Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Fifty Years On, Fifty Years Hence

After Castro, what of Cuba? It is easy to mock Fidel's desire for Cubans to play cricket in order to emphasise that they are West Indians and distinct from the United States. However, he has a point, and good luck to him.

But something else unites the nine West Indian countries among the 16 independent Commonwealth Realms (Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), and the six among the 10 permanently inhabited British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands), namely their shared monarchy, which also distinguishes them from the United States.

The monarchy unites them to each other and to all the other Commonwealth Realms (including Britain) and British Overseas Territories (including Saint Helena, where I was born). All of these 26 countries around the world fought in both World Wars from Day One of each, while the Commonwealth Realms retain the Crown entirely by choice, and the British Overseas Territories remain British entirely by choice.

It is high time that citizens of all of them enjoyed at least the same rights of access to this country as are enjoyed by EU citizens, who might have been SS officers or, as late as 1989, high-ranking Soviet officials in Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia. Furthermore, their respective National Days ought to be observed in some way in our public institutions, especially schools.

If Cuba wants to emphasise that she is West Indian and not American, then, in addition to playing cricket, she ought to provide for the current Castro to be succeeded upon his death by the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy, capped and safeguarded by the Crown.

Or, at the very least, she ought to find a place for herself in an expanded or alternative Commonwealth, still headed by the British monarch with all that that entails, but open to anywhere having no dispute with any of the Queen's (or her successor's) Realms and Territories, and desiring to take a (basically and ultimately Christian) stand against globalisation, American military-industrial hegemony, European federalism, Islam, and the rise of China, all of which are closely related.


  1. This post is based on a serious misunderstanding. Commonwealth countries are not "headed by a British monarch" but by their own monarch who happens in each case to be the Queen. In principle it would be perfectly possible for Britain to become a republic yet the Queen to continue, in her separate roles, as the monarch of Canada and Australia -- or the West Indies.

  2. "Commonwealth countries are not "headed by a British monarch""

    No, but the Commonwealth itself is. That is the point.

  3. I have always believed that Cuba has made economic realtionships with countries around the world, including the United States. I do not believe that Fidel Castro is so lucky, to not have been assasinated, in fifty years, by his enemies or in reality, his associates.

    American born, with Cuban parents, I have always heard the horror stories and disbelief, on how such a terror, can maintain and continue to live so long. And my answer has and will always be, ECONOMICS.

  4. More than anything, the Castros have been kept going by the blockade. It's like the bombing of Gaza, where most people probably can't stand Hamas, but that has ceased to be the point.