial del Minint, especialista en guerra cibernética, que durante una hora les explica a unos militares y a otros “compañeros” cómo los “contrarrevolucionarios”, de la mano de Estados Unidos, utilizan las nuevas tecnologías para tratar de desestabilizar a la revolución y cambiar el sistema comunista. Su enemigo principal es Yoani Sánchez y dice sobre ella cosas tan peregrinas como que los premios en metálico que ha recibido o las distinciones periodísticas y académicas que le han otorgado han sido orquestados por Estados Unidos que así “blanquea” el dinero asignado a esta valiente bloguera.

03 February 2011 ~ 0 Comentarios

Un caudillo con la cara pintada

Hace doce años, el 09 de agosto de 1998, el periodista, analista político y escritor, Carlos Alberto Montaner publicó un artículo en este diario que intentaba dibujar las acciones que tomaría el actual presidente de Venezuela. Aún hoy, las advertencias que hacía el cubano están vigentes.

31 January 2011 ~ 1 Comentario

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31 January 2011 ~ 4 Comentarios

La decadencia norteamericana

(FIRMAS PRESS) El presidente Obama está preocupado por la presunta decadencia norteamericana. Lo acaba de decir, elegantemente, en su discurso anual ante el Congreso. Le parece que la calidad de la educación se ha deteriorado notablemente. Teme que ese fenómeno disminuya el ritmo innovador de la sociedad y que, como consecuencia, su país pierda la hegemonía planetaria que ha disfrutado desde hace un siglo, tras la Primera Guerra mundial. Siente que los chinos se aproximan a paso rápido, y, tras ellos, los hindúes. Uno de cada tres terrícolas es chino o hindú. Sólo uno de cada veintitrés es estadounidense. (more…)

31 January 2011 ~ 0 Comentarios

The decadence of the United States

By Carlos Alberto Montaner
President Obama is worried about a perceived decadence of the United States. He said so, elegantly, in his annual address to Congress. He believes that the quality of education has notably deteriorated. He fears that this phenomenon will slow down the innovative pace of society and that, as a consequence, his country will lose the worldwide hegemony it has enjoyed for a century, ever since World War One. He feels that the Chinese are approaching at a fast pace, with the Indians right behind. One of every three world dwellers is Chinese or Indian. Only one of every 23 is a U.S. citizen. (more…)

27 January 2011 ~ 0 Comentarios

In Latinoamerica giocano con il fuoco

In Latinoamerica il pericolosissimo gioco è a tra: Iran, Venezuela e Brasile.
L’Iran pretende mettersi a capo del mondo islamico. Per questo, i persiani hanno bisogno di armi nucleari e di formare un fronte internazionale ampio di appoggio che compensi il malcontento che suscitano nel mondo arabo. Scoprire, attraverso wikileaks, che l’Arabia Saudita ha chiesto ai nordamericani di distruggere le istallazioni nucleari iraniane prima che fosse troppo tardi, certamente li preoccupa. (more…)

26 January 2011 ~ 3 Comentarios

Juegan con fuego en América Latina

Por Carlos Alberto Montaner

En América Latina el peligrosísimo juego es a tres bandas: Irán, Venezuela y Brasil.

Irán pretende convertirse en la cabeza del mundo islámico. Para ello, los persas necesitan armas nucleares y forjar un variado frente internacional de apoyo que compense la ojeriza que despiertan en el mundo árabe. Descubrir, por los wikileaks,”  que Arabia Saudita les pedía a los norteamericanos que destruyeran las instalaciones nucleares iraníes antes de que fuera demasiado tarde, seguramente los preocupa.


14 January 2011 ~ 2 Comentarios

Jueces a la venta en América Latina

Las banderas de los juzgados de Miami ondearon a media asta en señal de duelo. Ocurrió en diciembre pasado tras la muerte inesperada del juez de circuito Roberto Piñeiro. Tenía 56 años. Era un jurista extraordinario, formado en Duke University, a quien todos le auguraban un deslumbrante futuro, quién sabe si hasta en la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos.